Speech is Free, Distribution is Not A Tax on the Purchase of Human Attention and Political Power

by Jun 24, 2019

This post features a summary written by Andrew Kortina of a proposal that originally appeared on his blog. The below offers a chance to engage the RadicalxChange community in this important conversation.

Billions of dollars are spent every year on advertising, political campaigns, lobbying, legal and accounting services – all of these are vectors for exchanging economic power for human attention and political power. This presents a challenge for democracy when wealth is unevenly distributed across networks of people.

Historical debate and regulation of speech and communication technology has mostly concerned matters of campaign financing and electioneering communications. The root problem of exchanging money for other forms of influence, however, is not limited to political campaign spending.

This proposal for a tax on the purchase of human attention and all forms of political capital is an alternative mechanism for leveling the playing field that makes it increasingly expensive for a single entity to deploy money for social or political advantage. The proceeds of this proposed tax on the exercise of power would be distributed pro rata to citizens, so that exercise of economic power would directly result in redistribution of that power.

The mechanics of the tax are largely informed by those of quadratic voting.