September 5th, 2011



Issue: Some kinds of fees hit the poor with disproportionate weight. A sufficiently wealthy person might decide to break laws or use government services to excess because they can afford to, while a relatively poor person might find even one instance of a fine to be a terrible burden.

Some might argue that this is not an injustice, because by the logic of capitalism, the wealthy have earned societal privilege in the form of exchangable tokens (money) and it is just for that privilege to be used evenly on everything. I reject this very strongly and feel that money amounts to unacceptable privilege, particularly as unrestrained as it is in our current society. I do not necessarily reject the idea of somewhat uneven distribution of privilege, but I want it limited both in degrees and to certain realms of life.

I recently read about Arizona's plan to charge fees of $25 for people to visit relatives in prison. I can sympathise with the higher burden this places on the poor.

Would it be reasonable to have a person-tied credit system where people trade a fee as a small portion of their income or net value for tokens that are used for some state services or fines? It might even be some progressive exchange rate rather than a flat percentage of income-or-net-value.