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Libertarian Coalitions Championing B-Corporations, Co-ops

Posted on December 1, 2011 at 12:05 AM

LIO Fellow Nobelist Milton Friedman praised suggestions at an LIO workshop that along with standard 'C' Corporations, there be simplified  'A' (for autonomous untaxed family business and trust), 'B' (for Barter or business for-profits with a non-profit section) and 'D, E & F' (for democratic consumer, employee owned co-op, and freeshare and pay-it-forward) entities. 'Why not the whole alphabet?' he quipped, saying many obscure tax policies had completely distorted or blocked legal options.

LIO-supportive Libertarians and progressives are in coalitions centered in the US to make business non-profits legal. While many have criticized free economc choice as blindly profit-driven, a review by Libertarians revealed a thicket of laws that make for-profit ventures for non-profit purposes illegal or difficult to set up.Libertarian thinking has always viewed all action as for-profit, non-profit simply meaning the benefit is not directly for the principals, and contests the view that non-profit must equal anti-personal.The LIO encourages a vision of free markets that not only welcomes traditional forms but is driven primarily by user and worker co-ops such as credit unions, non-profit endowments, and home based forms and trusts--but policies still make this difficult.

The problem may be a surprise to some, but has long been understood by Libertarian thinkers. For example, many jurisdictions and tax authorities  harass  for-profit co-ops providing free barter services and basic supplies; unions seeking to provide healthcare; corporations and family trusts attempting to combine donations with profit activities--or actually make it illegal for corporations to engage in non-monetary activities 'for public benefit.' In the US, many private health care providers such as hospitals and doctor's co-operatives have shut down 'internal long-term trusts to provide health care for al'l due to the tax complexities. This vacuum where co-op based free-markets and alternate forms are hampered or actually prohibited is then blamed on the 'free' market, say analysts, and promoted by incurious academics who claim it to be an obvious problem of choice-based systems. As a result, people are blamed for not solving problems they're forbidden to solve.

To combat the situation Libertarians have been working with different groups to advance:

  1. 'B' Corporations that legalize a specific or general non-profit goal along with profit sections, with a 3rd party review provision to cut through tax complexities. Groups such as http://www.bcorporation.net/ advance one model. Care must of course be taken that the door is not opened to expand crony  corruption. Libertarians at a recent conference on long-term funding for space colonization, the 100-Year Starship Project, called for use of B-type corporations to these ends.
  2. In Florida  coalitions are successfully working to regularize co-op status in everything from community gardens to religious co-ops providing health care.They hope the example will drive world change. The matter effects even private persons. Recently policies were agreed there on that let people have a homeless person as a guest in their homes without triggering tourist tax and other restrictive laws; mothers are fighting for the right to have baby-sitting and home-learning co-ops without triggering expensive license requirements as day care entities.
  3. Options such as 'free-free-markets'  based on gifting, barter networks, and food share buying programs are being acknowledged and functioning on the internet.Around the world, people are consulting the LIO in their figfhts to legalize small micro-lending, voluntary eco-zones, voluntary safety standards superior to the official ones, and protect community trusts from seizure.
  4. US States have begun removing laws prohibiting simplified eternal family trusts to protect the wealth of small households and create family guarantteed housing, incomes, and other amenities.  Thus say providers 'Alaska's laws are among the most progressive in the U.S., providing a number of unique estate planning and tax savings benefits not available in most other states. Alaska was the first state to pass legislation authorizing self-settled domestic asset protection trusts (commonly called "Alaska Trusts") and continues to be in the forefront in updating and improving its statutes to provide favorable protections for individuals, families and family-owned entities. Alaska has become one of the top states of choice for the location of trusts and family limited liability companies (LLC). '

Emblematic of the problem than people raising money to feed the homeless on the streets being arrested by the police and then questioned by tax authorities. Several links are reported at the LIO 'SMILE' Twitter, which shares good news on Libertarian living tools. Interested activists are invited to share their stories and projects at the LIO Friends network on Facebook. RESOURCES:

>GOOGLE Family co-ops

>GOOGLE Family trusts Alaska

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