"Capital isn’t scarce; vision is."--Sam Walton (founder of the Wal-Mart shopping chain
I believe we, as future Alterans, should make every effort to make money a secondary priority in our lives, not only in regard to contributions to our cause, but more importantly, as a base principle for a future Altera, where it may behoove of us to discourage the endless pursuit of greed by our citizens to be replaced by the endless pursuit of quality of life. That said, money is a necessary facet in our immediate endeavors, and reality dictates it must be the focus of our attention if we are to succeed. Perhaps we can use this current need to nurture a beneficial future philosophy by making the success of our project a priority over all things material in our current lives, financially benefiting our project in the present, while philosophically benefiting Alteran character and values in the foreseeable future. Just a thought.
From a contribution perspective, we as individuals, men and women who desire to become Alteran citizens, must each adopt an attitude that we, as a collective, will make this project a success. We must each, from our poorest members to our most wealthy, likewise embrace a philosophy of total dedication and personal financial sacrifice. I don't mean we each need to donate all that we have, only that we each contribute whatever we can comfortably contribute without damaging our own personal financial security, particularly once we officially take possession of the land which will become our new nation. We're all in this pursuit together, we cannot expect a small faction of our wealthier future citizens to carry the financial burden for all. Precisely that attitude is what is now tearing our current country apart. There is no reason the common man can't do wondrous things without the help of rich people, and we are the perfect entity to prove it. Think on this ... offering voluntary labor aside, a single $10 contribution from 100k of our poorer members quickly becomes a million dollars. A $10 contribution each month from that same 100k members raises $12 million by this time next year. As you can see, even the less financially viable can make large financial contributions to our cause if they really wish, and the larger our membership grows the greater this 'little' contribution becomes.
While our nation-builders will certainly target the wealthier among our members for larger financial contributions, and I believe they would expect that, I will not, due to my personal beliefs on individual responsibility, put any undue pressure on our wealthy members to contribute any more than their fair share. Not now, not ever. If your intention is to hop on this bandwagon then insist our rich people pay your way, you're reading the wrong book and completely misunderstand what will be a basic Alteran philosophy.
As I sat pushing buttons on a calculator for those first few weeks in January 2014 the reality of the money it would take to fund such a large project set in quickly. The more I learned, the more I researched, the more distressing it became. What began as a simple thought that it would only take a few million dollars to transport and put our volunteer workforce on the ground with some basic construction materials quickly grew to ugly thoughts of reality that all came down to money. Lots of money.
In order not to waste your time or mine I must be very candid in what I believe it will take to make this dream a reality, then together we must lay out a plan for that reality. Fortunately, I'm not trying to sell you a car, or a home, or insurance, or convince you to give money to a charity where you'll never see the results of your contributions. In fact, I'm not trying to sell you at all. This book is not a sales job, it's an advisement, a wake-up call, an invitation. to all the people of the world whose desired culture and personal philosophy is similar to my own. That's in addition to the fact that in developing this project I have no time for sale's pitches. I'm already convinced the people who will see the dream as I do will need no selling. They will get it, they will jump in feet first, and they'll want to contribute to our mutual success in any way they can, just as I do. With no need for a sales pitch, and no need for political spin, I'm free to tell you just how it will be and that's precisely what I'm going to do.
In the end it looks like reality dictates it will take approximately $250 million to go forward with any idea of being taken seriously, and that's just enough to get started. Yes, $250 million. Even that is assuming we can also build a large volunteer workforce and create a strong and ongoing stream of revenue behind our initial financing. This is what it will take to properly organize our efforts, bring our people together, build our internal logistical systems. initiate diplomatic efforts, establish our locale, arrange proper transport systems, and put down the corner stones for the initial infrastructure of our first colony. As we just discussed, the infrastructure alone for our initial settlement will cost in the area of $120 million. Does it sound a little crazy to read a book that suggests we can create our own country (already bizarre enough), then read 'all we need' is two hundred fifty million dollars just to really get going? Are you laughing out loud yet? You can imagine why this was the first major level of stress I encountered in determining the reality of this project. Believe it or not, I wasn't deterred. In fact, I sensed a challenge. Motivated Americans can do wondrous things when they set their minds to it; me included. Don't give up on us yet.
How much is a $250 million?
Believe it or not, at a national level, not much. American actor Tom Cruise listed a luxury home in Colorado for sale in 2015 at $59 million. A beautiful, luxurious home on a nice piece of land, but nevertheless, one home. The famous Playboy Mansion, sitting on only five acres, has just sold for a staggering $100 million. Yes ... one hundred million dollars. Casino magnate Steve Wynn built the Bellagio Casino Hotel in Las Vegas at a cost of $1.6 billion. That was in 1993, more than twenty years ago. Imagine what it would cost to build that same project today; a single casino and hotel. A Malaysian company is about to build the next big hotel casino in Las Vegas and just paid $350 million for the land alone. The construction of the resort itself is estimated to cost somewhere near $4.5 billion. The big U.S. bank Morgan-Stanley was just ordered to pay $3.2 billion in fines for misleading investors. That's just penalties. The navy's new stealth destroyer U.S.S. Zumwalt cost taxpayers $4.3 billion. One ship. Disney has announced its new Shanghai theme park in China will cost approximately $5.5 billion. India is paying Japan $14.7 billion to build a single bullet train system between two cities. California has budgeted $60 billion to build their own bullet-train system, and is already projected to be $8 billion over budget. The proposed U.S. 2017 defense budget alone is $582.7 billion. I can't even breathe.
Can you see now why even $250 million is a paltry sum? Frankly, I won't be comfortable with anywhere short of $1 billion in our coffers. Yes, I said $1 billion. That means I am not likely to be comfortable any time soon, which may be a good thing. Not being comfortable doesn't indicate imminent failure, it only indicates the need for serious dedication.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the United States government has given $31 billion to Pakistan between 2002 and 2015. Do you think the United States government will support Altera with any type of major donations on this level, considering you and I were the taxpayers who actually provided those Pakistan donations? No, me neither (although the recent change in administration gives me some hope). Do you think Pakistan will return the favor to us now that it is us who is in need? No, me neither. When it comes to money the only people we can truly rely on from the start will be those individuals who embrace our cause and walk the path alongside us. This is both good and bad. The good news is we will be indebted to no one when the project reaches full fruition. The bad news is the job will be immensely more difficult for individual citizens to build a new nation than a bunch of existing nations supporting our new construction with developmental assistance (as we see being done for 'third-world' nations around the world). So how do I propose a bunch of individuals succeed at funding this project? I have some ideas, and I believe the collective minds of those folks who fervently join me in this quest will have some ideas as well.
It all begins with financial support and member contributions to establish our movement. A combination of cash donations and the level of newsletter subscribers will form the basis to determine the level of excitement the project generates. This will determine if we go forward at all. Once we've reached the point where the project becomes viable (we go 'critical') there are many ways to generate financial support, many concepts we can utilize to stretch our money as far as possible, and many ways to create new money with our current treasury. This even includes several major money-raising concepts I have in the works which we can utilize during the Interim before we actually even obtain our physical locale. These will be discussed in the newsletter once we are rolling, allowing them to be polished with member input. For the purposes of this section I've chosen to keep our interim fundraising simple and discuss in detail primarily those concepts and constructs we will leverage once on the ground in our new land.
I initially considered selling The Altera Project as a book in the first step of our fundraising efforts. As the project matured it became apparent it is much more important to spread our word in as wide an arc as possible than to make a few bucks on the sale of individual books. I decided instead to make the book available as a free download. I've also decided to lay out the entire blueprint on our website for people who aren't into reading books. With the exception of a possible Kindle version (where Amazon charges the author for every byte of memory uploaded to you), they will all be free to not only download for yourself, but to link to, to post on your own website or social media page, whatever, if it helps in spreading the word to find our people.
I've considered several ways to determine the popularity level of this project and keep coming back to a simple Newsletter construct. Subscriptions to the newsletter is the means by which we will establish the viability of the project, and whether or not interest is great enough to warrant going forward. I refer to this minimal level of support as 'critical mass'. Once we have reached critical mass the project will take root as an official entity. What is our 'going critical' number? I can make a case for a few thousand people, but since I'll be completely giving up my business and personal life, I'd like to see a minimum of 10k subscribers to be comfortable in knowing once we begin to roll we just can't fail. It may sound like a lot, but in order for a project of this magnitude to succeed we will need a large number of dedicated people. Signing up for a newsletter is not an actual commitment to the project. Of perhaps 10k subscribers, though each one is contributing to our financial future, we can't be sure of the true level of dedication until we're firmly off the ground. The last thing I want to do is waste even one dollar of other people's money unless we're going to take this thing all the way. Don't wait until later to show your interest. We need to be aware of your interest right now, as it might determine whether or not we have any future at all.
The newsletter is $29 per year (click here to subscribe now) and will begin the moment we reach critical mass, or sooner, if our supporters show unexpectedly high levels of excitement. The price point for the newsletter was intentional. Enough to display interest, but not enough to financially injure even the poorest among us. Also be advised, our newsletter will not be the typical 'Sunday Social' of fluff and flowery articles. Ours will be both intensely informative on where we stand and where we're headed, and be fully interactive, allowing subscribers to directly give input, vote, et cetera, on subjects of the day. The newsletter will be one of the primary means by which we keep our people informed into the future; don't miss out. People who obtain a newsletter subscription will be classed as 'Subscribers', our earliest formal supporters.
Subscribers will have access to our private website, our private member forums, our confidential social media areas, et cetera, where we will be hashing out issues, putting out calls for help, posting articles by our people, giving updates on our progress, sharing important information with our supporters, recruiting volunteer workers, and most importantly, organizing our efforts and posting 'think tank' issues, problems, questions, input requests, scenarios, etc., to get our supporter's collective input on the vast number of issues which must be discussed, debated, and solved. I will also be asking for advice on all things with which I am not intimately familiar, making suggestions on how you can personally help in your current life at any particular moment in time, seeking suggestions on what I may not have considered, et cetera. The list goes on and on.
By taking newsletter signups now we create many immediate benefits:
In case it needs to be said, every dollar paid for newsletter signups, as well as every dollar donated to our coffers, will be returned in full should the project fail to reach critical mass. The only question that remains is how long a test period should be implemented before the final decision is made. I don't want to commit to any specific time period until I have a chance to gauge the early response to the website being posted. It's one of those things we'll adapt to as more information is acquired.
Our official 'Non-profit' coffers are already in place and accepting donations to our movement (click here to make a donation now). These cash donations will be kept under strict control and remain untouched, even by me, until our movement officially goes critical. All early donations to this account will become the basis for our treasury, our war chest, and allow us to hit the ground running. People who make a cash donation to our cause, but do not sign-up for the newsletter will be classed as 'Supporters'. And again, if for some disastrous reason this project fails to go forward, all donations will be returned in full directly to those who made them.
If you truly wish to see this project go forward make whatever type of contributions you can, regularly if possible. This will build our new nation's piggy bank, our formal treasury. Not only will it give me an idea as to the commitment level of our people (which determines the level of risk with which I can act on our behalf), but we can use it to excite potential members, to quote to foreign governments to show we're for real, to keep our own people fired up with visual evidence of the support behind us, et cetera.
"Nothing but harmony, honesty, industry, and frugality are necessary to make us a great and happy people."--George Washington
Unlike rich, modern entities such as the United States, Europe, Britain, China and Japan, we will not have unlimited financial resources. This means once we have raised the money to get started the question, as we move from the initial stages to actually building on that plot of land we will call our own, becomes how to best leverage what money and resources we have to get the most from it. You will see, as our journey unfolds, our initially limited options become much more diverse. I've outlined a few key concepts below just to give potential members an idea of how this project is actually possible if we must go forward without large donations by other countries, corporations, or wealthy donors.
This goes much further than an individual's money management efforts in just trying to get the best sale price on building materials, professional services, transport, etc ... It involves drilling all the way down in everything we do and buy, from retail to wholesale, and below. From bulk orders, to bidding auctions on those bulk orders, to exchanging favors with corporations and industry and other countries who can benefit us most, to searching throughout the world (not just within the United States), for all we need, taking advantage of any current global conditions and possibilities. The current global glut in steel, particularly Chinese steel, comes immediately to mind as a good example. The farther we can make our dollars stretch, the more we can do with them.
Our own people must donate to the project not just their money, but their time, and their expertise, and their skills, and their wisdom. This might include such things as our future citizens working without receiving a salary (perhaps giving their time after they get home from their real jobs), or completing work on behalf of the nation for no payment, or perhaps a store owner buying on our behalf at wholesale over paying retail, or a factory owner manufacturing needed goods or equipment for no more than his expenses, or teachers and college professors volunteering their time in designing our education system. Each dollar our coffers save by our own people doing the necessary work, or providing the necessary expertise, or utilizing the least expensive contacts, is another dollar we will have available to pay for things where we are unable to accomplish our needs with our own people.
Once we actually have a piece of land our leveraging options expand greatly, particularly in terms of land value. Even if Altera is made up of no more than a few hundred square miles our land values will quickly appreciate as our nation grows and the rest of the world, particularly the business world, see we are for real. This will benefit us in many ways. To understand the overriding principle, imagine we have taken possession of a simple block of dirt. Let's say an African nation wanted to prove to the world they supported our culture as much as we have supported their culture with billions of dollars in aid over the last hundred years. They donate to us a small piece of their massive unpopulated continent to call our own. We step foot on the soil of our new locale and divide it up into zones for housing, for commercial buildings, for industry. What do you estimate to be the monetary value of a single, vacant, quarter-acre lot in the middle of Africa upon which a single family home will eventually be built? Maybe five hundred bucks if you really shop it around the developing world. What about the first three bedroom home built in Altera, sitting out there all alone on that dirt lot, surrounded by nothing except worker camp tents and tiny zoning flags, with no nearby supply stores, commercial buildings, entertainment, markets or services? It might be worth the cost of building it, plus five hundred bucks.
Now, here's the wash .... in a country which springs up from nothing to full maturity in say ten years time (or less), that same simple house on that same quarter acre lot will likely be worth a million dollars (or more). As the city grows and the nation populates our small swath of land, like any small quality-built country (Singapore comes to mind), each piece of improved (and unimproved) land in that country becomes much more desirable, and hence, much more valuable. This concept means our own people can buy homes early, then not only get their money back later, by fast rising property values, but likely even make fortunes in doing so. In my opinion, a just reward for coming in early.
The same concept applies to any corporation, any large business, any farm, any building manager (ie apartments), any tourist attraction that wants to do business in Altera. Not only can we give them the same benefit of the land beneath them rapidly gaining in value over time, but they also gain in the rising number of customers living in the country, the increasing number of businesses, et cetera. Having advanced knowledge of this inevitable future allows us leverage it from the start and give benefits to those corporations and businesses who benefit us early and most. We can scratch each other's backs so to speak. Just because we begin with nothing, does not mean we have nothing to offer. Just off the top of my head I can imagine raising early money from corporations just to reserve lots on which they may one day build, perhaps using one or two year options.
There's little need to hire outside architects, and construction companies, and road builders, et cetera, when our people will already be skilled architects, and construction workers, and road builders, et cetera. By immediately forming our own companies to do our own construction we eliminate the cost of bringing in foreigners to accomplish the same tasks. This is one of the major advantages of creating our new nation from the bosom of an existing world. We're not a bunch of children attempting to build a new fort in the backyard. We are mature adults coming from all manner of professions already laden with world experience, and expertise, and wisdom. We need only bring all this experience to bear on the tasks at hand.
Once on the ground in our new land it's critical we not just throw our limited money at preparation, and transport, and construction, and so on, until it runs out, then beg our members (or the world) for more money to do it all again. It's even more important we don't deplete our coffers to begin construction in our new land if we can't be sure we will have the money to finish what we start. Instead of relying on others, even our own individual members, to personally finance our continued expansion we must instead adopt the proper mindset from the start in creating a self-replicating catalyst of financial income, and one that expands as we expand. I don't mean self-sustaining, where a village, town, city, state, country, has reached some point of happy equilibrium and they are neither interested in further expansion nor national enrichment. In that case, simple taxes could sustain the village. Neither am I speaking of only self-regenerating income, where we get back precisely what we put into any particular investment. By 'self-replicating expansion' I mean using our initial finances to not only begin construction of our village, but to use that construction to also guarantee a continuing stream of new revenue in order to continue growth without begging our members for more money. So how do we do this?
Here's a very basic example:
Consider we begin life as a tribe of nomads who decide to settle down and build a permanent settlement (which is precisely how we will begin existence as Alterans). We call on our gathering people for financial donations and each person contributes what they can to build a basic treasury which can then be used to start construction of our new village. Our tribal leaders can now take that money and:
In doing any of the above we will have accomplished the existence of our new village, but none of those things will generate any financial return to finance continued expansion of our village. In the end, we will have spent the money in our treasury and will now need more contributions from our people if we are to continue expanding. Our initial treasury has been depleted, but has provided no return.
Using more sound money management tribal leaders could instead choose to postpone immediate satisfaction and continue to temporarily roam the countryside in an effort to build a self-replicating investment system. How do we do that? We can do this first by leveraging our villager's skill sets. Our fellow villagers might be excellent hunters, or blacksmiths, or skinners, or weapons-makers. It doesn't matter. The trick is to adapt our process to our group's distinct capabilities, whatever they are. Let's say we have a single guy, one expert, who is capable of constructing large fishing boats which can carry many people and supplies. We may not even have the technology to cut down large trees, but using this one man's skill we can still start an entire industry. Instead of using our money to buy excess food, or build fancy structures, we instead use our initial contributions to purchase timber from a neighboring tribe (since we don't even know how to safely cut it down ourselves), and use that timber to construct a large fishing boat. When the boat is finished we show it off to all neighboring clans, while simultaneously using our new boat to stock our village food stores for the year. Once we have obtained enough fish to get the entire village through winter we sell our new boat for twice what it cost to build it (or trade it for twice the timber it took to construct it). We then use those materials to now build two boats. Once these two new boats are completed we send one off to begin fishing for next year's food supply, and we immediately sell or trade the second boat for the same deal we got on the first.
We have already:
For every two boats we now build we can place one in our growing village fleet, and sell the other to regain our investment for both of them. Once our village fleet is large enough to guarantee a permanent food source for the entire village we can then begin selling both of our newly constructed boats. Since we no longer need to increase the size of our own fleet this soon turns two boats into four boats, then four boats into eight boats, and so on.
We can build and sell boats until we've reached the maximum number of boats in demand from neighboring villages. At that point, instead of building new boats we could then invest in village structures, and villager huts, and village businesses, and village defense. Neighboring villagers can now come to our village seeking protection, or to buy new homes, or to trade for manufactured goods from our people, putting money in our people's pockets and generating taxes for village coffers. They can even hire our lesser skilled villagers to manufacture and trade even more goods, or to do work for their village, giving us even more paid workers with money in their pockets, and creating even more income for the village coffers. In time, working villagers will be able to buy land, and build more luxurious personal shelters, even their own personal fishing boats. The more successful our village the more likely new villagers will wish to live there, bringing more manpower, more skills, more personal wealth and assets. Each time the village increases in population or takes another step up in affluence the village's coffers benefit. By continually constructing something in demand to outside money, whether boats, or fish, or manufactured goods, the village leaders may continue to invest earned monies in village expansion, while still generating income to continually refill village coffers.
This is self-replicating expansion, and it's not rocket science. This concept, of which there are many variations. is precisely how every civilized and successful country in the world began existence, from Rome, Athens, and Sparta, to the early American Colonies. The difference is, in Altera, due to necessity, we will utilize this concept right from the start, and in an unorthodox manner.
In the case of Altera, acting as the village builders, we will have the base contributions by our members with which to get started, but must generate from that base further monies to at a minimum, keep our coffers self-regenerating. This basically means if we take money out, whatever we build with it (except infrastructure), must then result in returning at least that much money back into our coffers. This is critical in order not to rely on continuous necessary member contributions or the goodwill of the rest of the world. This concept grows even more powerful if we not only return the initial monies advanced on any given project, but actually increase our treasury by returning to it more money that was originally advanced on any one project.
In our example village above the key was to build or manufacture something that can be sold to outside money. We could do that, manufacture our own products using our own experts (ie. boats), and sell them to outsiders, then use that money to build up our village. While this is a concept of which we will take advantage (more on that later), one problem with this approach is it will take a longer period of time to incorporate, where we must first establish an entire state industry before we can create a constant flow of revenue. It also relies on the monies of outsiders, making it a much more unpredictable endeavor.
Fortunately, in the case of Altera, the self-replicating concept will still work using money generated from inside the village. In our example above the boat builder would be the government, the 'boats' would be our new homes and businesses, and the buyers will not be our neighbors, but our own villagers. Thanks to global credit, we can self-replicate without outside purchases, and rely on no one other than ourselves to guarantee our success. We do this by having our non-wealthy citizens borrow money from outside sources in order to finance their personal assets (homes, businesses) inside our country. Assets which are constructed by our nation-builders, providing our coffers with monies on every asset built and sold to our own people.
To do this we need only prove to the global financial world we, citizens and the village, can fulfill our financial obligations. Instead of having to create an industry, and find neighboring customers to purchase our specialized products, we become the industry. Our early member contributions, instead of being spent exclusively on manufacturing and construction materials, becomes our collateral to secure credit from global institutions not just for the nation, but for our new citizens as well. National credit allows our villagers to support village expansion, through their individual home purchases, while at the same time guaranteeing their own security. Since most of us already live on credit (home, business, and vehicle loans), there is no major shock or acclimation period to taking advantage of this concept. Still don't get the idea? Read on ...
As I've already stated, it will be critical we identify and establish any way possible to not only raise the money necessary to initiate our project, but to leverage what we already have to the best of our abilities. We do this by incorporating all types of money managing concepts related to making our money stretch as far as possible, to getting the most for what we expend, and in forming our overall strategy in a manner that creates a self-replicating environment. I've outlined a few of the more important concepts below to show you just how we will make this happen by taking advantage of our strengths, our intellect, and our patriotism.
Labor is easily the most expensive cost expenditure in most construction projects. You need human beings to build things, and human beings need to be paid. Where some people might see this as the most difficult aspect of any new construction, figuring out how to pay all those workers who will be necessary in our massive project, I see it as the aspect with the most potential for saving money. We are not contracting with some large corporation to build a fancy oil platform, or hydroelectric damn, or new rail system. We're building a new nation. This means we have one major benefit a typical construction project does not possess in regard to its laborers. Motivation that exceeds greed of money. Motivation in the form of patriotism.
We will be building two types of structures in Altera:
Construction of buildings which will return a profit to the nation when they are completed and sold not only provide the nation a stream of revenue, they also provide our new citizens with paying jobs. Construction of necessary buildings that drain our coffers, primarily infrastructure, is where the problem lies. That's where volunteer labor will be critical. If we can get our vols to come in and build our initial basic infrastructure and perhaps form the basis for our working university, we will have accomplished a major feat of capital savings, allowing those saved monies to be stretched much further in other areas.
Every skilled worker, whatever they are doing for us, would be making somewhere in the neighborhood $15-$50 per hour working in private industry (and some much more). Every unskilled laborer, those people who come along just to move scrap lumber and materials around the worksites, somewhere in the area of $8-15 per hour. This is what we save for each hour of volunteer work provided by our own people. Some quick math shows a single worker making no more than $10 an hour, working a forty hour week, will make the equivalent financial contribution of $20,800 in one year's time. Imagine if we could get a $20k cash contribution from every member interested in seeing this dream become a reality. That's the power of our volunteers.
Just to build our own road system will take surveyors, transportation planners, civil engineers, inspectors, construction managers, and skilled laborers. Is there any reason why all of these experts and skilled labor can't come from our motivated volunteer work force? Imagine building a new tract of homes where the public works alone consisted of land clearing, excavation, grading, paving, roads and sidewalks, electrical wiring and substations, cable installations, water and sewage pipes, on and on. These are generally accomplished through private construction contractors. By removing the contractors from the process (using our own vol contractors) and doing the construction ourselves we don't just save on the worker labor, we also funnel what would be the contractor's profits back into the country's coffers.
These types of savings will be the equivalent of monstrous cash contributions made not by wealthy donors, or big business owners, or corporate sponsors, but by individual men and women, many of whom will not even possess a professional skill set. I believe these people, this 'army' of volunteer workers, will be more important to the success of our nation in the long run than the presence of any single multi-billion-dollar corporation. Maybe the single most important aspect of this project is that any likeminded individual in the world who wishes to get involved and contribute to our new world can come and do so without any particular skill set or even a single dollar or euro or pound in their pockets, and still make a major contribution. This means where highly motivated wealthy people may donate large sums of capital to make Altera a reality, highly motivated non-wealthy people may still make the same sizeable contributions by nothing more than volunteering their time. Patriot donors, and patriot workers, all making vastly important contributions to our project, but in completely separate ways. This will be the immediate strength of our people at work.
America had the Kentucky and Tennessee Volunteers to defend a very young American nation with their lives. Altera will have our own group of volunteers, who will be just as critical to the establishment of our new nation, and who will undoubtedly go down in our history with the same level of respect and admiration. If I'm correct in my assertion a significant portion of our people will desire to make this type of significant physical contribution to our nation-building efforts, and we can efficiently put together the logistics for such an operation, we will drastically reduce the immense amounts of money this project will require to get off the ground. Once that first level of initial infrastructure is completed there will be no stopping our continued development.
"A penny saved is a penny earned."--Benjamin Franklin
We're building an entire nation, meaning we will need to repeat construction of similar constructs over and over again. For example, laying sewers, or placing roads, or digging trenches, or excavating basements. By identifying in advance where we need to repeat the same construction process instead of calling in a paid contractor with expertise in that construct, who will charge us retail prices for the work, we will instead use the money which would have been expended on multiple similar projects to buy our own heavy equipment and vehicles and machinery, then man them with our own people. People with the same expertise as the subcontractors that private contractor would have hired to do the work for us.
For example, the U.S. EPA estimates it costs city builders approximately $18 per linear foot to dig an ordinary sewage trench four feet wide by six feet deep. That's only to dig the trench. The math says a simple trench one mile long would cost $95,040 in labor. Imagine how many sewage trenches need to be dug to supply a single one mile diameter housing tract with winding residential streets and thoroughfares. Assuming we have the operators, it makes much more sense to purchase the trench-digging equipment ourselves and dig the necessary trenches using our own people. It will take less than ten miles of trenches to recuperate a million dollars in equipment costs. There's no way to recuperate anything after you've paid a private contractor. Maybe better, we get to keep the equipment when the first job is over, which means we do not have to buy it again for the next job; or the one after that. When you consider we will need to dig trenches for everything from drinking water, sewage disposal, rain run-off, electric cables, communication cables, fiber optics, and who knows what else, the savings by doing it ourselves will be astronomical.
Another simple example--think on the number of different types of towers we will need to construct at one point or another across our nation. These would include electric cable towers, radio antenna towers, traffic camera towers, Wi-Fi towers, cellular towers, solar panel towers. Would you agree instead of contracting some team from the U.S. or Germany or Japan to do this for us, it would be in our best interest to learn to build our own towers? This type of thinking applies to every form of construction we will need from digging trenches to constructing roads, bridges, and high-rises. We will have our own experts, why pay for the services of outsiders?
An example from my own life--I've been casually remodeling our home for years now (while trying to run a business and design a new nation). When I first got started I found myself replacing nearly every 120v power outlet in the entire house. They were all nearly fifty years old and obvious fire hazards. I headed down to my local home improvement center and doled out $45 to buy 100' of 120v wiring and went home to get to work. A couple weeks later, and after much drywall demolition, I needed more wire. I bought another 100' at $45. Then a third time, again weeks later, made the same purchase once again. Some time after that third purchase I was perusing the electric outlets aisle at the same home store when I looked up and saw 500' bundles of the same yellow wire. Those 500' rolls were $79 each. What? I had already paid $135 for three separate 100' rolls (total 300') and I could have bought two of the 500' rolls for nearly the same price (and had a total 1000'). Lesson learned. A few days later I priced quad-shield coaxial cable at the local 'Mart' store at $20 for a 20' length (to run an exterior TV antenna). I went back down to my home store and bought the same cable in a 500' spool for 50 bucks. Now I have all the coaxial cable I will likely need for the rest of my life at 10% of the retail cost of the short run. The lesson: always establish your overall needs in advance, then look for the best bulk deals possible.
But you don't need 500' of electrical cable, or 500' of coaxial cable, you say. But guess who does? Altera. We're not undertaking to rewire an old house, or string a single antenna to an outside shed, we're going to build not an entire house, or city block, or even an entire city. We'll be constructing an entire nation. Imagine the bulk materials which will be required, all kinds of materials. Where others might imagine the astronomical cost of such bulk materials, I imagine the astronomical savings we achieve by purchasing those materials in as much bulk as possible.
Just like the little microcosm example of my own personal shopping, the more bulk we buy the better our deals. This means the more money in our coffers the better the deals we can swing. Since we're building an entire nation we can also benefit by offering our suppliers long term contracts. By bringing us the best deals possible they may never have to sell to another entity again.
There is a high likelihood our new nation will not be physically located near an industrialized neighbor. Since we will require immense amounts of building materials, transport services, and labor for years to come, those things will typically come at great expense. I believe at a minimum we can save a lot of money by immediately creating our own transport systems to get our materials (and citizens) into the country. While I am all for rewarding our local neighbors with mutually beneficial business dealings there is just no reason to pay outsiders to transport our materials and equipment from their country to ours when we can use our own trucks and drivers, and ideally even eventually our own planes and ships.
If we can gather potentially hundreds or even a thousand patriotic men and women (our 'Worker Army') to put aside their lives and contribute their time, full time, to the pursuit of this project, with no expectation of wages, all in the name of honor and patriotism toward their new country, then why not also men and women who have even more to offer?
I'm staking my claim here and now among those folks who read this book and say to themselves, "I'm in", there will be not just laborers, the hard working fabric of American society, among us, but also small and large business owners. More specifically for the purposes of this section, factory and industry owners, those people responsible for the materials we require to build everything from simple homes to high-rise buildings. What if we can bring together a few key factory owners to contribute to constructing the foundation of our new nation. How will that affect our chances at financial survival?
Question ... does it make sense to pay $100 for an item if you can arrange to pay $10 for that same item?
Imagine the construction of a small utility shed on your property. If you have this shed built by a contractor it will coast you the retail price for the contractor's services, and the retail price for the necessary construction materials including such things as pre-made pilings, lumber, nails, shingles, windows, vents, electrical wiring, flashing, paint and hardware. If you build that same shed yourself, doing all the manual labor on your own, the greatest expenditure, your contractor's labor, is reduced from your cost for the shed to only the retail cost you must pay for the needed construction materials. The rest of the cost is now made up of your time. This is the basic concept for our voluntary workforce as described above.
Now what can you do in regard to the cost for materials? Most homeowners would have to pay the full retail price for materials through a home improvement center, but if you happen to know a contractor buddy you may be able to get him to purchase the materials for you. The lesson here, it pays to have contacts, to know people, to understand business. If you can arrange to purchase all your materials wholesale, you will further reduce your project costs.
But wait, what if you know the guy who owns the lumber mill? Or your brother owns a shingle factory? Or your best friend is the local nail maker? They won't charge you the normal markup on the materials you need, but only the base cost of those materials which they must pay. Now you're only paying for the raw resources for your needed construction materials and the wages of the employees manning those factories. Instead of paying for nails, and wood, and paint, you're paying for cheaper raw steel, and uncut lumber, and the chemicals to make the paint. With no need for your family to profit from you they need only charge you the actual costs of the raw materials and their employee's wages to make your actual items.
You've already saved money at each stage of the process where someone would have taken a profit. You're no longer paying retail stores, or middlemen, or advertising costs. You've reduced your expenditures to the least possible output to accomplish construction of your required structure. In this example, a new shed. You've now pushed as far down the wholesale ladder as possible, and gained all the savings possible. Or have you?
What if the employees who ran the concrete manufacturing plant, and the shingle factory, and the lumber mill were also your family members? And what if they refused to even take salaries for their time? Possibly a bit of a reach if you only have a medium-sized family, but what if your family (Altera) consists of thousands of people, or tens of thousands of people, or hundreds of thousands of people?
Without having to pay the labor in the manufacturing plants you've now reduced the cost of your shed to no more than the cost of the basic raw materials used in constructing that shed, and perhaps transportation of those materials to the location where you wish to erect your shed. Keeping with our example, maybe even the employees of the service transporting the materials from factory to site are also your family members (ie. a helpful nation lending us a hand in transport), so even those costs can be reduced to the basic cost of fuel for an appropriate vehicle to move your materials from point A to point B. How much money have you now saved on your new shed? At this point it will be much easier just to calculate the amount of money you must now pay outt for your shed. And compared to the thousands of dollars with which you began, it won't be much. This is Patriot Industry.
In regard to basic construction of typical structures this concept is financial efficiency at its greatest. And in case you missed the extended metaphors we can make this precise scenario possible on a grand scale by:
Utilizing these concepts, the cost of a shed built by a private contractor can be reduced from several thousand dollars to perhaps less than one hundred dollars, but we will not be building utility sheds. We will be constructing large public works projects, laying down entire housing developments, paving miles and miles of new roadways, laying out hundreds of miles of piping, wires and copper cable, and erecting commercial and high-rise buildings. Imagine the savings on materials alone, under the best-case scenario, where we only have to provide the cost of raw materials for what we build.
Instead of purchasing steel pipes, and plating, and beams, and rail tracks, and rebar we pay out-of-pocket only for the base minerals iron and carbon. Instead of purchasing millions, even billions, of dollars in prepackaged concrete we pay instead for the base aggregate (gravel) and cement. Instead of purchasing tons of manufactured bricks (for construction) we pay instead for clay, sand, stone and chemicals. Instead of buying tons of manufactured asphalt (for roads) we pay for the raw materials bitumen, gravel, sand and stone. Instead of paying the high cost of manufactured glass, we pay for silica (sand), and limestone, and soda ash. And we do it all without middleman, and salesmen, and commodity companies, and wholesale dealers, and marketing reps, and retailers. We don't call salesmen and buy from manufacturers. We become the manufacturers. We become the industry. If we were a large country like the U.S., or China, or Russia, we could take it even a step further down the ladder by actually mining and processing our own mineral resources and raw materials. The further down the ladder we can achieve the less expensive it will be to bring our construction needs into reality for the lowest cost attainable. Million dollar projects become hundred thousand dollar projects. What little money is in our coffers can be stretched much further, maybe ten times, not only enabling us to build faster, but to build more. This is the power of Patriot Industry.
Is this concept even possible? It is one thing to encourage individual men and women to take possession of their own fate in dedicating their individual time to building their new nation. It will likely be another to convince entrenched, for-profit factory and business owners in the United States (and other cultures similar to our own), to uproot and come share their experience and expertise for no, or very little, financial gain for an extended period of time. That said, I still believe there are men and women of means out there who will possess enough substance and be just as passionate, and just as gung-ho, about this project as I myself am, as you will be. And I believe just like the individual construction worker or bartender or police officer or the unemployed surfer who excitedly throw their hats into the ring, there will be those among the masters of industry who will also toss their own entire lives upside down to join us in making our mutual dream a booming success.
If I'm wrong, you may tar and feather me at the center of our first worker's camp, then we'll find another way to make it happen. There are many rungs in the construction of that small metaphorical shed. Ideally, a few of our future brothers will take us down to the most beneficial rung of all, but if not, we will land on another rung as far down the ladder as possible, and we will still succeed. If necessary we'll temporarily hire experts and form our own industry in every area where it will save us millions of dollars. By the time you finish reading this book you will see we have all types of financial concepts with which to take advantage of our manpower. This is just one cog in the machine that will build Altera. No single missing cog can prevent the machine from trudging forward in constructing our dream.
Some basic manufacturing processes under which we can utilize the concept of Patriot Industry if the right people step forward (or by simply hiring the right experts and consultants):
The same concept applies to the next level of industry as well. If we can get our own people to come in and set up factories to temporarily manufacture basic construction necessities like windows, doors, roofing materials, tile, insulation, floorings, and hardware, not for profit, but for the good of the country, we hugely benefit. Not by utilizing some corporation somewhere else in the world, but by utilizing the current skills, financial position. and assets of our own soon-to-be fellow citizens of means.
A message to the potential factory/industry owners of the world:
Do you still think it unreasonable to believe there will be factory owners across the U.S. (and world) who would make such unselfish moves for our cause? Even if I'm wrong in this assertion, it doesn't matter. We will always have options that reside outside the box of conventional thinking. That's the whole point of this project. If we can't accomplish our goals one way, then we will find another. For example, if we can't find an existing lumber mill to come in as a proud patriotic nation-builder for Altera, then we'll query our people for experts, or we'll hire outside experts, and we'll build and run our own lumber mill. If we can't find a steel company to come in then we'll query our own people for experts, or hire experts, and we'll build and run our own steel mill. Experts we will have, structures can be built by anyone. In cases of specialized manufacturing plants which we can't just economically build ourselves we'll find other ways. How about an electronics manufacturer, or plastics, or chemicals, or heavy equipment? In return for helping us now, aside from potential benefits like tax breaks, we can also benefit outside corps later by offering in return future contracts on large projects such as tourists resorts, rail systems, mass transportation, commercial airports, high-rise hotels, highway interstates, and harbors, and ports and breakwaters. Most businessmen, and certainly all corporations, operate around one single premise--making money. When offered the most favorable terms possible it's difficult for men whose entire goal in life is to make money to say no. My point is, we will always have options.
Citizens equal money ...
I believe the concept of people owning property is so important to get citizens invested in their country I'm envisioning the construction of homes which range from small apartments and mini-condominiums affordable by just about anyone with a full time job to of course, luxury condos, townhouses, full size suburban and luxury homes. The idea is to provide every level of citizen, including our young people, at least one obtainable option to own their own home, even it is means living in a small, few hundred square foot, one bedroom condominium or apartment. At least it will be their condominium or apartment.
While it will take financial contributions from our members to establish the initial foundation from which to build our new nation our new citizens themselves can create the catalyst I spoke of above, self-replicating expansion, once the nation begins to mature. The primary way to do this will be through purchasing new homes as they move into the country. If the bulk of our new citizens commit to buying their own homes they provide us with a critical working concept of the utmost importance; that is, allowing the nation to act as the home developer/contractor/realtor. This will greatly benefit both our citizens and our nation. Let me show you how.
According to the National Association of Homebuilders each home built in the U.S. creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue. In Altera, we can do even better.
A typical home development project begins with a Developer/Builder (the money), who buys the raw land, arranges for all necessary permits, cuts in the new lots, installs sewer and water pipes, runs electricity lines, and has streets and curbs installed. The Developer then hires an Architect to design the home models which will be available to buyers in that development. When the architectural plans are complete, the permits are gathered. If not acting as the contractor himself, the developer brings in a General Contractor who is responsible for building the actual homes. The GC brings together all the different subcontractors who will be necessary to complete construction of any given home. These include framers, excavation people, electricians, plumbers, et cetera.
Here's the typical breakdown for what it took to construct the average new home built in the United States in 2013. The U.S. based National Association of Homebuilders, using sample U.S. Home Builders spread across the 'four principal Census regions', found this about the typical newly built single-family home:
In 2013 the average new home consisted of just over 2,600 square feet of interior finished area, included a full size basement, and sold for $399,532. The cost of a new home in 2009 was $82 per square foot. The cost of the average home in 2013, just four years later, was up to $95 per square foot. Notice the rise in price value--this will be important later (when justifying to our people the risk/reward benefits).
The bottom line is a whole bunch of private business people make a whole bunch of money across the spectrum on each home sold. Why does that matter to us? The situation looks much better if we, the country, finance and build this same home. What if we can handle many of those jobs ourselves? What if we are the developer, the architect, the contractor, the subcontractors, the construction workers, the permits, the finisher, the realtor, the laborers ...?
I'm sure most readers have heard that phrase in the course of their lives. In regard to building Altera up from a field of open dirt it is a concept of the utmost importance. Every time we save money purchasing materials, or during construction, or paying laborers, we are in essence making money. I'm about to show you how this concept can be leveraged to the fullest if we can convince our people to enter our new country as home buyers whenever possible.
Also, understand, as I point out where Altera can save money I do realize these savings could conceivably be passed on instead to the new citizen or family who is purchasing any given home. The trouble is, we're building a new nation from scratch, not trying to get any one person a good deal on a new home. If we use these concepts to instead get our new citizens deals on their new homes those deal-happy citizens will be living in a country that consists solely of new homes, since they are the only ones who have saved/created any new construction money. The concept here is to get our people moved in to their new homes with no more expense than they would incur in buying a new home in the United States, while at the same time actually raising millions of dollars for the coffers of our new nation, as if the money just fell out of the clear blue sky.
Any time one of our new citizens buys a home they pay xx amount of dollars (the purchase price) for that home. In a private world those dollars are divided up between developers and banks and contractors and manufacturers and laborers and real estate sales people. In our world no such rules apply. By acting in as many of these roles as possible many of those dollars do not go to private business, or private individuals, they instead go to our nation's treasury.
Let's take that sample new home above, the average new home built in America in 2013. This is just a sample home to make my point. I do realize not every new citizen or family can afford to buy a $399k home (myself included), but the reader must realize while many of our constructed homes will sell for less than $399k in price, many more will also sell for more than the $399k sample price. I initially considered using a smaller home as the example, but felt the 'average new U.S. home' was a better choice because just as I don't want to over-sugarcoat the potential, neither do I wish to undersell it. So, let's take a look at how we're going to do this ...
The first and most obvious area to leverage our new locale is in the land located there. Wherever our eventual locale is located in the world, whether in the jungles of South America, on some remote coast of Africa, on some obscure Polynesian island, in the middle of the Himalayas, or at the South Pole, once that land is formally ours, it is formally ours. Unlike most private or corporate home developers, as owners of our own land we do not have to purchase the land beneath each home before it is constructed. This means any time a new home is built in Altera and the new home buyer pays the full price for the home, the nation will benefit by the amount at which that parcel of land is currently valued. With our sample home above the cost of the land beneath a new home in America averaged 19% of the total cost of the home, in our example rounded down to about $75,000. This means thanks only to the inherent value of the lot on which we build our new homes the nation will profit $75,000 for each $399k home our people buy. In land value alone.
Let's stop a moment and look at just this single number. If the nation's coffers could be credited $75,000 for every home sold to our new citizens it would total $75 million ($75 meg for young computer-age people) per 1k homes built and purchased by our people. Yes, you read it correctly, $75 million. If we can bring in just the 10k people/families I feel gets us to critical mass, and those 10k people/families buy their own homes (some above the 'average' price, some below), we will have raised approximately $750 million for the nation's coffers in home sales alone. That amount will likely be more than all the cash contributions we will raise in years of preparation.
So that's pretty exciting, right? Just by taking a profit on the land beneath each new home we already obtain a significant advantage in raising money for the nation's coffers. Money that can be used to continue expansion (self-replicating), or to finance other projects. Taking a profit for the land beneath each home was probably obvious to most readers, but now take a look at what happens when we get to the meat of this concept.
The next real benefit in building our own homes is that we act as both the Developer and the General Contractor. This means the profits normally going to a private Developer and/or General Contractor instead go to our coffers. For every home built by our people the typical Builder's profit of 9% of the sales price goes directly into our nation's coffers. In the new home chart example above that would be 9% of $399k, or about $35,910 per home sold.
The next area of associated costs in building new homes is where the builder must pay architectural, engineering and other building fees as well as secure permits from the local city or state government. In Altera, our nation-builders are the local government. If we can arrange our own architects, engineers, and inspectors contributing to the cause then we gain the total amount of these sample fees, or about $16,824 per home sold, directly into the nation's coffers. If for some reason we don't have say, architects, among our people willing to contribute their services to basic home design then we'll simply have our people in the U.S. (and around the world) go around and identify the most popular home model plans on the market today and we'll purchase those existing blueprints directly. There will be little need to pay architects full price for designing suburban tract homes or condos which have already been designed by someone else. If we're short of qualified inspectors we'll hire them to come in and do the job, and they will most certainly not cost us $16k per home inspected. Any way you look at it, the greater portion of the money typically allocated to permits and fees on each home built will go directly into our nation's coffers.
The sample home breakdown above lists miscellaneous costs at :
If we can convince international banks to provide our people with home financing, which I prefer in order to free our nation's own money up for other things, those banks providing our loans will likely take the fee under the 'Financing' category. If global banks decide to spurn us as too risky, then our people will have to find their own loans, or we will have to find a way to finance them ourselves, but the good news is in those cases we will not have to pay those banks fees and interest on the money they don't loan to us. This upside, should it become necessary, means our coffers will be credited another $5,479 per home built (after we find another way).
By acting as the Developer/Builder, even if we bring in for-profit subcontractors to do the actual building and pay market value for their labor and services, the remaining costs in this section will go into our coffers. I'm guessing 'overhead and general expenses' is likely an easy way for some Builder profits to escape the I.R.S. notice (taxes), and our volunteer workers can likely handle whatever chores they would involve. We will also be doing our own marketing, from our own website, and have no need to reach out to the general public for buyers. The folks buying our homes will be fully aware of what is available from the moment they become involved in our project. And finally, though we will likely have our own real-estate people among us there is little need for professional real estate agents to sell our homes (as you will see), saving $14k per home in this one category alone. Even in cases where new citizens arrive on-site and wish to examine homes and neighborhood locations before they buy we'll just have representatives of our volunteer workforce show them around. If necessary, I'll show them myself. Why pay an outsider to sell our homes to our people?
By handling most of these miscellaneous costs ourselves we save fee after fee after fee. Even if you don't include the 'Financing' charges (I would prefer outside investment anyway) we can save up to a total of $35,855 per home sold in this section alone.
The fact is we don't yet know where in the world our actual locale will be located so we can' t yet talk about specifics, but the odds say wherever we end up there's a good chance we will be far away from civilization (access roads) and the easy appropriation of basic materials for construction, et cetera. Since the good businessmen of other countries have little personal interest in whether or not we succeed as a nation we must assume, until we can arrange otherwise, the prices we will pay for those materials will likely be higher than normal. That's disappointing, but it's real life.
On the upside, this is precisely the motivation for bringing in our own industry, run by our own people, as soon as is possible. If we can purchase or manufacture things like lumber, concrete, drywall, bricks, pipes, glass, masonry, shingles, etc., for less than retail cost then we are already saving money. If we can't do that, then like everything else, we'll adapt.
It would have been nice to give you exciting information in every category of this example, but alas, in the necessity for construction materials and other physical items (ie. food) the world will initially have us at a distinct disadvantage we are not likely to easily overcome. No savings here, and perhaps even added expense. No worries, we're still not done yet.
Included in the $246,453 'Total Construction Cost' cited by the National Association of Homebuilders is the labor costs paid to all individual subcontractors and laborers on a given construction project. These labor costs are typically about half of the total materials cost of the project, and can apply to a hundred or more individual workers and subcontractors. In our example home this would be about $123,000. That's the money taken home in paychecks by the ditch diggers, the framers, the pipe layers, the electricians, the plumbers, the cement guys, the drywall guys, the carpenters, the roofers, the landscapers, the laborers, the finishers, and so on.
If our people--our framers, our electricians, our plumbers, our cement guys, our carpenters, on and on--our volunteer work force, were to build this sample home purely out of patriotic duty, minus what it costs for us to maintain our Worker's Camp, our new country can bank up to an additional $123,000 per home solely on the saved cost of manual labor to build that home. This is in addition to all of the other cost savings above.
I must admit to a bit of a personal struggle in this area. As I evaluated the National Homebuilders report the outlook for my initial concept looked better and better. At one point it hit me the concept is greatly successful with nothing more than the money saved on land. By the time I reached this section on labor, the total profits we could potentially save on a single average home, without considering labor costs, was already an absurd $162,679. Just typing that number into the computer gives me chills. At that amount of savings, for each 1k homes sold the nation could profit by up to $162 million. If our citizens purchase just the 10k homes necessary to go critical our new nation profits somewhere near $1.6 billion. This is by just getting our people on the ground and into their own homes in Altera. That's pretty inspiring.
Should we build homes using our volunteer workforce or pay for construction labor? Although the potential in using volunteer labor is astronomical, the concept does not require that we do so to succeed. By planning to pay construction labor costs, if necessary to keep up with new citizen demand for new homes, we can import private paid construction crews from all over the world and sacrifice very little in our expected revenue from constructing those homes.
In reality, in regard to our volunteer workers, there will be many factors to consider when the time actually arrives, and the primary consideration will be the motivation level of our volunteer workers. Sitting here in the quiet of my office in early 2017, years before that decision is actually made, I envision getting both the early infrastructure and perhaps the first 500 homes built using volunteer labor, giving us at least one major financial injection from the profits on those early homes. It's also possible the first run of homes will be built specifically for our volunteer workforce (those who wish to purchase their own homes). I can't imagine asking people who are already volunteering their time and labor to continue building tens or even hundreds of thousands of new homes for other people while they continue to live in tents or wooden shacks. While I wholly espouse the need for sacrifice in building our new nation there is a limit even for me.
After years of thought on this subject I've adapted the concept to be much better for everyone involved (I left the section above intact so you can see how my thought processes on this subject have matured). After that first block of home construction we will indeed implement paid construction workers. This not only gives us a number of options (ie. bringing in outside contractors as needed), but it gives us many more actual working citizens on the ground in Altera, which is precisely what we will need to prove to the world we are a real, live, functioning nation. Ideally, once the country is experiencing financial health and generating enough income for self-replicating expansion, I'd like to activate a new concept which sees our volunteer workers transition into paid construction jobs, particularly those who have put in the longest amount of time and quality work in volunteer service to our new country.
Essentially, the qualified worker transitioning from volunteer status to paid status will agree to purchase one of the new homes he or she has just helped to construct. In return for this last act of patriotic support for their new country:
Under this concept, with each quality volunteer we lose to a paid job we are rewarded with another citizen who not only buys a new home, but can now pay taxes, contribute to the economy, purchase local goods and services from our merchants and small businesses, start their own businesses, et cetera. Both the nation and the citizen worker benefit (the Alteran Way).
This concept can apply not just to our construction workers, but to all of our volunteer workers on the ground in Altera, from volunteer secretaries and filing clerks to road builders and surveyors and building managers and future government employees.
With each home purchased by our volunteer workers we not only self-finance the continued expansion of our village, but we also immediately increase the quality of life for our workers, reward them for their volunteer service, and inject tens of thousands of dollars into our economy. I prefer to think that instead of losing free labor with each volunteer transition, we will be gaining another productive citizen who greatly benefits our private commercial interests. Citizens to whom we will all owe a great deal when our new nation actually rises to take its place among the countries of the world.
Breaking down what we can and can not do ourselves in the typical construction of a sample home taken from the actual average home in America in 2013 we found we can save up to the following dollar amounts in each category:
The actual out-of-pocket expense we incur for building this new home in Altera is the total sell price of the home, minus the amount we saved (above), or approximately $235,943. That means when this beautiful new example home in Altera is purchased by one of our newly arriving citizens (or vol workers) who pays $399,532 for the home the nation's coffers could be increased by as much as $163,589.
It sounds too good to be true, yes? It's funny how when you're trying to prove something that once you reach a level of good enough, to exceed that level suddenly makes it feel as if you're embellishing, or milking the stats for all they're worth. I feel that way now, even though I've made no attempt at subterfuge, my reasoning is sound, and I avoided the temptation to replace paid labor with volunteer labor (which would have added ~$123,000 to the potential total saved on each home built).
In this example, using every scrap of advantage possible (except eliminating labor costs) our actual cost to build the home, under ideal conditions, is about 59% of the sell price of the home. Generally speaking, we can scale our example down to smaller homes, for example a home with a list price of just $100k, to see how the concept benefits both buyer and nation at all levels. If on a $100k home we spend 59% of the sell price on construction the nation can still raise approximately $41k on each home sold. Even on a small starter condo or town home at say a list price of $50k the nation will still benefit by more than $20k on each home sold. Those numbers may not be perfect, but they will be fairly close. Likewise, as homes grow larger, our profits on each home sold increase.
These are ideal scenarios, and grabbing for every scrap we can. I'm the first to admit there will always be unforeseen circumstances, unexpected costs, Murphy's Law. Perhaps we don't have an architect or engineer among our people, perhaps we can't raise enough to provide our own financing. Yes, I get it, but if we can get our ducks in a line, can you see the potential? The idea is to find ourselves a happy medium of getting our new citizens good value on their homes, making them affordable to as many folks as possible, taking care of our volunteer workers wherever possible, and establishing a profit system that will benefit both the nation and our citizens. This is not a sales job, it's an attempt to let you in on the concepts we can leverage in order to make this dream a reality, so you will be as excited about the potential as I am.
Still not completely sold?
How about a worst case scenario? What if it turns out this is all fantasy and we must pay a 'real' Commercial Developer to come in and build all our homes for us? Then it turns out our own industry never materializes, forcing us to pay the full cost for all construction materials and imports. On top of that the 'volunteer' worker concept is not wholly embraced by our people, forcing us to pay all labor costs associated with any necessary subcontractors right from the start. Then finally, as insult to injury, all these construction people, being businessmen themselves, see they have us at a disadvantage and insist they'll only do the work if we agree not to charge them any inspection fees or permit costs.
Can it get any worse than that? We still have one very clear asset that no one can't take away from us, our new land. We can still profit an average of say $20-70k for each home sold, regardless of size, just based on the value of the land beneath it, and due to the scarcity factor (we only have so much land) that value rises with every structure built in Altera. This means on land value alone we can raise at least $20-70 million for every 1k homes built and sold to our new citizens. If we can achieve just the 10k citizen home buyers I believe to be the benchmark for our nation to come into existence that number can easily reach $700 million. Surely, a newly created village can get a foothold in the real world with $700,000,000 in backing, in addition to our continued member support.
Understand, I'm not trying to establish any specific numbers in your mind. There will be much maneuvering, and negotiating, and balancing in the years to come, and no one can precisely predict the future on so large a project. My only intention here is to demonstrate this can be done. Particularly by a bunch of self-sacrificing people crazy enough to believe it can be done, and with the personal resolve to make it happen.
This is another simple financial concept which could greatly contribute to our continuing expansion. If we can gather 10k likeminded families together on one piece of land (their new neighborhood) we can recover the cost of the entire infrastructure for that development by our new home buyers doing no more than allowing an increase to their monthly loan payment of $29. Yes, it's true.
By raising the normal monthly house payment of any new home buyer by just $29 that homeowner can personally, and instantly. contribute $10k to helping build our new nation. This can be done by having this purely voluntary contribution divided up over the course of a standard (30) year home loan. The loaning bank won't normally do this for you as an individual, but with Altera co-signing your loan and securing it with our foreign creditors we can arrange to have this automatically included as an add-on to the buyer's loan. This means if you were to finance your new Alteran home at a monthly payment of say, $1400, your new updated 'patriot' payment would actually be $1429. Likewise, if your payment was a lowly $600, it would now be $629. I'm sure the reader would agree, this is an add-on any working person can easily afford .
The primary benefit of this concept is that although our home buyers only experience a small monthly increase in their home loan payments the nation itself receives the full $10,000 contribution, not thirty years from now, but immediately as part of the home purchase agreement with our creditors. That's it! That's the secret. What I like most about this construct is even those people who could not afford to make cash contributions to the project as it unfolds will have the option to make one very serious contribution when they actually move into our new land. With 100% participation by our default 10k family home purchases this contribution would be $100 million. We would only require about 65% participation to cover the cost of the entire infrastructure supporting a given housing development (after the first), allowing us to use those recovered monies to finance the infrastructure for our next set of 10k homes without need of more loans from outside banks. Would that be a small enough sacrifice that we could convince every one of our new citizens to enthusiastically participate in this simple construct? I believe maybe so.
voluntary add-ons, like the one described above, made possible by utilizing most people's single largest expenditure each month (making the additional 'add-on' amounts seem almost inconsequential), could become a valuable tool in our nation-building efforts, and could range from a few bucks a month to pay for say, local parks and playgrounds, to larger sums, which could actually contribute to major projects like building or improving our university, or our transportation system, or our commercial airport. If this project goes forward we'll discuss it more in our member forums and decide whether or not the concept will be embraced by our future citizens.
I mentioned in my vision of our new nation how I believe we should actually construct our own high quality college university for Alteran citizens. Not a decade from now, but as soon as we have enough potential university students to make it feasible. How can we do this? It begins with mutually beneficial support from our future citizens, continues with homes purchased by new Alteran citizens with college-age children, and ends with the campus itself, like new infrastructure, becoming self-supporting as soon as possible.
The first step is to construct a basic working university. If necessary, we can obtain international loans for this initial construction, as we will do with many other projects, then repay those loans using eventual university and government income, but I believe this is an area where we can not only rely on ourselves over international banks, but also reward ourselves, as opposed to rewarding those banks, for that reliance. If our people embrace the Alteran all-for-one-and-one-for-all concept, particularly those with children or grandchildren who will one day be attending our university, I believe they will step forward to provide the initial financial needs for the base construction of our University. This can happen in several ways:
The second step is to improve our basic university to such an extent those prospective families in the United States intent on sending their children to top universities in the U.S. will now be excited and content to send their children to the University of Altera. It also helps to have a university that is not only popular with our own people, but will draw paying students from all over the world (it is estimated more than four million students around the world are attending college in a foreign country, and paying for the right to do so).
The final step is in both establishing a self-supporting system and putting the final touches on our University to make it one of the finest institutions in the world. I spent a short time perusing the Internet to find the cost in 2015 to send a single child to some of the best colleges in the United States. I randomly chose some of the most well known universities from both the U.S. East Coast and West Coast as examples. Here is the cost breakdown to send a single student to a respective University for one year of education.
Harvard University: Attendance cost for undergraduates is $45,278 per year if you do not have financial aid. The cost per student is approximately $60,659 per year if you include tuition, room, board and fees.
Boston University: Yearly attendance cost is $46,664. Other expenses are room and board $14,030, books and supplies $1,000, misc. Expenses $1,950.
Stanford University: Yearly attendance Cost for Tuition & Fees is $43,683. Room & Board $13,166.
UCLA: Yearly attendance cost for tuition & fees for In-state students is $33,325 (if out-of-state then it is $56,203 base tuition and fees).Other expenses include room and board $13,135, books and supplies $1,599, misc. expenses $5,562.
As you can see, the average base cost for these fine schools is more than $40k a year for undergraduate students to attend. Not having children, I had no idea the costs were so high to send a child to a quality university. Two things immediately stood out to me.
I believe the answer to both problems begins by simply lowering the cost of tuition for all Alteran College students to more acceptable levels. For example, if we could cut the tuition costs cited above by even one third (especially in first year) we can not only save Alteran parents a lot of money, which can then be used to buy homes and cover expenses in transporting their families to Altera, but we can also make a college education much less expensive for students who don't have family money behind them, allowing more students the option of obtaining a higher education at their own expense. Like everything else we will do in Altera, everyone wins.
Note: I seriously considered trying to create a college system where attendance would be free for Altera's young adult citizens, but unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, higher education teachers do not come cheap, and it' s necessary to have many of them in order to provide a broad educational experience. It wasn't realistic to think we could offer free college educations to our people, but I haven't yet given up on that possibility for the future. Perhaps one day after Altera has established itself as a viable and wealthy country we can be the first nation on Earth to provide such high quality education at no cost to our own people.
How do we cut tuition by one third and still provide the same level of education? Two ways. First, we more efficiently run our faculty and operational needs, just as we will more efficiently run our government. Second, we find a way to make up any necessary shortfall in some other way. Fortunately, the birth of Altera gives us some advantages many might not initially see. The vast majority of our new students will likely be coming from the United States with their families, and these folks benefit us greatly.
The hidden benefit arises because these folks were not initially formal prospects to become Alteran citizens due to our lack of a University for their children to attend. By immediately building a quality university we actually create a new pool of citizen candidates (and home buyers) we would not otherwise possess. That means the monies created by these new citizen's arrival can actually finance the continued improvement of our new university, from physically improving and expanding our campus to importing higher quality educators.
As an example ...
Just 2k families with college-age children, each family buying a home upon arrival. That's in addition to all the other benefits these new citizens provide. They fill jobs, and pay taxes, and bring their life savings, start businesses, and spend their money at established Alteran businesses. This is 2k families of folks we would not initially have drawn to the country.
If we have already arranged for the initial monies necessary to construct the foundation of our university then this new money, derived solely from families who are now bringing in college-age students to attend our new University, can be contributed in its entirety, not to nation-building, but to continued improvements to our university until it is the sparkling gem of Altera. Most importantly, this occurs without redirecting even a single dollar from our nation-building coffers.
Our ability to raise money for our new university does not end there. There will be wealthy people who not only continue to contribute to our higher education system as they see we're providing just what we promised to provide, but there will be those who also wish to see their name on an entire campus building (by financing construction of that dedicated building). There will be corporations who wish to see their name on a building. There will be entire cities, and states, and nations, who will wish to see their name on a building. There is even a chance other universities will make contributions to help us out in the early days in the name of furthering higher education around the world (just as we will one day do for those nations following us). We will also have other options such as creating government research facilities on campus, and using money from research grants to improve our university facilities, just as most modern colleges do today.
In regard to our home buying program benefiting our university the calculations above are based only on student families. What about all those teachers who will be employed by our university? Stanford University's website claims they employ about one teacher for every four students. If each of our 2k families provides just one student child per family that ratio would create up to another five hundred homes purchased by our future teachers and professors. Approximately $25 million earmarked solely for improving our nation's university. What if some of our new students also purchase their own studios, and condos, and town homes? What if we make it so easy for our young people to buy a home of their own they could never even consider living in a dorm, or renting again? Each new home purchase, no matter what the size, further enriches our university-building efforts.
In the end, I believe if the Altera Project generates the attraction I believe it will among Americans who see what I see, and feel what I feel, and desire what I desire, we will overflow with entire families of prospective citizens and many of those families will require a local college education for their children. I intend to not only give them a University in Altera, but like everything else we will do, in the end, one of the finest and most exceptional universities in the entire world.
The self-replicating expansion concepts described above refer to methods we can use to extend the strength of our member donations in our new nation's initial construction. They are meant as the basis for a plan which supports the idea that once we begin building we will be allowed to continue building even if our member cash donations fall off over time. They are not the answer to developing the persistent income which will be necessary to manage our new village once it us up and running. That begins with working citizens.
Where donors support creation, and home buyers support self-replicating construction, local citizens support perpetual existence. By 'peasant' I am referring to the base population of any country, using the word 'peasant' not in a derogatory sense, but in reference to generally blue-collar workers; the common man/woman, the financial foundation for any small or large city. These citizens are usually younger than fifty years old, and make up the majority of the workforce in a city. They can include anyone from service people in hotels and restaurants to secretaries, receptionists, police and security officers, factory workers, government employees, and postal workers. They are the guy who takes your ticket at the movie theater, the woman who serves you coffee each morning, the men who built your local gymnasium, the woman who sold your last home. They are the city, state, and federal workers, the dock workers, the fishing boat captains, the hotel workers, the airline employees, and the 'pizza guy'. They are the masses. They are the people who make a city tick.
Despite their various jobs and professions these people, our peasants, the common man, all have one thing in common, they spend their money purchasing goods and patronizing local businesses, amenities, transportation services, recreational activities, and so on. This means they are the life blood of a local economy. Local businesses can not exist without customers and few business owners will take the risk of coming in early unless we can prove to them we will have a substantial citizen base to patronize their businesses. Likewise, the average new citizen is much less likely to make the early move to Altera if we can't provide them jobs, and amenities, and recreation, and entertainment, and access to their daily needs. This means a blue-collar peasant population is critical to our survival from the start. This is also why it's important, once we have the city's infrastructure in place, to build our local businesses and peasant population as quickly as possible.
Ideally, with a little organization and a lot of mutual support between the two (businesses and citizens), we can simultaneously raise our local small businesses and peasant village right up out of the dust together. This gives the most benefit to both. Citizens will have access to the jobs and the amenities they are used to in the States, and businesses will have sufficient customers to survive and thrive in our new locale. It's important that both our future business owners and our future citizens respect each other's needs and desires, and both work together to give our nation-building efforts the best chance to succeed.
In regard to nation-building, this means in the early days businesses should charge customers no more than is necessary to make a survival profit, and citizens should go out of their way to support all local businesses, even those they may not normally patronize. This mutually beneficial relationship must be perceived by every Alteran as a team effort. If businesses come in trying to gouge every penny of profit out of our new citizens who have just made a potentially expensive move across the world and may be currently unemployed, or working in a low paying job while they get organized in our new nation, we will all be doomed to failure, including these clearly unpatriotic businesses. Likewise, if our new citizens shone local business in order to increase their own savings or buy luxury items with the scant money in their pockets while we're still trying to gain a foothold in the world our businesses will go under before they even have a chance to prosper, and our people will likewise suffer by their absence. We must all work together on this, with everyone else in mind, in order for us all to succeed, not as individuals, but as a new people. There will be plenty of upside for everyone once we get rolling. This is a critical concept. A critical mentality.
Employed villagers do not just support local businesses. They also support government by paying taxes. In order for any nation to exist the government of that nation must take in enough money to support government expenditures (the cost for government to properly function). In order for a country to grow and thrive they must take in more money than their daily expenditures. Altera as a city/state, since it must grow from literally nothing, will require a persistent generated income in excess of what a similar size nation needs simply to exist.
Every functioning government in the world faces daily costs in many areas, beginning with manpower. Manpower to manage the village, to keep records, to protect citizens, to enforce laws, to investigate crimes, to collect taxes, to maintain city infrastructure. In addition to paying these government employees the nation must be able to finance programs like education, social security, healthcare, public works projects, police, fire, national defense, et cetera. We can't pay our government employees and finance government programs from individual member donations. We must create a separate, persistent, self-sustaining government income as soon as is possible for this purpose. Persistent government income is not created by selling land, or recruiting foreign corporations, or building houses. Governments generate persistent income directly from their citizens in the form of various taxes, fees, permits, inspections, and so on. The primary construct used by most governments in generating persistent revenue is provided by working citizens in the form of income tax.
In the United States, and most other modern countries, this is the government's single largest source of revenue. This means a government under this type of system may only exist and thrive by employing its people. Contrary to what the media would have you believe liberal governments do not create the vast majority of jobs in the world. Businesses create jobs, by producing goods and services which citizens are interested in purchasing. It's really that simple. We need neither heroic liberals, nor boastful politicians, nor a socialist government to create jobs. We need only business owners.
As most adults already know the concept is a simple one, each employed villager contributes a reasonable portion of their income to the greater good, to finance the village around them. The more employed villagers the greater the government income generated. In the beginning, when the village is still small, government income will not likely be able to keep up with the costs of employing the proper number of people needed to run the village (without voluntary help), but at some point the village will reach a critical point where there are enough employed villagers supporting the government to compel the struggling village to become a working colony. At that point we will not only have in place the physical structures to make us appear as a real nation/state/city, but we will also have a functioning, fully-financed government entity properly running that city/state/nation.
In 2010 the individual income tax and payroll taxes accounted for 82% of the $2.2 trillion in federal income collected by the United States government. The estimated federal income for the United States in 2015 was $3.3 trillion. The sources of that revenue are broken down as follows:
This is why you always hear countries talking about the nation's unemployment rate and their imminent need to employ more people. Not so much because they're concerned about you and I putting food on our tables, but because income tax is the driving force in creating government revenue. If the government doesn't make money, they can't spend money keeping voters happy. Despite removing the political motivation from Altera's system, we will still have need of employing our new citizens if we are to generate sufficient income to not only sustain our fledgling nation once we get it in place, but for the nation to implement and maintain a program of rapid expansion, which is the ultimate goal.
Like the 'average' home example in housing we can use an average employee example to show the effectiveness of importing working citizens to create increased federal revenue. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cited the "Average hourly and weekly earnings of all employees on private non-farm payrolls" in March 2015 at $24.86 per hour. For our purposes, to both make a point in showing the importance of getting our people into the country as soon as possible, and due to the fact we will need to further develop the country before we'll have an average hourly wage at that level, we'll use a very low wage in our example. Imagine just a single $10 per hour laborer working a standard forty-hour work week. The math says his income is $400 week, or $1600 per month. If this single worker pays just 15% in income tax he generates $240 per month in federal revenue for the government. As we achieve more employed workers, even a small number of them, our persistent federal income rises quickly, as shown below.
Notice at just 10k working citizens (at a low average wage) we've already generated $2.4 million per month for our nation's coffers. That's not much by U.S. standards (or any other existing nation's), but to us it will be huge. Imagine the difficulty of lobbying even our loyal and dedicated members for $2.4 million in donations not just this month, or next month, but in every subsequent month into the future. By getting our future citizens into the country and having jobs readily available when they arrive the nation begins to build a self-sustaining foundation. This allows us to move past having to depend as much on our individual members for financial support to keep the project moving forward. At around 100k working citizens we can actually begin to finance our own large infrastructure projects (instead of paying interest on large loans to foreign investors). If we're fortunate enough to attract hundreds of thousands of people to our movement, which I believe we will do once established, our nation's income rises to a level where we can obtain serious international credit and global financing to build the mega structures we'll need to become a truly global entity, including such constructs as an international airport, sea port, rail systems, mass transportation systems, first class medical facilities, and so on.
So you see, if you plan to become a citizen of Altera, it's critical I convince you to plan on doing it as soon as is viable for you and your family. By waiting, by holding out, by procrastinating, by putting it off because it will be an inconvenience, you're actually damaging our ability to grow and prosper as a global entity. That doesn't just hurt the citizens who go out of their way to get involved early. In the long run it will also hurt you and your family, as the project will not be as advanced as it could have been with the early participation of people like you. When you consider thousands, or tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of future citizens who waited to confirm our survival, or who just couldn't get motivated enough to make the early move, the compounded damage to our overall progress will be substantial. Get involved early and your support will not only have much more impact on our group survival, but will also personally benefit you the most in the long run.
Taxes must begin with an income tax rate that is not only large enough to provide sufficient government income, but also low enough to not take too great a portion of a citizen's hard earned income out of each paycheck. I can recall complaining many times over the course of my life about the level of income tax and all the hoops citizens had to jump through in filing their taxes each year. I can also recall saying verbatim, "Why don't they just take a flat rate from everyone? Maybe something like 15% would be fair." The answer to the first question is money. Governments don't typically take a flat rate because governments can make far more money by tailoring taxes to individual citizens based on their financial prosperity. The answer to the second question is also money. Governments are greedy. They spend haphazardly. They despise budgeting, and austerity, and it's difficult having to be responsible with other people's money. That means they need far more of it to survive, and spend, to provide welfare, to hand out entitlements. Despite what liberals around the world will have you believe, these things don't just pay for themselves.
As I write these words I still believe in two things:
I'm guessing in regard to a flat tax rate there will be politicians murmuring under their breath about how there is no way it will work, I.R.S. agents snickering about what all I still have to learn, and entitlement-oriented government leaders mumbling about how I must be racist and hate poor people (because that's what they say no matter what one suggests, and BTW, I am one of those poor people).
In any case, I acknowledge I have not yet delved deeply into this area, but my general feeling is it can be done if instead of building our village as a welfare state, and just assuming many of our people will be homeless, and unemployed, and will require handouts, so we must therefore install higher taxes, we instead build our village around the idea that working people will not be subjected to excessive income tax and the government must learn to operate within this smaller financial framework, or be downsized.
Imagine how much money the U.S. Government spends just to manage the I.R.S. (Internal Revenue Service), which is necessary with our overly-complicated tax system (the U.S. Tax Code is thousands of pages in length). With more than 82,000 employees, even at no more than the mandatory nationwide minimum wage of $15 per hour currently being pushed by Democrats (championing fast food employees), the total annual salaries paid to I.R.S. employees is greater than $2.36 billion. Yes, billions. Now imagine the actual amount if calculated at the actual per-hour wage of these federal employees. Falling back on continuously raising taxes every time the government spends too much money is just bad money management. A trim, streamlined, efficient government, particularly in the computer age, should be able to function on far less than what most global governments spend today. This means they should likewise be able to keep the level of income tax they charge their citizens (and corporations) at a reasonable level. More money in citizen pockets means more profits for local businesses, which in turn means more business taxes for governments. The losses to government revenue might not be as much as it seems, but the major difference is, everyone, from citizens to businesses, are much happier with the process.
The process of successfully running any government is the same as running any household or business, large or small. It is efficiency. Efficiency saves money by not only doing things in a more timely manner, but by doing things more intelligently, in a more organized manner, utilizing faster and more effective processes, and taking advantage of all modern technology. By removing unnecessary departments, by eliminating unnecessary jobs, by utilizing your most effective employees in the most crucial positions, by simplifying processes, by leveraging employee knowledge and wisdom, by computerizing everything possible, on and on.
Think about your own job, or the last job you had. How many ways could you alone have made it better? How many suggestions could you alone have come up with to do things faster, more efficiently, less costly? You alone. Now imagine a dozen people, or a hundred people, all tasked with improving the efficiency of your job. Do you suppose they could likely save your employer money, or time, or stress, or ... then why don't they do it? Alterans will not only do it, we're going to demonstrate to the world the potential when an entire nation bands together for the good of the whole.
I believe small government can successfully run their own businesses. Don't let the confusion over 'nationalizing' businesses around the world make you paranoid. Socialist and poorly-run countries do this sort of thing as a shortcut to fixing their economic issues. Their takeovers, under the term 'nationalizing', are nothing more than stealing from private corporations. Since we currently have no corporations to take over I hope I don't have to explain to the intelligent reader this is certainly not what I propose.
Large corporations are in business to do one thing; make money. The large corporations of the world make hundreds of billions of dollars every year using good business practices, maximizing efficiency, staying competitive, yotti yotti. You will hear business people (and many government people) repeatedly say how government should stay out of private business because government is less effective at running business than it is at running government. I have three things to say to that:
The secret is to find the right people and provide these people with some type of personal reward or incentive which will provoke them to care, just as is done in the private sector. This is where government is lacking in most countries. There's simply no reason for most government employees to care about whether the federal government is efficient or not. whether it can provide more jobs or not, whether it loses money or not. Federal employees go to work, put in their eight or ten or twelve hours, then go home and spend time with their families. There is no enthusiasm, no drive to show up for work, no motive for fresh ideas, no need for excellence, or to see their 'business' (the government) succeed or be efficient. This is poor management design (as it relates to human nature), and poor management will sink any endeavor, government and private business alike. Those citizens who will manage our businesses, like private corporations, will receive reward bonuses based on achievements and dedication to doing what's good for the 'company', and subsequently for the nation. In Altera we will give our federal workers reason to personally care. Then everyone wins.
I also believe it's foolish for a small nation, particularly a new and poor nation, to offer financial benefits to an outside company or corporation when the country itself is capable of accomplishing the same task they would be asking of the private corporation. If you were a school principal setting up a fundraiser would you hire the local bakery to help you sell cakes from the school parking lot? Would you hire the local mini-mart to help you sell candy bars? Would you hire a casino to help you run your fundraising Monte Carlo night? Probably not, because it is costly to bring in retail business people to run your program. Likewise, bringing in outside people to build our new nation at retail cost would not only be a waste of money, it would be bad management of our limited resources.
But we're not talking about selling candy bars, you say? No, we're not, but you know all those experts out there in the world running those fancy corporations? A bunch of them are about to join us in our quest for excellence, and just because they no longer carry the big corporate name and logo on their business cards does not mean they weren't the talent behind those big profits. We won't be some little league team trying to play in the big leagues. If I'm correct in my reading of society's pulse, we will have just as many big league players as any other country (per capita) before too long calling themselves Alteran citizens. So the question begs, why would we hire outside experts to do what our own experts are already capable of doing?
By having our nation build and run large corporations wherever possible we maintain the same number of jobs for our people, we have complete control over those jobs (ie. salaries, hours, advancements), we have the company at our nation's beck and call at all times (ie. city construction needs), we are not held over any barrels on cost, or overruns, or delays, or threats of pullout, or increased 'unforeseen expenses', or union strikes, or other nonsense. What they would call 'profits' are then funneled not to some faceless Caribbean bank account, but directly back into our own nation's coffers, which then in turn, benefits our citizens.
I'm not suggesting Altera nationalize all large businesses. I'm actually a big believer in capitalism and fair business competition benefiting the citizen consumer. What I'm suggesting is our country can logistically and financially benefit from operating specific businesses on our own, so we should not shy away from that potential, especially while we're young and poor and outside investors lack faith in our survival. In the long run, for every profitable business owned and operated by our government, we also reduce the need to further raise citizen taxes because we have found other ways to create government revenue.
I also propose directly involving the nation in:
To the naysayers who would claim the state has too much of an advantage in private business I would reply, "I hope so." Take note, this entire project is not about creating lucrative opportunities for private corporations the world around. It's about creating a new world beneficial first and foremost to its individual citizens. It's about creating a better quality of life for our people. For the paranoid among you, I'm not suggesting government bullying, or corruption, or favoritism. I'm saying the financial health of our country and the safety and interests of our citizens should come before any concern for any individual private enterprise, company, or corporation. That said, in a country properly run, the state should also provide all local private companies and corporations with the support necessary to make them successful as well. If you don't want your big businesses to succeed in a grand manner, perhaps because you despise a few individuals amassing great wealth, then you already have one foot on the self-defeating path to socialism. In a proper give-and-take system, where a country's private corps are allies of the nation, the government, and the people, not just another tax-producing commodity, the corps will benefit much more from their relationship with the government.
In the end, I believe Altera should be run as one large business, for the benefit of the nation and it's people. If run properly, our own businesses will create long term benefits such as feeding every hungry Alteran mouth, assuring every citizen has some type of protective housing, incorporating our own successful nationwide healthcare system, and properly taking care of our elderly, our handicapped, our mentally ill, and should it ever become necessary, our veterans. By successfully managing just a few key businesses such as those spoken of above we can actually assure all those things without having to tax our citizens into oblivion as you see in some foreign countries today. If we're really good, maybe one day 'the government' can become so good at running constructs like large tourist attractions we can eliminate taxes altogether. Would that then make us special? Or would global liberals find a way to turn that into pure evil as well?
Being a poor nation from the start there will be many constructs and businesses we will require or desire, but can not afford to construct or finance on our own. Examples would be a large Metropolitan Airport, Mass Transport, a Rail System, a Sea Port, the typical of which in today's economies each run billions of dollars in construction costs. In these cases, instead of just accepting we can't afford any particular construct and living without it, as most third world countries choose to do today, I propose we consider bringing in international business partners to support construction of the desired asset as a for-profit business. That means foreign investors, even entire foreign countries, will have motivation to take a look in our direction. In private business it's always about potential profit. In the case of something like a commercial airport, as long as our people still run the security side of the business, it makes little difference to me which corporation is making a profit when it provides our nation with a large airport, employs our citizens with jobs, pays business taxes to our government, and allows our visitors and tourists reasonably priced access. Everyone wins.
While this concept does bring some foreign businessmen into our fold, it also provides us with assets we could not otherwise afford, employment opportunities for our citizens we would not otherwise possess, access to otherwise untouchable levels of financing, access to foreign experts in the required areas, improved international relations with the involved companies and countries, closer diplomatic relations with a corporation's home country, experience in international business relations, and so on, while still maintaining general control of a large business asset in our land. While I would prefer to have everything financed in-house, and maintain total control of these assets, we will need to make some accommodations to foreign investment unless we are willing to wait perhaps decades to achieve the capability to finance such grand assets on our own.
That said, I'm still a believer in the potential financial power provided by our own people, future citizens of Altera, and by the creativity of our more intelligent minds in finding ways to accomplish as many of these projects as possible on our own. I'm not suggesting we run out and sign up Chinese or Indian or Saudi or even American and European companies to come running in and build some big expensive constructs for us.
I'm certainly not suggesting we hand our lands over to foreign interests in trying to expedite the process. I'm only putting this concept out there to let the reader see the potential options at our disposal in making the construction of a futuristic Altera a glowing success in a reasonably short amount of time.
Keep in mind, though Altera will likely be very small by international standards we will still be an global nation, with global contacts, and global relations. At some point we will have foreign business partners from all over the world in one endeavor or another. Space exploration comes to mind as a good example. Not only will we require international financial partners to properly go forward in a timely manner, but I believe we should desire to have global partners, as this particular example will be an endeavor on behalf of all mankind.
Do not let the idea of doing business with a foreign nation, even one the United States media would have you believe is evil, set your paranoia loose (until we prove them evil ourselves). China is probably the best example in today's world of a nation the U.S. media and government would have U.S. citizens believe does not have our best interests in mind, but notice even with all our government's bluster on the dangers of China we still do billions of dollars in business with them. While China certainly has some obvious issues which need to be addressed (theft of creative materials like music, games, movies comes to mind), don't be paranoid of China just because the U.S. media or U.S. Government tells you to be paranoid. Likewise, don't be paranoid because China operates under communist rule. China's self-serving actions as a country (foreign political pressure, expanded defense, currency manipulation, etc.) are no different than every other large nation on the planet, including the United States. The Alteran government will deal with countries like China and Russia, and every other foreign nation, from a neutral standpoint until we personally have reason or knowledge or experience or evidence that calls for mistrust. Otherwise, we're acting no better than the person who ostracizes one friend solely on the gossip of another. Keep an open mind, be confident in your own logic and ability to make good decisions, and trust in our leadership. We'll get it right.
All nations require assets they can leverage to create revenue just as corporations and businesses must create their own products or services if they are to thrive. With an almost certain lack of things like oil, or minerals, or lumber, or vast farmlands, we must find some other way to create and sustain an active local economy. I've already stated I believe tourism is the key to creating an active economy in Altera. I initially considered casinos might be the answer to our early tourism, to build a gambling mecca where people from all over could come and vacation in safety and bliss, and maybe leave a few of their dollars or pounds or euros along the way. Since getting heavy into the research, including countries and cities that rely on gambling income, I have reconsidered. While I'm still not against the presence of casinos in our land I don't believe miles and miles of them (ala Las Vegas) is either conducive to a lawful city, or healthy for local citizens. Even when discussing the benefits of gambling casinos they can be considered no more than economic pariahs. There's little logic in taking on the obvious downsides of gambling resorts (corruption, crime, gambling addicts, etc.) when the upside is so volatile. On a personal note, while I strongly believe government has no business telling people whether or not they're allowed to do things like smoke cigarettes, or drink alcohol, or gamble with their own money, I also have a philosophical problem hinging our nation's entire future financial success on the personal losses of individual gamblers. Call me silly.
I believe Alterans will be known throughout the world as a safe, peace loving, morally-principled, and respectable people. The reality is gambling casinos attract less than respectable crowds who then influence the local population with crime and other concerns. After years of research on this subject, and recognizing the fact we will have tourist-attraction type constructs throughout Altera for our own citizens anyway, I'm now a big believer in simple tourism. Build a clean, attractive, safe city of great character, top restaurants, nice hotels, popular and unusual attractions, then populate it with good people, and who could resist coming to visit our nation? As I said, I'm not against adding a gambling element to our little mecca, primarily to give tourists that option during their stays, but I've steered away from thoughts of quick and easy bucks from making gambling a central tenet to our nation's success. It's just not necessary.
Take a look at how much revenue tourism brought to the top three countries in 2012:
Notice those numbers are not in the millions, but billions of dollars. Obviously we won't be the size of these well-established countries, or have thousands of years of history to draw visitors, but we will have novelty and other things even the countries above will never have, like actual safety for tourists when walking our streets, a country free from violent crime, a lack of riots and political demonstrations clotting our thoroughfares. As for size, we will certainly be a small nation, but small nations around the planet do very well in tourism as well. Here's a sampling of statistics for some small countries for the year 2012.
Again, those numbers are in the billions of dollars. If we had just the revenue from one year of tourism in Switzerland, the lowest on the above list, at $16 billion, I guarantee we could put up our new nation virtually overnight. That's a lot of money even at the International level. It will take us some time and a lot of effort to create those types of numbers, but we'll get there.
I believe people will want to visit our new nation from the moment we scoop that first shovel of dirt. If not yet for actual tourist attractions, then curiosity, or to evaluate whether they may wish to join the fray, or to just relax in a safe environment, maybe to see our initial (and historical) worker's camp in living color, or possibly just to prove to their ancestors they were actually there at the start of a new nation. As soon as possible, we must encourage and be ready for these supportive visitors to our new homeland.
In the spirit of Fast-Rising-City we can prepare in advance how we will go about building a tourist mecca in the shortest time possible. The weather, environment, terrain, size, and location of our eventual locale will of course determine what we can and can't do in regard to entertaining our early visitors. Aside from those specific locale-specific decisions (and I already have a list of potential attractions that spans many pages) there's no reason we can't start planning now. Businesses such as small novelty hotels, Bed-n-Breakfast Inns, pubs, taverns, restaurants, wineries, micro-beer breweries, transportation services, and any recreational activity, could all benefit from early tourism, as well as give our future visitors one more reason to visit. If nothing else, Altera should be a place where tourists can relax without even the slightest concern for their own safety or the safety of their family members and children during their visit. If we can't make that happen, then we don't deserve to call ourselves truly civilized, much less Alterans.
How can we afford to create a tourist industry when we're also trying to build a new nation? Not all types of tourist attractions are vastly expensive, but major attractions such as Disneyland and Atlantis-Style Resort costs are in the billions. We will of course seek outside investment to make our plans happen sooner than later, but this is not our only option. Since few countries or banks are going to front us that kind of money until we prove worthy, if we want such things in our new locale in the early years, like most everything else, we will need to finance them ourselves. I believe, if necessary, we can do this, as a collective, and instead of funneling profits from our successes to some overseas corporation, or even into our own nation's coffers, we will funnel them directly to our own citizens, those who have perhaps escaped the U.S. stock market and invested their hard earned money into a growing Altera to help make it all happen.
In general, I'm proposing our nation set up specific tourist attractions, do all design, cost, and construction analysis to determine a realistic cost for the project, then sell partner shares of each project directly to those of our citizens who wish to make personal investments. These investors will then become more than stockholders (who buy a piece of a company and hope it increases profits from that point). They will become actual partners in a specific attraction and regularly reap their fair share of financial profits as business owners, not only giving them an actual income from their investment, but a stronger stake in its success. I envision sending our citizens with stakes in these types of attractions perhaps quarterly profit checks, just as if they are part-owners in the business.
If I'm mistaken in the attractiveness of this type of financial bond between a new type of government and its citizens, then no worries. Once private investors the world over see our growth and stability they will come flocking with big dollars to finance our projects. Of that I don't worry, but that takes time. The concept here is to first give our own people the investment option, which keeps our money in the family, gives our own citizens a personal stake in our future, and allows us to go forward without delay (Fast-Rising-City). As a young man in the prime of my life and looking for ways to improve my financial success I would have jumped all over this type of opportunity. These days the world is a global economy, and Altera will leverage these global options in every way possible to make this dream a reality.
I see us starting with a few small projects, perhaps things like miniature golf parks, go-cart tracks, video arcades, and four-wheeler tours, to use as experiments and testing grounds in the overall concept, to test both our government system and our citizen investor interest. Then once we are proven, both government and investors, we'll open it up to the grand projects.
What types of large attractions am I envisioning? Everything you can imagine from our own Disneyland and Atlantis-style resorts, to gambling casinos, and water-parks, and aquariums, and massive shopping malls, and world class golf courses. I see a perpetual Renaissance Faire, one of the world's largest and coolest shooting ranges filled with firearms merchant shops of every type, and thrill-seeking adventures of kinds which have not yet even been created. I have a few personal ideas (already being sketched out, in the interest of making Altera truly special) which I am confident to say, will blow the world's mind in regard to tourist entertainment. We will be limited only by our imaginations and the amount of financial interest in our ideas. In addition to the potentially vast investment opportunities in this area each tourist attraction we erect for our visitors is another recreational attraction for our citizens, and each attraction we raise for our citizens is another attraction for our visitors. Everyone wins; The Alteran Way.
There are other major benefits to creating a nation that thrives on global tourism. Our small businesses, particularly recreation-related businesses, will have much more exposure to customers. Tourism also allows family-owned and sole-proprietor businesses to thrive. For example, little one-man (or woman) operations where a former 9-5 government or factory worker in the United States turns their personal love into a small, prosperous business. These might include things like cafe or shop owner, food vendors, climbing guide, fishing guide, hiking guide, SCUBA guide, glider pilots, rental shops, micro-brewery owner, wine and cheese and pastry shops, and so on. This means people can come from the States and not only initiate their own individual businesses quickly and cheaply, but will be nearly guaranteed of success. Since you're considering uprooting your entire life anyway, why not turn that blue-collar 9-5 job into something you enjoy in the transition? Why continue to work in a job you despise when you can run a business you love? Start saving your startup money now!
A final word for those who may worry tourism invites with it other issues we see around the world, like overcrowded beaches or entertainment venues where our citizens have difficulty enjoying our local attractions due to crowds of visiting foreigners. In case you haven't been paying attention to who I am, or how I think, or sense my absolute disdain for 'politically correct' mentality--unlike Americans in the United States, who fear offending anyone in everything they do, we will have no such constraints. We will have no 'political correctness' concerns, no fear of offending peoples of different nationality, or color, or mentality, or ideology, or religious philosophy, including our tourists, if our actions are conducive to a better quality of life for our citizens.
This means if tourism does indeed become our central focus we will still be cognizant of things like preserving private beaches, or getaways, or conveniences exclusively for our own citizens, where you won't have to fight tourists just to do your weekly shopping, or enjoy your weekend, or spend the day at the park. Tourism might become our life blood, but our citizens will always be the center of our universe, not our tourists. Despite what I believe to be of critical importance to our success, an absolute respect for our visitors, our village will be designed and constructed first and foremost for our citizens. This means there will be no debate on whether or not anyone will be 'offended' by establishing private business, private recreational areas, private attractions, private locations, where only Alteran citizens (and their family, friends, and visitors) will be allowed to venture. If any person outside Altera has a problem with the way we run our village it is always their prerogative to simply stay away.
Our need for money does not end with the needs of the nation's builders. Most of our newly arrived citizens will also require loans to purchase homes, to buy vehicles, to start businesses, to buy property, to use credit cards, to make investments, to pay off old debts (from their former countries). Most of this money will come in the form of loans. The problem with most loans is a borrower (Altera, or one of our citizens) must first establish secure credit in order for a financial institution (bank) to risk their money in making loans to us. While many Americans will have excellent credit in the United States, myself included, that credit will not likely extend to Altera, where most U.S. Banks will balk at financing loans for homes, et cetera, outside the country. Perhaps our second greatest initial challenge (to finding our locale) will be in establishing our credibility in the eyes of the international financial community.
I had considered the possibility of using money from our coffers to make individual loans to our own people. The idea sounds good on the surface, Alterans taking care of Alterans, but after analyzing the logistics of this concept it's fairly obvious it's not the right solution for many reasons:
We can use our coffer's monies more efficiently and more profitably by building and selling, as opposed to building and financing. Interest rates have been so low for years now it makes more sense to obtain our loans from outside sources, and for the greater part of our treasury to be dedicated to nation-building. This means we will have need for the assistance of outside banks. Global banks. What it does not mean is that we are desperate, or we will allow global entities to take advantage of our young status.
We will need foreign loans for both nation-building and individuals. When lending money, banks require security. When an individual tries to obtain a loan, for say a home or automobile, even if they have good credit the loaning entity requires them to issue a 'down payment' up front. This ties the borrower to the loan and gives the borrower a stake in the failure or success of paying off the loan. Most humans are much more reliable when they have something to lose. In this case their down payment.
The world's banks may not initially believe it possible for us to succeed, but they will nevertheless watch closely and wish us success in our endeavors because our success means opportunities for them to make money. Potentially, lots of money. By establishing our resolve, by accomplishing said goals, by creating a global entity from nothing, our nation's credibility slowly gains ground until the world's financial community is willing to call us a reasonably safe bet. When that day arrives, we will have established Alteran credit-worthiness. That means they know they can loan us money and fully expect us to meet our obligations in paying it back as agreed upon. I believe three major accomplishments will give us instant credibility in the early days:
As a nation, once we begin spending our own money, laying down infrastructure, and bringing in new citizens, Altera will have made its own 'down payment' on the project. We will have proven to the world not only how serious, but how capable we are in succeeding to fulfill our dreams and aspirations. Even at just an early level we, as a nation entity, will have millions of dollars of our own money already locked up in the project (via our donors). If the project fails, we as a people lose that money. This not only gives us more personal motivation to succeed, it gives our people a little vigorish with financial institutions who will view it similarly to individuals making a down payment on a home loan. We actually have something to personally lose if we fail to repay money borrowed from them. That means, as a nation, success alone breeds credit-worthiness. This is also the first step to gaining access to individual loans for our new citizens. Would you like to know how?
By having money in our coffers at all times (liquidity) foreign banks will see we deserve a little room to maneuver. By establishing our locale they can see we are capable in fulfilling our goals. By investing in ourselves we not only establish 'something to lose' in case of failure, but we demonstrate self-confidence, personal responsibility, and ability to succeed. By building up our infrastructure they can see we are prepared and committed. By establishing national credit-worthiness we demonstrate we are financially worthy. All these things will lead to mutual trust between the world's bankers and our nation-builders. That trust then translates into availability of monetary funds. While it might be difficult for our individual citizens to obtain outside loans in a new country where even jobs are currently scarce, by establishing our nation's credibility, the nation itself can leverage that credibility to make money available to our individual citizens.
Do you recall being young and perhaps your parents having to co-sign your first car loan, or your first home loan? Your parents had financial credibility, though you did not. Once we have established Altera's credibility as a nation, Altera may act in the role of dutiful parent, securing the foreign loan for your new home. That means if a new home buyer fails to fulfill their obligations in paying back a new home loan the nation will have to step in to make good to our foreign investors. While that sounds risky for Altera, it's critical we give this guarantee to foreign banks (and make good on it when necessary) in order to provide them the required security to make money available to our individual citizens.
The primary advantages of obtaining foreign loans:
Foreign loans can be arranged for both our nation-building and for our individual home buyers. By having the nation essentially co-sign home loans for early colonists/workers international financial entities will have no reason to deny them and citizens can flood into Altera the moment the nation is ready to accept them. This also gives every new Alteran the opportunity to buy a home, as opposed to renting one, which gives our new citizens a stake in their new country, provides more personal security, creates a profitable investment for them, and provides the nation a more significant financial benefit in return for its backing. Everyone wins. The banks get their interest, the nation gains new citizens and profits from constructing homes, and our citizens obtain both their home loans and a profitable investment without having to jump through hoops outside the country.
I'm okay with global banks making money at our expense, and you should be too. They make large amounts of money available and we pay them a fair commission in return for doing so. The only downside is we pay interest for that benefit. For example, to collectively obtain say $1,000,000 in home construction loans we may have to pay back say $1,050,000 in return. The upside, without giving the banks their fair share there would be no million dollar loans in the first place. Do not resent the banks for wanting their profits. It is the way of the world and the natural order of things. With a little luck global banks will be our good friends. Without them our struggle will be much more difficult.
Once we have established credit in the global financial community we're good to go, but until then the same question applies to countries as it does to individuals. How do we establish credit-worthiness if no one will loan us money in the first place? The first option, and perhaps not so obvious answer, we loan money to ourselves.
Patriot Lending (interest-free)
There will be a limit to the amount of contributions provided by any one of our individual members, due to personal circumstances, maintaining their own security, human nature, etc., but this limit will not always be due to those members being without additional monies. Is it possible our members might come forth to loan their own personal money to the good of our new nation? Imagine our future citizens actually pulling personal funds from their banks and making it available to our nation-builders as temporary interest-free loans. This could be in individual amounts from just a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. This means our own members could finance our nation-building efforts without need for any banks in the early days, an extremely cool concept if it were indeed possible.
I don't feel the need to explore this concept in depth at this time, I just wanted to put it out there for my readers because I think it could be a very powerful tool if the rest of the world leaves us no alternative. If we were to incorporate this concept it would be important to me:
While I have no doubt there will be zealous future Alterans who would immediately embrace this financial tool, myself included, I must admit to not having the answer as to whether or not the greater masses of our members will jump headlong into the concept. If they did, if all who were fully onboard in making this project a success, actually pooled their excess money together, a portion of their savings, their invested money, their allowances, their excess alimony, their piggybanks, and any change they have laying around the house, the result could be phenomenal. Imagine this:
While we can take commitments all over the grid and add them up to still obtain our initial $100 million goal, also take a look at what happens if we can fill each row on the grid, matching the number of people to the corresponding loaned amount. We could stand to raise $100 million in funding for each line in the breakdown above. Did $100 million sound too large a number for you to even conceive when you first heard it? How about an interest-free pool of half a billion dollars to provide ourselves our own credit?
Patriot Lending (w/interest)
Will patriotism alone inspire our people to make their hard-earned personal assets temporarily available to our nation? Truthfully, I can not say for sure, but where patriotism is not enough profit will usually drive the modern man. Since we are already content to pay global banks a fair interest rate to borrow money from them, it would not be unreasonable to pay our own members a fair interest rate to borrow money from them. Without another option, it may at some point become the only way to raise necessary capital above member contributions. Personally, I have no problem with this concept, and would likely have suggested this course even before borrowing from banks if I felt our members could possibly provide the substantial sums we will require for Fast-Rising-City. While the potential monies raised in this manner would not likely be enough to build our entire nation, with avid support, it might be enough to gain us 'creditworthiness' in the eyes of international banks, if for some reason they continue to avoid us early on.
There are many ways for an established government to obtain funds directly from wealthy nations, corporations, investment funds, and the individual citizens of a given country. In the United States these would take the form of Treasury Securities. Securities are basically a nation asking for a loan from anyone who has funds available, typically used in the United States to pay off federal debt, where the rates are determined by public auction, giving the requesting nation the most competitive interest rate possible.
The U.S. government is not like you and I. They don't need to fill out a loan application and hope someone will find them worthy. They just issue Securities, which basically say they will pay xx% interest on money to be borrowed for 30 days, or a 1 year, or 10 years, or 30 years, and investors come flocking with their cash. The U.S. can do this because their credit rating in the financial community is first rate (or used to be). This happens when many of the world's nations are attached to your national currency and you can print your own money in an emergency. In Altera, we will begin with neither golden credit, a global currency of our own, nor the ability to print money, so attraction to our Securities would be less enthusiastic, at least at first.
The investors who flock to buy U.S. Securities do so out of pure business sense. There is no sense of loyalty to the United States itself. Their intention is not to be there when the United States needs money to pay off its own debts. It's a business proposition, pure and simple. While we may not yet have the credibility to attract investment from pure business investors we have something just as powerful. Nationalism. Patriotism. I believe among our future citizens we will have people who normally invest in the stock markets, or in futures, or in U.S. Treasury Securities, but those people will now redirect their investments into Alteran Securities, in effect loaning money to ourselves. If we can provide them the same financial reward as say, Treasury Securities in the U.S., they lose nothing, but at the same time support their future country in a major way by making that money available, not to the United States, but to Altera, to build and prosper. This means we don't necessarily need to convince outsiders their money is secure, we only need convince our own insiders their money is secure. Just like large banks, they will see what the world sees, that we are not only resolved to be successful, but are capable of being successful. As our future citizens emerge from the shadows, the seed money is in hand, our locale has been established, the first shovel of dirt is turned, construction of our infrastructure begins, et cetera, each step will bring us more credibility, more prestige, more credit-worthiness. Our own people will see the potential of investing not in some far off country, but in their own new nation. We don't need to raise billions of dollars in this manner, just enough to get us off and running in order to establish our nation's credit-worthiness among global institutions.
Non-Alteran investors will in time find our Securities attractive as well. All we need do is offer better rates than they can get anywhere else, while providing the same minimal level of risk. Even if they make us work for it, at some point, our increasingly lucrative offers will meet their willingness to risk investment in our nation, and monies will become instantly available. In all likelihood, once our resolve has been proven to the world, once we prove we are good to our word, we will publicly auction our Securities just as the United States does now and let the financial markets decide fair value in regard to the rates we pay. That seems fair enough to me.
Creating our own banking system
Banks create savings accounts for citizens and pay depositors a small percentage of interest on the amount deposited with them. They then profit by taking this money and making solid, low-risk investments with returns higher than the interest paid to their depositors. For example, the bank may pay you 1% annual interest on your personal savings, then loan your money out to individuals and other institutions for 4-5% annual interest, giving them a significant yearly profit. In return for this the bank also offers you security on your money. No matter how badly the bank's investments might go your money is theoretically safe for when you need it back. A simple and elegant system when it works.
In Altera, we will likely create our own central bank as quickly as possible, not primarily for the benefit of our citizens, but due to its importance to our nation in global financial affairs. If we can convince our people, our future citizens from around the world, to transfer their savings into our own nation's bank even before they arrive on our soil, we can create a pool of member money which can be used for extremely safe investments. Since even a small risk is unacceptable to the life savings of our people I would suggest we make this pool of our personal savings available for only two potential uses:
I'm not suggesting our national bank make car loans, or business loans, or personal loans, those types of loans which if defaulted upon create a loss of capital. I'm suggesting our central bank make investments only in home construction, and only for home loans, to new Alteran citizens, which present in either case no risk of permanent loss of capital (in Altera).
How will home construction and long term home loans be virtually risk free to our savers? I've already explained how our home construction will work--we borrow from our bank to purchase construction materials and pay workers, we build the home, we sell the home, we take our profit, we pay off the loan. In and out. In regard to long term home loans, while these types of loans have generally been historically risky around the world, I believe the types of citizens who will be drawn to Altera will significantly lower the potential risk of any individual default. Here's why ...
Even in the case of individual loan default, under the worst-case scenario, what damage can be done to our citizen's savings? None. The defaulting citizen will be asked to leave the new home, the home will be cleaned and detailed to return it to new condition (remember all homes in Altera will be brand new), and we'll fill it with a more worthy buyer waiting for their own opportunity to become an Alteran citizen. The new buyer's loan pays off the bad loan. Zero loss, and perhaps even a small gain if the local property values have since risen in accordance with Altera's rapid evolution. Our coffers will always have some money in them, that's just good money management, and temporarily taking over a defaulted home loan (even if we must refund the loan to our bank) will not even squeeze our belt. Under this philosophy there is never a risk of any kind to our people's savings pool.
To be clear, I'm not suggesting future Alterans give their savings to the nation. These are not donations. I'm simply saying if we, en masse, were to move our life savings into Altera at the first opportunity, that money can be used for precisely the same thing your local bank is using it for now, except it will be for Alterans, and it will only be used, if used at all, for the most secure of all investments, building and financing homes exclusively for our incoming citizens. As a nation our bank will still be able to provide the same security your local Savings and Loan provides to your money (if not more), you will still receive competitive interest on it (maybe better), you will still have immediate access to it should you need it (with today's technology), and the nation and people will benefit from the loans, as opposed to foreign banks being the beneficiary.
With the added difficulty of doing it on our own comes another small advantage. By using our own bank to finance the construction of new homes the government will be less concerned with making profit from your savings deposits (as a private bank is compelled to do). This means we can likely offer our depositors better interest terms on their deposits (for the inconvenience of moving their money to Altera) than you will find in most parts of the world, including the United States. For example, if we can guarantee a home buyer say a 4.5% home loan (in today's market, as I write this section), we can offer our savings depositors 1-2% and still allow our bank to make an operating profit. Our savers benefit more than they would in say the United States, our bank benefits enough to allow it to finance its own expansion (as opposed to coming out of our coffers), and our people still get their home loans if international banks are not yet onboard.
If our own people, who I would prefer to reward for their loyalty, don't transfer enough money into our banking system to fulfill our needs we can open our savings accounts to people around the world who can't get a savings rate anywhere near what we will provide on their deposits. Since our 'banking system' isn't yet meant to be a for-profit venture the nation will have the option to take a small loss on interest generation (the amount paid to depositors) in return for the power of making money available to our influx of early home-buying citizens. From our nation's perspective, this would be no different than paying interest to foreign banks. This concept, if it becomes necessary, should allow us to get our early home buyers flowing into the country even before international banks voluntarily provide home loans for our people. Once the system begins working, international banks will see our project is going forth just as we said it would, which will provide us immediate credibility. Their next board conversation will be around whether or not they should keep watching from the sidelines or jump in and begin tapping our profit-making potential.
I believe we can not only leverage our own savings pool for Alterans, but can also in time create a new place for people globally to keep their savings safe and secure. Since this will be such a key factor in providing security to our own people as they make the transition into Altera, we may as well extend all that hard work to provide the same level of security to anyone outside Altera interested in protecting their money as well. In time, I believe we can build a trust with the people of the world which borders on what the Swiss once had among the nations of Earth. It will take time, but with that goal in mind, we'll go forward with our own banking system.
Is it possible global banks will not find us credit-worthy in the early going? Certainly. I personally believe once we reach the point where we're actually on the ground in our new locale, a piece of land to call our own, with who knows how many people lining up to become new citizens, it will not be an issue, but we would be remiss if we failed to establish contingency plans for a worse-case scenario. That said, I'm already working on some truly unorthodox ways to raise money in that worse-case scenario, and after some basic research they seem to actually be feasible (more on that later, if necessary). Worry not. If we get the participation and support I anticipate we will get, we will always find a way.
Of those people who become relatively certain they wish to become future Alteran citizens, those people who already have a permanent fixed income, or are already financially secure in their lives, or have a business that can move with them (ie. Internet), as future Alterans, you will have a duty to your future fellow citizens to get into the country as soon as is possible. If you fall into this group you will likely be our early financial all-stars. Understand, this is not in any way suggesting you pay more than your fair share. There are many important reasons why your early presence alone is critical:
I wish to stress once again to both the wealthy and non-wealthy among our people ... it is not my belief to force or even coerce our wealthy citizens to pay more than their fair share over those citizens without easy money. Notice nowhere above did I at any point suggest our wealthy citizens contribute anything more than their normal living expenses to our base economy. The illogical socialist concepts of 'financial equality' and 'entitlement' will have no place in Altera. It's about creating a strong financial presence in the early days by using our most financially stable citizens to give the rest of our financial foundation a greater chance of success. It's no different than calling on our skilled construction workers to build our infrastructure, or calling on our teachers to help build our new education system, except the qualification here is not in a particular skill set, but rather in the strength of their personal financial assets.
"Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that."–Norman Vincent Peale
The financial concepts listed above are primarily designed to benefit us once we are on the ground in our new land. They are a plan to demonstrate how once we get rolling we can continue to roll without depending solely on continued contributions from our serious members. This doesn't mean we have to wait until we actually have a piece of land to begin building money-making assets. We have many strengths which can be leveraged right from the start in creating national assets before we're even a formal nation. I could write an entire book just on the concepts I have already worked out alone, and we will expand and enhance those options as more intelligent people join our project. I'll present more details on those concepts in our newsletter and member forums.
After we've formed a more structured contribution system, serious financial dedication to the project will be required from all our members who can afford it if we are to succeed, but today, early on in this process, financial contributions, from any sources we can arrange, and in any amounts, are critical in order for the idea, the concept, to gain traction and go forward. Make your contributions soon and as often as possible without causing yourself personal hardship.
Another critical concept is in regard to the way we perceive our own involvement in this project. It's important our members take on an us-versus-the-world attitude, as well as taking instant pride and an individual feeling of both nationalism and exceptionalism from the outset in what we're trying to accomplish. After all, make no mistake, we will be the cream of American society at all levels. Perhaps the cream of the entire world. We must embrace this simple fact. As future Alterans we must each act in a way to benefit our new country whenever possible. This might be through making donations of money or equipment, by giving your time, by consulting or sharing your expertise, by providing logistics or transportation services, by gathering information, by finding new ways of doing things, by helping spread the word, by acting as a representative of our new nation, on and on.
In the end, there is no avoiding this is all about money. If you can save our efforts a few bucks here and there, perhaps by covering the cost of mailing requested materials yourself, or the shipping cost of sending a material donation to our volunteer workers, or by clicking our future website sponsors, or clicking to help out those on social media who are helping us spread the word, or whatever. Every little dollar our coffers can gain or save is another dollar toward guaranteeing success of our project, and in the end they will all add up. This is not a government project, or a national project, or a global project, with billions of dollars being set aside by rich nations to guarantee our success. This is a project which will be accomplished by individuals, for individuals, and very likely just one dollar at a time.