The age of the #citizenconsumer
Citizens and consumers have much more in common than what one might think: As consumers we are buy goods and services that private companies offer, and we pay for these goods and services with our private disposable income. As citizens we are consumers of government services, and we pay with our taxes. the latter only applies to democracies of course, where government, per constitution, is supposed to be a representative of the collective will of it’s citizens, and redistributes taxpayer’s money according to said will.
Citizens vote every 4–6 years…
In most modern democracies, citizens vote their local and national governments every 4–6 years. Citizens choose who should represents their interest, by giving their vote to the political party, or to a specific person, who is usually member of a political party, who they think will represent their interest best. A democratic government can therefore be seen as a service provider of public goods & services, and we as citizens vote by election and pay for these services with our taxes.
As citizens, we hope that the people or the parties we vote for will pass laws that are in our best interest. But beyond that one vote that we cast ever few years, we have very little direct impact on legislation and public decision making. We hope that the taxes we pay to our government will be redistributes in a way, where our personal interests are balanced out with the interests of the other members of our society. We hope that our interests are taken care of.
Government can therefore be seen as a giant public organisation, that we — as consumers of a certain nation state — are born into. And that is the one annd crucial difference between citizens and consumers: Consumers in a free market economy have a free choice of what goods and services to consume while citizens don’t get to chose.
As citizen we hold the passport of the country they are born into, which makes us eligible for voting and participating in public consensus. If I am not happy with my government, it requires time and effort to become citizen of a different nation state.
Consumers vote every day
As consumers, we vote every day, multiple times: Every time we open our wallet, whether digital or analogue and pay for goods or services we consume, we vote. We vote for that certain product or service in the supermarket we call life. We vote for the type of clothes we buy, we vote for the type of food we buy, we vote for the services we consume.
In a free market economy with unlimited supply and demand, there is a range of similar products to choose from and when we chose, we vote. We vote for fair trade, we vote for eco-friendly, we vote for fashion, we vote for cheaper is better, we vote for more is better. With every economic action we take, we vote.
As consumers, we inadvertently participate in politics by choosing to buy certain good and products over other goods and services. We do so everyday, several times, and it has an effect on economy and society as a whole.
If we assume that Blockchain will be the operating system of our future society, citizens and consumers will merge to a hybrid citizenconsumers of various Blockchains or DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) as well as DBVN (Decentralized Borderless Virtual Nations) running on top of these blockchains.