People cannot keep any assets ( both financial & physical ) attained during their lifetime within their bloodline. Assets are best utilized for enhancing your quality of life ( + your spouse & children, if you opt for that lifestyle ) and/or making an impact in the world however you choose. Assets are non-transferable, even to your spouse & children. If they choose to give up their dependent status, they must make their way in the world armed only with the education & life perspective you helped them to develop. Upon death, all remaining assets are liquidated and invested into socioeconomic development.

Does it work? What does life look like? Potential benefits & disadvantages?

Points to consider:

  • familial bonds
  • overall human progress ( sociology, technology, etc. )
  • economy ( business, politics, caste structure, etc. )
  • crime

Side Note:
This question was prompted by the post, What do insanely wealthy people buy, that ordinary people know nothing about?, on /r/ThreadKillers


In this society, people are required to carry out life as either a "Provider" or a "Dependent".


  • can only acquire wealth through direct personal efforts
  • cannot transfer their assets to anyone
  • can assume dependents in the forms of:
    • spouse(s)
    • children ( birthed with a spouse, or adopted )
  • are required only to cover basic life needs of their dependents
    • this means: food, water, shelter, etc.
    • once those needs are met, they can choose to provide as much or as little as they discern for their dependents; in terms of education, recreation, goods, services, etc.
  • upon death:  monetary & physical assets will be liquidated and invested into socioeconomic arenas of their choosing ( technology, healthcare, etc. )
    • see Assumptions[4] for edge cases.


  • are allowed & encouraged to develop their own assets while under a provider
  • are allowed to indefinitely maintain a state of dependence, given acceptance by their provider
  • all physical assets bestowed upon dependents will be liquidated upon their transference to the role of provider
  • can ( but are not required to ) assume a prior provider as a dependent ( to care for seniors, those with disabilities, etc. )


  1. Physical money has been rendered obsolete.  All monetary assets are in the form of digital credits, which are directly linked to individuals and are only transferable in exchange for goods & services.  A programmatic system is in place to minimize fraudulent transfer of assets in the form of overpaying for goods & services.

  2. Individuals who have opted not to assume dependents are bound by the same rules as providers.

  3. Any dependents entering the same career or political arena as their provider will be subject to additional scrutiny by the board of said arena.  They must be proven to be competent in all skills required, and will not be given preference over other candidates.

  4. In the event that a provider dies while their dependents are not capable of sustaining themselves; the provider's credits will be transferred to the dependents in a weekly recurring amount, which is dictated by State regulated terms.  Credits will also be directly applied to maintenance of essential assets as described below.

Assumption 4, continued:

Scenario examples:

  • dependent is a child
  • dependent has been acting as a full-time caretaker for a child, and as result, has not developed their personal assets

State terms are regulated based on the current economy and include:

  • a time-based allotment of credits that cover basic life needs as previously mentioned
    • the allotment has an expiration date which is based on the particular case
  • continued usage of any essential physical assets of the provider ( house, car, etc. )
  • continued education ( IE: dependents will continue whatever educational path they are currently on )

The intention of this trust system is for the dependent to develop themselves into a provider in what is deemed to be an acceptable timeframe, given their circumstances.  All non-essential assets ( vacation homes, multiple vehicles, etc. ) will be held as reserves for emergency cases by the State until the term has expired, and will be liquidated thereafter.


EDIT:  I made a few updates to address some potential loopholes that were mentioned in the initial answers.

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    $\begingroup$ If you're interested in a discussion on different ways things could go if you keep trying to plug holes, I've opened a chat room where we could discuss it. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jul 8 '16 at 4:29
  • $\begingroup$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jul 8 '16 at 4:52
  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this comments here have been moved to chat. See also the other linked chat rooms. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio Jul 8 '16 at 20:24

I will assume that the capitalist free market is still allowed.

First you can't block me transferring money to some one if I want to. I just buy something from them for and inflated price. I give Timmy 50,000 for his used car that is only worth 20,000 and I gave him money. It is ludicrously difficult and expensive to check every trade to make sure the prices are right.

But assuming that most people don't cheat the system the following will happen

  • Impoverished children - advanced essentials There are hundreds of things that you need as a child that are not basic food and shelter, think clothes, toys, textbooks for school. Children will lack all of these things. Think of the things you need to become a productive member of society that are not basic essentials,
  • transportation to get to school and jobs,
  • communication equipment phone / email,
  • medical treatment,
  • learning equipment computer textbooks,
  • clothing for interviews,
  • things that are emotionally soothing though not strictly necessary like entertainment or toys. Lets call these advanced essentials, and children will lack all of them, or will be forced into debt to get them.

  • Economic slump Most people go thought a period of low productivity when they are children as they learn basic life skills and specific job skills. Different jobs take different amounts of time 15 years to go from newborn to burger flipper, or 22 years to get to programmer or 35 years to get to doctor. This added training time can pay off over the next 40 years as more highly trained person works. As we restrict the support that parents or others can give to the young person we increase the pressure on them to drop training early and take the lower output job. The have to borrow money for advanced essentials staring at age 1 and continue accumulating debt until they can enter the workforce, or to alternate training and working and so double or triple the time to reach the high output position. This will in time reduce the number of skilled workers and reduce the output of a country.

  • Lose informal safety net Today if you were short a few hundred dollars to get your car repaired or a suit for an interview, you could count on friends to give you a little help now. With their help you could recover in a few weeks, but this is illegal now. You would now not have a working car miss work for a week and get fired. Its in every ones interest to allow a safety net because a person who sprigs back makes more money and spends more money.

  • Rise in fraud "Its like taking candy from a baby." There are lots of things that parents buy for their children that now children would now buy for themselves, its much easier to fool a child than an adult so there would more fraud and bad fanatical decisions. In general children are shielded from major fraud today because they do not directly control significant sums of money so they are not worth scamming.

  • Rise in depression and independence "mommy and daddy love you but all we can give you is 2 changes of clothes a mattress a 9x9 room and 3 meals a day, we know you want a violin but you are going to have to go into debt and buy it yourself" The fact that you parents will never give you anything beyond the basics would make many feel unloved but might also foster a sense of independence.

  • Collapse of industries that require young interest There are some things that easy to learn as a child that are hard or rare to develop interest in as an adult, think music baseball, children only have the basics so they will not have access to these things until they have their own money, in their late teens early 20s. So no one would take piano lessons until their 20s and so many people would never take them.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for a well thought out response. However, I think you may have focused on "are required only to cover basic life needs of their dependents" while overlooking the equally important "once those needs are met, they can choose to provide as much or as little as they discern for their dependents; in terms of education, recreation, goods, services, etc". Taking the second point into consideration, I'd argue that many of the points you mentioned would be invalidated because most people would still function from the biological imperative to ensure the success of their offspring. $\endgroup$ – Enteleform Jul 8 '16 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ RE: fraudulent transactions: This is a great point, and was also mentioned in the comments. A potential solution would be a State regulation that prohibits items from being sold at a particular percentage above median cost. As a programmer, I disagree that it would be ludicrously difficult to track & enforce this. With the proper system in place, most items could be categorized and compared automatically, leaving only edge cases to be manually inspected. The monetary system is already entirely digitized, so it would be feasible to implement a system that monitors suspicious activity. $\endgroup$ – Enteleform Jul 8 '16 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ RE: lose informal safety net: This is another good point. I think a potential positive outcome is that (most) people would recognize that as a fact of life and thus proceed to practice greater levels of financial planning & responsibility. $\endgroup$ – Enteleform Jul 8 '16 at 1:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Enteleform Re: fraudulent transactions The median price is still a bad indicator of real value, what if it becomes traditional to "buy" your children's high school diploma from them for huge amount of money, to pass down wealth. The median price would be high because only the cheaters would try it. Its hard to say "that is obviously overpriced" because we normally rate the value of a thing by how much someone would pay for it. $\endgroup$ – sdrawkcabdear Jul 8 '16 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Enteleform Re: fraudulent transactions Its true that you could monitor the digital transactions but some many purchases you would have to send out a third party investigator. I'm buying my sons used car for almost full price because its in very good condition. You need to send an investigator to prove otherwise. I'm selling my house for a very low price because it needs a lot of repairs you need to send an investigator to prove otherwise. $\endgroup$ – sdrawkcabdear Jul 8 '16 at 17:06

Economic catastrophe as most capital in society is converted to consumer spending. There's little capital around in the next generation, society crashes due to a lack of investment in new endeavors.

Note that it's easy to spend it all without risking running out of money--that's what an annuity is for.

If you're outlawing investment vehicles you have it even worse--there will be no new endeavors. As companies fail there will be no replacements.

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  • $\begingroup$ "There's little capital around in the next generation, society crashes due to a lack of investment in new endeavors." Please elaborate. "most capital in society is converted to consumer spending" Counter-argument: people invest more heavily in personal development. This includes business opportunities ( provider ) and education ( provider & dependents ). This leads to an overall increase in workforce competency; which accelerates development of technology, healthcare, etc; which in turn generates an increase in sustainable energy, food, clean water, shelter, life expectancy, etc. $\endgroup$ – Enteleform Jul 8 '16 at 3:08
  • $\begingroup$ You might get more education but your workers have vastly inferior tools because the money isn't there to buy them. $\endgroup$ – Loren Pechtel Jul 8 '16 at 4:21

The first thing that will happen is you will have Providers In Name Only (PINO) and a strong family-centric attitude similar to historical China. These individuals will choose a dependent from their family, and immediately "provide as much as they can" to this dependent, heaping tremendous amounts of wealth onto the dependent. Likely this will be done by the provider "providing" an item of very high monetary value to the dependent, sidestepping the rule about transfering assets. This process goes until the provider feels confident that they will be taken care of by their child, at which point they give everything to the child, the child becomes a provider, and the parent becomes a dependent. So long as the child continues the dynasty by having a child of their own to pass the wealth on, the system has not changed at all. In fact, you have encouraged the amassing of wealth by creating a very very powerful State which enforces the very laws the wealthy use to retain their wealth.

The only difference between this and the environment in feudal China is the threat that a dependent might get hit by a bus before they can transfer the wealth to their own dependent, in which case the State would get to step in and take the wealth. Great care would be taken in ensuring no harm comes to heirs until they have an heir of their own.

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    $\begingroup$ +1. So far everyone's responses have been related to loopholes & how to break the system. You guys are killing my faith in humanity lol! ( don't worry, there wasn't too much to begin with ・_・ ) What happens if all physical assets bestowed upon a dependent are liquidated upon their transference to the role of provider? In this case, the most a provider can hope to do for their dependents is provide them with a high quality of life & education, so that they will be well-equipped to become prosperous in their post-dependence lives. $\endgroup$ – Enteleform Jul 8 '16 at 1:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Enteleform If I may, I think the reason everyone has been focusing on the loopholes is because the system described is all stick and no carrot. It enforces compliance rather than encouraging adoption. Fundamentally, you will always have people who will want to be greedy. You want to take that wealth away from them by force, meaning your system inspires conflict. If instead you try to create a system which slowly encourages the greedy to give up their greedy ways by showing them a better way to live (from their perspective, not yours), you'll find humanity has a lot left to have faith in! $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jul 8 '16 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ "all stick, no carrot" Honestly, I feel that way about the systems that are currently in place. I don't think there's that much of a stretch between them & the idea of this prompt, if looking from a distance. All of the currently active systems IMO are traps of wage slavery, planned obsolescence, extreme tribalism, and powermongering. People are born into the world expected to sacrifice +50% of their overall waking life to meaningless professions that could have been automated & obsoleted by now, had human greed not been so prevalent throughout history. It's avoidable, but not for most. $\endgroup$ – Enteleform Jul 8 '16 at 2:20
  • $\begingroup$ The stick is certainly very visible these days. However, to use your words, a focus on the 50% of one's overall waking life that is not meaningless, trying to make that 50% as awesome as possible, that's got potential =) $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Jul 8 '16 at 2:25

I'm not attempting a complete answer since this is my question, but a few things that immediately come to mind are:

The caste system of society would be substantially equalized in comparison to Earth's current circumstances.  Economic development would be more efficient; as there would be no "inherited" positions of power in business, politics, etc., and as such - those types of positions would be entirely subject to individual merit.  "Elite" families would be much less prevalent; as their success would be solely contingent upon sustained motivation, effort, & strategy throughout generations.

Marriage would generally be much more successful & authentic.  In order for a spouse to benefit from their partner's assets, their only option would be to maintain a healthy relationship.  They would not financially benefit from divorce, the untimely death of their partner, or from having a child with them ( other than receiving a bare-minimum of sustenance until the child is of mandated age, in the event of the provider's death ).

Crime ( particularly robbery of individuals ) would be greatly reduced, since credits cannot be acquired by non-legitimate means.

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    $\begingroup$ This should be an edit to your question, such as a note at the bottom, not posted as an answer. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jul 7 '16 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM: IMO this is just my take on the matter, and perhaps others might be able to invalidate or "de-bunk" my opinion ( or expand upon it ), so I don't feel it fits with the initial scope of the question. $\endgroup$ – Enteleform Jul 7 '16 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ I'm just pointing out how the site is used in this case. A moderator may delete this post as it should be an update to the question. We'll see what happens. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jul 7 '16 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure why marriages would be more authentic in this system - the setup forbids marriage between equals. Provider, and dependent, and no wiggle-room whatsoever for equals, or mutual support, or supporting a shared family. And the dependent "having to" maintain the relationship to the provider or have all their assets liquidated seems more likely to create exploitation. There's a lot of historical precedent of marriages where one person has all the authority, and one person is vulnerable, if that's what you mean by authentic - but that's not usually a setup I'd think healthy. $\endgroup$ – Megha Jul 10 '16 at 5:39

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