Administration of Resources

Austerity Measures: Can They Be Justified?

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By Viktor Persson

 

human-rights-greece1

 

In the aftermath of the 2008 banking crisis that incurred a massive economic destabilization on a global level, the neoliberal concept of ‘austerity measures’ have now reached the western hemisphere, with Greece and Spain as its more notable victims. In particular, the Greece bailout, which is allegedly a saving package, has imposed a myriad of conditions and restrictive measures on the Greece economy. The purpose of these structural restrictions is apparently to empower and stabilize the Greece economy, however, the opposite has happened, as has been documented in several high profile investigations.

The concept of austerity measures ranges back to the 17th century, and have more recently been adopted by the neoliberal economic doctrine as a way of dumping market failures on the state and indirectly, on the public. That austerity measures has the capacity of causing detrimental effects for the general public has been proven in Greece, and there is a history of failures with the so-called Structural Adjustment Programs imposed by the International Monetary Fund as part of their lending to developing countries, due to the conditions of austerity that these loans impose on the debtor.

Several independent sources indicate that austerity measures, such as cuts in public spending in the health, education, and other mechanisms of social security, creates human suffering on a widespread scale. With Greece, we have been given the opportunity to closely observe the social catastrophe that is created by austerity. The Truth Committee has noted that, unemployment has gone from 7.3% in 2008 to 27.9% in 2013. Youth unemployment reached a staggering 64.9% in may 2013. Due to cuts in public health expenditure more than 2.5 million persons, or one fourth of the total population of Greece, are without health insurance. Furthermore diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV have increased, and mental health problems have ballooned. Pensions have been reduced by 40 %, which have caused 45 % of Greece pensioners to fall below the poverty line. 500,000 people lives in conditions of homelessness, insecure or inadequate housing. To put it mildly, there is a humanitarian crisis in Greece.

What have been left out from the discussion on austerity measures are human rights, primarily the economic and social rights established by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This convention is binding on the contracting states – and Greece together with the Eurozone countries has all ratified the convention. You would hence think, that in detailing the Memorandum of Understanding between Greece and the Troika, that contains the austerity conditions imposed on Greece, there must have been a discussion on the potential impacts on Human Rights that the austerity measures could create. However, there has not been such a discussion. Instead the EU member states, the EU commission, EU central bank and the International Monetary Fund have displayed a disregard for how the austerity policies would affect the Human Rights of the people of Greece. Court rulings by the highest Greece court that have ruled the pension cuts as unconstitutional and as a breach of Human Rights, have in the 2015 Memorandum of Understanding been referred to as ‘fiscal risks’. Such a use of vocabulary when referring to the Human Rights is nothing short of remarkable.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted the Guiding principles on foreign debt and human rights in July 2012. According to paragraph 56 ‘Debt relief efforts must not compromise the provision of basic services. In particular, debt relief conditions that may adversely impact the realization of human rights or undermine development in the beneficiary State must be avoided’. The UN General assembly has in September 2015 adopted a resolution (A/69/L.84), which defines nine principles on how a debt restructuring process should be directed. Among these principles is the principle of sustainability, which implies that sovereign debt restructuring should lead to a stable debt situation in the debtor state, preserving creditors’ rights while promoting economic growth and sustainable development, reducing economic and social costs, ensuring the stability of the international financial system and respecting human rights.

Not surprisingly, these principles were adopted by vote and not by consensus, with the developed countries claiming that Human Rights should not be a consideration when it comes to debt and debt relief. However this position cannot be accepted as legitimate. Obviously Human Rights is and must be an important part of economical decisions, because the very foundation of economics is Human Beings. The consequence of separating economics from Human Rights is such perversities as slavery. Possibly, this is what the new era of austerity and debt has become, a more refined form of slavery, which is free from the moral constraints of its predecessors, because it is now justified with the slick vocabulary of neoliberalism and market economy. Though, when scrutinized, austerity measures are a soulless machine working for an anonymous creditor, fueled with the accepted belief that this is the way things must be. The debt must allegedly be paid back at all costs… because… well because, the market wants it that way.

To create a heaven on earth, it is clear that all forms of commercial agreements, debt contracts accounted for, must be able to be declared null and void if they happen to breach Human Rights. This is how it should have always been, and we must ask ourselves, why this has not yet happened. The United Nations has been around for 60 years, yet still, flagrant violations of Human Rights are allowed with reference to commercial agreements. What is missing; motivation, drive, integrity or compassion? And how come we accept and allow the life of countless human beings to be reduced to numbers on a balance sheet?

Clearly, there is a rift between the reality of our world, and the principles conceptualized in our Human Rights instruments. The process of making these principles a living reality will without a doubt be a challenging venture, yet it will be through the respect for Humans on a global level, that we will be able to create a world that truly worth living in. And let us not forget that there are solutions to these problems. Even though the massive bureaucracy that is involved can make us as individuals feel as if we are small ants facing the enormous Goliath, the system is comprised of individual human beings, like you and me. By standing up, one by one, and supporting a new direction in politics and economics, we will have an impact. In democracy we each have one vote, and that is how we will be able to shift direction, through coming together and unanimously voting for a new world that is best for all.

 

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

Stopping Exploitation with a Living Income Guaranteed

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by Fidelis Spies 

imagesgr_thumb[1] When you hear about drivers that got their licenses suspended you probably think it was because of reckless driving, but it is not the case.

In Florida 88% of suspensions were due to failure to comply with summons or fines.

Now here is things get extremely problematic and nonsensical – Most people drive to work so losing your car affects everything in your life. In New Jersey a Survey was done that found that 63% of low income drives that lost their car also lost their jobs.

How are they supposed to pay their fine if you take away their means of paying it?

It gets worse:

There are private probation companies that supervise people that have minor offenses and collect their outstanding fines at no costs to the courts, instead they get their money from the probationers in exchange for their services.

Here is an example of how that works based on an actual event:

One Woman was fined $25 for not wearing a seat belt as well as $16 for the court costs – a total fine of $41. She was unable to pay the fine at that stage and thus was handed over to one of these private probation Companies. Now here is where things get really messed up:

 

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She was then put on a monthly payment plan in order to pay the fine, but the costs of this payment plan was $35 per month. All moneys that the woman sent in was applied to the service fees first before going to the actual fine, meaning she first has to pay the $35 before she is able to pay the actual $41 fine. Now, she I not able to afford that $35 monthly fee, so this is starting to accumulate – eventually she sat with a $299 bill PLUS the $41 fine. Eventually if you  cannot afford the bill you can be sent to jail because you cannot afford the bill.

Here is another terrifying example of this Ruined Hariet Cleveland’s Life:

“Cleveland’s $140 monthly payment – $40 of which went to fees – was a terrifying burden. She lost her day care job during the recession and was barely scraping by. She paid what she could, even when it meant her money was only going toward the company’s fees.

Finally, Cleveland didn’t have any more money to give. She received a notice in the mail: Pay $2,714 or go to jail. Not long after, a police officer arrived and arrested her while she was babysitting her grandson. A judge sentenced her to 31 days in jail because she was too poor to pay.” – https://www.splcenter.org/news/2014/08/26/splc-lawsuit-closes-debtors%E2%80%99-prison-alabama-capital

These Companies are making money out of people who have none. Why are we punishing people for being poor? This is an Impossible situation for low income people where they really have no way out. This kind of exploitation is something that must be stopped.

This is something that we can change with a better system, one that considers the individual needs of people in different situations. Not only would these people above live far better lives with the Living Income Guaranteed, but we can implement solutions to stops the obvious exploitation of people in these situations so that no person’s life get ruined just because they are poor.

 

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

How the Living Income Guaranteed Will promote Environmental Sustainability

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by Fidelis Spies

Environmental Healing with LIGAs we all know, our continued human existence is having consequences on the Earth and one of them is the Earth warming up. And so scientists are trying to come up with solutions to stop this particular consequence and one of the options to stop Global warming is through GEOengineering – interfering with nature on a planetary scale.

Here are some of the GEOengineering options that scientist are currently investigating:

1. Afforestation: This technique would irrigate deserts, such as those in Australia and North Africa, to plant millions of trees that could absorb carbon dioxide; this vegetation would also draw in sunlight that the deserts currently reflect back into space, and so contribute to global warming.

2. Artificial ocean upwelling: Engineers would use long pipes to pump cold, nutrient-rich water upward to cool ocean-surface waters. If this process ever stopped it could cause oceans to rebalance their heat levels and rapidly change the climate.

3. Ocean alkalinisation: This involves heaping lime into the ocean to chemically increase the absorption of carbon dioxide.

4. Ocean iron fertilisation: The method involves dumping iron into the oceans to improve the growth of photosynthetic organisms that can absorb carbon dioxide.

5. Solar radiation management: This would reduce the amount of sunlight Earth receives, by shooting reflective sulphate-based aerosols into the atmosphere.

As I read through this list I get kind of worried, because they are trying to stop the Earth from heating up through wanting to do things like dumping iron into the oceans or spraying the air with sulphate. Won’t that simply cause more problems in the future? You don’t solve a problem with another problem.

Here is an analogy: You see a spider trapped in your bathtub. So you take a few sheets of tissue paper and very carefully burn your house down…

In a similar way that is how we deal with issues we face on this Earth. With the above mentioned solutions we are simply going to create more problems.

Earth Tool ChangeThe way you deal with problems is stopping them at the source, which is the way we humans interact with the Earth – or more specifically: how we have come to value profit over things that actually matter – like the Earth itself. Our world leaders have for some time had those meetings on finding solutions to cut carbon emissions, but not many are actually doing that. The reason comes back to money, a factory pollutes the Earth, but it also makes money. Currently cutting emissions equals less money made.

Eco friendly solutions cost a lot of money, so that is why it is not ever really implemented on global scale – it’s not cost effective. Also, there is the factor that there is a massive profit being made by current use of available technologies – like oil and coal – and thus coming up with other solutions is discouraged.

So then what is the reason for all this pollution currently created? Money. And what would be the solution to clean up and stop pollution? Money. The planet has over 7 billion people on it. And I have read and seen solutions to control and get rid of pollution many times, but it never gets implemented, because the people coming up with these ideas do not have the necessary funds to implement these ideas or do more research. And in many of these cases the people who come up with these ideas are those directly affected by the pollution.

With the implementation of Living Income Guaranteed we could ensure that all options are considered and see what will be the best solution. Not to say that LIG would be bad news to businesses around the world and force them to cut carbon emissions – no – rather more about focusing on ways to prevent this with the use of new technologies that are available and that are currently not being used because profit is placed over sustainability, which is how through Corporate Social Responsibility measures, corporations will also have to consider their own sustainability and assurance of production by stopping degrading measures that will cause more consequences for them and the community.

Also what is happening is that consumers are becoming aware of the consequences that factories have on the environment and are favoring eco-friendly production methods. So the company will have to start introducing environmentally friendly solutions and stick to the new trend to meet the customer demand in order to still make money.

Another point is that when an individual doesn’t have to worry about surviving and can start focusing on actual living – it opens doors and with it great potential. For example there are so many people who find passion in doing humanitarian work, or finding solutions to make factories more efficient and less polluting – but cannot focus on doing any of that, because they need money to survive. Who knows what potential we can unlock and ideas we can come up with and implement to reduce or even reverse the negative consequences we have created on this Earth. The Living Income Guaranteed would bring us closer to finding the solutions we require.

Here are Videos that further explain how with the Implementation of the Living Income Guaranteed will promote Environmental Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility:

 

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Check Out the Links for More Information on the Living Income Guaranteed

Hidden Fees and the Presumption of Benefit

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by Joe Kou

It is time to have a look at some hard questions and begin to address some of the more important factors in relation to our current situation as humanity

This has been and I imagine will continue to be one of the hardest subjects I have taken upon to investigate, and it has taken quite a while to get to a place where things began to click. This blog is the “kickoff” to what will likely be a long series of blogs addressing not only the various hard questions that we often avoid asking, but will be directly taking on ONE very specific question that I believe is vital for all of us to begin asking and considering.

The question is this:

Ask harder questions LIGWHY and HOW is it that today as of this writing, we the human species possess the technological and logistical means to remove all poverty, end starvation, drastically reduce or in some cases eliminate crime and violent behavior, immediately begin to restore our full potential as human beings as well as restore to full expression and vitality our environment and ecosystem – but are NOT doing it? What is it that we are waiting for? Why are we holding back? What is the force that is keeping us from realizing self-sufficiency and real freedom and a better world for all if that is really what we say we want?

Let me provide some context before exploring the other dimensions of this question.

Right now, we already have existing technologies that can provide absolutely clean energy with zero reliance on wasteful consumption or dangerous consequences to the natural environment. This technology ALONE could set us on a course to being free of all dependency on non-renewable rare resources that have been the backbone and foundation for so many wars and conflicts throughout all of human history. It would enable us to sustain ourselves and not only keep our existing infrastructure, but begin to repurpose what is already established in ways that exponentially can improve the lives of all human beings. And when I mention “this technology”, I am not talking of only one device or one method. I am talking about MANY technologies that achieve the same effect – but will NOT be allowed to develop.

Right now, we already have the technologies to turn human and animal waste product into renewable sources of energy, or convert them into materials that can be completely reused instead of left as “waste product”. This technology ALONE could revolutionize the way we think of “waste” and set us on a path of creating easily maintained waste processing and recycling systems that can locally sustain entire communities. Again, not just one single device or technology but SEVERAL – which will not be allowed to develop.

Right now we can absolutely begin to correct what have been commonly believed to be hereditary conditions or genetic defects as well as prevent, cure, or in some cases eliminate certain diseases or illnesses and create real preventive health care systems that not only keep people healthy and vibrant, but can begin to ENHANCE and further support the expression and potential of living beings. Also, not speaking here of just one method or science or school of thought, but MANY – none of which will be allowed to develop.

Right now we have the necessary understanding of the human’s natural learning ability and the conditions that lead to an effectively developed human that that is not only highly intelligent and effective with processing information, but vastly more creative and expressive as well. Imagine a world in which a person’s natural learning ability were to be supported and enhanced instead of stifled and repressed to a point of total diminishment by the time a person reaches adult age. And yet, this will of course never be allowed.

These statements are NOT meant to provoke any thoughts of there being some “grand conspiracy” of shadowy figures constantly and continuously suppressing these kinds of revolutionary innovation. This is not about “They” doing something to “Us”. Because the real heart of the hard question is not why we haven’t been allowed to develop such things, but rather why we still accept a world system in which we apparently need “permission” and what our collective responsibility is and how this translates into our PERSONAL responsibility.

It is time to begin considering why so many revolutionary innovations have become shuttered or blocked or in some way kept from ever realizing the light of day, and here we have got to start looking BEYOND pointing fingers at shadowy elites or simply blaming our debt based monetary system and get to the nitty gritty details where we begin to see that each one of us have a deep responsibility to answer to in relation to how we ourselves are propagating and CREATING the very mess we blame our institutions for.

Not a comfortable pill to swallow – when we have to take things back to self-responsibility. But swallow we must if we ever intend realize our demands for a better world.

I will be addressing the deeper levels of the “Hidden Charge” that we as humanity have been paying into, and has been so deeply embedded into our living that this dimension is often completely missed – to the detriment of all.

Hidden Charges

I mentioned a very vital question that must be asked and considered – which is WHY and HOW is it that despite having all of the means, the technology, and the knowledge to STOP war, end poverty and starvation, immediately improve the health and vitality of all beings, and make this earth into a paradise for all were the focus can be on expression, exploration, compassion, and unconditional support – do we NOT implement these things? What is it that is really holding us back and what is the “unseen force” that is seemingly against us having this kind of paradise?

I will break this down into a more tangible dimension so that we can all be on the same page as we explore the root of this question and its deeper implications.

First let us realize that we are currently paralyzed. I mean this from the perspective that if you were to REALLY investigate this issue for yourself you would be able to see that unless something STIMULATES us, we do not move. Hence, we exist in a kind of paralysis unless and until we get a little jolt of energy or stimulation that says “Do this” or “Do that”. Rarely if ever, do we actually move or do something for no reason other than us having first made the decision to move or do something. So rarely does this happen that the majority of people would presume that if they never got a sensation or feeling or “inclination” to do something, then they would just basically be “dead” and wouldn’t do anything at all.

I bring this point up because it is relevant to understand how deeply ingrained our dependency on STIMULATION and how much of a blind spot this actually is when we are looking at ways to solve some of the critical issues humanity is now facing. If this is the first time you’ve been presented with this concept, take a moment and REALLY have a look for yourself and honestly investigate how many times you did something, said something, without there being any thoughts or emotions or imaginations or desires prompting you. Here’s a hint – if there was a “thought” or a picture in your mind of you doing something but YOU were not the one who decided to create that thought or deliberately create that specific picture in your own mind, then it was not YOU who made the decision, but rather a stimulation you accepted and went along with.

Now we have the understanding that human beings are almost entirely at this point functioning on some sort of stimulation whether it is positive OR negative – the point is that without the stimulation we presume that we have no “reason” to do something, and do not consider doing something as being reason enough.

Okay – so now that we have that point on the table – we need to ask what is the PRIMARY point of stimulation that exists in our current world system, that affects each and every single living being either positively or negatively? It is MONEY. So let’s really have a look at this because this is an absolutely vital point to understand before we go further.

In the current system of things, nothing “happens” without an energetic input. Think of a battery operated machine or device – if the energy isn’t there to power it, it will not function. It is not necessarily “dead” or “broken” – it just won’t do the things that it requires energy to do unless that energy is there.

Our world system – which includes the governments of the world, the various international agencies and institutions, the large trans-national corporations, everything that is part of what makes modern human societies “function”, and of course the economic and monetary systems – can all be seen as individual parts to a large battery powered machine. This machine requires massive amounts of energy – its batteries need extensive amounts of charge which quickly become depleted because, well, it is a HUGE machine with immensely intricate and interdependent moving parts – all of which need to keep functioning at least to a minimal degree or else the entire system can break down.

One might think that the main energy source for this world system machine is money – and that is a very very good answer because money is in fact the main “energy” that all beings are currently affected by in our world – but money is not energy itself – it is a transmitter of energy. Money is the method upon which energy is siphoned from resources and human labor, but it is not “money” that is powering the world system. For a long time I was convinced it was just money, but bear with me as I explain the deeper dimensions.

There is a kind of “energy” that we are all expending into the world system that is not just “money”. It is all of the hours we spend doing things that are NOT supportive to ourselves or others in order to get money to pay for our survival in this world.

Now here is where the magic happens so to speak. Take your average job in a first world country. A person will do this job for money and use that money to in turn buy their basic necessities and if there is any extra after they take care of their basic survival, they will either save it, invest it, or spend it on some form of luxury or entertainment. BUT – what does the “job” entail?

It does not matter what a person’s job is – because the “Hidden Fee” that is being extracted from them is the same no matter what a person does – as long as it is for money in the current system. This hidden fee is particularly nefarious in nature because it is not just about extracting money and resources from people already struggling with survival – but because of the excessive amount of waste and negative consequence on health and the environment that is created which only makes the “Hidden Fee” even higher each day.

So far I have been rather vague with describing and defining what exactly the hidden fee is but in the following blog I will go into detail of one example of how the Hidden Fee embeds itself so deeply that it goes unnoticed in our everyday lives.


Check out this LIG Google Hangout with Joe Kou and Marlen Vargas Del Razo on the
Living Income Guaranteed YouTube Channel

[65] Hidden Charges Exposed – Subscribe for regular updates and points to consider.

Check Out the Links for More Information on the Living Income Guaranteed 

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? Part 2

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By Josh Richert

 

Continuing from the last blog , CSR is more of a global initiative that is being implemented, encouraged, and directed by various organizations as well as the UN to encourage corporate responsibility towards a common ‘good’.  One of those organizations is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).  From their website:

“The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a leading organization in the sustainability field. GRI promotes the use of sustainability reporting as a way for organizations to become more sustainable and contribute to sustainable development.”

So, we have CSR which is a global initiative of corporate self-governance to encourage corporation to both regulate themselves and report on themselves in regards to changing and implementing business practices for the common good, such as making products that are environmentally friendly, avoiding slave and child labor, giving back to communities, etc.  In order to implement the CSR and encourage it worldwide, organizations like GRI have been created.  But there are other bodies in addition to GRI, such as the Integrated International Reporting Council.
The IIRC produced a
Discussion Paper in 2011 from which the feedback demonstrated overwhelming support for Integrated Reporting and endorsed the development of a global Framework. It also concluded that the primary audience of integrated reports is investors in order to aid their allocation of financial capital.

And then we also have the United Nations Global Impact, from there website:

“The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning with ten universally accepted principles for human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
​The UN Global Compact and GRI signed an agreement in May 2010 to align their work in advancing corporate responsibility and transparency. As part of this agreement, GRI will develop guidance regarding the
Global Compact’s ten principles and integrate UNGC issue areas into the next iteration of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The UNGC will adopt the GRI Guidelines as the recommended reporting framework for the more than 5800 businesses that have joined the world’s largest corporate responsibility platform.”

So, what I am getting at here is establishing the framework of what exactly CSR is, and from what I can see, CSR not a set of global laws, but a set of global initiatives for specifically international corporations to voluntarily adhere to (and arguably for their own good such as increasing market share and profitability due to increased consumer awareness of their ‘ethical and altruistic’ business practices) with the intent to improve living conditions for those living on this planet (a.k.a. the ‘common good’) through encouraging corporate responsibility to those living on this planet, of whom are commonly referred to as the ‘stakeholders.’ 

The guidelines, encouragement, and implementation for these standards are managed by various organizations, including GRI, UNGC, and IIRC, to name a few.  These organizations have created what is commonly referred to as ‘sustainability reports’ with specific guidelines and standards in specific categories such as human resources, environmental concerns, supply chain concerns (i.e. labor), philanthropy, volunteering, etc. wherein corporations are encouraged to report on each category based upon specific standards created by these organization.

But is this ‘global initiative’ of corporate ‘self-regulation’ for the common ‘good’ really effective?
Well, one interesting article from Nov 2012 found on the CSR-reporting website sheds some interesting light on that topic.  As a direct quote from the article:

banarra consistency

“Let me just repeat that so it’s clear:

Labor Indicators: 86% of companies claim they report and only 11% actually do.

Human Rights Indicators: 62% of companies claim they report and only 20% actually do.”

This research reveals a significant difference between claims made in GRI Sustainability Reporting and what actually gets reported (which was unpublished research as of November 17 2012 that was conducted by the Vienna Team in collaboration with Middlesex University London lead by Dr. Sepideh Parsa and Dr. Ian Roper); wherein we can see that the vast majority of corporations are reporting falsehoods, are reporting inaccurately, or claim to be reporting but are not even reporting at all.

Why so?  Well, I would venture that this would be expected for the following: Regardless of the motive, whether it be ultraistic or self-serving, for a corporation to self-regulate and comply with CSR reporting, the bottom line is that those with a controlling interest in these corporations, the shareholders, are looking for maximum returns on their investments which means that the corporations profit comes first, and that the consequences of the corporate actions come second.  Thus, if it is more profitable to ‘cheat’ on the CSR reporting then that is what will happen. Furthermore, if complying with CSR initiatives threatens the survival of corporations then that would be reason and justification for corporations to not allow any reporting (tell on itself in essence) that would undermine its ability to survive.  Another reason is that the shareholders are not stakeholders usually and thus are not really feeling the consequences of the corporate practices and thus it is easy to turn a blind eye and ignore the inconsistencies in the CSR reporting by the corporations they own.

 

So, what we are left here with is an interesting dynamic and that is: the corporations are left with finding the right balance between making their CSR reports – which of course is considered to be a competitive advantage – and also keeping profits up as much as possible in order to appease their shareholders and so ensure their survival and continued existence.  I mean, this is a real test of self-honesty even on an individual level in that, would you tell on yourself / disclose your secrets to another if that meant that it may imply that you would lose money, profits and make you less competitive?  So, that balancing point is where the company can be transparent and honest, yet still keep profits up within a satisfactory zone all at the same time.  Thus, this means for most companies that they are going to have fudge the numbers to make this work. This is just plain common sense.

 

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How can we change the system to ensure that corporations will report accurately and make significant changes to their practices that will benefit all / the stakeholders? 

Obviously there needs to be a change in the frame-work of the system because with the way the system is set-up now, there will be no true corporate responsibility taken by corporations as it really is not in their best interest, ultimately, as evidenced by the poor participation in reporting and making real changes thus far.  Thus, the framework of the economic system needs to be adjusted in a way that the corporations still work within self-interest / making profits but yet that self-interest will lead them to make real changes.  The economic system itself must change because the alternative to changing the system and attempting to police or enforce such a code of ethics would literally be impossible on a global scale within the realization that there just is not enough man-power, time, and ways and means to really be able to get inside the corporations and ensure their compliance.  Thus, the compliance must be considered essential to corporations, by corporations, for their survival – just as non-compliance is in essence essential to their survival now – and that will only be achieved by making some adjustments to the economic system.

Another point to consider, is that within the current economic structure, how can we even trust that CSR / eco-friendly / socially responsible measures taken by environmental groups and NGO’s are always working in our / the general populace / the stakeholders and the Earth’s best interest? 

There is strong evidence, if one spends any  time researching this point, that the CSR and Green concepts have been used to corner markets, drive commodity prices up, control resources and markets, and pass oppressive laws or push for potentially oppressive laws such as the ‘carbon tax’ scheme / meme.  It can be argued that this CSR movement has been used as a platform to create memes that the populace accepts as accurate and for their good to then lobby for ‘eco-friendly’ government policies that are really more like ‘Trojan Horses’ that when enforced actually play into the hand of those behind the scenes seeking profit and further oppressing the people.  There is strong evidence that the very corporations themselves use the environmental movement to control prices, markets, and resources.  The oil companies often times fund the very environmental movements that they appear to be in opposition to, as an example.

In sum, CSR and the related green movements are all well and needed, but within the current economic system structure, these initiative and movements are either ineffective or used to manipulate and control markets for the benefits of the shareholders and not the stakeholders.

Back to the question: how can we change our system to ensure that corporations will report accurately and actually make real changes upon themselves within a point of self-regulation?  The answer to this question is not simply in the details, yet it is simple within the point of considering how our economic system is currently structured.  So, there are a couple of points to consider here:

1.  LIG.  A Living Income Guaranteed needs to be initiated.  So, I ask the question: Who ultimately is in control of the corporations?  Answer: Those who buy their products and services, within the point that if corporations lose their customer base, they may cease to exist / go out of business.  So, ultimately, who is the corporation appeasing within all of its activities?  The customer. 

Even within the degree of fraud and manipulation in reporting and green movements today, the customer is ultimately in mind.  It’s like an abusive relationship.  If one party in relationship can ‘get away’ with it, they will, and they will continue to do, so long as the desired relationship stays intact.  However, once that relationship is threatened, the abuser will change his/her behavior in order to save the relationship, if possible.  And even if that change of behavior is within self-interest, the change will still be made in a way that will benefit all parties if the abused decides to no longer take the stance as the abused and force the abuser to change within that stance.

Thus, how do we get the people to take that stand? 

Right now, we as the people / the ‘stakeholders’, are not taking that stand that says ‘no you don’t.  You will not abuse the resources and the people for the sake of your own profit.’  And the primary reason is that most people only have enough money to meet basic survival needs as most people are existing in the bottom level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.   However, if people have enough money, they will move beyond survival and then start really looking at how to make themselves and this world a better place.

You see, right now, most people are only able to shop for things based upon price.  It may matter in the back of someone’s mind about all the abuses that were required to bring that product to market at that price, but if that is all one is able to afford and that is what one needs – that product will be bought regardless.  You see, corporations have us at our knees right now within the principle of ‘beggars cannot be choosers.’  The general populace simply does not have the money to truly vote with their money and thus corporations do not have to really answer to the consumer or the environment because either way, we are still buying from them.

Thus, a LIG will enable the populace to start voting with their money so long as we are able to structure it in a way that the LIG will lift people enough out of poverty to do so.  The LIG will create a new pool of money found in the common man zone, instead of only in the upper echelons where the shareholders of corporations primarily are.  The shareholders have so much money that they are disconnected with the realities on the ground and the abuses therein. Shareholders are concerned with increasing their wealth.  That is why they are shareholders in the first place.  Thus, an LIG will equalize that playing field in giving the common man voting rights with their money and thus lifting them up into a form of ‘shareholder’ as well as their existing status of stakeholder.

2.  Dare I say Nationalization?  Let’s call it: Converting Stakeholders (the common man) to Shareholders.  And let’s start with nationalization of essential resources and perhaps the energy sector.  Through nationalization, stakeholders will suddenly become shareholders of the resources that corporations use to bring energy, raw materials such as lumber, food, and water to market for consumption.  That means that wealthy hidden elite will not be in control behind the scenes in a way to increase their profits at the expense of us all.  That also means that people living within the borders of each country will suddenly have the wealth of these resources and thus will be able to sell or trade these natural resources to other countries or corporations. 
Once established, we can hold a democratic Internet voting system, in the form of a liquid democracy, accessible to the people / the citizens of certain geographic areas – to vote for how they would like the natural resources to be handled.

If this were to occur, then corporations would have to change their ways to conform to the laws of the land regarding these resources, because the owners of the resources, the people, will demand it; or these corporations would have to go somewhere else where these nationalizations have not occurred, YET.  Can anyone give me a good reason why ‘nationalization’ of the resources would be so demonized and how actually benefits from the demonization of the concept of nationalization?

 

3.  Increase Awareness: This is already happening in the CSR / Green movements.  This needs to continue and then be streamlined into a unified movement that is brought to everyone’s attention.  Thus, when people have the money through LIG and have ownership of the resources through Nationalization: they will make better decisions / votes as to how to manage them.

Within this public awareness that needs to be increased, as well as we need to de-polarize the movement and bring it into a practical point of consideration where we all as one see, realize, and understand the consequences and implications of our actions within the current state of affairs, within a fact-based platform.   As compared to where we are now, which has this CSR / ECO / Social awareness movement polarized between left and right / liberal vs. conservative, where the left embraces this movement and anything that comes with this movement, even the manipulated aspects of this movement that are contrived by certain groups to corner markets and drive up prices etc., and the right which rejects this movement in its entirety.

Thus within this polarization, all are consumed with the energy of right verses wrong and not are looking at the practical points that are right here in front of us.  I mean, we do have a garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean that is the size of the United States, don’t we?  Can’t we start discussions on these points without getting all polarized into groups based on right vs. wrong?  So, the depolarization of this movement needs to occur so that people can start looking at this practically, and within that we can start really creating solutions that can be implemented through laws or mandates or simply the influence carried out with the populace who now has money through LIG or part ownership of at least the natural resources.

Once this is in place, corporations will have no other choice but to make decisions that are best for all in their practices or else face the prospect of going extinct / out of business.  Let’s do this.

 

corporate-social-responsibility - LIG

 

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Ownership: The Lie That Kills

Posted on Updated on

by Sandy Mac Jones


Greed - Living Income GuaranteedI was stunned to find out that a major reason there is so many millions dying of starvation in African countries each year is that, of the 10 countries that the Nile River runs through, only 2 of these countries have the ‘right’ to use the water from the river for irrigation/farming/transportation or any other purpose! This is because Egypt and Sudan apparently ‘own’ the water ‘rights’ of the Nile River.

But does anyone really ‘own’ any part of mother earth? Was the river here before the arrival of the human?  Yes, it was!  Ownership is merely a concept, an idea someone came up with to enforce safety measures against those that intrude and steal or more often, take/conquer and keep all for oneself or ones ‘country’. Why can we not keep the safety measures but forgo the unfair idea of ownership? The answer to that is, we can.

If you think of two children fighting over a toy, the one child crying ‘it’s mine’ , he only ever gets to ‘keep’ it  if he is bigger/stronger, or someone else (the adult) intervenes and says what the ‘rule’ is. But if human beings are the children, where and who is the adult (god?) to intervene?  No one and nothing is intervening, we must be our own solution – there is no other way.

It seems back in 1925 there was a treaty signed between Britain, Italy and Egypt (this was updated in 1959 to include Sudan). Britain held Dominion over much of the African continent=came with weapons and murdered people to steal the wealth of the African countries and take it back ‘home’ to Britain.  Back then, Egypt and Sudan were Britain’s source of cotton and Britain knew that their rate of production was only possible through the Nile and the use of massive irrigation systems. So in this treaty Britain and Egypt decided that the Nile belonged to Egypt AND that no-one is allowed to do anything with the water that, as a consequence, will lessen the amount of water that ends up in Egypt, thereby insuring Britain’s cotton crop production.

JP Morgan Monopoly - Living Income GuaranteedThat’s right, they just decided = they made it up ’cause they were bigger and stronger,’ just bullies in the schoolyard!  No complicated economic theory needed here, they did this just because they could, because their stick was bigger than the other countries sticks. Just like the two little children fighting over the toy, they were bigger and stronger so got their way. It’s all about power and control and greed.

 

But supposedly they based this decision on the fact that Egypt has a 7000 year history with the Nile, way back starting with the Pharaohs so historically and traditionally belongs to them. Well, we have to stop referring to history and the past to make decisions based on today. Instead, we must use common sense and compassion to decide upon an approach that is best for all life, which in this case would be all countries through which the Nile flows are able to use this natural resource to better their economy and support the population!  That would include:   Ethiopia, Uganda, Zaire, Kenya, Eritrea, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi and yes, Egypt and Sudan.

Other reasons for this decision were that it had been determined that Egypt was the country which had made most efficient use of the Nile, in economic terms. So what? Are we not all life? Does a newborn baby today deserve to suffer starvation and die in agony because 85 years ago their birth country did not make as efficient use of the Nile as Egypt? We are talking here about an invisible dividing line (again made up by human beings) separating the land and people into ‘countries’. It is not in fact ‘real’; we make it real by our agreement to participate. Also, let not the fact escape us that ‘efficient use’ of the Nile meant that Egypt produced cotton for Britain which they could profit from and provide clothing for their people, total self-interested motives. The invisible lines have to come down as we wake up to the fact that, this approach is not what is best for all, as life on earth. And the practice of hoarding commodities, such as cotton, so you can control supply and demand, thereby controlling prices at the expense of millions of others, should be strictly monitored and made illegal/penalized.

Can you honestly look in the mirror or in your child’s eyes and say your child does not deserve to have a comfortable, enjoyable, dignified life but the child across the invisible line=boarder, does? There is a difference is the quality of life because there is a different starting point of the two children, this is inequality. I am not suggesting we eliminate boarders as they provide logistical reference points so we can communicate and move about on our planet. I am suggesting we understand that boarders are nothing more than that–lines we have made up for practical purposes. We do not need to kill each other over imaginary lines!  Our one planet needs one focus; to implement an economic system based upon the principal of what is best for all life, that system is A Living Income Guaranteed.

Innovation Relocation - Living Income Guaranteed

Read the Proposal here:   Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

 

 

 

Sadly, Ethiopia, which was the only African country that was never colonized, simply had ‘no legal representation’ and thus no say in the matter when this treaty was being written and signed, while over 80% of the water that ends up in Egypt originates from Ethiopia!  Many of the countries, when the treaty was being signed, were also too busy focusing on just surviving, so they didn’t really pay attention to the treaty or start thinking of some magnificent irrigation system as they simply did not have that luxury.

After independence from Britain, a few African countries declared the treaty as void but the treaty was never really challenged and nothing was ever really done about it because the other countries were scared of Egypt’s military force, also knowing that Egypt still has strong ties with Britain’s, a powerful nation indeed.

Of course, many countries in order to develop, need these type of natural resources to support themselves, just as Egypt did with the Nile, which brings a lot of advantage in terms of agriculture (to irrigate the land in the case of the Nile) and transportation.

So every year Ethiopia and other countries get millions of dollars into the country as ‘food aid’. Also, realize that when this investment as food is eaten, it is gone. The problem remains, charity is not effective as a solution to starvation.  Crazy, when there is the Nile flowing right through their land!  A sickening consequence of the Nile River ‘ownership’ issue:  wasted food and food aid.

To add to the insanity no one is allowed to assist these devastated African countries in the investment of dams and irrigation system and hydro power  which will actually help them get somewhere to improve the standard of living and create their own food source! And then the few farmers who do work their farms to produce food – can’t get their food sold because its cheaper to get free food aid. So they end up not being able to sell anything and end up joining the food aid line. Ironic.

There exist warehouses in Ethiopia FULL of food, grown right there in Ethiopia. And a warehouse next door FULL with bags of food with the American flag on it, food aid food. So all the food these poor farmers worked so hard for just rots away and then you end up with a whole nation of people being dependent on food aid. Insanity plain and simple, theft of 8 African countries ability to stand on their own feet, live with dignity, provide sustenance and jobs for their population.

The LIG proposal can be adopted, in part or whole, by any political party.

 

Living Income Guaranteed - LogoInvestigate the Equal Life Foundation and the proposal for a Living Income Guaranteed where all are sufficiently supported and honored with their basic human rights – where they have the ability to provide themselves with food, water, shelter, education, health care – all things one would like for themselves and would be living a standard less than what is best for them without such things.

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Fundamental Human Rights by Equal Life Foundation

 

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The Demon in Democracy

Posted on Updated on

By Barbara Stängl

Democracy

I’m having a look at Democracy here and how we are living this idea of ‘ruling a people’ according to the meaning of the word, where humanity needs a system platform from which it is possible to find and give direction to the basic decisions that have to be made to organize the essentials of this world, the food, resources for heating, shelter, water, territory, health and education.

 

Democracy

Basic decisions require principles which provide directives and criteria, so that a decision makes sense. The platform of Democracy functions on the basis of the principle of capitalism, free market forces and freedom of speech. It is a system that requires money to be able to take part in it, but it does not automatically grant this money to everyone unconditionally. You somehow have to be part of the ruling people, as someone having money, to be able to be heard, have a voice. Having walked the education and career system makes one eligible to be part of the system, as long as you remain competent and competitive. For this, however, you will have needed a ‘good start’ such as wealthy, well-to-do parents and the motivation or at least endurance to take the necessary exams to pass the set standards to survive within this system. Thus the statement can be made that within Democracy one is able to participate when one has education and money, or money as a stand-alone. These principles determine that most are struggling or are excluded from the get-go.

 

hands

 

The consequences of history have influenced the way democracy is legally set up and laid down for many countries. The Federal Republic of Germany, for example, strangely has no actual constitution, only a Basic Law that has been decided on, without the vote of the people, which brings forth the question of who / which people is ruling, when it’s supposed to be a democracy? In this case a number of 7 minister presidents have decided on the Basic Laws, which in its fundamentals has been suggested by the allied forces’ war governors that had the sovereignty over what was left of the Weimar Republic after the war. So a democracy and the principles by which it functions aren’t necessarily decided on by the people that are subject to this form of government.

 

Dictatorial DemocracyA constitution was to be enacted when the country reunified, a matter laid down under Art. 146 of the Basic Law. This was never followed up on. The Basic Law in Germany acts as a constitution and has entrenched the principles of democracy, republicanism, social responsibility and federalism, which cannot be removed or repealed by the normal amendment process. So it has come to be that the people of Germany has not given its vote in a free, independent, secret election, it hasn’t even been asked. This overshadows the execution of a true democracy from the very beginning when the process of establishing a fundamental framework for a people, which was to be of democratic nature in that it requires their majority vote, has been circumvented. It can be surmised that the minister presidents held the people to be too biased toward a non-acceptance of the Basic Laws and a constitution that would for the time being exclude a major part of the Germany left over from WWII, the whole 4th sector, the GDR – it being under communist rule – a state of affairs that constituted the dividing of Germany into East and West. The suspected bias was understandable as a written document would be based on the acceptance of the forced separation of families, friends and partners on the basis of ideologies inflicted on each side at the liberty of more or less self-proclaimed leaders in a very undemocratic manner. Is democracy in fact a dictatorship?

 

The Grundgesetz, Basic Law, holds the statute of Democracy as the form of government for the German people, with a majority vote allowing for the formation of a consensus to set the direction of politics in the country supporting the idea one is able to participate in the forming of decisions that influence one’s own life. Reality proves to be different. The German Federal State is constituted of 16 member countries, most of which have their own constitution which upholds the Basic Laws and some kind of allegiance or subjection to the Federal Republic. Thus the representation of a citizen in a country goes along the administrative pathways of the country and the federal state and then through the overhead structure of the European Union for political decisions on that level.

rettungsschirm

 

In comparison to a liquid democracy where the individuals’ voices can be heard in a poll, the system of a democracy of a majority ruling with indirect representation waters down the voting power of a citizen and thus no new solutions and perspectives get to the responsible organs of the government. There is also the law of Federal Law breaks State Laws and Union Law breaks Federal Law, where the Union is able to overrule anything.

World politics is about money and who controls money, because those who are in control of money are also in control of everything else. This lies in the hands of very few who through their standing within these vast amounts direct nations on the level of the unions, the United Nations and the European Union, where regional, country and national representatives of the peoples are simply overridden by creating events that seemingly justify measures that lie outside of even the European constitution, let alone that of countries and states. Such events and justifications constitute the designation of an enemy or an imminent danger as for example communism after the second world war through the placing into the public awareness through media the polarity of democracy and communism, the former being the state of freedom, the latter one of totalitarianism; or after the reunification of Germany and the breaking down of the communist block, there were oil and financial crises, the 911 tragedy allowing terrorists to be generated as a general threat, also the Moslem Brotherhood threat – all in turn allowing for vast constitutional breaches and thus Orwellian privacy transgressions and enslavement on all levels.

 

orwellian_governmentThis goes to show that the true meaning of democracy – of the people ruling – is quite in reverse as everything else in the world. People one doesn’t know and hasn’t voted for determine the policy of the country, the elite, those with the vast money have the power. They make decisions that aren’t based on the principle of best for all people and manufacture a mock choice that is presented in form of two bureaucrats like Schröder and Merkel or Bush and Carey who represent the same ideas, so it is actually not relevant who one votes for, because they actually represent the guys pulling the threads, the Bilderbergs, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations.

Democracy is just a label for one pole of the polarity that is upheld in order to maintain conflicts in this world and has been laid down in the Truman doctrine after WWII where the US makes it constitutional for herself to protect the Democracy as the liberty of a people and wherever a threat to this is manufactured, a conflict/war zone can be created and resources and people exploited and more power usurped.

 


Solutions

The Solution to this is definitely to get the media out of the hands of those controlling it by supporting free journalists and investigators, sites that are able to see and present the full picture and solutions to this demise, individual presentations of what we are allowing and accepting here. Equally it is to see that there are two fronts to work on – oneself within/as the allowance and acceptances within the polarities that are reflected on the outside in the world events and creations and walking towards establishing a platform for true equality starting with equal opportunity to receive money, food, housing and clean water for everyone and actual education, where this must be completely revised and restructured. This will require bringing awareness of the situation to the people and what can be done by each individual to make it count on a grand scale.

 

Education Kindergarten KidsWith respect to Human Rights and the right to Life, the establishment of ‘ LIG’, a Living Income Guaranteed, is principal. Considering the implementation of nationalization, the redirection of military budgets and changes toward indirect taxation as a solution to be able to use the profit and savings for the common good, such as providing for one’s direct and basic needs as having dignified housing, clean water, food, health services and education, by way of a provision of an actual ‘living income’ for each eligible citizen as a reasonably sized financial security on an as-needed basis.

As an incentive for those who are able to, guaranteed minimum wages are being suggested of double the living income for people who actually work, produce and create added-value. Doing research on this to see what works and what doesn’t from history, why or why not, to remedy what crystallizes from this and implement what is supportive are essential steps toward a change that serves the principle of best for all equally for a democracy where people/living beings – vs. corporate entities – are at the heart of the system, where their interest and well-being are at the center of focus. A means toward this aim can be a party that promotes the conceptual basis for open source democracy/ liquid democracy and the support of transparency in public affairs.

 

The benefits are obvious: The allowed separation from one’s own self-responsibility with respect to government and self-government will gradually be worked out and walked within/as self-authority by implementing a method /a system, where one can be heard, because money is not the pre-requisite, as it’s provided unconditionally from the start.

iraqi-kids-by-adamhenning-via-flickr

 

One will be able to have better relationships due to competition not being at the heart of the system as necessary part of survival, where one can stop analyzing what the other has that I haven’t and focus on simply enjoying the presence of the other and be with them and allow creativity to flow into the time and space of togetherness. Thus, peace, freedom and trust is given true potential with this external structure and one will also have more time for the development of self-honesty within self-investigation to undo one’s separation on a more individual level.

The benefits also include actual self-expression or a process thereof, without the fear of disadvantages. Herewith a movement from survival to Life can be initiated. We are able to bring Heaven to Earth, with clean water, luscious and abundant nature, resources for all with a system that represents who we are as self-empowerment and self-responsibility, a Democracy that is based on the living principle of what is best for all equally.

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal and Join us for discussion.

 

Photo Credits

‘Power to the People’
‘Hands’
‘Dictatorial Democracy’
‘War is Peace…”
‘Iraqi kids…”