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The Refugee Crisis: A Wake Up Call to the Devaluation of Life

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by Joana Jesus

Je-suis-un-réfugié_No-one-is-free-until-we-are-all-free

A few years ago, I took the decision to voluntarily leave my family and study for a year in France. Later on, I chose again to move and work in the United Kingdom. Within the European Union, such mobility is promoted and there is no need to justify your decision or to have a visa to do so – as an European citizen and within the EU it is my right to establish wherever assists me to develop to my utmost potential, to keep growing, to know a different culture, to speak new languages, and to be financially stable. This makes absolute sense to my generation, however 30 years ago (before the Schengen Agreement) this process would have been much harder to achieve and probably older generations couldn’t imagine such openness. When looking at the refugee situation, the resistance to embrace the newcomers is the resistance to a new reality that needs to be as flexible as the one granted to Europeans. The difference is that this is not a voluntary migration but rather imposed unto people for not having a choice: they either flee or they risk their lives by staying in a war-zone (or becoming the fighters themselves). What would you choose?

Since reaching its media attention this year, I see that the refugee crisis comes down to a crisis of priorities that began long time ago in our world and is affecting our sense of humanity. The shocking images that flooded the big screen in the past months, along with xenophobic comments from the far-right are symptoms of a bigger problem, that is: The Devaluation of Life.

The belief that one’s life has more value based on where one was born reminds me some medieval-like-wars in a Game-of-Thrones-land, almost unthinkable in World Wide Web times. However, this year’s events showed a darker side of Europe where countries started closing doors to those in desperate need, in a clear reflection of barbaric attitude against the “others”. The main difference is that before speed-of-light communications we would not understand how wars happening in the other side could be interlinked with the people on this side of the world.

refugees-are-human-beings-1In today’s reality, in developing nations we have the support of real-time analysis, people’s reports, factual testimonials, whistle-blowers, bloggers and documentaries raising awareness to the needs of the few being paid at the expense of the many. Further down I briefly clarify how the war in Syria and in other countries in the Middle East are directly related to the lifestyle European/Western citizens enjoy. For the moment, let’s look at the mental barriers that hinder us to know the “other side”. Any attempt to blame the “other” for not being able to take care of its own people is a sign that we haven’t yet grasped the interdependency that all countries coexist in, or how world politics and economics really work. The idea that borders separate us from other humans is another illusion but is simply showing the success of economic and political interests in diminishing our inherent value as equal beings sharing this planet.

Similarly to the manifestation of solidarity with the French events, first with the Charlie Hebdo attacks and then with the 13/11 terrorist acts in Paris, it is time to stand equal and one with refugees, reminding ourselves that many of our ancestors have also escaped from war-zones and that we must not accept further wars to break the lives of future generations. Only by standing in solidarity with refugees will be able to demand political action to prevent such atrocities again. That is why I state: I am a refugee / Je suis un réfugié – whatever is happening in this moment in time I am part of it and, as Martin Luther King said “No one is free until we are all free”.

The destructive wars that people in the Middle East are fleeing from are not only killing them from the inside, but also limiting any chances of survival. I have been asking myself: what would I do if I was caught in such a hostile environment? I would most likely do what they are doing to find a peaceful place to live and begin the healing process.

I am originally from Portugal, a country within the European Union that has been under a tough financial crisis and where there has been a devaluation of Life too. I have been seeing the slow-death of joy in many people’s hearts struggling to survive. Economically speaking, the education, people’s work and the resources in the country aren’t enough to cope the hardships that the economic war imposes unto them, so many decided to emigrate to find a better environment to grow-up, to learn from and to create a better life for themselves.

In a recent interview I run independently in the centre of Lisbon, I asked the Portuguese people how the country could help the current migrants and refugees. There is a common tendency to think that we first need to help “our people” before we can help others. Another perspective was that migrants and refugees wouldn’t be happy in Portugal either because of the poor life standards that the majority of the people have now. Nevertheless, many agree that we must be able to stand as an example and offer as much help as possible, since our problems are far less than the ones that the people from war-zones are experiencing.

By looking at the statement that we can only help “others” after we help the nationals of a given country, we see that the migration crisis is a mirror of what is happening already within one’s borders, where poverty and homeless people have been difficult social problems to tackle. This is an opportunity to finally address the social and economic issues that are preventing EVERYONE from creating their own destinies, and the refugee crisis is simply enhancing the existing non-sustainable social structures where poverty and inequality are still a reality for many Europeans.

If the European countries were all stable and all their citizens lived well, would people embrace refugees, or would there be cultural clashes, fears and other mental limitations used to justify the lack of funding, infrastructure or social support? Systematic changes take time to be understood and accepted by people, especially when people have been educated (brainwashed) to define themselves as the national symbols, and feel threatened by multiculturalism and diversity. But as with the principle of mobility within the EU, global mobility from the East to the West, from the South to the North are a reality that must be welcomed and taken into consideration, not suppressed or punished.

In relation to the interdependence we all live in, we can easily look at our western lifestyles and wonder where prime resources come from to keep us warm, to enable transportation, industries and to essentially make society run. As with any other war, the root of the problem is related to the control and dominion of land and natural resources in specific areas of the world. According to Oil & Gas Journal, Syria was estimated to possess proved reserves of oil at 2.5 billion barrels as of January 1, 2015 and shale oil resources, with estimates of reserves in 2010 ranging as high as 50 billion tons  (see http://www.eia.gov/beta/international/analysis.cfm?iso=SYR).This is what is the ultimate justification for the destruction that is causing people to flee from war zones. Therefore, in the name of our own comfort but also in the name of the comfort of all the other human beings, it is our responsibility to find solutions that consider what is best for all. We don’t need to wait for further revenge or terrorist demands that will perpetuate the perceptions of separation. We all know that the only solution is to mature international relations toward a new level of cooperation, responding to everyone’s needs and fostering peaceful living.

In my perspective, the biggest lesson to learn from the migration crisis is the consequences of our Devaluation of Life. Despite all technological advancements, we haven’t yet been able to come with plans and actions to manage world resources fairly and equally, and to apply political will to consider all peoples of the world. It is also a red flag about the false perceptions we have of “other people” based on specific religious or cultural differences that are deliberately shown by the media as the problem, instead of educating that differences are sources of diversity and expansion.

Additionally, I suggest that this becomes an opportunity to challenge that narrow-minded belief that we can either help “our people” or “the others”, and instead we adopt the possibility of “having both” – this can be possible by creating the funds to address the social-economic priorities of nationals through solutions such as the Living Income Guaranteed, while at the same time fund the immediate needs of refugees through the profits we are making in exploiting local resources, and finally to establish a common ground for the West and the Middle Eastern societies to benefit from shared resources in a sustainable way through fair diplomatic negotiations based on the principle of valuing Life.

Why do we continue to play musical chairs with people’s lives, knowing that this world and our species has plenty of solutions to offer?

I also recommend watching the open discussion on the Refugee crisis organised by the Living Income Guaranteed, where you will hear first-hand experiences about the integration process of refugees in Sweden, Denmark and in Germany. As Anna Brix Thomsen demystifies, we fear that which we don’t know and that is also why many people have resistance to accept refugees in Europe – but once the mental barrier is transcended, a whole new world of opportunities, of personal growth and understanding is available toward a better future for our humanity.

 

 

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A Permanent Solution for the Neglected Produce Laborers of Mexico

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by Fidelis Spies 

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Problem:

A Times reporter and photographer find that thousands of laborers at Mexico’s mega-farms endure harsh conditions and exploitation while supplying produce for American consumers.

The Times found:

  • Many farm laborers are essentially trapped for months at a time in rat-infested camps, often without beds and sometimes without functioning toilets or a reliable water supply.
  • Some camp bosses illegally withhold wages to prevent workers from leaving during peak harvest periods.
  • Laborers often go deep in debt paying inflated prices for necessities at company stores. Some are reduced to scavenging for food when their credit is cut off. It’s common for laborers to head home penniless at the end of a harvest.
  • Those who seek to escape their debts and miserable living conditions have to contend with guards, barbed-wire fences and sometimes threats of violence from camp supervisors.
  • Major U.S. companies have done little to enforce social responsibility guidelines that call for basic worker protections such as clean housing and fair pay practices.

Hardship on Mexico’s farms, a bounty for U.S. tables

By RICHARD MAROSI http://graphics.latimes.com/product-of-mexico-camps/

Where does our food come from? It is the fruits and veggies of other people’s labor. Farm exports to the U.S. from Mexico have tripled to $7.6 billion in the last decade, enriching agribusinesses, distributors and retailers. As you can see in the article it’s the actual labors that come out last.

The company utilizes advance growing techniques and very carefully employs sanitary measures to make sure their produce is safe and good quality, but at the same time they absolutely neglect the workforce. The produce has a higher value than the actual humans working there. One of these Companies actually recently took out full-page newspaper ads promoting its commitment to social responsibility.

The company these laborers work for use devious ways to keep profits high. It is law to pay workers their wages on a weekly base. To ensure that the people do not leave before their 3 month work contract the company often withholds their wages and only pays them at the end of their contract. In that time the workers get their food from the company store with its inflated prices. They often go deep in debt and at the end of their contract some go home without any money.

The conditions are so bad, yet people still go there to work knowing that they might not make money – some go just to stay fed. They go because they simply have no alternative and that is what the companies are exploiting. Is there any way to stop this Madness? Yes

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Solution:

The main reason why people will work for a company like this and live with the miserable living conditions is because they need the money – no matter how little it is. So let’s see how the Living Income Guaranteed will drastically improve the situation:

With the Living Income Guaranteed the workforce will no longer be able to be exploited, because that desperation to find a job no matter where it is or how terrible the work conditions are will no longer exist. When the people who cannot find work receive a Living Income they will no longer accept bad working conditions. The company will have to improve the working conditions otherwise they are going to have a hard time hiring the workforce needed to get the job done.

This Involves granting them good quality foods that they are used to eating, to create proper housing with full services for them – water, toilets – and proper working gear. Also what would need to be done is abolish all abuse – this means no threats and not deliberately creating debt for the workforce.  These companies will need to apply and live by their corporate social responsibility measures; currently it’s only a front to make the companies look good.

With the basic Income Double the Living Income the laborers will be able to make a guaranteed decent living that will be paid on a weekly basis, no excuses allowed.

A Living Income Guaranteed will provide effective and practical solutions to all the current problems these laborers are facing and it is something this world needs – a Solution.

 

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Life Isn’t Supposed to be this Hard

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By Cerise Poolman

Labor force South Africa Living Income Minimum WageI have had many conversations with people, mostly people who are in low-paying jobs without much prospects for advancement, conversations about life. The thing that everyone agrees on is that life shouldn’t be this hard. Sometimes someone might say something like “I don’t know what we can do, maybe just pray harder.” To this I will respond with something like I think that what will be more effective than prayer to make a difference is action. If we all take action together, united in the goal of making life better, then we will see great changes – and everyone agrees to this logic. I have not met one person who says “NO, action won’t change anything!” The worst thing within all of this is that this life is difficult because we make it so. The worst part is that we could change the world if we took action, but we don’t.

One of the most popular excuses I hear is that it’s “other peoples’ faults”. The world is horrible and I have a crap life because of all the a-holes in the world. There are too many people who won’t change. The world will never change when there are so many bad people. This excuse is used to justify our own inaction – because apparently any effort we make would have no results and so it’s not even worth the effort. It’s as if we’re waiting for guaranteed paths of action, unwilling to move until we are absolutely sure that what we do will actually work. In a way this is the easy way out, because standing for change means going out into the unknown, no certainty as to what lies ahead.

Here in South Africa a very large part of the workforce survives on minimum wage, well below the poverty line. A large number of people live in illegal or government housing (which doesn’t appear to be very different when you put the two next to each other). These are the people who are hurt the most by this world, who are the most vulnerable. At this stage the only ways that they can try to bring about change is through protests, sometimes violent and sometimes not. At this stage there is a diminished level of understanding as to how change can be brought about – not only by impoverished people, but by most people.

There is a serious hole in the understanding of the average citizen Joe of how the system works, and more importantly, the power that each person has. Back to South Africa, what can the impoverished and vulnerable do to change their lives? They have minimal support from public (government) and community structures – dealing with the government is like pulling teeth, but pulling the wrong one each time. These people do not know how to ask the right questions, most of the time they do not even know what their rights are and what support structures are available to them. What then can they do? They often have only limited skills in reading and writing and, if any, very limited access to public sources of knowledge such as the internet. To add to this, the leaders they are most likely to choose are the ones who stir passion in their hearts, whether the message they are giving makes sense or not. Then there is the question of those who are more privileged – how far does their responsibility extend to the underprivileged?

I would say that where one has the ability and understanding to support another then they also have the responsibility to do so. What defines ‘ability’? Resources, skills, knowledge – but to what degree? Well, let me put it this way: If you know that you can help, then it becomes your responsibility to do so. Waiting for someone else to come along and help so that you don’t have to is an abdication of your responsibility to your community – and I don’t mean ‘community’ in the smallest sense of the word, I mean it in the largest sense, the global sense.

Life isn’t supposed to be this hard. We can change it. We can help each other. We can give opportunities to each other. We can support each other to be the best we can be. It’s doesn’t start with some other guys over there – it starts with YOU and ME. WE are the change, TOGETHER we are better, stronger. We have the responsibility to support solutions that will bring heaven to Earth. We may not see the full fruits of our labours in our lifetime, but maybe our children will.

 

Promotion of and Education on a Living Income Guaranteed for South Africa.

 

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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
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Understanding the current form of Democracy for the purpose of Redefining and Redesigning it

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by Thomas La Grua

Democracy Is

Ever wonder why we the people of societies have not been able to eliminate government corruption, and why politicians have been unable to stop unscrupulous activities of business men and women eager to profit even when it means poisoning a nation’s food and water supplies?

To put it simply, it is because our various systems of government, especially those of modern-day democracies are all subordinate to and thus defined by the hierarchy of money within and as the current world system of money. Accordingly, the priority of all governments and all other systems within the world system of money is not the people, but the people’s money.

Take for example representative democracy: what is this centuries old design of public administration still doing in the age of information communications technology? Certainly, in the days of horse travel and communications by printed-news and word of mouth, this form of limited people’s participation (wherein a minority make the decisions for the majority) probably made some sense simply because it wasn’t technology feasible to include all the people’s voices in the decision making processes.
Nowadays however, we have the communications technology and the infrastructure in the form of the Internet wherein we are able to instantaneously communicate with one another while openly sharing all information so as to enable all of the people to expressly participate in a form of real democracy, open source and direct.

The reason democracies have never functioned the way people have always hoped for is because our democracies have never been but in name, democracies of, by and for the people. They have always been democracies of the money by the money for the money. Why? Because by accepting and allowing Money to become the dominant system within humanity, we as humanity ended up also accepting and allowing money to override and therefore redefine the design of all other systems within and as the world-system of money; hence the inability to eliminate corruption in any society without concurrently addressing and correcting the corruption inequality of the current money-system.

 

Why hasn’t a new form of democracy yet materialized? 
Open Source Direct DemocracyEstablishing a foundation of real participatory democracy of the people by the people for the people is a process of people taking responsibility by investigating how the world functions, realizing where the problems lie, designing solutions, and then standing as those solutions so to change the system of democracy by stepping up and becoming it. This is what (real) democracy of the people by the people for the people is all about: all the people taking responsibility for all the things.

Unfortunately, this process of people taking responsibility is being hindered by massive amounts of programming/brainwashing of the masses in efforts to keep the people from realizing our potential, that which we begin to accomplish when we stand united in the principle of equality rather than divided along the lines of liberal and conservative ruling parties.
Who is behind the brainwashing of society, bankrolling the efforts to keep people dumbed-down believing that our current forms of democracy are representative of the majority when in reality they are not? Ask yourself: who benefits the most by keeping elitist-traditions alive? The elite of course, those with most of the world’s money, those who are currently in power and control. Eighty-five (85) of the richest people in the world now have more money than 3.5 billion of the poorest people in the world; where’s the democracy/equality in that?

A minority (called government) in the service of those with the most money write the laws, tell us what we can eat, drink, think, buy, sell, plant, smoke, the places we may go and not go, and finally the penalties should we disobey their laws and get caught. That we of so-called democratic societies do not even have a say in our national budgets, how much money goes to education, the education curriculum, minimum wages, taxation, war, etc., is testament to the reality that today’s so-called democracy is little more than an elaborate-hoax wherein we the people have come to believe that in voting every now and then, we are making the decisions, when in reality the only votes being counted are those of the currencies of money. It’s called democracy of the people, but really it’s just another form of mass manipulation, governmental systems in the service of money designed to keep the elite in positions of power control.

Although, we the people of the 21st century have excelled rapidly in information technology, we seem to have stumbled when it comes to using common-sense reasoning abilities to determine the difference between democracy of the people and autocracy of the money. Why else would societies still be allowing our most important decisions to be decided upon by small groups of individuals who (other than the fact that they are also human) do not represent the majority of society?

Somewhere along the lines of education-indoctrination and mass-media brainwashing, we as children to adulthood came to believe that government representatives represented the majority of the people when in reality, political representation (call it “a favor” if you will) goes to those who have the money and are willing to pay for political favors.

 

democracy

 

Look beyond the illusion (beyond the veil of government institutions, of corporate interests) to see the reality of the hierarchy of the world system, the hierarchy of money that currently defines humanity. All systems within and as the world system of money: politics, education, judicial and so on are currently within and subordinate to the world system of money, the almighty Dollar, Euro, Yuan, and so on, leaving us with the reality that democracy in coexistence with the current world system of money has never been but an illusion of people’s equal ability to participate in the political system.

Why have we arrived at this state of being? Because we as humanity have accepted and allowed the power of money to prevail over the equality of life; thereby, limiting each one’s ability to expressly participate (within humanity) to the sum of money-power that he or she currently possesses or controls. This is why it’s called the politics of money, and why nothing in this world gets done without sufficient sums of it.
Consequently, even if a president or legislative representative does attempt to represent the majority of the people’s interests ahead of the interests of the elite minority, he or she is likely to find it very difficult to get re-elected due to the fact that such politicians require large sums of (elite) money to finance their election-campaigns in order to get into power and stay there. Keep this in mind the next time you decide to point a finger and blame politicians.

In understanding what is currently here as democracy of the money by the money for the money, we the people are able to unite in the principle of equality to design a new form of democracy, one that supports all. The opportunity is for us to utilize information communications technology of the Internet to equally enable all members of society to participate in the process of making all of society’s decisions. How do we do this? As always, the journey for each one begins with the first step.

 

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Solution Oriented Mindset and LIG – “Housing First” Project

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By Garbrielle Goodrow

 

Homeless Salt Lake CityWithin then next series of blogs on the Living Income I will be discussing the solution oriented mindset of current plans and actions around the globe that are happening, and how within this capacity and even greater ones, a Living Income as proposed by the Equal Life Foundation will be able to facilitate these actions on greater scales.

An article I read tonight was about how in Salt Lake City they are implementing a change in the way they handle the homeless called “Housing First,’ where they give people an opportunity of a better life by giving them a furnished home to live in, and a more supportive environment for their transition into a new way of life. This foundational support of housing and access to health services, give them the time to be able to walk the process necessary to change their lives.

Before this program was implemented in Salt Lake City – like so many other cities – the state and police force were criminalizing homelessness and sending these unfortunate people into jail because they didn’t have a place to go. So the cycle would continue, they would arrest homeless people on the streets, in the park, or on private properties and send them to jail. Where they would get released in the morning and go back to the same locations, and then the next night would get arrested again. This obviously not making much sense nor supporting those who require support. The money that was being spent to do all of this was not being used for the purposes of supporting these people, but to put a band aid solution onto the problem that did not support either side nor was economically viable or efficient as the problem never gets solved.

“The cost of shelters, emergency-room visits, ambulances, police, and so on quickly piles up. Lloyd Pendleton, the director of Utah’s Homeless Task Force, told me of one individual whose care one year cost nearly a million dollars, and said that, with the traditional approach, the average chronically homeless person used to cost Salt Lake City more than twenty thousand dollars a year. Putting someone into permanent housing costs the state just eight thousand dollars, and that’s after you include the cost of the case managers who work with the formerly homeless to help them adjust. The same is true elsewhere. A Colorado study found that the average homeless person cost the state forty-three thousand dollars a year, while housing that person would cost just seventeen thousand dollars.” (1)

Housing First Salt Lake CitySo the cost of supporting those who are having trouble in their life versus perpetuating the same non productive cycles of using the public resources is not even making a dent on the problem, as the homeless numbers still continue to rise. Through taking the time and effort to create a plan like the one that has been implemented in Salt Lake City, it is now proven that is much more economically feasible and socially responsible to provide housing for everyone, because not only is it supporting people to create a better life, but it’s creating an environment for the community that is more equal and wholesome. No more are we seeing the problem just continue to proliferate, but there is a start of a solution put in place to support these people and in doing so also create a better life and living environment for all. These people who are getting the support of the “Housing First” program in Salt Lake City are now becoming productive citizens in their communities and are able to create a stable life for themselves and for their families.


“Housing First isn’t just cost-effective. It’s more effective, period. The old model assumed that before you could put people into permanent homes you had to deal with their underlying issues—get them to stop drinking, take their medication, and so on. Otherwise, it was thought, they’d end up back on the streets. But it’s ridiculously hard to get people to make such changes while they’re living in a shelter or on the street. ‘If you move people into permanent supportive housing first, and then give them help, it seems to work better,’ Nan Roman, the president and C.E.O. of the National Alliance for Homelessness, told me. ‘It’s intuitive, in a way. People do better when they have stability.’ Utah’s first pilot program placed seventeen people in homes scattered around Salt Lake City, and after twenty-two months not one of them was back on the streets. In the years since, the number of Utah’s chronically homeless has fallen by seventy-four per cent.” (1)

This is proving that when people are supported with a basic means to live as these people were given a place to stay and support for them to get back on a stable platform, they will thrive. A Living Income that has no strings attached and is here for their benefit will create results that not only gives dignity and health back to those who are participating in it, but it supports the whole community to flourish and become a place of growth and development.

The Living Income guarantee will work in such a way as with the Salt Lake City homeless project, supporting and living within the principle of doing what is best for all. Obviously we see when we use our resources and money to support the wellbeing of others and the wellbeing of the environment, we have results that are conducive and supportive of the upliftment of the people that need it the most: those without money or resources. And also the collateral benefit is that the community starts to thrive with less crime, less drugs and alcohol use on the streets, as well as being more vitality breathed into these places, as the homeless get their feet back on the ground and can start to contribute back to the community and feel proud within themselves for being able to do so.

 

LIG

 

People who become homeless do so for a systemic problem, either they are caught in addiction perpetuated by our consumer society, or they ran out of resources, or have mental health problems with no real options for solutions and care. So many factors cause the problem that will in turn have to be addressed on a more holistic and systemic basis, but as we see with the “Housing First” project, even small steps gives way to opening for this process to create a better life for all.

Money is a medium that is able to support growth in life into a best for all scenario as this example was set forth with the successful integration of stable housing for the homeless in Salt Lake City. On the other hand, money can be used in ways that are not supportive, where money is wasted and spent in dead end ventures due to greed and an inability to move in a direction and willingness to fix what is broken in our current system.

We have a choice and a decision to make within ourselves as to what way of life would we like, not only for ourselves, but also for the future generations that to come. Living income Guaranteed by the Equal Life Foundation is setting the path forward to, on a systematic level,  give financial support to All those who are in need of it,  which will give way to having more access to resources and time to stabilize our lives into a way that is dignified. The Living Income Proposal‘s implementation will counterbalance the current mindset of feeding off of those who are not able to support themselves as we’ve seen with the banking and credit card industry for an obvious instance, and again create a path to support all in this world as we would want to be supported and doing what is best for everyone here on this planet.

The example with the Salt Lake City project shows that when people are given the conditions to have a chance to support themselves, they will thrive as living beings –  though this process has to be actualized as it’s just in certain areas now for specific causes. The Living Income Guaranteed Proposal sets the path for all people in this world to be given an income if in need to get their feet back on the ground and time to move themselves in the direction that will be best for them and so best for all. Supporting and giving to life as self will always come back to self eventually, as “what you give you will receive” says an ancient proverb and it remains true to this day.

Check Out the Links for More Information on Living Income:

 

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The Future of Education and the School of Life

Posted on Updated on

by Anna Brix Thomsen

School of Life LIG ELFIn the previous post we did a thought experiment where we placed ourselves in the shoes of a child in today’s Western school system. I am sure many can relate to the experiences described and agree that the current school system is not optimal.

In this post we are therefore going to do a different thought experiment. We are going to imagine what it would be like to go to school in a potential future education system, an education system that honors and prioritizes the life and well being of our children, an educational system that doesn’t aim solely at producing future consumers to keep the wheels of corporate capitalism spinning, but on nurturing compassionate and independent individuals to live and become their full potential and become responsible members of society as a whole.

When politicians and scholars discuss educational reforms, the bottom line comes down how much money is allocated in the local and national budgets to optimize the education system. And as other parts of the economy are prioritized, the education system is often left with severe cutbacks, low wages for teachers and poor physical conditions.

However – in this thought experiment we’re going to take this point out of the equation. We’re doing this for the following reasons:

First of all, studies have shown that long term investments in quality education is far more profitable in the long-run than short-term cutbacks often resulting in increasing drop-out rates and educational inequality. Therefore, it is not valid to discuss budgets that are in no way acceptable when it comes to establishing an optimized education system as though it is a given condition when looking at educational reforms.

Secondly, within the proposal of a Living Income Guaranteed system we are proposing a fundamental restructuring of our economic systems, where supporting that which is best for ALL citizens is a primary principle and aim. What this means is that if we can all agree that education is so important that budgets shouldn’t determine how good our schools are, then budgets isn’t the first point that should be discussed when it comes to education, but in fact the last. The last meaning, we look at what would be optimal when it comes to creating an education system that is best for all and THEN we look at what is possible in terms of allocating resources; not the other way around. An example of how this makes it possible to finance an education system that in the short-term might be more ‘expensive’ than the one we have today (yet more profitable in the long run), could for example be through we as citizens deciding that an ample budget for our education systems is more important than an astronomical budget used to arm military forces. This is however not the only way that a Living Income Guaranteed system will make it possible to restructure a country’s economy, as several proposals have been made to for example nationalize resources and increase value added tax, so if this is something you are interested, you can read more about the proposals for financing a Living Income Guaranteed System.

Furthermore, one of the fundamental pillars of the proposal of a Living Income Guaranteed System especially in relation to a restructuring of our education systems, has to do with the fact that everyone who doesn’t work will be able to receive a Living Income, a ‘citizen’s wage’ if you will,  and where those who do work will earn at least double what a living income provides, through placing the minimum wage at the double of the living income.

So to sum up the fundamental change of our education systems that a Living Income System provides in relation to education is that:

  • In a Living Income system, parents will have the opportunity to spend more time with, and even be the primary educators of their children. They will in other words have more responsibility when it comes to the education of their children, but will also be better equipped at providing the best possible education for their children
  • The people who do decide to become teachers and instructors will be those who are passionate about teaching as teaching will not simply be an easy access to a stable salary. This is an important point, because we have all experienced how demotivating it is to be taught by someone who’s not only unskilled at teaching but who also is highly ineffective at it and few of us have experienced the stark difference it is to be taught by someone who’s not only qualified but also passionate about teaching.
  • The budget for education is determined only by how far we are willing to go to provide the best possible education for our children. What we are talking about here is not necessarily fancy school structures and infinite budgets for schools to take their students on fieldtrips. It is also not astronomical teachers salaries, but instead simply to – through resetting the idea that school budgets must be kept as low as possible – give ourselves the space and time to rethink what education can and should be. A specific example of this has to do with class sizes, which I covered in a recent blog that you can read here.

 

Instead of doing a thought experiment where we imagine a ‘Day in the Life’ of a child or parent in a Living Income system, I’d like to ask you to simply imagine for yourself how it would be like for you as a parent to raise your child in a world where struggling to survive is no longer the first priority because this point will be taken care of by the Living Income System. How will it be like to wake up in the morning? To get everyone dressed, fed and ready for the day? How will it be like to have the ‘luxury’ of the right to decide between parenting as a ‘life-path’, a career or even both, in a way that supports everyone involved?

How many mothers and fathers do not go to work every day feeling guilty, stressed and apathetic, knowing that they’re leaving their child in the hands of strangers? How many parents can honestly say that they have full trust in the daycare and education-system to do what is best for their children? And if they have the trust, how many will admit that it is a trust build on hope because anything else would be too unbearable to consider?

I’m sure many parents have considered homeschooling their children for this exact reason, but realistically speaking, how many are in a financial position where they are able to do so? And how many parents have had any form of training in terms of communicating with and effectively educating a child?

Imagine if all parents would receive proper training, similar to that of kindergarten- and elementary school teachers, but even more streamlined and supportive. How would your communication with your child change?

Obviously not all parents will want to be homeschoolers and therefore teachers will play an important role in a Living Income system. What I would like you to consider here is that schools and the education system in general does not have to be the way that it is currently. The current school-model is primarily based on an industrial perspective on education, where as many people are to be educated, as cheaply as possible, with the result that the current school system is actually not an optimal learning environment. It is therefore important that we dare to step out of the idea of schools only being one thing, one model and dare to imagine that it could be completely different. An example of this could be a much more streamlined and flexible transition between home-life and school-life, where a community of parents join together to create ‘mini-schools’. If families living together in the same apartment building for example come together in a joint effort to take care of and educate their children, it would mean that some parents could work, whereas others could stay in the community and care for the children. Maybe the parents could even hire a teacher if they prefer to do so; with the teacher being an individual whose passion it is to be a teacher.

Teaching ought to be a ‘calling’ that people decides to do because they’re passionate about teaching. Imagine if all teachers were people who truly enjoy and are exceptionally skilled at teaching, imagine a small group of students all working together and at the same time with individualized curricular aligned to their individual needs. The importance of passionate teachers is not to be underestimated and studies have even shown much difference a teacher makes when it is someone who truly enjoys what they are doing.

Many of the most skilled and qualified teachers today quit their jobs because the working conditions are unacceptable. To retain their integrity and respect for the teaching-profession they actually have to quit their jobs because they see that the current system in no way will allow them to teach in the way they see will truly benefit the children. With 35 children in a classroom having to be taught according to a standardized curriculum and given an exuberant amount of tests, it is no wonder that these compassionate and creative teachers decide to quit their jobs. Instead teaching becomes something you do if you don’t know what else to do or because you see it as an easy access to a stable income. That is certainly not how it should be. However – what we’re suggesting with the Living Income proposal is not that the solution then is to merely give teachers higher salaries. Instead we suggest that teachers are giving a Living Income due to the fact that their performing a public service and it is detrimental for the teaching-profession if becoming a teacher is something one does for the money.

What we are proposing instead is to provide teachers, and so students with optimized learning environments and conditions; small student groups, time to prepare and do research, resources and equipment available that need all the teachers needs.

Imagine what it would be like in such a school environment where the highest priority is on the joy of learning, not as a platitude we tell our students, but as a real statement of intent that translates into practical reality as learning environments optimized to fit all students needs: spaces for reading and introspection, labs equipped with everything needed to effectively teach biology and physics, music studios, painting studios, language labs, excursions to local work-places, guest lecturers, internships for older students – basically a strong coherence between school-life and the rest of society where school isn’t merely a simulation or containment facility but where it actually becomes an integral part of society, given equal importance and priority.

Imagine if all students were taught in exactly the way that fits their individual needs, imagine if all students were treated with great care and consideration when it comes to nurture and support them to reach their true potential. Wouldn’t the world look very different? Wouldn’t we as people be more fulfilled on an individual level and better equipped at stepping into society as highly contributory citizens?

Imagine an education system that truly honors its students, that show them the greatest respect in teaching them to honor life. Imagine an education system where compassion and equality are not simply slogans we throw around to make our excuse for an education system look better, but an integral part of a child’s daily life.

As you can see, the sky is really the limit when it comes to imagining an education system that is optimized and aligned to each student’s individual need. There are so many possibilities available once we step out of the limits of the current education system where schools are pressed to the max to keep budgets down and deliver a fully standardized education.

As a teacher, I stand 100 % behind the proposal for a Living Income system because I would for one like to see and experience an education system that truly honors the human potential, that does not compromise and that has as its chief aim to ensure that all children are educated in the best way possible to harness their unique potential in this world. I would like to see the adults that walk out of such an education system and I have no doubt that the world will be forever changed because of it. This can truly be an exciting time to be alive – if only we dare to step out of our comfort zones and realize that we are capable of so much more, if only we start honoring and celebrating life – and what better place to start doing that than through the potential of our children?

If you are ready to get involved in a political and economic change of paradigms and thereby also a change of our education systems, I invite you to investigate the Equal Life Foundation’s proposal of a Guaranteed Living Income System. This proposal suggests a groundbreaking change in political paradigms that doesn’t ‘take sides’ but instead presents a completely new approach to solving the problems we are currently facing in this world.

 

Re-Educate yourself here:

A couple of weeks ago I was part of the panel on a Live Google Hangout about the Common Core standards initiative. I definitely recommend watching it.

The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQiW_l848t8

PROPAGANDA | FULL ENGLISH VERSION (2012)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NMr2VrhmFI

The Century of the Self
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7EwXmxpExw

Psywar
http://metanoia-films.org/psywar/

The Trap
http://archive.org/details/AdamCurtis_TheTrap

The Power Principle
http://metanoia-films.org/the-power-principle/

Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century
http://metanoia-films.org/human-resources/

The Story of Your Enslavement
http://youtu.be/Xbp6umQT58A

Blind Spot
https://vimeo.com/30559203

Inequality for all documentary:
http://www.putlocker.to/watch-inequality-for-all-online-free-putlocker.html

The Four Horsemen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fbvquHSPJU

On Advertisement and the end of the world:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8gM0Q58iP0

Third World America – Chris Hedges
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drZE65_134g

More articles about parenting and education in a Guaranteed Living Income System:

http://livingincomeforall.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/parents-need-a-living-income-now/

https://livingincomeguaranteed.wordpress.com/category/parenting/

http://economistjourneytolife.blogspot.com/2014/01/day-259-living-income-guaranteed-and.html

https://livingincomeguaranteed.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/the-self-perpetuating-cycle-of-homelessness-and-living-income-guaranteed/

Watch the hangout about Education for a New World in Order: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlj5wGCRnSU

 

For Further Information, Follow these Links: