Environmental Policy

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:

 

greeneconomy

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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.

 

csr

 

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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What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

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By Josh Richert

You, like me, may have heard of the growing trend for companies and primarily large international corporations to work towards producing products and services that are provided in a way that is environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.  This is commonly referred to as the ‘green movement’ and other terms associated with this would be terms such as ‘carbon footprint’, ‘sustainability’, and ‘eco-friendly.’  But did you know that there exist actual laws and regulations that are designed to direct this movement?  Well, I did not know this until recently, although it would make sense that there must be, as any social or business movement or trend in thinking in our world requires a ‘force’ either behind the scenes or overt to lead the charge and pave the way.

CSROne of these entities is CSR, which stands for Corporate Social Responsibility and also called Business for Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Responsible Business, Enlightened Capitalism, Ethical Business, Triple Bottom Line, Green Business, Corporate Citizenship, Responsible Business, Social Enterprise, etc.   As it stands today, CSR is a form of a built-in self-regulating mechanism whereby businesses can monitor and ensure that their activities comply with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, social and environmental impact, governance considerations and international norms of behavior for the ‘common good’.  The goal of CSR is to have corporations embrace these responsibilities and thus encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, customers, employees, and communities which are commonly referred to as ‘stakeholders’.   CSR is regulated by the UN and other international bodies and is a global movement.

The evolution of CSR is that it came into our collective consciousness in response to the connection between apartheid and business in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, which resulted in negative screens on these companies.  Activists responding to slavery, extraction, exploitation, and environmental degradation due to business practices began exposing the inconsistencies between these businesses as to what they present to society and what their actual impact is.  Today, the term CSR implies a responsibility but actually acts as a competitive advantage in that many business leaders are recognizing that these issues can have serious impacts on their companies due to the growing awareness of how products are made, who suffers, if the environment suffers as a consequence to how they are produced which results in consumers avoided their products if their business practices are too ‘bad’. 

Thus, today, many companies today implement CSR into their business model to give them a competitive advantage to gain access to capital, attract talent, gain consumer loyalty, and increase shareholder value just to name a few.

business ethics LIG

 

Even though CSR is recognized as a voluntary self-regulation, stock exchanges across the globe are beginning to require reporting on the non-financial impacts of a company’s activities.  There are a group of standards from which a company can measure their CSR initiatives: ISO 26000, Global Reporting Initiative (FRI), AccountAbility 1000, and Social Accountability International SA8000 to name a few.

Over the years, corporate philanthropy has been widely recognized as the leading tactic for CSR.  Other tactics include human rights initiatives, community investment, natural and organic products, sustainable development, fair trade, green products, responsible investments, diversity, clean technology, among others.  Companies interested in communicating their CSR initiatives use CSRWire.com as the dominant vehicle in distributing information on their initiatives.

The overall goal and intent of CSR is to develop an economically just and environmentally sustainable society.  But, is this really working out as intended?  And even if so, is it fast enough to curb the current level of environmental degradation and social and labor abuses that we are now witnessing on this planet from the current business practices of corporations, before it’s too late and we have consequences that will affect us all, or at least the vast majority of us, in a highly ‘negative’ way? 

Is CSR and other initiatives and regulations like this a real solution or just a band-aid?  And are these initiatives really for the common good or are they being used to consolidate control at the top by slowly but surely enforcing more and more control and regulations on companies?  And within our current economic system of capitalism and its current structure, is it really possible to have a significant effect on the environment by implementing a top-down approach, such as CSR, to dealing with these issues, or is a bottom-up approach more affective?  And what is and would be a bottom-up approach?  And can a bottom-up approach be implemented in a capitalist system?  And what is capitalism anyway?

These questions will be answered in my next writings.  So, stay tuned.

 

Money or profit

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Pollution Inequality and Living Income Guaranteed

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by Maite Zamora Moreno

Air Quality China Pollution Control Living Income Proposal

 

One of the reasons pollution has been able to become such a huge problem is that those creating the pollution are usually not the ones suffering its consequences. Let’s take the classical fictional example of a paper factory using a nearby river in which to dump its waste-material. The river-current drags these materials away from the paper factory and to a nearby town that uses the river water for drinking purposes. The paper factory might use the same river for drinking water for its employees or production processes, but it will use the water a bit higher up the river, at a point where the water is still clean. So – even though the factory is producing the waste material, dumping it in the river and so contaminating the quality of the water – it is not the factory itself/those working at the factory who feel and experience the consequences of polluting the river to get rid of its waste. Since the factory doesn’t feel the harm in what it’s doing, it won’t change what it’s doing, unless there are complaints from the villagers who DO experience the consequences of the river pollution and take action so that solutions can be implemented.


Now – a study was done by James K. Boyce, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, where he investigated the ‘distribution’ of air pollution. Most people have heard about distribution of income and wealth and how unequal it is. But what about air pollution – is everyone suffering to the same extent or are certain groups/categories of people more exposed – and why?

In an interview with the professor the following was discussed:

LP: Do patterns of inequality differ across the country? How can a person of color or a poor person avoid air pollution?
JKB: Avoiding industrial air pollution is difficult, particularly if you’re poor or a member of a racial or ethnic minority. That’s partly because of housing prices. It’s partly because of discrimination in housing and mortgage markets — the phenomenon of red-lining. And it’s also partly because of the tendency for firms to site polluting facilities in relatively low-income and relatively high-minority communities because they expect less political pushback.

Hmmm, that last statement is quite interesting, isn’t it? In the example of our paper factory we were giving the factory ‘the benefit of the doubt’ in saying that – they probably didn’t realize what they were doing within polluting the water of the river, because they weren’t experiencing the consequences of the polluted water. But this statement clearly shows that – polluting firms are not only aware that they are polluting, they are aware that it has negative consequences for others – and yet, so long as they think they can ‘get away with it’, they’ll still do it. And when can they get away with it? When those experiencing the negative outflows are unlikely to speak up or take action to hold the firm accountable.

Or maybe it doesn’t mean that at all. Perhaps – let us entertain this notion for a moment – perhaps people of color or poor people are less likely to initiate political push back because they just don’t mind the air pollution. Maybe they are the enlightened ones who realize that air pollution is really not a big deal and therefore simply don’t want to make a fuss when it isn’t necessary.

But then you get to the following part of the interview:

 

LP: What are some of the most concerning economic effects of industrial air pollution on communities?

JKB: Air pollution has adverse effects on people’s health, and that means that they have to spend more on healthcare and they miss more days of work, either because they themselves are too ill to go to work or because their kids are sick and they have to stay home and take care of them. It also has adverse effects on property values, which vary with the levels of air pollution in the community.

On top of those outcome effects, it also impacts equality of opportunity, particularly for children. Because communities that are heavily burdened with air pollution tend to have higher incidence and greater severity of childhood asthma, the kids miss more days of school, and partly because they’re missing school and perhaps partly because of the neurological impacts of air pollution on their young and developing cognitive function, there is an adverse effect on school performance.
If you believe, as I think most Americans believe, that every kid deserves an equal chance, that equality of opportunity for children is dear to our society for reasons of both equity and efficiency, then the impacts of disproportionate pollution burdens on the children in some communities – the fact that the playing field is tilted against them through no fault of their own – is a troubling feature of our environmental landscape.

That settles it then – air pollution is definitely a problem that impacts the lives of those who are most exposed to it in a harmful way. So, it’s highly unlikely that they don’t mind – it must be that there is a problem in their ability to voice themselves and push for solutions that would improve their standard of living. And that makes total sense. As we have argued before – political participation is currently a luxury that can only be afforded by those who have the money and the time to firstly educate themselves on what procedures are available to them to organize themselves, formulate complaints and propose solutions – and secondly, walk these procedures and taking action.


With the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed, companies would no longer have the ability to get away with excessive air pollution in low-income or minority community areas. No matter how much one currently struggles to get by income-wise and no matter if one belongs to a ‘minority community’ – each one’s economic situation would be secured and therefore, each one’s political influence is guaranteed as well. Herein, we could make an end to the cycle of impairing opportunities of those who already have a harder time to make the best of the opportunities they do have. Because once one is caught up in the struggle to survive, one has no bargaining power – one becomes the equivalent of a ‘slave’ within a system where one’s long term benefits are sacrificed for the short term goals of having enough money to put food on the table and pay the bills. And this is known by firms who release excessive amounts of pollutants into the environment for which they do not want to take responsibility – and so they will callously ensure that the consequences they create are carried mostly by those who don’t have the luxury to put a stop to it.

So, is a Living Income Guaranteed ‘bad news’ for firms? No – not at all. The philosophy of the free market is based on the premise that off-setting individual interests can create the best outcome for everyone. Of course, interests that are not voiced have no power to off-set anything at all – which is precisely what we’re witnessing in the world today. A Living Income Guaranteed would ensure that all interests are considered and play a role within the creation of an optimal outcome. Air pollution is a great example herein, because, what is air pollution? It is a way in which the natural equilibrium is disturbed, which, as we are all too aware of, is having consequences on the larger natural systems that the air forms a part of. In essence, it is a form of poisoning the planet, the planet we all share.

We can try for a while to keep the effects of pollution isolated so that most, or at least the more affluent, in society don’t have to worry about it. But the planet is an interconnected system and eventually – as we’re noticing with global warming – the effects will reach everyone. So – implementing a Living Income Guaranteed is not only a matter of empowering those without means or voice to make a decent living for themselves in this world – it is a vital step to ensure that we create optimal outcomes for everyone, that cannot be achieved if not everyone is part of the discussion.

corporate-social-responsibility - LIG

 

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The Theory of Economy

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by Viktor Person

supply-and-demand-01-resized-600This summer I had the mixed pleasure of reading a course in Microeconomics and International trade. In microeconomics the primary focus of the researchers is to establish ‘What is the market really doing and why?’ – and this is attempted to be done utilizing mathematical formulas; primarily utilizing the famous graph where two lines cross each-other, the one line sloping downwards (demand) and the other sloping upwards (supply) – and where they meet each other = that’s apparently the optimal price for the product and the optimal quantity of that product in that given market.

What first struck me as being fascinating about these theories was that they seldom predicted how the market would behave in reality, and neither could they be verified with empirical evidence – and most of the time the authors of the my books where busy trying to find reasons and various viewpoints as to why these theories wasn’t working “as they should” – and how they probably did work but it was just that the inventors missed to take into consideration some important factors and variables.

Though, what was the most fascinating about this entire area of research, was how there was this complete worship to the idea that lower prices = higher consumer satisfaction; and that apparently for a market to be functional, what is required is that we produce as many products as possible, to the lowest prices possible, because then the consumers are able to buy as much as possible, and then we’re apparently okay, happy, and have a fruitful existence here on earth.

Obviously, when I looked at these ideas, I silently chuckled – because the logical flaw of this assumption is glaringly simple = the producers are the consumers! YES – that’s the secret of economy and the reason why we’ve got so many unemployed in this day and age is because we’ve failed to understand that when a product is cheaper, someone at the other end gets less money, which in turns means that a (employee) consumer gets less money, which in turns means that the producer gets less customers = and it all ends up in such a way that most lose but a few that manage to reap the monopoly profits of those very low-priced products – because they’ve priced out everyone else.

It’s clear that we have to develop a new way of looking at economics, and that mathematics and statistics isn’t the way to go – no – we actually require to look at the actuality of what is going on. For example, poverty, what is the actuality of poverty? Why does poverty exist to begin with? It’s not a matter of mathematics, rather it’s a matter of seeing what is behind everything in this world – and that is MONEY – money that in itself is a completely innocent creation meant to be but a way of distributing goods and services to where they are required and wanted the most; but in our current system – money has become a point of control – where those that are already rich and on top of things with all possible means make sure the keep those stricken by poverty in place – else we wouldn’t anymore have a functional slave labor force that can produce all of our various gadgets and other mechanics of entertainment.

Thus, what we must ask ourselves, and economists more importantly, is why have we never used our knowledge to produce a sustainable system where all of us are able to create a life that is dignified, cool and enjoyable? What is required for us to do that? MONEY – and what do we need to bring through such money into this world? Resources – so what is then the solution – the real economic master plan as to how to create a world that would be sustainable and practical for all its inhabitants? To agree that we share the resources – at least the basic and most essential resources – those that we MUST HAVE in order to live.

Thus, I stand behind the Living Income Guaranteed – which is a functional, effective and sustainable way of creating a new world for all people where money will be shared – and for those economists that want to make a difference – I suggest that you investigate this concept and bring your knowledge to the table and help to create something from which we can all benefit!

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Living Income Guaranteed and Teaching

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This is a more difficult issue because thus far the education systems of the world have only been a drain in the economy and have not really produced anything substantial. One of the latest examples is the South African education system that in the last 10/15 years has eaten up 20% of the budget, but at the university level, there’s only a 15% pass rate with billions being lost in inefficiency.

Education and specifically teaching is also a type of ‘easy job’ because there are no real guidelines or minimum standards, while this is one of the points that build the foundation of a society that can exist without a criteria to measure effectiveness, to apply it and to expect effectiveness.

The current likelihood of drawing people into the education field is purely for having an ‘easier job,’ one where there is no real accountability and that is quite a problem. Therefore in Living Income Guaranteed we suggest that the teaching profession should be in the category that is normally referred to as one’s vocation. This means that teaching should be in the hierarchy of needs at the level where a person has achieved everything they wanted to be and become in this life, thus they are accomplished and ‘feel the calling’ to educate the children of the future. And they decide to do so not because of money, they do it because of the satisfaction it gives and because they have prepared themselves effectively to be the best that they can be.

We suggest that the teachers should be the best individuals of our society, the living examples that can share with the younger generations how to walk through the path of life with sufficient skills, sufficient understanding of how the world works while standing as an example of what it means to be a self responsible and integral person in society. Therefore money should not be what drives the teaching vocation, because Living Income Guaranteed would be – in our proposed format –sufficient to make a decent living, which means a teacher should only ever receive the Living Income Guaranteed and not anything more.This would require one to look at teaching from a different perspective and to investigate the reasons why our education system at this stage seems to be a complete failure.

What must also be emphasized is the importance of the family in the basic education of a child, realizing that in essence: education begins at home. The tools and the mechanisms with which to do this should be available in every home, and every parent should be educated and supported to understand how to facilitate this so that by the time the child reaches school, they follow an integral technological education curriculum that facilitates the correct functioning and learning of the mind, and the structure of the character within the relationships that produce a society that is best for everyone. This is how we can bring about the intellectual development of the human to be able to facilitate and contribute to society through finding more effective ways for the coexistence and harmony that is necessary between humans & humans, and humans & animals and humans & nature.

Another proposal is that if a method can be found to be effective in managing and ensuring that the teachers do produce the children that we can be proud of in our society, such as teachers being subject to performance evaluations and meeting the criteria for effectiveness, then one can revisit this point and possibly pay the teachers at least the minimum wage. However, based on our current evidence, the situation has not improved at all, it has only gone backwards and there is clearly no solution proposed for immediate implementation, and to simply try and ‘motivate the teacher with money’ while the very future of our society is dependent on their effectiveness means such incentive would be in fact counterproductive.

Teaching will be stepping stone to create a society that is genuinely driven to support others to become the best self-sufficient interdependent beings in society, rather than being merely competition driven individuals to make the most profit only – we will finally establish living values that will be the essential structure in which the functionality of our coexistence in self responsibility will be based upon.

Equal Life Foundation Research Team

Basic Income Guaranteed and Teaching, Education

Living Income Can Save Capitalism

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This should be good news for the capitalists.

This proposal will have to become part of a political party’s manifesto and become part of their economic policy and they have to promote it within the context as presented to overcome the objections that are inherently glued to the view of the capitalist.

If you look at George Bush, David Cameron, Obama – they all have promoted the idea to ‘save capitalism’, that there is one thing everybody must do, they say: ‘spend more.’ But there’s a problem with what’s happening in the world there are fewer and fewer jobs which means people can spend less and less so all the economies are contracting because the money supply which at the end is dependent on the amount of people participating in the system with money is shrinking; the economic theory did not expand yet to consider proper solutions for the world. So the following is how one solves the problem.

In any given country you have citizens, they are citizens by birth and by birth they have a birth right towards citizenship in that country. We propose that that birth right should be including inclusive of the resources that are in that country – for instance, the mining resources and water resources, electricity, cellphones, telephones… all the points that are part of that country originally. But maybe it’ll be possible to only look at the resources that everybody requires and needs on a daily basis which are food, water, electricity and something like the cellphone, telephone and internet. These are things that are already in a country and they have intrinsic value. By utilizing these resources you have a situation where everyone in the country participates in contributing towards the total turnover of these particular resources.

If the price is set to be sufficient to accommodate sufficient profit for the shareholders – which in this case will be the citizens of the country – which then are distributed to all those citizens in the country that do not have enough income as a Living Income Guaranteed, it is possible to set up a system which will have a very interesting effect for all capitalists. This is because suddenly, all the people in the country will be able to spend money; this will mean the capitalists that will so to speak ‘lose income’ because if they already own any of these resources in the country their shares will be transferred through nationalization to the shareholders that should have owned it in the first place, which are the citizens. In other words, if you take away anything from the security of a state and the security of a state is to supply and support their citizens: you’re committing treason. So by taking these corporations and creating them as private entities, taking it away from the rights of the citizens, in fact treason has been committed and this is being done through public relations and cognitive disinformation, by control of the media. This is why we also suggest that the media should also be controlled by the citizens because the media in any particular country is always the voice of the citizens. And therefore, all of these corporations still run as corporations, the only difference is that the shareholding is in the hands of the citizens and it becomes a matter of national pride, and they are managed properly by people that are properly skilled that do so for the benefit of the country.

This can become extremely valuable resources in terms of stabilizing an economy and presenting and producing sufficient profit that at the moment as we know, ends up in the hands of a selective few elite to such an extent that their combined wealth can stop poverty in the whole world several times, which means there is already enough money created. Obviously what they’re doing is a fascinating thing, in many cases they’re reducing prices of products simply to outperform the competition which causes massive unemployment in the world, purely to make more money but is justified as saying that ‘by making things cheaper = we’re making it more affordable for everyone,’ but if a person does not have an income = they don’t have a level of affordability, there is just no way they can own it. So when one takes this model and you apply it and you have each citizen with a Living Income Guaranteed, the citizen now can spend money, this money will normally be spent at the normal corporations that now supply goods and services in all kinds of arenas, that will increase turnover, that would increase job creation and that would increase profits.

Now you’ll say “But if everybody gets a Living Income, who’s going to do the work?” very simple, the minimum wage should be double the Living Income so that the person is motivated to not use the Living Income Guaranteed but to go out and work because that will give them access to money to buy luxuries as well, because the Living Income Guaranteed will not be sufficient to buy ‘extreme luxuries,’ it will be to buy the basics that are necessary, to provide the education that is necessary, to have at least one motor vehicle to be able to have the transport that’s necessary.

Another suggestion within the Living Income Guaranteed proposal is that there is also a subsidy for homes which is sufficient to construct a reasonable home because that will not only benefit the banking industry, but it will also benefit the building industry and so it’ll again have a knock on effect in creating cash flow which then creates money supply, which creates an economy that is growing and a happy capitalist, because there will be many more opportunities than what exists now.

One of the things that should be considered is the standard of goods – there should be a minimum standard and each country should have a bureau of standards that specifically makes sure that the products made available to the citizens as a matter of their birth right and their citizen’s right to have goods that are of real value, that these products are going through stringent tests. This way we ensure the capitalists don’t just try and make profit but actually provide a proper service and a proper product which will reduce a lot of the unnecessary energy spending in the world where things are just made for the sake of enticing people to buy through advertising. Thus, advertising should be not based on cognitive disinformation or on placing people in an emotional state when they’re buying, it should be based on fact and there should be better regulation about advertising so that people are not psychologically manipulated, because that is simply not acceptable.

When you have a system where you have your basic job facilitation which includes from janitors, to road builders to any type of job where your minimum wage is double your Living Income, you will find that there will be enough workers to do the work because they’ll earn more, and those that work will have benefit because they will be able to buy better cars, bigger houses and they will thus have a better standing in the community which will motivate people to look for jobs and because lots more money is in circulation = new businesses will begin, which will again offer more jobs and thus create more opportunities for people to get a better income than just a Living Income Guaranteed.

The Living Income Guaranteed must be of such nature that it is sufficient for a person or a family to live a decent life, one worthy of their birth right as a citizen. Utilizing it this way, it becomes viable for the corporations to give up some of the things they control in favor of having a stable economy that provides a lot more money in circulation, which provides a lot more opportunities for profit. By doing this, one reduces various factors that have become extreme problems which are already being investigated by projects like the Big Project In Namibia: if everybody’s got a Living Income: crime reduces, violence reduces and people want to improve themselves because they are no longer desperate, they have moved from desperation to hope and they start to educate themselves better.

This is an all-around effective solution where one can ensure then that the most Living Human Rights as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is actually taken care of, the capitalists are kept happy, those that believe that ‘some are lazy and some are not’ are kept happy because they can now go and work and earn more money and leave the others with less money.


Essentially a Living Income Guaranteed is at this stage a viable solution for a world in extreme trouble. Bailouts won’t work, people that actually want to send money to bailouts should rather send it to educating people about the validity of a system that is a mixture between socialism and capitalism and that protects the citizenship of each person within a country. And then between the countries they can work out solutions for those countries that’s got less resources and develop them to also have a similar resource structure which provides sufficient income in house through the internal use of for instance cellphones, airtime, electricity, water, media, that sufficient profit is made out of that to facilitate the Living Income Guaranteed so that there is never any debt made for facilitating this.

This will also solve another problem that is going to become extensive in the next 20 years which is that all the pensions will be gone because it will replace the pension system, there will be no longer contributions to those pensions because a person will have a Living Income Guaranteed it will thus, instead of money being invested into corporations, the money will be in the hands of the citizen. The citizen will then use the money to decide what is best and where to invest it.

To all the people benefited with Living Income Guaranteed we suggest that that they save 10% of that money and invest it every month in the corporations, the other corporations that are not yet owned by the citizens and if all the citizens do that = very soon the citizens will own all the corporations and all the capitalists would have made their profit and will have a system where a person on a Living Income Guaranteed will earn enough from their shares in the corporations that they will get to a point where their income is higher than the Living Income Guaranteed and the moment that happens = they no longer are dependent on the Living Income Guaranteed and they move towards self-sufficiency.

Living Income Guaranteed will require certain rules. One of them being that one shouldn’t own more than one car – this means that if you have two cars = you have more money than you should have for a Living Income Guaranteed; and if you have a job and the job obviously always will be according to minimum wage which is double the Living Income Guaranteed= you no longer require the Living Income Guaranteed because you’re now in self-sufficiency and that position opens up for another person, because one of the things about this world is that there are always new people arriving that are going to need some help to get into the system.

All education within the system, within a country should be facilitated by the Living Income Guaranteed facilitation and because education is a calling and not a place of profit, all educators that are part of that should be placed on a Living Income Guaranteed and all education at university level, everything should be free to the citizens because it is a Human Right to educate each one and it is thus facilitated so that we have in the education system those that truly do it for a calling and that are not doing it for money, because they are doing it as a service to their fellow citizens.

With the Living Income Guaranteed there is one thing that is of vital importance: no one in the system, no citizen will pay tax – all tax will be facilitated by either value added tax or sales tax or import duties. If you have a government system that is responsible because you have a system where each one is functioning effectively within the system, you do not need excessive tax; your tax is spent on things like roadwork, transport facilitation – all things that can be handled in house.

One of the things that can work quite effectively also in a country is to have a toll tax on the roads which are managed by the government and that keeps the roads in place, so according to the use that one has of a road = will be the amount of tax you pay, but there will be in this proposal no tax so nobody is going to pay for anyone’s Living Income Guaranteed, it’s coming from the resource companies which everybody in the country are participating in and your sales tax or your value added tax will be according to the amount of your participation within a particular system – this is a fair way of dealing with income tax – or shall we say government tax collection.

To have this facilitated effectively, the control of it will be important which means the total system will have to be digitized. The payment of the Living Income Guaranteed will be via your bank card so it’ll be instantaneous and society will move towards a more ‘cashless society,’ but in a cashless society where one will have enough of what you need and nobody can take away your income because you are guaranteed this income unless you obviously have a job, which means you have double income.

In this proposal no matter what objection one could possibly have, there will be an answer, everybody will be satisfied. It’s a very simplistic solution that brings an end to the problems that are now in the world.

With the rise of the machine there’s going to be job-loss which means there’s going to be greater efficiency, which means there’s going to be less cost on input. So if there is job-loss = there is Living Income Guaranteed. The type of new businesses that will develop will be based on human ingenuity, the great word that the capitalists like to use.

So the capitalists – those that want to earn more in the system – can come up with great ideas to create new employment and so to uplift people to a higher level of income or double at least that the Living Income Guaranteed. So all desires, all hopes will be answered and in a way, the whole principle of the pursuit of happiness, the principle of each one being able to be in a world of opportunity instead of just a ‘land of opportunity’ of the US, it will be the whole world that will be a land of opportunity, a world of opportunity where you can be anything you want to be and the opportunities are endless.

Environmental policy will have to be strictly applied and wastage will have to be looked at and therefore the education system needs to be substantially upgraded. This is how each individual will be content and not worry about what others have, and instead work to earn a greater living if they truly want to.

So the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal for the world is a solution of equal opportunity. If you do not want to make use of that opportunity, you’ll have a Living Income Guaranteed – if you want to make use of that opportunity, at the very least you’ll have double the Living Income Guaranteed.

‘How much the Living Income Guaranteed will be’ is going to be worked out according to what is necessary for a person or a family to make a decent living. In this one will probably have to look at the one thing that needs to change which are currencies, there will have to be one world currency because the need for currencies will no longer exist, because that is only being used by the richer countries to steal resources from the poorer countries and that’s no longer necessary because there’s enough money to pay for it anyway. Therefore, we don’t need ‘exchange rates’ anymore, you can have your own money but it is equal. So if you have the euro = one dollar = one yen = one pound = one rand = one peso – that will make sure we have no more peasants.

It’s obviously the ultimate patriotic system you could ever come up with, be a patriot, be a BIG supporter and remember capitalists: here is your ultimate opportunity of making profit, you will never have had such a good opportunity before because now, your ability to come up with the ultimate product that entices the population to buy it is now at your feet.

Join LIG, be big hearted: it’s time.

Equal Life Foundation Research Team

Basic Income can Save Capitalism