Human Rights

Austerity Measures: Can They Be Justified?

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By Viktor Persson

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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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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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The Future of Education and the School of Life

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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:

Ownership: The Lie That Kills

Posted on Updated on

by Sandy Mac Jones


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Innovation Relocation - Living Income Guaranteed

Read the Proposal here:   Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Please investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal and Join us for discussion.

Equal Life Foundation

Fundamental Human Rights by Equal Life Foundation

 

Watch/Participate in our Live Google Hangouts: http://www.youtube.com/LivingIncome

Taking Leave may mean the End of your Job – Solutions?

Posted on Updated on

by Fidelis Spies

“It’s like a bachelor party for your career! Or having someone buying you dinner and then assume that means he’s owed sexual intercourse! Anyway, apparently telling people to take a vacation before they come to work for you is becoming a thing now.

Paid Leave Labor Vacation Living Income GuaranteedWriting this week in Slate, Will Oremus reports on this phenomenon, telling the tale of Jason Freedman, the CEO of a San Francisco-based commercial real estate search engine company called 42 floors. Freedman offers what he calls paid “pre-cations” to new hires, explaining, “It’s like, ‘Yeah, have a great time! And when you get back here, work your ass off.’” The point is, that sounds terrible.

As Oremus points out, we are already a vastly overworked nation. We put in considerably more hours than we did a generation ago — and most of us are doing it while facing what the New York Times last year called “flatlined” wages. A new study released last month revealed that Americans take only about half the vacation time they’re entitled to, missing out on the equivalent of “over 500 million” days off a year. Why? Because they’re afraid of repercussions, an anxiety reinforced by what MarketWatch notes is “company culture and lack of encouragement from management to take time off.” People are reluctant to take vacations for fear they’ll be revealed as expendable.”
See more at: http://www.salon.com/2014/10/01/the_pre_vacation_is_a_trap/

Well now, what a problem we have here. In the article above you can see how taking paid leave is something that most people simply cannot do, because it could mean the end of their job. Getting a job is a big problem in this world and when you do have a job you will do anything to keep it, because you need the money to survive in this world.

This gives employers power over the employees. There are many people looking for jobs, so if you are deemed replaceable you will simply be replaced. So if it means you have works your ass off every day and not take any leave then there is nothing you can do about it unless you risk getting fired. This leads to bad work situations and over worked, overstressed employees. This will only get worse unless something changes.

A solution that will end this fear and anxiety of losing a job if you take your leave which you are in fact entitled to would be the Living Income Guaranteed. This will give power to the employees and create a dignified work environment. With the minimum wage being double the Living income people will have enough money to live. This will stop the abuse of employees, because they could simply leave and find a better place to work so the employer will need to treat his employees with care to keep them working there.

Workers will feel supported and cared for by their employers, which will result in individuals that no longer feel pressured and enforced to only be a profit-making machine, but will feel happy and content to realize that their work is being truly remunerated and that their time and contribution to the corporation is being valued as the life-time investment it actually is. A well remunerated individual will create a happier and fulfilled society that is no longer afraid of not having sufficient money to feed their family, it will be the beginning of a new era of quality work that dignifies the lives of human beings that genuinely desire to improve their lifestyles.

 

LIG Inflation

 

For Further Information, Follow these Links: