Planned Economy

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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Solution Oriented Mindset and LIG – “Housing First” Project

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By Garbrielle Goodrow

 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

LIG

 

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

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

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

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

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Mothers and a Living Income – Giving as We have Received

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by Kristina Salas 

Katrina Gilbert Paycheck to Paycheck Living Income Mothers Right

Today I watched the documentary called ‘Paycheck to Paycheck,’ about a single mother, my age, with three children. She lives in the South, works as a Certified Nursing Assistant, separated from her husband of almost 10 years, and gets a working wage of $9.49 an hour.

I was shocked to see the hourly wage of this woman, because from my perspective, her work is something that takes more education than I currently have, and yet I still make more an hour than her. And from my perspective, her work is much more valuable. She is caring for the elderly in a nursing home; feeding them, changing their bed sheets, changing their catheters, and most importantly, spending time with them when no one else does. She provides care in an environment that is the last place these elderly will end up, while when she is not working, she is caring for children and their environment; the first place these children are exposed to.
So she is directly dealing with the next generation, while simultaneously giving as much comfort she can while the previous generation slowly leaves.

And she is giving not even $10.00 an hour of compensation to support herself, and her three children.

This documentary exemplifies the major problem we have, not only in this country, but around the world. The people that have first hand control of forming and shaping our future, our children, are not being properly supported or valued in any way whatsoever. No one could possibly expect to live comfortably on $10 an hour, let alone raising three other humans on that wage.
This is a prime example of why a living income is an absolute necessity in our world, and a basic human right. The women who carry, birth and raise the children, the future of humanity, are not giving the proper support necessary that is required. She should have any and all resources available to ensure she is in a prime position – mentally and physically – to do the job she has in front of her, which is to create a space and environment that supports the potential of all children. Instead, with her working wage, she must live as an example that tells her children that life is hard, life is a struggle, you are not valued for the work you do, and ultimately you are alone to suffer the consequence of a system created and sustained by All of society.

No mother should be expected to work if children are brought into the picture, all mothers should have the CHOICE to not work, and still be giving a LIVING wage – don’t you think it would be of more value for the children, and so society as a whole, to have a full-time caretaker there who is not stretched so thin to the point where panic attacks keep them from working, where stress of making it to the next pay day is not distracting them from being able to provide the best care for the children; where a mother is not put into a position where she must tell her children to wait just a minute when they say they are hungry, simply because she needs a moment to sit down and breathe. Where she does not have to sacrifice her health and well being just because there is only enough to give more to her children.

Women, mothers specifically, is one group of people that would benefit form a Living Income, and from my perspective, should be an absolute basic right. The fact that this mother of three must work for $9.49 an hour to support herself and her family, without any support or assistance from the system in which she is working for, goes to show the lack of care we actually have for what we are bringing into this life, let alone the life that is already here.

A Living Income, proposed by the Equal Life Foundation, is a simple step we can take in rectifying this situation – where in giving a living wage to our Mothers we are living the statement of gratitude, and giving to THEM what they have given to US, which is Life. I would think this would be the first priority for anyone wanting to change our social and economic systems – to ensure that our Mothers and so our Children are being given the financial support required to flourish in this World – able to stand on a foundation that allows the true potential of all beings to be harnessed and to expand, after all – the children today are the people tomorrow that will be the ones assisting us when it’s our time to leave this world.

Investigate the Equal Life Foundation and the Living Income.

Bill of Rights Equal Life Foundation

 

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After Extreme Weather, Living Income Stands

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by Kristina Salas

 

Extreme Weather Living Income GuaranteedToday I read an article about a small town in Northern California that was devastated by the continuous wild fires raging in the West. So many houses were burned to the ground. In the video, a woman says many are left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
I thought of the various weather conditions throughout the world that leave so many in a position of helplessness, where every belonging is destroyed. I thought of this small town that does not have a booming economy to stabilize such a scenario, where many people’s livelihoods rest on the employment that perhaps is no longer standing.
Another person is the video said the town was already an “economically depressed area” and now so many more would be out of work.

Imagine if that was you, and the very means in which you depended on for your survival was put to a halt and you no longer had that choice – you cannot work. When employment becomes the dependent for one to survive, what happens when one lose their job? Or when they are forced into unemployment due to unexpected weather conditions? Here is where a safety net is required – a foundation anyone in such a position can fall back on.

The Living Income Guaranteed, proposed by the Equal Life Foundation, is such a system that would ensure any victims to have to face such harsh conditions of extreme weather, that leave their area devastated and struggling to re-build their economy, the ability to move forward with the least likely burden. Imagine you are okay to do what is necessary to be done to ensure you re-build not only your life and the life of your family and friends, but also your community without having the added pressure and stress of not working, and the current consequence of such a position, to add to the list of things to be done.

No one should have to fear not working, especially when it is something out of one’s own hands, as the consequence of not working is not making money. And we know what happens when one does not make money. And so since yours, mine, and everyone’s survival is dependent on the money we have, all have the right to have access to this resource. Whether you are in between jobs, in an area hit by extreme weather, or simply unable to find work at the moment, all are entitled to the condition that provides a basic living ability; a right to have access to your basic HUMAN RIGHTS. No one should have to be without, and no one should have to fear going without. It is our duty as a society, as humanity, to ensure all are cared for in the times when it’s needed most – because within that is the principle of ‘do unto another as you would have done unto yourself’. That is a principle in which the Living Income in built upon and with it’s assistance and support, we would see a drastic change in our views of such calamities. Extreme weather would no longer be seen as something that is too difficult to come back from – as the political, social and economic structure would be in place for anyone to be able to stand from. It is the foundation which is required, and is absolutely viable to create, to ensure that together we can face whatever situations may come upon us, whether that is the weather or not – we have the resources and means to ensure no one is left alone or without the support to re-build and re-create in a way that is dignified.

Investigate Equal Life Foundation and the Proposal of a Living Income Guaranteed  as the safety net necessary for when unexpected weather or conditions exist. We are more than capable of ensuring no one is felt fearful of the future and ‘what to do next’ – because we have the means and the finances to ensure everyone the opportunity to stand up on their own to feet and start moving forward, creating and building again.

Equal Life Foundation - Bill of Rights - LIG

 

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Living Income Guaranteed and Taxation – From Redistribution to Contribution

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by Maite Zamora Moreno

 

Re-Set Living Income Guaranteed Taxation

The re-set’ is a UK-based movement consisting of several proposals to effect ‘a constitutional re-set to re-store fair principles, accountability, community led governance and ethics. Ensuring peoplecare, earthcare and fairshare for the benefit of all’. You can check out their website here: www.thereset.org. An overview of the proposals is presented here: http://www.thereset.org/proposals.php.

In this blog the focus is the Proposal on the abolition of Taxes. The re-set proposes to abolish the current tax system and replace it with ‘TEAL’ – Total Economic Activity Levy:

TEAL is very much a ‘pay as you go’ tax. Every time money is withdrawn or paid into a bank account, a tiny percentage of money from each transaction will speedily find its way into the treasury. Even people without bank accounts will contribute, because whenever a pack of cigarettes or a loaf of bread is purchased, the seller (say a shop) will be paid, and when the shop pays into his bank TEAL will be collected, and if you sell your labour (i.e. you have a job) TEAL will be paid by your employer and collected by your bank.”

This principle is the same one we propose under the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal. Within such a system, the focus changes from ‘redistribution’ to plain ‘contribution’. It’s not about trying to equalize incomes and moving it from the rich to the poor – but a matter of: if you make more use of the economic system, you proportionally contribute more to sustain it. One likes to believe that one’s wealth is derived from merit alone – but it simply isn’t. There is an entire economic system in place that enables a successful person to be successful. There are those who have gone before you, who have shared their know-how with you, there are those who have an income to buy your goods or services, an income they earned through participation in the economic system, there is physical infrastructure like roads and railway systems that enable all economic activity. If the economic system was self-sustaining and never required any financial input in order to maintain it or correct its inherent weaknesses, then we could say the economic system is a free one. Obviously, that is not the case. The ‘pay as you go’ tax is therefore a reasonable method of collecting the funds to be re-invested within the economic system that each one depends on.

If a basic income or living income is provided through non-tax funding – then the ‘pay as you go’ tax or ‘TEAL’ should be sufficient to mobilize the funds needed for other government expenditures, which we suggest would be quite limited if the economy in itself is largely corrected and empowered through the integration of the Living Income or Basic Income – then other taxes can indeed be abolished.

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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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Communism and the 1%

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By Barbara Stängl

Communism

Karl_MarxCommunism in its end stage is a classless and stateless society. This ideology has never in fact been implemented to the final stage, where the state as such would have ‘withered away’. The states ruled by communist political parties themselves rather define themselves as socialist states. Karl Marx has divided the working class from the capitalist class, in that it can be said that he too was a global player serving the system in that he adhered to propagating and intensifying already existing inequalities, same as Obama or Merkel, which is essential for any kind of ideology to work: divide & conquer. This holds true whether one is speaking of the system/ideology of democracy, totalitarianism, socialism, capitalism or communism. 

 

obama-divide-conquer-and-change

Communism was utilized by the Elite to further the chasm by way of placing it as a threat to democracy and ‘its values’ of free market, freedom of speech and a free media. What was stated to be a planned economy on the communist/socialist side was opposed to a market-based economy – both only paradigms, both not working for the majority, both not based on the principle of what is best for all. 

As mentioned above, and specifically in the example of the Soviet Union, there never was communism according to Marx’ definition nor a communism that in the actual sense of the word focused on the community, as all being equal and being given an equal opportunity to live life to its fullest potential. It was again a sort of dictatorship, where the subordinated beings had to do all the labor and the top 1% were able to profit, to have it all and live the ‘happy life’.

 

The problem was the economic focus on heavy industry at the expense of consumer goods, oftentimes resulting in shortages of vital products or even famine, and to cover up the mismanagement of the government in their 5-year plans, militarism and propaganda were used in a widespread manner. These means and measures of manipulation and suppression had been so obvious to the ‘democratic side’ of the iron curtain at the time of the Soviet Union, but there was also this strange inability or rather unwillingness to see the parallels in the capitalist system that we hold in such great esteem.


As a side note here, both the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Federal President of Germany Joachim Gauck had held close connections to the then GDR before coming to represent the German people through their respective positions or rather placements. Gauck is supposed to have been a resistance fighter in the GDR, but received a lot of privileges there that would not ordinarily have been awarded to resistance fighters. The same situation with Merkel who had the privilege of going to Moscow to study which is only granted to people who are loyal to the ‘Einheitspartei’. So the point I want to make here is that there’s something going on behind the scene we’re being shown of two opposing ideological systems, where one is a threat to the other, the idea being utilized to justify the channeling of vast amounts of money into military, armies and means of defense, which the CEOs, leading political and other string-pulling figures benefit from immensely.

 

workaholicSo, we’re being taken on quite a ride here. The solution is to educate people on how ideologies are being used within the power principle of ‘divide and conquer’ to brainwash and manipulate people to make do with the direst of living conditions with hard, tedious or repetitive labor and little pay or no job at all where the ideology of capitalism is lived or the opposite where one has to juggle 2-3 jobs concurrently on a daily basis to survive, because the pay one is given for one job does not suffice to get by on at all. People have to be told who benefits from the information that is being propagated, so one is able to see the intent behind the disinformation.

For one, panic and desperation can be avoided because one does not fall for incomplete and misleading information. One will not be misguided so easily and will learn to apply commonsense. Politics and the media are in the hands of the financing and private banking sector, that is to say the individuals behind it, and these have usurped politics and media to maintain the status quo that is serving them so well. This is the dimension of educating people, one step to be taken toward change.

 

team-buildingA fundamental model that is to be implemented, namely the platform presented within/as LIG, the Living Income Guaranteed, which suggests the nationalization of resources, where, however, the profit will be used to create social equality by providing a guaranteed living income for shelter, food, electricity, clean water, education and internet for voting and communication/a means of participating and getting vital information, local and global news for all. Provided with such a basis on a world scale one will be able to choose a living/an occupation according to one’s actual creative abilities and build a business to make more money that provides them with some luxury as well.

For those that are already working for a business firm or company there should be a minimum wage that is double the Living Income which means that if people get a Living Income of 15 dollars per hour, the minimum wage for work should be 30 dollars. This would create the incentive for people to educate themselves and take on more responsibility in the professional areas in the application of technological advancements and know-how on a highly skilled level.

 

The benefits are real equality on a lived basis, where there is happiness through being guaranteed a life in dignity, with real improvements in the job situations because money does not come from abusing the laborers and their workforce, but from the nationalization of the essential resourcing corporations. Education toward professional skills and access to internet for everyone will bring forth entrepreneurial endeavors and will eventually increase the overall power of acquisition which will support the entire society’s well-being. Education of how our mind works, together with a sound financial basis will also improve the relationships between individuals as greed and competition will decrease and one is more ready to meet one’s neighbor on an eye to eye level. Starvation will be a thing of the past and health issues will be able to be dealt with from an early onset because the financial means will be available to all, which means everybody gets an equal chance toward happiness and self-realization for real, which adds up to a lived statement of ‘true communism’ in the actual sense of the word, where each is treated as an equal part of the community of mankind on the principle of the common good being life – which is to be supported equally by all as one.

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

 

Picture credits:
Divide and conquer
Karl Marx
MalcolmX
Team building
Juggling jobs