Social Responsibility

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.

 

 

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

Blame Welfare Recipients.. or Implement a Solution?

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By Kelly Posey 

food stamps complain welfare

 

Think People On Food Stamps Are Eating More Lobster Than You? Think Again

Stories of SNAP recipients using benefits to buy shellfish and junk food abound.
“I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs with their EBT cards,” Rick Bratten, a Missouri Republican who this year proposed prohibiting SNAP recipients from buying seafood or steak, told the Washington Post. “When I can’t afford it on my pay, I don’t want people on the taxpayer’s dime to afford those kinds of foods either.”

In Maine and Wisconsin, lawmakers are pushing legislation to restrict SNAP benefits to foods deemed healthy. The Wisconsin State Assembly approved legislation this week to ban junk food and also “crab, lobster, shrimp, or any other shellfish.” The bill’s sponsor cited “anecdotal and perceived abuses.”


Frankly, I don’t know how someone could really afford to regularly eat lobster on food stamps. You don’t really get enough money to eat comfortably. I mean, sure, you could buy some lobster this week, and maybe go a bit hungry the next. But really, who cares? You can do that with your hard earned wages too if you want. But it really doesn’t matter.
For those who would be concerned that individuals on food stamps are eating more luxuriously than you can on work wages, look – the problem of you not being able to afford expensive food on your wages is not caused by someone on food stamps buying lobster. Therefore, the solution is not contained in trying to prevent those on food stamps from buying lobster or what have you. That would actually likely have more of a negative effect. It would take much more bureaucratic oversight to impose stricter limitations on what can be bought with food stamps, requiring more government work, paid by your taxes.

Wages are low because the economy is low because nobody has any money to spend into the economy. It’s a vicious cycle that just feeds itself and more and more we feel the squeeze. What boosts the economy is people having money to spend into the economy. At this point jobs can’t be counted on to provide enough income to individuals and that’s why we have a support system like food stamps. We have a lot of welfare programs in the U.S., taking up a lot of government resources because it is already divided into so many different programs to ensure that it’s spent on certain things. So much added bureaucracy and tax money going into a lot of double-work, essentially, filling out and processing applications for each different program.

This is why I support the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal, because it proposes to simplify and streamline the welfare process by providing a basic income to those who need it, to be used to cover all one’s primary needs. There doesn’t need to be multiple programs with multiple application processes and reporting processes and so on, when it can be done from one platform. And there doesn’t need to be restrictions on how/where it is spent. That can be up to the individual, as it is the best way for individuals to learn financial responsibility, by going through the consequences themselves, and studies have shown that when individuals are given the chance they do not generally make poor choices, as some would seem to imply or expect. Certainly deciding for individuals promotes dependency as it does not encourage or provide an opportunity for an individual to learn and develop self responsibility.

So let’s make sure that we focus on the real problem and therefore the real solution, and not get caught up in a form of blame game and ‘it’s not fair’ point, like ‘if I can’t have it then neither can they’ I mean, how does that help anything at all? Rather, look at how do we go about creating that which we would like, for everyone, and realize that things don’t have to be the way they are. We live in a world where there is plenty, we need to stop getting lost in blaming each other, and focus on bringing about the changes that will actually solve the problems we’re experiencing.

 

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

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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Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

Life Isn’t Supposed to be this Hard

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By Cerise Poolman

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

How the Living Income Guaranteed Will promote Environmental Sustainability

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by Fidelis Spies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

greeneconomy

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

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.

 

Learn more about the Living Income Guaranteed: The Proposal

Open Source Direct Democracy

Equal Life Foundation - WordPress

 

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What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? Part 2

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By Josh Richert

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

banarra consistency

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

corporate-social-responsibility - LIG

 

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