banking

Austerity Measures: Can They Be Justified?

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By Viktor Persson

 

human-rights-greece1

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

The Capital is Mine

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By Sylvia Gerssen

Capitalism - Living Income Guaranteed

 

We’re all trying to find ways to let the “Capital be Mine”, or better said, to let Capitalism work for us. Over the years we’ve been able to witness how that played out in all parts of our daily life. Proponents of Capitalism, as we know it today, say that greed has been used to place Capitalism within a pejorative context. When we look at the definition of Capitalism in the Merriam-Webster dictionary it’s written that Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. Wikipedia adds the factor of profit as a characteristic of Capitalism when they say that this system in which trades, industries and the means of production are largely or entirely privately owned and operated for profit. That makes Capitalism into a deadly and doomed cocktail of competition and profit where the fittest will survive and the majority is submitted to wage labor and slaves of the components that are in power within society.

The 21th century is marked by Capitalism, which could work in theory and on paper, though we’re still slaves of masters as if we were still in times of Feudalism. Back in the Middle Ages between the 9th and 15th century we had Feudalism as our economic system, which was a way of structuring society around relationships, derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labor. We we’re not free citizens that were able to do exactly that what we wanted. When Capitalism emerged from Feudalism it looked like we had more freedom. We were all able to invest money in order to make a profit and become rich, which then resulted into wanting to make money through profit as an end in itself.

Capitalism which is an economic system has now almost turned into a religion, we believe strongly that one day the Capital will be ours on the back of another, if we follow the rules or rites of Capitalism. Free market processes will emerge where anything can be sold from a pair of panties to the air that we breathe and the water that we drink to stay alive. When we add the survival of the fittest to it we know we’ll be heading on the road to greed. Greed, that according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary means an intense desire for wealth or possessions. They add to not let greed for riches control you and that’s exactly what we’re controlled by, through denial or acceptance. Greed exists in all of us to a greater or lesser extent. Some of us can control it, others are out of control without any form of regret. We’re a product of our own Capitalistic product and we see it as normal, the norm to live by. We see money as our God to turn to and to comfort us. When we’re deprived of money we feel as if God is punishing us, we’re not worthy. So we need to become greedy, monsters without regret to become the fittest to survive.

This Capitalistic religion was carried out through the world by means of Globalization though Imperialism in the 19th century. Capitalism was spreading like an oil stain in the ocean and still a product that third world countries would like to have or invite to their country, without looking at the Trojan horse effect that Capitalism in fact has. When inviting Capitalism, the countries religion will be changed and it’s money will be worshipped from now on. It’s almost like a STD, first you indulge and enjoy before you can even grasp the consequences.

When we look at how we’ve given away our directive principle when it comes to money, and how most of us have become the 99% , we can see that institutes like banks are the pubic louses in our crotch that we allow to feast while thinking that we were the ones that had a great party. Capitalism by the means of Globalization has brought us a banking system that infected the entire Capitalistic system where we think that eternal growth is the norm and greed is a virtue. Our banking system consist of people, people who know that they can make fortunes once they are in and at the same time know they can be out on the streets any time the system wants to eject them for not being the best money maker for the bank. This way of thinking as a reward system stimulates and enlarges the mechanism of the survival of the fittest where it is a breeding place for greed without regret. The bankers that took the world to the 2008 crisis are still not having regret and are looking back at a great time and many opportunities. And why do they not have any regret? Because we allow them to be greedy and take, we rewarded them with bail outs and sent them the message that they can get away with their behavior while we stay put, which isn’t a surprise when we know the same greed is within all of us. So in a way we look with jealousy in our eyes how the bankers can get away with it while not directly getting why we allow it and have not yet come with solid solutions to turn the tide.

We can even see that the political arena has become a springboard for politicians to end up in the banking sector earning triple the salary they had and handing over their influential service record to the banks. Corporations use the same trick to get influential people inside their organizations to guarantee immunity and build a facade of trust with these public figures that are trusted by the greater public. We can conclude that our global banking system is the tumor within Capitalism. In order to get a form of Capitalism that is great on paper and great in real life we do not only have to get rid of the tumor, but also see that the cause of the cancer is our greediness and thus clear that point.

Clearing this point of greediness includes that we as humanity have to become responsible citizens again. We have to take responsibility for ourselves as well as for ourselves as a group. We can’t depend on the few that are profiting from our Capitalistic system; we need to build a system where all can have a foundation even if we’re not the fittest. At the same time it would be irrational to say that Capitalism isn’t working when certain parts of Capitalism are sucking the blood out of the system. We can come up with economical systems that would work so much better, but absolutely not ready to implement within our current society. In times like this we do not need fantasies of what could be, there is no time to reminisce about things. We’re living within a time that is screaming for direction and cooperation. We need to be willing to not only go for our own greed, but also go for the greater good.

What if we, for the time being, keep Capitalism and “inject life into capitalism” as Marlen Vargas Del Razo said in a life Google hangout. We could rebuild our society with the use of cooperatives where its members, we the people, own the ‘company’, make revenue which strengthens the cooperatives and goes straight to its members. So after expenses each member gets a part of the money the ‘company’ makes, which would be called profit within Capitalism and surplus within a cooperative. Capitalism is close related to the cooperative’s way of making money and that makes it easy to start thinking about Cooperative Capitalism. Where we can bring communal sense back into society, learn from each other, support each other, volunteer and make money. Making a cooperative web of support avoiding the need for greediness. Cooperation on all levels of society to make ourselves ready for the next step and smoothly shift into another economic system like for instance a Living Income Guaranteed.

Capital is mine can then evolve in Capital is mine and yours, because no one should be without any form of support. It’s very simple, what if you become me one day or I become you and end up less fortunate? Do we want to be forgotten, do we want to be looked at with disgust and eyes full of hatred, because we might have inflicted our misfortune upon ourselves. Every being needs a hand that reaches out to them no matter how or why they got themselves in the situation they’re in. We can take our authority in our own hands again, we can cooperate because we are inherently social beings living in groups, why not use such a trait and make a ‘profit’ out of it for the betterment of all? The world only needs a yes from you and things could change in ways you can’t believe right now. Blinded by survival we’ve lost touch with ourselves and our surroundings while the Capital, real life, has always been waiting for us. We can take the Capital; we may take it and in return give it equally to others. The Capital is ours!

 

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

Will the Living Income Guaranteed cause Inflation?

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One must first understand Inflation. Many years ago I asked a big shot in the bank a definition for inflation and his answer was quite incoherent, it’s like a matter of opinion. So we should rather look at the facts, than the opinions and justifications of ‘What inflation is?’and ‘Why does it exist?’


In a way if we go back in history, inflation can be seen as an extension of the cruelty of man. When there is not enough, then the so-called ideology of ‘Supply and Demand’ allows the greedy to increase prices and sell to the highest bidder, ensuring that the ideology that ‘money is power’ becomes ingrained in the human consciousness.

Another perspective of inflation is that it is an extension of Public Relations and Advertising.In advertising the real picture is photoshopped to make it more aligned with the mind, the mind becomes controlled by these images, goes into association and a relationship of comparison and then judges reality according to these pictures. This mechanism creates desires which produce the same type of supply and demand where the human who is controlled by these images and propaganda will do whatever they can to buy a product that is being inflated in its image.

Now the clever thing about this inflation of products by Public Relations is that you have to read the small print. The big print is all the fake and false images – the small print contains all the legal truths. The real truth about anything is always the small print because there you know you get the information about side effects, warranties, planned obsolescence, all the negative stuff is in the small print while all the positive stuff is in the big print. This is the same nature of positive thinking: it inflates the image on the positive side, it diminishes the negative side causing extreme imbalance that eventually reflects itself in general society as poverty and wealth.

Let’s look at another point of inflation: the deliberate inflation of prices to increase the profits of the corporation.As mechanization has been increasing – which should simply function as the replacement of labor, not the replacement of employment: more and more jobs are lost.Yet, prices are still being inflated. And now we sit with massive unemployment, inflated pricing, a problem with supply and demand because people don’t have money to buy and consume. So despite an appearance of inflation, the economic reality is that the economies are shrinking and not inflating– and you sit with the problem that your real value of a product has been lost a long time ago, because the real value has been labor all along.. And because the ideas of saving, competition, inflating the corporation and the war for a monopolized control has become the way of the world — the reality of what really exists is no longer easily accessible because: all we have is our inflated images.


So obviously if we have to keep following this distorted view of reality which is justified through the word ‘inflation,’ which is just a model of statistics – and you can check out the previous blog about the uselessness of statistics (
A Living Income Guaranteed is the BIG Issue) the statistics just inflate the idea that you know what you’re talking about, so statistics is just another form of inflation, it’s just Public Relations. It’s just a fake and false image and likeness with which the actual data is distorted so that those that benefit from having control and access to resources through this inflated view can justify why it is that the things are the way they are, why poverty is so immense and expansive… And so you’ll have the curious bizarre thing happening, for instance that the corporate top dogs and the loyalty they buy from people that are in the corporation – as well as their income – has been skyrocketing for at least the last 30 years. So these massive profits are used to buy loyalty which protects the top dogs. This same illness is now part of the government where people’s loyalty is bought so that they can protect the wealth of the few while the majority of people on Earth are existing in one or two dollars a day – and that’s quite okay apparently because the image is inflated to say that “That is enough for them to make a living.”

 

If we do not change the system, this Inflation point will have an effect. Obviously if the Living Income Guaranteed becomes a reality, we have to change the economic model: it’s not working, it has a fake and false inflated image by economists that are not worthy of the word ‘Economist’ because they are not managing and researching the ecology, the ecosystem of the world to ensure that every human being’s basic Human Rights are being protected.

Therefore everything you know about ‘Economics’ as several people that were brave enough to stand up have said “you have just being been lied to” –  Economy/the Economists, the ideas of Economics are all just a lie and so is inflation – the image is inflated, the truth and the data are not real and the human being has been mislead to believe that their data should not be in the hands of a central agency to actually create a stable environment. And so, the corporation and the propagandists can say that they’re doing and acting according to the will of the people, because the problem of inflation even exists there, the specific ideas and conspiracies have been inflated deliberately to create this image and likeness that the human’s will is apparently democratically being adhered to – It’s all in the image and likenesses of inflation.

For this all to work, you better study the Living Income Guaranteed proposal where we show what is necessary to be in place for a balanced society, where we show and expose all the inflations and propagandas and misdirection, where we show that at the end, even those in the current BIG proposals only have inflated egos – so inflation is really everywhere. Nowadays we even have inflation in terms of what it does to the body because the food is no longer supportive of the body, because Health is not really on the agenda of those that make policy,it’s all about profit.

Inflation is a danger all around and unless we stop all inflation – which is just a mind job – and we get back to reality and work with actual data based on the physical, our economic balance on Earth will not be restored, we will not have an ecosystem that supports Life on Earth and that protects the Human Rights of Every Human Being.

 

Equal Life Foundation Research Team

 

Inflation and the Living Income Guaranteed

Living Income Guaranteed and the Nationalization of Banks

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Banking in fact is a resource that is required by all citizens equally. If we look at what are resources that should be nationalized, the minimum guideline is that they are all the resources that are equally required by all citizens – this implies water, electricity, roads, transport systems, media, banking, etc. All of the stuff that is necessary for each one to have a decent life, and banking falls within this category.

Banking in a way has become so technological that it is no longer a major job creator; it is simply a management of funds. Therefore, if we nationalize the banks within the approach that with minimum wage one no longer allows personal debt to accumulate – because we will forgive all debt – and the banks facilitate points like building houses and facilitate the placement of motorcars that are debt based on capital investments, which are good for the economic growth – then we are looking here at a very stable banking sector. The profits that come from a minimal interest rate will be distributed according to what is required to facilitate the Living Income Guaranteed in its totality in a particular country.

 

The point of importance to note with the Living Income Guaranteed proposal is that personal tax will be abolished, but taxation in terms of transactions – which is a use tax, a per sales tax and value added tax – those types of taxes would be fair because it would be based on how much one uses the system and those taxes specifically would be accumulated to pay for the functions of government.

To facilitate a society that will stop abusing each other, there is an interesting point that will have to be considered and that is to move away from cash money to total digital money, because with total digital money one will reduce the propensity to deal outside the system and as such to take part in criminal activities. This will also bring an end to the current issues with protests and social dissidence where the problem is being approached from the starting point of demanding others to make the necessary changes, without proposing any agenda that can lead to a feasible practical solution.

 

Within the Living Income Guaranteed system the excuse of some wanting to deal with cash because of ‘not wanting to pay tax’ will become irrelevant. It’ll bring stability for the system because those that do pay tax on their services or their products bought will contribute to the tax resource that that will be collected by the banking sector. And so the financial system for the country will be very stable and the budget will be according to available money; and when necessary, pricing or tax will be adjusted for extra money and the governments will not be allowed to borrow money, so that these exorbitant amounts of interests that even go towards ‘unidentifiable parties’ paid for by the labor of the citizens, can finally be stopped.

With the Living Income Guaranteed system: governmental debt and national debt won’t exist, there is no need for it. Proper accounting, proper planning will prevent this and it is suggested that in the basic Constitution it is placed that: a government cannot make debt. And ‘not being able to make debt’ will also mean that the government will have to spend money on issues that are genuinely relevant where things like war will come to an end and the education, healthcare and all sectors that are relevant to the citizen is what will be considered in the budgets.

Obviously when somebody disagrees with such practical reasonable solutions, one must investigate what criminal activities they are participating in that they want to protect, so that they can have ‘more money’ when it is not necessary because: there is and will be sufficient for all.

 

Equal Life Foundation Research Team

 

Basic Income Guaranteed and the Nationalization of Banks