equal life foundation
I read this article here, about capitalism. The part where debt was used to allow for declining wages, as, according to the article, began in the 70’s here in America, shows how we perceptually revalue things, as an ability within each of us. In this case, in this article, the measure of earnings and money lending, used resources and labor and reconfigured it is such a way to allow greater amounts of money to accumulate into the hands of a few. No doubt, the law industry also benefitted from this, as schemes were ordered, constructed to support that change via that measure of using debt to pay wages.
And the media, as this was running full steam by the time we hit the 70’s , filled in the dreams of what one could do within taking out loans and building that home. All the while, as one is so occupied with the dream, the hope, the desire, that looking at how debt was being used to pay wages was not noticed. Were it , and perhaps there was the lone whistle blower that had no space to voice their concerns, as the media was already owned by those who had accumulated enough wealth to construct lending structures that were a means of hiding lowering wages.
What is astounding is the obvious in all of this. This means that humans are the means to investigate form and ‘ pull on the stings of formation’ in time and space, and that no one human being can be more than another in this system, as all parts are needed to do what is a form that is devious by definition and presented as a false positive. Hence, no few can own anything that is the structural foundation of being a living person on this earth.
This reminds me of what Steve Jobs was quoted to have said towards the very end of his life. He said that what he owned and the power he had were meaningless. These were things he could not take with him. It was the connection to others, that was the value. Hence he realized the value was being, was living, was being present here. He realized that this game that we have all accepted and allowed of winning power and things, is the illusion. And as we see, within the debt use of wage support and the slight of hand going on behind the racing to win a home ONLY, is game we as a collective accept and allow that is not what is best for us. The consequence of this game, is that the debt is now the elephant in the room, and the laborers, the ones that are the parts that built this, are too expensive and can be replaced by automation, leaving fewer jobs. This leaves fewer possibilities for humans to realize their value, which is to interact with others and do what men can do, which is to come up with new ways of doing things, as a group, because this is how this is done, on this planet where resources cannot be owned unless it is believed to be a truth, when it is not. Steve Jobs makes this clear.
A basic income, a Living Income Guarantee , would be to realize that value Steve Jobs was talking about. Perhaps, he would still have discovered with the many others he discovered with, his discoveries would have happened, yet they would have happened in tandem with really living the value being life; meaning he would have had the time to discover and investigate and come up with new ways of doing things, and spend time enjoying his family and his community and the many values on this earth, as the plants and the animals, and the soils. Obviously, Steve jobs does not exist alone, he is a part of the whole. And, perhaps he is the consequence of what came before, birthed into existence as the sum of development that existed before him. This would mean that he is you , he is life in another form. If he is this, as this is how this works, this is a movement, in a way, that is a celebration of life. It is such a huge and great thing; it means that the value of creation is being and playing with what is formed and realizing in word and deed and thought, that we create what is here, and it is all of us working together that is the value.
It is time to remove this pyramid scheme of inequality to life. It is time to realize that poverty is a crime against life. It is time to realize, in deed and systemic form that war is a crime, it is destructive as it is not transformative – it is not using what men can do in constructive ways to create a world where life on this earth is dignified in and as the practice of realizing the value is being here, interacting with others, realizing their perspective to build awareness and to come up with new ways of doing things that improve and respect this physical manifestation of life. We can do this, we can stand together, as we have done, and stand as what is best for all. It is said that one cannot know what is outside of one’s awareness, yet the steps forward are visible, one needs only take that step to see the next. I mean, this is how this is done! Support a Living Income Guarantee. Time to create a systemic form that is the voice and structure of realizing the value is being life.
Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal
- The Living Income Blog
- Living Income Discussions on Google Hangout (Done Weekly)
- The Living Income Discussion Board
- Equal Life Foundation – Site
After the Norwegian Nobel prize committee decided to give the United States president Barack Obama the peace price, a president that later came to continue to war in Iraq, and also fund insurgents in Syria, I seriously started to doubt the reasoning skills of the members of this Nobel Prize committee. And after having watched the documentary ‘The Micro Debt’ by Tom Heinemann, I have concluded that the Nobel Prize committee (at least those handing out the peace prize) do not know anything about what it means to create actual peace in this world. Because when they decided to give Muhammad Yunus the peace price, for having founded the Grameen Bank, and invented the concept of micro loans, and for thereby apparently having found a solution to poverty, they were obviously not using basic mathematics to assess the outflows of such loan methods.
Though, before we dive into the basic mathematics of Micro Debt and whether this can be a solution for poverty or not, let me share the story of Muhammad Yunus, his bank, and the stories that has begun to surface about his money lending practices. It begins in 1976 when Yunus (supposedly) found out that small loans could make a disproportionate difference in a poor person’s life. According to Wikipedia, the first loans Yunus gave, made it possible for the borrowers to profit. Yunus business expanded, and by July 2007, his bank had issued around US$6.38 billion to 7.4 million borrowers.
As mentioned above, Yunus was awarded the peace price in 2006 for his efforts to create economic and social development. However after the release of the documentary ‘The Micro Debt’ the Bangladeshi government decided to review Yunus bank, and Yunus himself was removed as Managing Director of his bank. This is not particularly strange considering the claims that are made in the documentary, and the compelling evidence that it presents, that the micro debt is not at all a solution for poverty, but rather a trap, making the large amount of borrowers worse off than before.
Though in this blog I am not going to focus on Yunus and whether the claims made against him are true or not. My focus will instead be the concept of micro credits and whether these loans makes any sense; is it really possible to remove poverty through debt? The Micro Credit concept is not unique to Bangladesh; it has also become popular in South Africa, where it has created the opposite of poverty reduction. The following quote gives a stark description of the situation that unfolded.
”The microcredit-induced problems that emerged in South Africa are two-fold. First, microcredit per se is actually an “anti-developmental” intervention. For one thing, it exists on paper to support the smallest income-generating activities, but in practice is increasingly all about supporting consumption spending. In South Africa, the microcredit movement has created an incredibly risky and expensive way to support the immediate consumption needs of the very poorest.
With few poor individuals possessing a secure income stream that might ensure full repayment of a microloan – unemployment is now higher than it was under apartheid – many of the poorest individuals have been forced to repay their microloan by selling off their household assets, borrowing from friends and family, as well as simply taking out new microloans to repay old ones. For far too many now “financially included” individuals in South Africa, using microcredit to support current spending has been a disastrous and irreversible pathway into chronic poverty.”
Milford Bateman, Microcredit has been a disaster for the poorest in South Africa, http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2013/nov/19/microcredit-south-africa-loans-disaster (2015-09-25)
Academics and other proponents of the Micro Credit as a way out of poverty makes the assumption that the money lent will be used by the borrower to further his business. This however, is just that, an assumption. Most poor people are just as middle class people, not entrepreneurs, and do not have a very entrepreneurial relationship with money. The loan will be used to buy goods for immediate consumption, and will only serve to put more pressure on the debtor. In worst-case scenario, this will lead the already poor person, to loose the little safety they do have, when they are forced to sell their house to meet interest and installment payments.
Further, those borrowers that are indeed entrepreneurs, and that do invest their money in a business, there is nothing that says that these businesses will be able to profit. Nine out of ten startups fail – and that number will probably be even higher when not only you, but also all of your neighbors, decide to go out on the streets and sell the same thing – which did happen in South Africa.
Then we have the big problem when it comes to Micro Credits, the interest rates. On some of the Micro Loans that interest rate will be at 100 % or more. There is no startup that yields a sufficient profit to cover such a high interest rate. Conveniently for the creditors, most of the debtors are not proficiently literate, and will thus not really understand what they are signing.
Yunus was applauded when he was able to offer loans to poor people that cannot offer any securities in case they would forfeit on their installments. However, to ensure repayment of the loans, Yunus bank have developed a system of “solidarity groups”. It is these small informal groups that together apply for loans and its members act as co-guarantors of repayment and support one another’s efforts at economic self-advancement. Hence Yunus use the psychology of group pressure to ensure that the poor people are sufficiently motivated to pay back their loans. And even though this might seem innocent, in reality it has lead to the most horrific of consequences. One woman that was unable to pay her loan was pressed by her co-guarantors to take up prostitution as a way to meet her installment payment. That woman later poured kerosene on herself, and lit herself on fire. That is the effectiveness of group pressure when survival is in the picture.
What are we then able to conclude from all of this? One thing is clear: We cannot trust academics to know what is right! Even though they have a degree in economics, and even though they have received the Nobel peace price, that does not mean they actually understand how reality operates. Academics have their nose buried in deep books and because of that they will many times miss what is right before their eyes. Hence, we have to educate ourselves, and take responsibility. We cannot rely on a small intellectual elite to know how to solve such things as poverty – this is a problem that involves, and touches all of us, and accordingly it is everyone’s responsibility.
Then, the second thing we can learn: Change cannot come through DEBT. The very reason why we are living in a world where money is increasingly more difficult to obtain is because of DEBT. We live in a debt based system, and this forces us to work more – and even still there will/must be a loser. With debt, someone always loses; someone must be that poor guy that has to pay back the interest.
Real change will come through changing the structural design of the economic system – because only through changing the rules of the game are we removing this incessant fear of survival that is currently holding the entire human race in its grip. That structural change must involve giving all human beings a dignified life, real security, real safety, and easy access to money. This cannot come from debt, as debt is the very instigator of fear, anxiety and stress.
Hence, if you are interested in solving poverty, I suggest that you investigate the Living Income Guaranteed. This is an economical system that will revolutionize the way we think about money – and that is precisely what we need. We need something new, a brand new way of looking at things – a fresh start – free from debt and the old pessimistic ideas that apparently, poverty is unable to be removed from the face of this earth.
For more reading:
Watch the documentary ‘The Micro Debt’
Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal
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.
For Further Information, Follow these Links:
- Living Income Guaranteed Website
- Living Income Guaranteed Proposal
- Living Income’s YouTube Channel
- Equal Life Foundation
- Equal Life Foundation Blog