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:
This summer I had the mixed pleasure of reading a course in Microeconomics and International trade. In microeconomics the primary focus of the researchers is to establish ‘What is the market really doing and why?’ – and this is attempted to be done utilizing mathematical formulas; primarily utilizing the famous graph where two lines cross each-other, the one line sloping downwards (demand) and the other sloping upwards (supply) – and where they meet each other = that’s apparently the optimal price for the product and the optimal quantity of that product in that given market.
What first struck me as being fascinating about these theories was that they seldom predicted how the market would behave in reality, and neither could they be verified with empirical evidence – and most of the time the authors of the my books where busy trying to find reasons and various viewpoints as to why these theories wasn’t working “as they should” – and how they probably did work but it was just that the inventors missed to take into consideration some important factors and variables.
Though, what was the most fascinating about this entire area of research, was how there was this complete worship to the idea that lower prices = higher consumer satisfaction; and that apparently for a market to be functional, what is required is that we produce as many products as possible, to the lowest prices possible, because then the consumers are able to buy as much as possible, and then we’re apparently okay, happy, and have a fruitful existence here on earth.
Obviously, when I looked at these ideas, I silently chuckled – because the logical flaw of this assumption is glaringly simple = the producers are the consumers! YES – that’s the secret of economy and the reason why we’ve got so many unemployed in this day and age is because we’ve failed to understand that when a product is cheaper, someone at the other end gets less money, which in turns means that a (employee) consumer gets less money, which in turns means that the producer gets less customers = and it all ends up in such a way that most lose but a few that manage to reap the monopoly profits of those very low-priced products – because they’ve priced out everyone else.
It’s clear that we have to develop a new way of looking at economics, and that mathematics and statistics isn’t the way to go – no – we actually require to look at the actuality of what is going on. For example, poverty, what is the actuality of poverty? Why does poverty exist to begin with? It’s not a matter of mathematics, rather it’s a matter of seeing what is behind everything in this world – and that is MONEY – money that in itself is a completely innocent creation meant to be but a way of distributing goods and services to where they are required and wanted the most; but in our current system – money has become a point of control – where those that are already rich and on top of things with all possible means make sure the keep those stricken by poverty in place – else we wouldn’t anymore have a functional slave labor force that can produce all of our various gadgets and other mechanics of entertainment.
Thus, what we must ask ourselves, and economists more importantly, is why have we never used our knowledge to produce a sustainable system where all of us are able to create a life that is dignified, cool and enjoyable? What is required for us to do that? MONEY – and what do we need to bring through such money into this world? Resources – so what is then the solution – the real economic master plan as to how to create a world that would be sustainable and practical for all its inhabitants? To agree that we share the resources – at least the basic and most essential resources – those that we MUST HAVE in order to live.
Thus, I stand behind the Living Income Guaranteed – which is a functional, effective and sustainable way of creating a new world for all people where money will be shared – and for those economists that want to make a difference – I suggest that you investigate this concept and bring your knowledge to the table and help to create something from which we can all benefit!
For Further Support, Follow these Links:
There is enough. This statement is crucial for the continuation of our species in the times ahead, where all we hear is that we do not have enough, not enough food, not enough money, not enough housing, but if one look behind who is in fact saying these statements, you will find the corporations who have a vested interest in us continuing to believe this and so live out this belief that there is not enough. The corporations who control now the resources, the private banks who control the money supply, and the governments that control our livelihoods all have a stake within making a lot of profit, while we continue to believe that ‘there is not enough.’ So we cannot accept and allow any longer this notion that there is not enough resources or food or money in this world, we have to educate ourselves on the reality of what is here and how to walk the path to understand and so live the statement that There IS enough!
We know that money is made out of thin air, there is no value inherently within the paper it’s made from, it’s simply a medium for commerce, and within this we the people give it meaning. So saying there is not enough money is a scapegoat for admitting to the fact that some want more than others, and will do what it takes to make this continue to happen as it is and has been a reality for most of our recorded history. All are responsible within this ignorance we have accepted and allowed where some go with nothing and some go with enough, we all live here and so accept this money system as it is now, so we all have to face the consequences and change the outcomes to be best for all. It’s on each one being a part of this change because nothing will change until we stand up within ourselves and change who we are from within to the without.
If we look at food for instance, here are some statistics about hunger and
also statics on the food waste in the United States:
- Total number of children that die every year from hunger –
- Percent of world population considered to be starving –
- Time between deaths of people who die from hunger –
- Each year, about40 percent of all food in the United States goes uneaten. It’s just tossed out or left to rot. And that’s a fairly large waste of resources. All that freshwater and land, all that fertilizer and energy — for nothing. By one recent estimate, Americans are squandering the equivalent of $165 billion each year by rubbishing so much food.
- Time between deaths of people who die from hunger –
So we have 33 percent of the world population that is considered starving and we have on the other extreme 40 percent of the food in America is thrown away due to not being processed effectively or not reaching the desired aesthetic picture the shoppers demand for. This seems like a sick joke we are playing on ourselves, I mean this doesn’t make any rational sense to allow such a play out of life and death to exist, but it does, it is happening every day.
What we fail to see or realize within the system we live in is that we are more and more interconnected and so dependent on each other to continue to exist. When we allow such a contrast of basic needs where some have a lot and many others have little to nothing, we have to stop and consider what we are in fact doing here. There has to be a point in each one’s life where we have to question the way things are. This is determined and will be determined by each one within themselves and so will determine their own lives and existence, but it’s suggested to find solutions for all human beings to be given the necessary basic rights that we all are given at birth, the conditions for a decent life.
The Equal Life Foundation of which I support and contribute to with research and funding, have proposed a Living Income Guarantee, They have set out the basic structure for a new way of life for everyone, where those that require it will be given a living income to be able to buy what is needed and be sustained in a dignified way through changing parts of the current system that is currently in place. This will be walked as we start to open up the relationships and pathways once there is more support and funding involved, but we are not there yet. We have to start from the ground up as we see, realize, and understand that starting from the top down will not change things as this is the way it’s always been, and there has been no significant change in human life in the last 2000 years. We as the people that can hear the message and see that the way forward is a way of walking the talk and living the solution as ourselves, can move to positions and solutions that will continue to propel this best for all principle forward and walk what is necessary in all avenues until it is eventually done. Never giving up, continuing to push forward, empowering ourselves and so others as we move forward.
We do have enough on this planet, so this is not the problem as the Earth has given all the resources/sustenance/common sense to walk the best for all principle for each one to equally benefit from this reality. If we start with a living income, to create a standard of living that gives all dignity then we can also start looking at how and through what means we can change the way we do things to create efficiency and sustainability, we can start the path of honoring life and not wasting and destroying it due to our own ignorance.
Support the Equal Life Foundation and the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal to start and create the change that is needed to live the principle of ‘best for all life’, which will always be best for you.
Watch the Documentary: Dive!
For Further Support, Please check out Links:
- Living Income Guaranteed Website
- Living Income Guaranteed Proposal
- Equal Life Foundation
- Equal Life Foundation Blog
- Living Income’s YouTube Channel
Seeing the economic status/conditions of this country, and being able to fit it into the bigger picture that includes all of the world nations, has helped me to better understand the global hierarchy of nations and how individual countries play specific roles within this.
Within this, currency manipulation and separation through cultural identities is key – also the competition point, which is expressed through nationalism.
One of the best tools to keep any nation bonded to maintaining its role in the global hierarchy is nationalism – one of the best forms of control is to have one identify with and begin to love and revere their chains – this obviously applies at the individual level in interpersonal relationships as well. Religion also plays a major role in this as the antidote when the conditions of a nation are adverse, giving all kinds of justifications as to why things are the way they are or false hope that it is all somehow ‘for the better.’
Identifying oneself with impoverishment, destitution and extremely adverse conditions carries with it great psychological implications – usually a degree of shame and a complete lack of self belief and self will – we all know how hard it is to be poor in the west at a social level and the implications this has – now imagine the massive degree of poverty that is standard, normalized and accepted in countries such as this, and how broad and far reaching these conditions are with regard to their effect on the psyche of the individual – conditions that we in the west would be appalled by, as we now see people rioting in the streets due to their living conditions worsening – whereas in countries such as this, it is already standard, accepted. It is fascinating because in this country, the protests and riots you see in the streets are actually the political minority upper-class who are angry about any attempts by ‘corrupt’ politicians to improve the lives of the poor majority lower class – this majority poor lower class simply don’t have the time or resources to gather and form a force to protest or riot, they are too busy surviving (or not even).
So our own lack of awareness to the lives of the impoverished in our own countries in the west are really just ‘the tip of the iceberg’ when you broaden that to a world-scale, and our lack of education and proper media reporting/exposure plays a major role in this – also the fact that as nations who naturally compete according to the laws of economics, this ignorance can also be justified because as long as we are on the winning team, things are fine apparently. If anything, our main priority and inclination is to take advantage of and exploit such conditions, which really something that is done quite extensively.
Language barriers and cultural norms are exacerbated through the competition principle – most racism in the world is not overt but rather implicit, the principle of ‘it is different from me therefore I value it less’. The competition principle – expressed through cultural identity – places the lens through which we tend to judge things that are different and not normal in our own cultures, which is really an unfortunate thing because when you get down to it, you realize that it is all essentially the same stuff – predictable humans behavior based on circumstances/conditions – but just appearing differently because we are coming from different perspectives that are shaped by our conditions – again here economic conditions play the largest defining role.
For instance, in my experience I have noticed the tendency for many foreigners who come here to judge this country – which is quite an easy thing to do, given the conditions here and the issues they create – without ever considering that they themselves have in fact played a role in why things are the way they are in places like this. National borders are really illusory when it is plain fact that the entire world is very directly connected by a global economic system, and of course more indirectly connected through relationships.
When you break down borders and view this as a global issue, you also realize that in fact, what we would call ‘normal middle class’ people in western/developed nations, who we consider as not being rich, are in fact within the top %10 of the worlds richest people – so when people in the west feel disempowered to act and make any change for the better in their world within the mentality of ‘poor little old me, what could I possibly do?’ – understand that there are people in this world – China serves as a great example of this – who live in complete slavery. They get up, work for 18 hours, with short breaks for meals and hygiene upkeep to make sure they are still alive and can work – sleep for 6 hours and then repeat. People who would look at the lives of middle class people like ourselves and think ‘omg, they have 2 or 3 hours of free time to themselves every day and bit of extra money in the bank?’ what a life! I only wish I could ever be so privileged, the things I could do with all that freedom…’
We are also – in the case of Thailand – talking about a nation where certain basic freedoms are not even allowed by the rule of law – for instance while we have free speech in the west – although that is questionable and constantly under duress – this pales in comparison to a nation like this where for instance you literally cannot say any thing negative about the monarchy – you would be thrown in jail.
In the west, our lack of understanding and our inaction comes largely from information control and manipulation, but when we are talking about a country with money and resources through which the individual tends to be more enabled and have more opportunity, ignorance is more of a choice – whereas in Thailand there is a large amount of information control on the internet and in media in general, and again very limiting economic conditions – many people genuinely don’t know what they don’t know and have no way of ever finding out, and thus have very little chance or opportunity of being able to help themselves.
So this really all puts into perspective our self-responsibility and our responsibility to our world as middle-class westerners.