human dignity

Liberalism: Problems, Solutions & Benefits

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By Barbara Stängl
 

Liberalism

“Liberalism is a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market and the gold standard; in political terms it denotes a belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties”  (ref.:www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/liberalism‎).

Classical liberalism has its focus on securing the freedom of the individual by limiting the power of the government – the concept emerged as a response to the Industrial Revolution and urbanization in the 19th century. It advocates civil liberties with a limited government under the rule of law, private property and laissez-faire economic liberalism. Social liberalism believes in government intervention to provide equal protection and opportunity. Neoliberalism promotes a market economy with a strong state, a ‘social market economy’. Later the meaning had shifted to hold one of a more radical and laissez-faire capitalistic ideas. It was used to criticize legislative initiatives for free trade, deregulation, enhanced privatization and an overall reduction in government control of the economy.

Neoliberalism is what we are still allowing and accepting as our economical and political system nowadays.

A change in economic course was taken with the program Ludwig Erhard formulated after the Second World War, where demand was not taken as the driving factor of production any more, but rather the other way around, wherein the idea was assumed that every offer created its own demand – which is said to only be valid for trade economies. This new directive of a social market economy, where focus is to be on profit, competition and consuming goods for and within each and everyone, not only economy and politics,  which was implemented thereafter, caused dire consequences reaching up to the current situation where the financial sector as a non-producing element in the system is reaching blown-up and disproportionate extents of power in that major banks are able to demand to be bailed out by the government using the financial means of the public when a tide of bad investments collapses back onto them in consequence and leaves them unable to rectify their position of creating money from loans, financial products and other financial machinations within the state. 

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Thus the real economy is in the process of subsidizing the banking sector which doesn’t produce consumer goods and thus doesn’t contribute to the productivity and added-value, but only creates claims for consumer goods with the respective finance products they conceptualize, the consequence being a discrepancy between factual goods and the claim for them, which in turn leaves people in the upper middle financial ranks of society feeling richer and better off than years ago, but they aren’t in fact, as they are holding only claims to potential goods and not the actual manifested object. This is actually a matter of window-dressing based on agreements without basic real securities.

Thus accepting the ideology of Neoliberalism as a political directive for how we manage our economy has led to the debt crisis of 2007, which should in fact show us what we are allowing, i.e. the economical coups that are possible by stock markets against democracy and in that against the people itself. A criminalist system of unfettered capitalism has been allowed, wherein values are destroyed instead of creating them, the consequence of which living beings have to bear in form of abuse, denigration, immense suffering, poverty and starvation, conflict, war, hopelessness and despair, death – all for an idea that has proven that it doesn’t work for society, where the principle of best for all is being ridden roughshod over.

 

The idea of neoliberalism is based on implementing the following parameters based on the concept that laws and regulations disturb the balance of market economy:

 

Austerity-is-not-working - LIG

  • the reduction of legal regulations for the private economical sector
  • reduced taxation of big income earners
  • austerity programs within the social state such as health, education and culture
  • no tariff security and secure jobs and positions
  • subsidization of corporate power and banking powers

 

Greece Greek Bailout LIG

 

Within this, forces that propagate and uphold this ideology of neoliberalism feature a tendency of obscuring the inner workings of the economy resulting in an impenetrability of the same for the common person. There also seems to be a tacit prohibition in place to further the common wealth on an equal basis, based on the presumption that there is a fundamental inequality between and amongst people, which in fact has to be intensified so that the principle of free competition works. 

 

Office Bully Bulying Profit Driven Societies LIG

Another feature is the maintained rationality that there is ‘no alternative’, as if this is how humanity inherently functions – on the basis of inequality and a competitive nature. Slogans such as ‘the market shall regulate society through competition’ show that the model as the blueprint of neoliberalism that leading figures sought to implement was to basically make individuals into enterprises who are required to establish entrepreneurial traits and behaviors on all levels of their social interactions, dominated by demand and offer, costs, gains and investments as the new social values post WWII within ‘free competition of inequalities’. This kind of freedom cannot accept other liberties along with it, as Erhard stated: “Rights shall find their expression in the freedom of consumption.” This ultimately allows for a constant state of fear of not being able to express within these limitations, and being judged by one’s ability or inability to do so and thus to hold one’s status within society and remain competitive.

 

Solution:

One must realize the allowance and acceptance of the manipulation leading to the change of focus from surviving within WWII and a hands-on approach of rebuilding and producing some kind of added value to what was left in the ruins of the war to a focus on and the dominion of competition and competiveness. This has brought forth an alienation within oneself toward one’s self-expression and what life is about and can be, and the diversion from the principle of best for all within giving another what one would like to receive oneself. This is where one can actually find a handle for the fear of not surviving. One is able to refocus, to redirect one’s focus on equality and in that seeing, realizing and understanding that there is an alternative way, because all are in fact equal as and within life and in that we are all one, one humanity, one life.

 

Living Income Guaranteed - Logo

 

As it is us, the people, each and every one, that constitute the system, politics, economy, what we focus on, what we allow and accept as the statement of who we are, we create. It is important to see one’s immediate starting point for one’ s actions and interactions and make sure it is not one of competition, of proving oneself better or superior over another, where one comes from the point of fear of not surviving. One is able to realign oneself with one’s self-expression.

Alongside with this personal process we are able to and in fact must reorganize the existing financial structures and the realign the power we give to institutions with what serves all equally. To this end as a first platform there is LIG – Living Income Guaranteed which states common sense rationalities – those we could have observed and referred to in ourselves instead of accepting and allowing the manipulations that have and are taking place in politics and underlying powers which we have submitted ourselves to. Such are among others a guaranteed living income on an as-needed basis as provisions for shelter, food and education etc. – basically everything that is required to ensure one’s well-being. We can stop this ideology that we have supported inadvertently by having accepted the misinformation and manipulations over many decades by bringing out the information that is relevant and valid and constitutes a basis for implementing a change on the principle of what is best for all equally as life.

The rewards are obvious: No more fear of losing one’s job and not surviving. No more competition as an all-pervading overlay on every social interaction, instead of self-expression. A letting go of pressure and an allowance to see the other and be with him without placing a price tag onto the time spent for support so one has money to survive. The security of having food, a home one can return to and feel comfortable in, education to expand in this existence, and providing children with a world that nourishes and supports all on the basis of true care.

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

 

Photo Credits:

Ludwig Erhard

Office bully

Greece bailouts

Austerity

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What is the Living Income Guaranteed?

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Living Income Guaranteed is an economic and political mechanism to ensure the establishment of Fundamental Human Birth Rights of the public through allocating an allowance on a monthly basis to every eligible individual that is currently in a position of being unable to sustain themselves – and/or people in their custody – financially to a level that Human Dignity deserves and that currently lack such support due to reasons beyond their immediate control including – but not limited to – unemployment, lacking access to food, lacking access to housing, lacking access to healthcare, lacking access to education, physical disability, being retired or not old enough to have a job.

This is within the understanding that the existence of poverty and lack of education as the key to have a job and means to live is the result and outflow of the economic system’s malfunction, providing an unfair allocation of National Natural Resources, being unable to support every living individual with sufficient access to fundamental living necessities. The most immediate remedy is to eradicate poverty, through allocating/designating a monthly allowance to those that don’t have access to their fundamental living necessities, thereby empowering them to establish a dignified life, enabling each one to reach their potential, choose a career and contribute to the economy through their skill, labour and purchasing power.

Why is it called Living Income instead of Basic Income?

It is called ‘Living Income’ because it won’t only provide each one with the minimum required to survive, it implies sufficient allowance that is able to cover the fundamental expenses required for a dignified living Why? Because this will enable people to reach their creative potential, return to the job market, become independent from the Living Income and contribute to the progression of the economy.

This means that a Living Income Guaranteed should be provided to all individuals that are currently unable to participate in any economic activity due to the lack of jobs/education/health. However those that don’t participate in any economic activity but do have sufficient money to live due to, for example, family wealth, inheritance or any other regular income won’t qualify nor require the Living Income Guaranteed.

Why is Living Income Guaranteed Not Unconditional?

The reason why it is not given to all people unconditionally is because this would undermine the sustainability of an economic system that does require people to be motivated to educate themselves and work to enable the continuation and functionality of our societies.

That means that people that work won’t get the Living Income Guaranteed?

That’s right, however we Do propose that the Minimum Wage is Doubled (twice the Living Income Allowance), which means that there will be a series of reforms to take place first to make the Living Income Guaranteed a sufficient Allowance granted to cover fundamental living necessities, which is within the context of our current economy More than our current Minimum Wage standards.

This allowance should be sufficient for an individual to have dignified living conditions with guaranteed access to their fundamental human birth rights: Food, Water, Housing, Healthcare, Education, Clothing, Transportation, Public Services, etc.

Now to motivate people to work, the new minimum wage should be Double the Living Income Guaranteed in the most common economic activities which are at the moment associated with retail workers, waiters, cashiers, transportation workers, fast food industries, etc..

So, anyone that genuinely wants to have a top quality lifestyle will not conform to only getting the minimum as the Living Income, but continue educating themselves, developing further skills to make more money and have more financial solvency.

What’s in it for the corporations with implementing the Living Income Guaranteed model?

A broader consumer base. Those that previously had no money to live and as such were not economically active will suddenly become active participants in the economy which will ensure that profit is also broadened for corporations, realizing that if more buyers emerge, there will be more profit that can be used to better the working conditions, to diminish the compulsive production and instead adapt the prices to make things affordable, with great quality and providing a secure and harmonious working base, as well as proceeding to fund the automation of jobs that are currently deteriorating human health.

Workers will feel supported and cared for by their employers, which will result in individuals that no longer feel pressured and enforced to only be a profit-making machine, but will feel happy and content to realize that their work is being truly remunerated and that their time and contribution to the corporation is being valued as the life-time investment it actually is. A well remunerated individual will create a happier and fulfilled society that is no longer afraid of not having sufficient money to feed their family, it will be the beginning of a new era of quality work that dignifies the lives of human beings that genuinely desire to improve their lifestyles.

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Why is the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed an immediate solution to the economic crisis?

More than a solution to a crisis, it should be understood as the way to guarantee that the Fundamental Human Rights to each individual are properly funded through allocating an Allowance as the access to the necessary things one requires to live in a dignified way – this is within the principle of Giving to others what we would like to receive, and if we want to live in a peaceful society, to have a happy and healthy living condition, we then must give access to this Allowance/Income as a living certainty that will eradicate the need to resort to crime, panhandling, homelessness, lacking education, health care that results in economical regression affecting every individual in society.

It is common sense that if we give an Allowance to every eligible individual to be well nourished, have proper living conditions with the fundamental necessary services, health care and leisure time, more educated beings will emerge from this when realizing that if one is given support as in getting an income to cover one’s living necessities, one learns how to give back to society too. This will be understood as a living principle that applies to every living being on Earth beyond any political, social, religious or ideological affiliation. We’re talking about physical living necessities that all human beings require to live in a dignified and sustainable way.

On top of this, many jobs are being replaced by the rise of the machine, which will require more restructuring processes in our economy to finally upgrade the premise of being able to ‘make a living by having a job’ because if jobs are currently not available to all – regardless of having college degrees and necessary skills to have one – then it is certain that a new understanding of our economy should be grasped as supportive mechanism for all individuals rather than a restrictive and coercive one.

In the past, long-term policies and treaties have attempted to benefit the working class over time, and it has proven to be inefficient for the tightening policies implemented by corporations as well as the economic outflows have deviated their effectiveness. This is how through a direct intervention to provide the Living Income as an Allowance and doubling of the minimum wage, we are directing the problem at the root, instead of expecting third party actors and policies to solve the situation throughout time.

Will the Living Income Guaranteed undermine competition and as such create economic stagnation in society?

Not at all, actually it’s the other way around. If we define competition as the ability achieve the best living condition in a society, by allocating Allowance to every eligible individual that previously had no access to it, we assure the activation of the economy and impulse people to work if they do want to have a greater economic solvency to cover other consumer desires for extra commodities that are not able to be paid for with the Living Income Guaranteed. Also, there is no limit to how much money you or corporations can make as long as their businesses do not interfere in any way with the nationalization of natural resources or fundamental public services – that is the condition. That means that the rules of a free market still apply and as such, the only constitutional and governmental management will be to supervise the implementation of the Living Income Guaranteed, as well as conducting the usual maintenance, management and provision of public goods and the justice department.

The more you prepare yourself, the better work you’ll have, the more benefits which means you will earn more money as well. Competition means bettering oneself to perform a certain activity the best way one can and this is an essential part of human nature  that has kept our societies remaining competitive, innovative and creative  at a local and global level.

You will also be able to truly have free choice on which work is best for you instead of engaging in working contracts based on need rather than preference or choice. This is the way to implement a real ethical environment at work too, where no more exploitation occurs since any job won’t be the result of a need to work in order to survive, but rather become a means and incentive to increase the quality of life. 

How will it be funded?

Through the nationalization of resources , banks and basic services which means that if, for example, your oil, gas, water, electricity, telecommunications ,transportation is defined as patrimony of the people, the profit that comes from the consumption/purchase of such goods and services should be sufficient to fund the Living Income Guaranteed for eligible individuals. This means there will be no need to have personal taxation but instead keep the VAT (Value Added Tax) as it is to continue funding the functions of the government – this is also within the consideration that as the purchasing power increases and consumer base broadens, the funds coming from VAT will also increase creating more solvency in governmental budget as well, which translates to higher quality public welfare.

Thus with the Living Income Guaranteed there is one thing that is of vital importance: no one in the system, no citizen will pay tax – all tax will be facilitated by either value added tax or sales tax or import duties. If you have a government system that is responsible because you have a system where each one is functioning effectively within the system, you do not need excessive tax; your tax is spent on things like roadwork, transport facilitation – all things that can be handled ‘in house’.

One of the things that can work quite effectively also in a country is to have a toll tax on the roads which are managed by the government and that keeps the roads in place, so according to the use that one has of a road = will be the amount of tax you pay, but there will be in this proposal no income tax, so nobody is going to pay for anyone’s Living Income Guaranteed, it’s coming from the resource companies which everybody in the country are participating in and your sales tax or your value added tax will be according to the amount of your participation within a particular system – this is a fair way of dealing with government tax collection.

This is how the distribution of wealth and profits is expanded onto those that would have no benefit from the commercialization of natural resources and basic services, and due to the constant consumption and requirement of these, it is ensured that the foundation of the Living Income Guaranteed will always remain sustainable and have sufficient funds to cover the beneficiaries’ expenses.

Another example is how through stopping allocating money to fund wars, the trillions of dollars that are spent in the warfare industry can be designated to revitalize the economy through funding the Living Income Guaranteed and supporting the health care, education, commerce, production industries and basic services that require to be improved at home.

Will Public Services also be Nationalized?

Health care, education, water, electricity, telecommunications, media, banks will also be nationalized. Each country will have to assess their available resources in order for the government to make sufficient profit to fund the Living Income Guaranteed.

How can we implement the Living Income Guaranteed?

Through a political proposal, through existing or new political parties that have this mechanism as their key card to gain the majority vote to have our Fundamental Human Rights guaranteed through the Living Income Guaranteed. This means that the right to a Living Income must be granted on a constitutional basis – this is a national-based system constituted at a political level and able to be voted on within a democratic process based on the principle of one man, one vote.

LIG Hong Kong

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