One of the reasons pollution has been able to become such a huge problem is that those creating the pollution are usually not the ones suffering its consequences. Let’s take the classical fictional example of a paper factory using a nearby river in which to dump its waste-material. The river-current drags these materials away from the paper factory and to a nearby town that uses the river water for drinking purposes. The paper factory might use the same river for drinking water for its employees or production processes, but it will use the water a bit higher up the river, at a point where the water is still clean. So – even though the factory is producing the waste material, dumping it in the river and so contaminating the quality of the water – it is not the factory itself/those working at the factory who feel and experience the consequences of polluting the river to get rid of its waste. Since the factory doesn’t feel the harm in what it’s doing, it won’t change what it’s doing, unless there are complaints from the villagers who DO experience the consequences of the river pollution and take action so that solutions can be implemented.
Now – a study was done by James K. Boyce, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, where he investigated the ‘distribution’ of air pollution. Most people have heard about distribution of income and wealth and how unequal it is. But what about air pollution – is everyone suffering to the same extent or are certain groups/categories of people more exposed – and why?
In an interview with the professor the following was discussed:
LP: Do patterns of inequality differ across the country? How can a person of color or a poor person avoid air pollution?
JKB: Avoiding industrial air pollution is difficult, particularly if you’re poor or a member of a racial or ethnic minority. That’s partly because of housing prices. It’s partly because of discrimination in housing and mortgage markets — the phenomenon of red-lining. And it’s also partly because of the tendency for firms to site polluting facilities in relatively low-income and relatively high-minority communities because they expect less political pushback.
Hmmm, that last statement is quite interesting, isn’t it? In the example of our paper factory we were giving the factory ‘the benefit of the doubt’ in saying that – they probably didn’t realize what they were doing within polluting the water of the river, because they weren’t experiencing the consequences of the polluted water. But this statement clearly shows that – polluting firms are not only aware that they are polluting, they are aware that it has negative consequences for others – and yet, so long as they think they can ‘get away with it’, they’ll still do it. And when can they get away with it? When those experiencing the negative outflows are unlikely to speak up or take action to hold the firm accountable.
Or maybe it doesn’t mean that at all. Perhaps – let us entertain this notion for a moment – perhaps people of color or poor people are less likely to initiate political push back because they just don’t mind the air pollution. Maybe they are the enlightened ones who realize that air pollution is really not a big deal and therefore simply don’t want to make a fuss when it isn’t necessary.
But then you get to the following part of the interview:
LP: What are some of the most concerning economic effects of industrial air pollution on communities?
JKB: Air pollution has adverse effects on people’s health, and that means that they have to spend more on healthcare and they miss more days of work, either because they themselves are too ill to go to work or because their kids are sick and they have to stay home and take care of them. It also has adverse effects on property values, which vary with the levels of air pollution in the community.
On top of those outcome effects, it also impacts equality of opportunity, particularly for children. Because communities that are heavily burdened with air pollution tend to have higher incidence and greater severity of childhood asthma, the kids miss more days of school, and partly because they’re missing school and perhaps partly because of the neurological impacts of air pollution on their young and developing cognitive function, there is an adverse effect on school performance.
If you believe, as I think most Americans believe, that every kid deserves an equal chance, that equality of opportunity for children is dear to our society for reasons of both equity and efficiency, then the impacts of disproportionate pollution burdens on the children in some communities – the fact that the playing field is tilted against them through no fault of their own – is a troubling feature of our environmental landscape.
That settles it then – air pollution is definitely a problem that impacts the lives of those who are most exposed to it in a harmful way. So, it’s highly unlikely that they don’t mind – it must be that there is a problem in their ability to voice themselves and push for solutions that would improve their standard of living. And that makes total sense. As we have argued before – political participation is currently a luxury that can only be afforded by those who have the money and the time to firstly educate themselves on what procedures are available to them to organize themselves, formulate complaints and propose solutions – and secondly, walk these procedures and taking action.
With the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed, companies would no longer have the ability to get away with excessive air pollution in low-income or minority community areas. No matter how much one currently struggles to get by income-wise and no matter if one belongs to a ‘minority community’ – each one’s economic situation would be secured and therefore, each one’s political influence is guaranteed as well. Herein, we could make an end to the cycle of impairing opportunities of those who already have a harder time to make the best of the opportunities they do have. Because once one is caught up in the struggle to survive, one has no bargaining power – one becomes the equivalent of a ‘slave’ within a system where one’s long term benefits are sacrificed for the short term goals of having enough money to put food on the table and pay the bills. And this is known by firms who release excessive amounts of pollutants into the environment for which they do not want to take responsibility – and so they will callously ensure that the consequences they create are carried mostly by those who don’t have the luxury to put a stop to it.
So, is a Living Income Guaranteed ‘bad news’ for firms? No – not at all. The philosophy of the free market is based on the premise that off-setting individual interests can create the best outcome for everyone. Of course, interests that are not voiced have no power to off-set anything at all – which is precisely what we’re witnessing in the world today. A Living Income Guaranteed would ensure that all interests are considered and play a role within the creation of an optimal outcome. Air pollution is a great example herein, because, what is air pollution? It is a way in which the natural equilibrium is disturbed, which, as we are all too aware of, is having consequences on the larger natural systems that the air forms a part of. In essence, it is a form of poisoning the planet, the planet we all share.
We can try for a while to keep the effects of pollution isolated so that most, or at least the more affluent, in society don’t have to worry about it. But the planet is an interconnected system and eventually – as we’re noticing with global warming – the effects will reach everyone. So – implementing a Living Income Guaranteed is not only a matter of empowering those without means or voice to make a decent living for themselves in this world – it is a vital step to ensure that we create optimal outcomes for everyone, that cannot be achieved if not everyone is part of the discussion.
This has become the one system that we have come to live by whether one calls it socialism, communism, democracy or any other ideology that we harbor in our minds as a system we submit ourselves to in the belief that one cannot avoid being ruled by it, driven by the fear of ourselves taking responsibility for ourselves as all that is within this existence and standing up for who we are in it and as it.
One must realize that socialism as it is lived as communism is capitalism in disguise, because the focus is on money, on capital, on the survival through money, the imprint of money on the people in similar ways as in ‘free market’ capitalism, with no actual freedom of trade and only the few on top, the 1% pocketing 95% of the profits. Capitalism is a state of being captivated by money expressed by the desire for more stuff or for more profit, more power and control, basically the greed for more. It is the cap of the pyramid where the base is comprised of the natural resources and the human resources – life and resources that have been misappropriated and abused for the very few on top – though with each and everyone focusing on being part of the top, the cap, those being superior over the ones underneath, having it made in acceptance of the disadvantage of others, the abuse of all ‘inferior’, thus each accepts the struggle for superiority on the given terms of capitalism, the competition and fight for survival.
Abuse and suffering is accepted and allowed in every second all over the world on all levels and dimensions, but strangely humanity doesn’t consider changing it. Most support it and will defend it rigorously as if we had been brainwashed into believing we do and will not question capitalism. It is not a natural state as proclaimed by Darwin as the fight for survival of the fittest, which is being put forward and maintained as a justification to one’s resistance to change the system and allow everything as it is – in a ‘don’t worry be happy’ mentality of those that are able to stand in the system in some way or another based on the fear of losing the little one has painstakingly earned or fearing actually having to limit oneself in one’s perceived right to consume because ‘I can afford to’, ‘I worked for it’.
Thus we are willing to accept the majority of the beings on this planet crying out in pain and suffering each second of the day, a second-by-second holocaust for the majority of beings in this existence for our own comfort and the comfort zone of our minds. To be clear: We are actually accepting and allowing mass murder, rape, child abuse, victimization, starvation, animal abuse, deliberate infliction of pain and suffering for the promise of money at the end of the week or month. For printed paper that doesn’t even actually belong to us, as is stated by the banks, the agreed upon value of which can be nullified at any moment. How brainwashed are we? How dumb can we be? How little common sense do we have left, if at all?
There are not many who realize that we’re dealing with a man-made creation which we are able to change so that every one being is considered and taken care of. And even if we do realize it, we have more immediate things to do in the moment, continue with what is due in our jobs, then get groceries, the children, cook, clean and watch the news, sigh, watch a film on TV and go to bed because the job requires you to be fit, and so the whole hamster wheel routine starts all over again till we are simply too mentally and physically tired to consider any other way and ultimately we give up on questioning: Why is it that this extensive crime against Life is being allowed ‘by others’? Everything is fine as long as it doesn’t happen to my family, to myself. Some turn to religion, to some underlying superior plan and rationalize their experience and observations, or do drugs or revert to games, sex and entertainment.
We must see, realize and understand that and how we have detached ourselves from this reality and ourselves. We have allowed ourselves to develop such a mistrust of the physical, of ourselves as the physical because of the identification with emotions and feelings, with energetic experiences – where we no longer comprehend what is actually real, where one is to direct one’s focus and attention to, what is of real significance, substance and value and what is of projective nature and doesn’t hold true because it’s based on fear and becomes the figments and paranoia of and as the mind.
The system is us and we as-it are holding each of us by choice prisoner to it / to ourselves as a system of ‘Life’, ‘Death’ and ‘Struggle’ – that has manifested as capitalism of ‘Grow or Die’. We must understand the brainwashing within the acceptance that suffering is a natural part of life and step out of this mental dysfunction and let go of the concept of ‘having to work for a living’, ‘having the right to work to earn a living’ and instead see that we all have a right for Life, the right of Life, because we are of Life, we are living beings. Our capital is Life, the physical resources – so all will profit in being given an equal and one opportunity to practical physical survival/living in this physical existence. We will manage and live this system through our contribution to make it work for ourselves and for all. We can capitalize on the resources of each human being contributing to life on earth.
So it is pertinent to give to all an equal right to life, which we inherently have, because we are life / of life but what we abdicated our responsibility for, we aren’t standing in self-responsibility for and as ourselves as Life. So we must all commit to a process and standing from survival to living / to Life / as Life and realize that this is something that has actually always been and always will be everyone’s equal right.
A step toward this end is to see, realize and understand one’s own ‘mind-traps’ where one goes into justifications and reasons why a new Economic System will ‘never work’ – where the excuses usually exist around ‘others will deceive’ and ‘what if ‘others won’t work equally’ or ‘what if others use the opportunity to again deceive people’ or ‘I won’t change because others won’t change’, ‘Why me first?’ One must be prepared to see how one deceives oneself and others and see what one allows oneself to be within it, what statement one is making by continuing within the secret mind, inner conversations and backchat, because that is what separates oneself within oneself, from others, the world, reality, existence, Life. It’s a process of aligning oneself with reality and becoming real and making a different statement on who one is, based on the principle of oneness and equality, of giving how one would like to receive, of true care for and consideration of Life and all living beings in this existence.
It is to personally walk through what one perceives as the comforts of capitalism, to understand the fear behind it, wherein one allows oneself to want to hold onto things as a substitute for true ‘comfort’ as and within the physical as what is actually supportive for the body’s well-being. And so to also consider the ones that suffer, to consider walking in their shoes for a one day and within that seeing the reality of capitalism and its outgrowths of debt, poverty, horrible diseases and starvation due to corruption and greed. To then make a stand in saying ‘Stop. To here and no further!’
There is the LIG Living Income Guaranteed platform that incorporates a life manifesto stating the living principles on which a fair system that supports all life equally can be implemented, which one is able to support and make known. It is a step toward equality with respect to one’s financial means in the system as base support to be freed up time-wise to work on aligning oneself with Life and the living principles within and as oneself and within that to speed the process for a complete implementation of the principle of oneness and equality for the best of all in form of a system that forms the structure and mechanisms of providing for all equally pertaining to a fair distribution Earth’s resources and seeing to the point of sustainability and managing added value within a ‘labor system’ that actually respects Life and allows for self-expression instead of abuse.
Benefits and rewards:
People are given enough to live within a system as how it is proposed in Living Income Guaranteed. There will be no need to take on jobs that compromise you as who one is as a human being and in that there is a chance to create jobs that channel one’s self-expression and creativity, that are actually fun to do and open up innovations that are needed for the support of our planet ecologically and for health care and other fields. There would be a rebalancing of the extremes that are now allowed, because the abuse would not have to be carried out to survive due to the inequality. There will be an environment of support where there is no focus on money and survival but on a dignity of life and living. One will work toward the actual profit of a having a clean planet with clean water for all. The statement of value of each Life and living being will be made and eventually lived. Thus from such capitalism life itself will benefit, each human, the animals, nature and the earth – we capitalize on the physical resources to direct this physical existence… the system to the best outcome for all.
The economy in any given location, can be likened to the dynamics of water. If the water in a river flows, then the river is healthy, life thrives in its waters and supports the surrounding terrestrial ecosystems.
Water evaporates from the Earth’s surface, transforms into clouds, travels with the wind, and lands in a new area where it can support life.
When water stagnates, it can become stale. Bacteria and disease start brooding and life stops thriving. Water, and more specifically flowing water – is an essential element and resource in sustaining life.
In our society, we have made the primary element that supports life: ‘money’. If you have money, you can eat, you can drink, you can live in a nice house, you can educate yourself, you can start new ventures, you can support a family, you can participate in leisure time. Money is used, and money is spent – and each expense in turn becomes a flow of income for someone else in society.
Money like water – can be stored for the future. Water-grabs in the form of excessive damming can threaten the vitality of an entire ecosystem: as water is held back, not enough water flows and the area that was once supported by its flow is now faced with a condition of lack, resulting in the degradation of the environment. Dams, when properly regulated and monitored, can be a beneficial factor in the environment. In the same way, we know that saving money can be beneficial to get us through a future ‘rainy day’. However, when we hog money, like water, we create averse conditions within the economic environment (=ecosystem) around us.
The Marginal Propensity to Consume, Save and the Multiplier Effect
Within the realm of economics, you may sometimes hear of the term ‘multiplier effect’ and ‘marginal propensity to consume’ or ‘marginal propensity to save’. Although these terms sound daunting, their meaning is actually very simple.
All these above-mentioned terms, relate to changes in the economy when an influx of income (and resulting spending) occurs.
Whenever we have money/an income, we will tend to save some of it and spend the rest. The amount we spend in contrast to how much we save for each unit of additional income, is our ‘marginal propensity to consume’ (MPC). If our MPC is 0.8, then this means that for every additional increase of income, we will spend 80% of it. In turn, the ratio of how much we save over how much we spend for each additional unit of income, is our ‘marginal propensity to save’ (MPS). If our MPC was 0.8, then our MPS is 0.2, which means we will save 20% of any additional income.
When you have little money, your propensity to save will be very low as money will primarily be spent on everyday needs. As your income goes up, your propensity to save will go up as you feel secure enough to ‘put something away’ and still be able to tend to your everyday needs. Once you’re well off, you will be more likely to save a higher portion of additional increments of income, leading to a lower marginal propensity to consume.
The multiplier effect, refers to an effect in the economy where an increase in spending will bring about a ripple effect which results in a greater amount of value as an outcome than the initial amount spent. In a way, one can look at it as ‘returns on an investment’. Here, we can go back to the example of the river, where additional flowing water in a river is not just ‘additional water’. It is also the drinking water for animals downstream whose presence is absolutely vital to the local biome [See ‘How Wolves Change Rivers’ to see how a change in a single variable can have a huge impact]. The same way, money spent in the economy is not just ‘some money spent’, but also the income of another human being who in turn can utilize this income to employ the services of someone else and again contribute to someone’s livelihood.
We can see from the following excerpt, that these propensities matter when it comes down to economic health and vitality:
“Wall Street banks handed out $26.7 billion in bonuses to their 165,200 employees last year. That amount would be enough to more than double the pay for all 1,085,000 Americans who work full-time at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Purveyors of luxury goods always welcome the Wall Street bonus season, but a raise in the minimum wage would give America’s economy a much greater boost. To meet basic needs, low-wage workers tend to spend nearly every dollar they make. The wealthy can afford to squirrel away more of their earnings.
All those dollars low-wage workers spend create an economic ripple effect. Every extra dollar going into the pockets of low-wage workers, standard economic multiplier models tell us, adds about $1.21 to the national economy. Every extra dollar going into the pockets of a high-income American, by contrast, only adds about 39 cents to the GDP.”
This article nicely illustrates the power of money movement, and where this ‘current’ is the strongest.
By bringing Living Income Guaranteed into the economic picture, we can bring in a gush of fresh new water and transform our stagnant pool into a thriving flowing river. Besides fulfilling our moral duty towards our fellow men through securing each one’s Basic Human Rights, we also put into motion a new economic drive from which will sprout new opportunities of innovation and entrepreneurship.
It becomes possible to have a nice life and to enjoy the latest comfort and tech that science and creativity have to offer, whilst simultaneously making sure that everyone’s livelihood is guaranteed. The principle behind an economy like this is really a simple one: Give, as you would like to Receive.
By changing the money composition in the economy by a fraction, we can bring about tremendous changes. These changes in turn, will bring about their own effects. Even if one might not agree with a Living Income Guaranteed for political reasons, we cannot ignore the ample economic benefits that are coupled with its implementation; to name but just a few: economic growth and expansion, higher living standards, better skilled labor force, lower debt levels and better employment conditions. These in turn translate into social, cultural and psychological benefits such as lower crime rate, lower levels of stress, increased personal freedom, social cohesion, enhanced personal growth and development and overall happiness.
Let’s unleash the wave of economic, social, cultural and personal potential with Living Income Guaranteed.