Living income

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? Part 2

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By Josh Richert

 

Continuing from the last blog , CSR is more of a global initiative that is being implemented, encouraged, and directed by various organizations as well as the UN to encourage corporate responsibility towards a common ‘good’.  One of those organizations is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).  From their website:

“The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a leading organization in the sustainability field. GRI promotes the use of sustainability reporting as a way for organizations to become more sustainable and contribute to sustainable development.”

So, we have CSR which is a global initiative of corporate self-governance to encourage corporation to both regulate themselves and report on themselves in regards to changing and implementing business practices for the common good, such as making products that are environmentally friendly, avoiding slave and child labor, giving back to communities, etc.  In order to implement the CSR and encourage it worldwide, organizations like GRI have been created.  But there are other bodies in addition to GRI, such as the Integrated International Reporting Council.
The IIRC produced a
Discussion Paper in 2011 from which the feedback demonstrated overwhelming support for Integrated Reporting and endorsed the development of a global Framework. It also concluded that the primary audience of integrated reports is investors in order to aid their allocation of financial capital.

And then we also have the United Nations Global Impact, from there website:

“The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning with ten universally accepted principles for human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
​The UN Global Compact and GRI signed an agreement in May 2010 to align their work in advancing corporate responsibility and transparency. As part of this agreement, GRI will develop guidance regarding the
Global Compact’s ten principles and integrate UNGC issue areas into the next iteration of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The UNGC will adopt the GRI Guidelines as the recommended reporting framework for the more than 5800 businesses that have joined the world’s largest corporate responsibility platform.”

So, what I am getting at here is establishing the framework of what exactly CSR is, and from what I can see, CSR not a set of global laws, but a set of global initiatives for specifically international corporations to voluntarily adhere to (and arguably for their own good such as increasing market share and profitability due to increased consumer awareness of their ‘ethical and altruistic’ business practices) with the intent to improve living conditions for those living on this planet (a.k.a. the ‘common good’) through encouraging corporate responsibility to those living on this planet, of whom are commonly referred to as the ‘stakeholders.’ 

The guidelines, encouragement, and implementation for these standards are managed by various organizations, including GRI, UNGC, and IIRC, to name a few.  These organizations have created what is commonly referred to as ‘sustainability reports’ with specific guidelines and standards in specific categories such as human resources, environmental concerns, supply chain concerns (i.e. labor), philanthropy, volunteering, etc. wherein corporations are encouraged to report on each category based upon specific standards created by these organization.

But is this ‘global initiative’ of corporate ‘self-regulation’ for the common ‘good’ really effective?
Well, one interesting article from Nov 2012 found on the CSR-reporting website sheds some interesting light on that topic.  As a direct quote from the article:

banarra consistency

“Let me just repeat that so it’s clear:

Labor Indicators: 86% of companies claim they report and only 11% actually do.

Human Rights Indicators: 62% of companies claim they report and only 20% actually do.”

This research reveals a significant difference between claims made in GRI Sustainability Reporting and what actually gets reported (which was unpublished research as of November 17 2012 that was conducted by the Vienna Team in collaboration with Middlesex University London lead by Dr. Sepideh Parsa and Dr. Ian Roper); wherein we can see that the vast majority of corporations are reporting falsehoods, are reporting inaccurately, or claim to be reporting but are not even reporting at all.

Why so?  Well, I would venture that this would be expected for the following: Regardless of the motive, whether it be ultraistic or self-serving, for a corporation to self-regulate and comply with CSR reporting, the bottom line is that those with a controlling interest in these corporations, the shareholders, are looking for maximum returns on their investments which means that the corporations profit comes first, and that the consequences of the corporate actions come second.  Thus, if it is more profitable to ‘cheat’ on the CSR reporting then that is what will happen. Furthermore, if complying with CSR initiatives threatens the survival of corporations then that would be reason and justification for corporations to not allow any reporting (tell on itself in essence) that would undermine its ability to survive.  Another reason is that the shareholders are not stakeholders usually and thus are not really feeling the consequences of the corporate practices and thus it is easy to turn a blind eye and ignore the inconsistencies in the CSR reporting by the corporations they own.

 

So, what we are left here with is an interesting dynamic and that is: the corporations are left with finding the right balance between making their CSR reports – which of course is considered to be a competitive advantage – and also keeping profits up as much as possible in order to appease their shareholders and so ensure their survival and continued existence.  I mean, this is a real test of self-honesty even on an individual level in that, would you tell on yourself / disclose your secrets to another if that meant that it may imply that you would lose money, profits and make you less competitive?  So, that balancing point is where the company can be transparent and honest, yet still keep profits up within a satisfactory zone all at the same time.  Thus, this means for most companies that they are going to have fudge the numbers to make this work. This is just plain common sense.

 

csr

 

How can we change the system to ensure that corporations will report accurately and make significant changes to their practices that will benefit all / the stakeholders? 

Obviously there needs to be a change in the frame-work of the system because with the way the system is set-up now, there will be no true corporate responsibility taken by corporations as it really is not in their best interest, ultimately, as evidenced by the poor participation in reporting and making real changes thus far.  Thus, the framework of the economic system needs to be adjusted in a way that the corporations still work within self-interest / making profits but yet that self-interest will lead them to make real changes.  The economic system itself must change because the alternative to changing the system and attempting to police or enforce such a code of ethics would literally be impossible on a global scale within the realization that there just is not enough man-power, time, and ways and means to really be able to get inside the corporations and ensure their compliance.  Thus, the compliance must be considered essential to corporations, by corporations, for their survival – just as non-compliance is in essence essential to their survival now – and that will only be achieved by making some adjustments to the economic system.

Another point to consider, is that within the current economic structure, how can we even trust that CSR / eco-friendly / socially responsible measures taken by environmental groups and NGO’s are always working in our / the general populace / the stakeholders and the Earth’s best interest? 

There is strong evidence, if one spends any  time researching this point, that the CSR and Green concepts have been used to corner markets, drive commodity prices up, control resources and markets, and pass oppressive laws or push for potentially oppressive laws such as the ‘carbon tax’ scheme / meme.  It can be argued that this CSR movement has been used as a platform to create memes that the populace accepts as accurate and for their good to then lobby for ‘eco-friendly’ government policies that are really more like ‘Trojan Horses’ that when enforced actually play into the hand of those behind the scenes seeking profit and further oppressing the people.  There is strong evidence that the very corporations themselves use the environmental movement to control prices, markets, and resources.  The oil companies often times fund the very environmental movements that they appear to be in opposition to, as an example.

In sum, CSR and the related green movements are all well and needed, but within the current economic system structure, these initiative and movements are either ineffective or used to manipulate and control markets for the benefits of the shareholders and not the stakeholders.

Back to the question: how can we change our system to ensure that corporations will report accurately and actually make real changes upon themselves within a point of self-regulation?  The answer to this question is not simply in the details, yet it is simple within the point of considering how our economic system is currently structured.  So, there are a couple of points to consider here:

1.  LIG.  A Living Income Guaranteed needs to be initiated.  So, I ask the question: Who ultimately is in control of the corporations?  Answer: Those who buy their products and services, within the point that if corporations lose their customer base, they may cease to exist / go out of business.  So, ultimately, who is the corporation appeasing within all of its activities?  The customer. 

Even within the degree of fraud and manipulation in reporting and green movements today, the customer is ultimately in mind.  It’s like an abusive relationship.  If one party in relationship can ‘get away’ with it, they will, and they will continue to do, so long as the desired relationship stays intact.  However, once that relationship is threatened, the abuser will change his/her behavior in order to save the relationship, if possible.  And even if that change of behavior is within self-interest, the change will still be made in a way that will benefit all parties if the abused decides to no longer take the stance as the abused and force the abuser to change within that stance.

Thus, how do we get the people to take that stand? 

Right now, we as the people / the ‘stakeholders’, are not taking that stand that says ‘no you don’t.  You will not abuse the resources and the people for the sake of your own profit.’  And the primary reason is that most people only have enough money to meet basic survival needs as most people are existing in the bottom level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.   However, if people have enough money, they will move beyond survival and then start really looking at how to make themselves and this world a better place.

You see, right now, most people are only able to shop for things based upon price.  It may matter in the back of someone’s mind about all the abuses that were required to bring that product to market at that price, but if that is all one is able to afford and that is what one needs – that product will be bought regardless.  You see, corporations have us at our knees right now within the principle of ‘beggars cannot be choosers.’  The general populace simply does not have the money to truly vote with their money and thus corporations do not have to really answer to the consumer or the environment because either way, we are still buying from them.

Thus, a LIG will enable the populace to start voting with their money so long as we are able to structure it in a way that the LIG will lift people enough out of poverty to do so.  The LIG will create a new pool of money found in the common man zone, instead of only in the upper echelons where the shareholders of corporations primarily are.  The shareholders have so much money that they are disconnected with the realities on the ground and the abuses therein. Shareholders are concerned with increasing their wealth.  That is why they are shareholders in the first place.  Thus, an LIG will equalize that playing field in giving the common man voting rights with their money and thus lifting them up into a form of ‘shareholder’ as well as their existing status of stakeholder.

2.  Dare I say Nationalization?  Let’s call it: Converting Stakeholders (the common man) to Shareholders.  And let’s start with nationalization of essential resources and perhaps the energy sector.  Through nationalization, stakeholders will suddenly become shareholders of the resources that corporations use to bring energy, raw materials such as lumber, food, and water to market for consumption.  That means that wealthy hidden elite will not be in control behind the scenes in a way to increase their profits at the expense of us all.  That also means that people living within the borders of each country will suddenly have the wealth of these resources and thus will be able to sell or trade these natural resources to other countries or corporations. 
Once established, we can hold a democratic Internet voting system, in the form of a liquid democracy, accessible to the people / the citizens of certain geographic areas – to vote for how they would like the natural resources to be handled.

If this were to occur, then corporations would have to change their ways to conform to the laws of the land regarding these resources, because the owners of the resources, the people, will demand it; or these corporations would have to go somewhere else where these nationalizations have not occurred, YET.  Can anyone give me a good reason why ‘nationalization’ of the resources would be so demonized and how actually benefits from the demonization of the concept of nationalization?

 

3.  Increase Awareness: This is already happening in the CSR / Green movements.  This needs to continue and then be streamlined into a unified movement that is brought to everyone’s attention.  Thus, when people have the money through LIG and have ownership of the resources through Nationalization: they will make better decisions / votes as to how to manage them.

Within this public awareness that needs to be increased, as well as we need to de-polarize the movement and bring it into a practical point of consideration where we all as one see, realize, and understand the consequences and implications of our actions within the current state of affairs, within a fact-based platform.   As compared to where we are now, which has this CSR / ECO / Social awareness movement polarized between left and right / liberal vs. conservative, where the left embraces this movement and anything that comes with this movement, even the manipulated aspects of this movement that are contrived by certain groups to corner markets and drive up prices etc., and the right which rejects this movement in its entirety.

Thus within this polarization, all are consumed with the energy of right verses wrong and not are looking at the practical points that are right here in front of us.  I mean, we do have a garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean that is the size of the United States, don’t we?  Can’t we start discussions on these points without getting all polarized into groups based on right vs. wrong?  So, the depolarization of this movement needs to occur so that people can start looking at this practically, and within that we can start really creating solutions that can be implemented through laws or mandates or simply the influence carried out with the populace who now has money through LIG or part ownership of at least the natural resources.

Once this is in place, corporations will have no other choice but to make decisions that are best for all in their practices or else face the prospect of going extinct / out of business.  Let’s do this.

 

corporate-social-responsibility - LIG

 

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Solution Oriented Mindset and LIG – “Housing First” Project

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By Garbrielle Goodrow

 

Homeless Salt Lake CityWithin then next series of blogs on the Living Income I will be discussing the solution oriented mindset of current plans and actions around the globe that are happening, and how within this capacity and even greater ones, a Living Income as proposed by the Equal Life Foundation will be able to facilitate these actions on greater scales.

An article I read tonight was about how in Salt Lake City they are implementing a change in the way they handle the homeless called “Housing First,’ where they give people an opportunity of a better life by giving them a furnished home to live in, and a more supportive environment for their transition into a new way of life. This foundational support of housing and access to health services, give them the time to be able to walk the process necessary to change their lives.

Before this program was implemented in Salt Lake City – like so many other cities – the state and police force were criminalizing homelessness and sending these unfortunate people into jail because they didn’t have a place to go. So the cycle would continue, they would arrest homeless people on the streets, in the park, or on private properties and send them to jail. Where they would get released in the morning and go back to the same locations, and then the next night would get arrested again. This obviously not making much sense nor supporting those who require support. The money that was being spent to do all of this was not being used for the purposes of supporting these people, but to put a band aid solution onto the problem that did not support either side nor was economically viable or efficient as the problem never gets solved.

“The cost of shelters, emergency-room visits, ambulances, police, and so on quickly piles up. Lloyd Pendleton, the director of Utah’s Homeless Task Force, told me of one individual whose care one year cost nearly a million dollars, and said that, with the traditional approach, the average chronically homeless person used to cost Salt Lake City more than twenty thousand dollars a year. Putting someone into permanent housing costs the state just eight thousand dollars, and that’s after you include the cost of the case managers who work with the formerly homeless to help them adjust. The same is true elsewhere. A Colorado study found that the average homeless person cost the state forty-three thousand dollars a year, while housing that person would cost just seventeen thousand dollars.” (1)

Housing First Salt Lake CitySo the cost of supporting those who are having trouble in their life versus perpetuating the same non productive cycles of using the public resources is not even making a dent on the problem, as the homeless numbers still continue to rise. Through taking the time and effort to create a plan like the one that has been implemented in Salt Lake City, it is now proven that is much more economically feasible and socially responsible to provide housing for everyone, because not only is it supporting people to create a better life, but it’s creating an environment for the community that is more equal and wholesome. No more are we seeing the problem just continue to proliferate, but there is a start of a solution put in place to support these people and in doing so also create a better life and living environment for all. These people who are getting the support of the “Housing First” program in Salt Lake City are now becoming productive citizens in their communities and are able to create a stable life for themselves and for their families.


“Housing First isn’t just cost-effective. It’s more effective, period. The old model assumed that before you could put people into permanent homes you had to deal with their underlying issues—get them to stop drinking, take their medication, and so on. Otherwise, it was thought, they’d end up back on the streets. But it’s ridiculously hard to get people to make such changes while they’re living in a shelter or on the street. ‘If you move people into permanent supportive housing first, and then give them help, it seems to work better,’ Nan Roman, the president and C.E.O. of the National Alliance for Homelessness, told me. ‘It’s intuitive, in a way. People do better when they have stability.’ Utah’s first pilot program placed seventeen people in homes scattered around Salt Lake City, and after twenty-two months not one of them was back on the streets. In the years since, the number of Utah’s chronically homeless has fallen by seventy-four per cent.” (1)

This is proving that when people are supported with a basic means to live as these people were given a place to stay and support for them to get back on a stable platform, they will thrive. A Living Income that has no strings attached and is here for their benefit will create results that not only gives dignity and health back to those who are participating in it, but it supports the whole community to flourish and become a place of growth and development.

The Living Income guarantee will work in such a way as with the Salt Lake City homeless project, supporting and living within the principle of doing what is best for all. Obviously we see when we use our resources and money to support the wellbeing of others and the wellbeing of the environment, we have results that are conducive and supportive of the upliftment of the people that need it the most: those without money or resources. And also the collateral benefit is that the community starts to thrive with less crime, less drugs and alcohol use on the streets, as well as being more vitality breathed into these places, as the homeless get their feet back on the ground and can start to contribute back to the community and feel proud within themselves for being able to do so.

 

LIG

 

People who become homeless do so for a systemic problem, either they are caught in addiction perpetuated by our consumer society, or they ran out of resources, or have mental health problems with no real options for solutions and care. So many factors cause the problem that will in turn have to be addressed on a more holistic and systemic basis, but as we see with the “Housing First” project, even small steps gives way to opening for this process to create a better life for all.

Money is a medium that is able to support growth in life into a best for all scenario as this example was set forth with the successful integration of stable housing for the homeless in Salt Lake City. On the other hand, money can be used in ways that are not supportive, where money is wasted and spent in dead end ventures due to greed and an inability to move in a direction and willingness to fix what is broken in our current system.

We have a choice and a decision to make within ourselves as to what way of life would we like, not only for ourselves, but also for the future generations that to come. Living income Guaranteed by the Equal Life Foundation is setting the path forward to, on a systematic level,  give financial support to All those who are in need of it,  which will give way to having more access to resources and time to stabilize our lives into a way that is dignified. The Living Income Proposal‘s implementation will counterbalance the current mindset of feeding off of those who are not able to support themselves as we’ve seen with the banking and credit card industry for an obvious instance, and again create a path to support all in this world as we would want to be supported and doing what is best for everyone here on this planet.

The example with the Salt Lake City project shows that when people are given the conditions to have a chance to support themselves, they will thrive as living beings –  though this process has to be actualized as it’s just in certain areas now for specific causes. The Living Income Guaranteed Proposal sets the path for all people in this world to be given an income if in need to get their feet back on the ground and time to move themselves in the direction that will be best for them and so best for all. Supporting and giving to life as self will always come back to self eventually, as “what you give you will receive” says an ancient proverb and it remains true to this day.

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Ownership: The Lie That Kills

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by Sandy Mac Jones


Greed - Living Income GuaranteedI was stunned to find out that a major reason there is so many millions dying of starvation in African countries each year is that, of the 10 countries that the Nile River runs through, only 2 of these countries have the ‘right’ to use the water from the river for irrigation/farming/transportation or any other purpose! This is because Egypt and Sudan apparently ‘own’ the water ‘rights’ of the Nile River.

But does anyone really ‘own’ any part of mother earth? Was the river here before the arrival of the human?  Yes, it was!  Ownership is merely a concept, an idea someone came up with to enforce safety measures against those that intrude and steal or more often, take/conquer and keep all for oneself or ones ‘country’. Why can we not keep the safety measures but forgo the unfair idea of ownership? The answer to that is, we can.

If you think of two children fighting over a toy, the one child crying ‘it’s mine’ , he only ever gets to ‘keep’ it  if he is bigger/stronger, or someone else (the adult) intervenes and says what the ‘rule’ is. But if human beings are the children, where and who is the adult (god?) to intervene?  No one and nothing is intervening, we must be our own solution – there is no other way.

It seems back in 1925 there was a treaty signed between Britain, Italy and Egypt (this was updated in 1959 to include Sudan). Britain held Dominion over much of the African continent=came with weapons and murdered people to steal the wealth of the African countries and take it back ‘home’ to Britain.  Back then, Egypt and Sudan were Britain’s source of cotton and Britain knew that their rate of production was only possible through the Nile and the use of massive irrigation systems. So in this treaty Britain and Egypt decided that the Nile belonged to Egypt AND that no-one is allowed to do anything with the water that, as a consequence, will lessen the amount of water that ends up in Egypt, thereby insuring Britain’s cotton crop production.

JP Morgan Monopoly - Living Income GuaranteedThat’s right, they just decided = they made it up ’cause they were bigger and stronger,’ just bullies in the schoolyard!  No complicated economic theory needed here, they did this just because they could, because their stick was bigger than the other countries sticks. Just like the two little children fighting over the toy, they were bigger and stronger so got their way. It’s all about power and control and greed.

 

But supposedly they based this decision on the fact that Egypt has a 7000 year history with the Nile, way back starting with the Pharaohs so historically and traditionally belongs to them. Well, we have to stop referring to history and the past to make decisions based on today. Instead, we must use common sense and compassion to decide upon an approach that is best for all life, which in this case would be all countries through which the Nile flows are able to use this natural resource to better their economy and support the population!  That would include:   Ethiopia, Uganda, Zaire, Kenya, Eritrea, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi and yes, Egypt and Sudan.

Other reasons for this decision were that it had been determined that Egypt was the country which had made most efficient use of the Nile, in economic terms. So what? Are we not all life? Does a newborn baby today deserve to suffer starvation and die in agony because 85 years ago their birth country did not make as efficient use of the Nile as Egypt? We are talking here about an invisible dividing line (again made up by human beings) separating the land and people into ‘countries’. It is not in fact ‘real’; we make it real by our agreement to participate. Also, let not the fact escape us that ‘efficient use’ of the Nile meant that Egypt produced cotton for Britain which they could profit from and provide clothing for their people, total self-interested motives. The invisible lines have to come down as we wake up to the fact that, this approach is not what is best for all, as life on earth. And the practice of hoarding commodities, such as cotton, so you can control supply and demand, thereby controlling prices at the expense of millions of others, should be strictly monitored and made illegal/penalized.

Can you honestly look in the mirror or in your child’s eyes and say your child does not deserve to have a comfortable, enjoyable, dignified life but the child across the invisible line=boarder, does? There is a difference is the quality of life because there is a different starting point of the two children, this is inequality. I am not suggesting we eliminate boarders as they provide logistical reference points so we can communicate and move about on our planet. I am suggesting we understand that boarders are nothing more than that–lines we have made up for practical purposes. We do not need to kill each other over imaginary lines!  Our one planet needs one focus; to implement an economic system based upon the principal of what is best for all life, that system is A Living Income Guaranteed.

Innovation Relocation - Living Income Guaranteed

Read the Proposal here:   Living Income Guaranteed Proposal

 

 

 

Sadly, Ethiopia, which was the only African country that was never colonized, simply had ‘no legal representation’ and thus no say in the matter when this treaty was being written and signed, while over 80% of the water that ends up in Egypt originates from Ethiopia!  Many of the countries, when the treaty was being signed, were also too busy focusing on just surviving, so they didn’t really pay attention to the treaty or start thinking of some magnificent irrigation system as they simply did not have that luxury.

After independence from Britain, a few African countries declared the treaty as void but the treaty was never really challenged and nothing was ever really done about it because the other countries were scared of Egypt’s military force, also knowing that Egypt still has strong ties with Britain’s, a powerful nation indeed.

Of course, many countries in order to develop, need these type of natural resources to support themselves, just as Egypt did with the Nile, which brings a lot of advantage in terms of agriculture (to irrigate the land in the case of the Nile) and transportation.

So every year Ethiopia and other countries get millions of dollars into the country as ‘food aid’. Also, realize that when this investment as food is eaten, it is gone. The problem remains, charity is not effective as a solution to starvation.  Crazy, when there is the Nile flowing right through their land!  A sickening consequence of the Nile River ‘ownership’ issue:  wasted food and food aid.

To add to the insanity no one is allowed to assist these devastated African countries in the investment of dams and irrigation system and hydro power  which will actually help them get somewhere to improve the standard of living and create their own food source! And then the few farmers who do work their farms to produce food – can’t get their food sold because its cheaper to get free food aid. So they end up not being able to sell anything and end up joining the food aid line. Ironic.

There exist warehouses in Ethiopia FULL of food, grown right there in Ethiopia. And a warehouse next door FULL with bags of food with the American flag on it, food aid food. So all the food these poor farmers worked so hard for just rots away and then you end up with a whole nation of people being dependent on food aid. Insanity plain and simple, theft of 8 African countries ability to stand on their own feet, live with dignity, provide sustenance and jobs for their population.

The LIG proposal can be adopted, in part or whole, by any political party.

 

Living Income Guaranteed - LogoInvestigate the Equal Life Foundation and the proposal for a Living Income Guaranteed where all are sufficiently supported and honored with their basic human rights – where they have the ability to provide themselves with food, water, shelter, education, health care – all things one would like for themselves and would be living a standard less than what is best for them without such things.

Please investigate the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal and Join us for discussion.

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Fundamental Human Rights by Equal Life Foundation

 

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Living Income Guaranteed and Taxation – From Redistribution to Contribution

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by Maite Zamora Moreno

 

Re-Set Living Income Guaranteed Taxation

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.

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There is Enough! Stopping the Cycle of Ignorance with LIG

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By Garbrielle Goodrow

foodwaste-blog


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 –
    1.5 million
  • Percent of world population considered to be starving –
    33%
  • Time between deaths of people who die from hunger –
    3.6 seconds
  • Each year, about 40 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.

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.

 

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Food Waste

Economist’s Journey To Life

Yearly Salary “Raise”

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It sounds cool when the company sends you the letter about the raise in your salary yet when taking the inflation into account which is two times higher than the raise we then realize that our purchasing power has actually diminished. And that’s what has been happening for many many years now where the human labor is slowly but surely devalued.

It is a slow process where the change is not very noticeable ensuring that there is no reason in peoples minds to have any uprising and claim for their rights. Corporations keep doubling their profits while people that do the actual labor remain stuck in the mode of survival and constant fear to try and move for any change.

When I hear people having a conversation about the guys on top and how they exploit us a common statement keeps appearing in the end ” aaa it’s a useless fight”. That’s how deeply we have accepted our condition, because as far as we see it’s always been that way and always will be. You can try and go against the big guys and possibly win few percent increase in your salary or some little improvement in your working conditions but beyond that is a no go area, useless to even consider. So yeah the programming is surely deep where alternatives don’t ever enter the conversation in any way, only sometimes in a form of a joke.

 

I would like to bring, however, a new consideration, which is not actually new but is basically disregarded due to effective brainwashing which was pushed by those that fear and understand that this consideration does actually make sense and that if this idea would reach people without being filtered through the imposed filters of fear, majority would agree and most likely push for the realization of this idea.

 

 

Nationalization of Resources

Yes, it has been portrayed as something unholy where we have been made to prefer the free market to take care of things for us without realizing that free market only allowed a few to freely abuse all others. Government is bad, too much corruption and abuse, we keep reading daily in the newspapers and of course that is a problem because even there we have completely abdicated our responsibility to make any decisions or have any say in what happens with our daily affairs. Still in many ways government still works for the people while corporations are only interested in the well being of their shareholders.

Isn’t it strange that those shareholders are sitting somewhere far away from all the real processes that happen daily while common people work their assess off to keep the company running, yet they don’t have a share in this company, nope, they are no shareholders. They get only the tiniest piece of cake, it’s called a crumble which again, as I mentioned above, gets tinier with each passing year. How is this fair? How can this be allowed to continue unquestioned and ever even considered?

There is a need to start the process of bringing this awareness back into the minds of people by explaining through past examples about the benefits of having resources nationalized and how this can work for all people. What changes need to be done within governments in order to avoid any abuse and how to best allocate this huge increase in available resources that could really accomplish great things in bettering lives of all human beings of let’s say that specific country.

Suggestion is to start looking at our global initiative called Living Income Guaranteed which besides this suggestion has other crucial points, ideas which upon their realization would, through mathematical determination, bring enormous improvement in the quality of peoples lives. There is still much work to be done and the more of us join and participate the faster we can move and end the current accepted slavery once and for all.

 

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BIG Pilot Project Namibia: a Perspective

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Now, my perspective is probably going to be quite unique. I was born in Windhoek [Bernard Poolman] growing up in Okahandja, very close to Ontjivero where they did the BIG Pilot Project. Growing up in the community and with the culture and with a unique understanding of the dynamics there, allowed me to see how things really work – let me give my two cents of this project.
The project was based on giving a community a 100 Namibian dollars a month as a basic Income. Now, first point is to understand that Namibian dollars are not American dollars, it is very easy to mistake this point. so to give you at the current exchange rate an estimate, a 100 Namibian dollars = 10 American Dollars approximately, so it is certainly not a Living Income that is being given, it is not making any significant change, it does not impact the ‘dollar a day’ poverty bracket, it doesn’t even take the person over that. So from the perspective of what a Living Income should be, this is hardly a ‘Pilot Project,’ it’s more a feel-good project and certainly not something with which one can sway a government to implement a Living Income Project.
Next, Ontjivero is far out, there are no industries as such, there’s no employment as such, the only thing the people can do there is buy consumer stuff which are very basic survival stuffs, and obviously buy alcohol as that is the foundation of each of the smaller communities, because they have no entertainment, they have nothing else to do and it’s become part of the culture. It is the same culture that is being used by ‘the white man’ so to speak over centuries, keeping the locals busy with a very structured way of alcohol consumption – when they have money, the tendency is to get some more.

 

The products/ the goods that will come in and those that may start a little business to sell to the community will be buying this in the closest towns which is either Okahandja, but more probably Windhoek because your hyper stores are in Windhoek, Okahandja as a community is really very small – and the goods will be sold as prices that are highly inflated because the consumer base in Ontjivero is very small, so you have to make profit, you have to make quite a profit on every product sold. A 100 Dollars a person extra into the economic scenario will obviously bring a significant increase in spending power from the spending power they had before. So it will look like it is a ‘significant point,’ but one needs to look at what was there before this pittance was added to remind the people of how little they have.
So some will make some more money and there will be more food on the table because the staple foods being mealiemeel which is porridge made from corn, selling approximately at 80 rand (+- 8 us dollars or 6 euros) for a bag of 10 kilograms, which will feed a person, probably for about 10 days with 3 meals a day – obviously who cares that they are eating the same food 3 times a day, which in itself leads to malnutrition – nobody would ever do that in the western world, eating 3 same meals a day for a whole month, but that is what it boils down to, you can buy one staple food that will last for part of the month, and you have to eat the same food every day. And the fact that there is no electricity or running water or toilets or anything relevant to a normal town scenario – that means there are no costs for that, but there are also no benefits of this – would mean that a significant amount of time is spent in preparing food because the person would have to go into the veld to find wood for the fire, they’ll have to go and get water and then they have to cook the food on the fire. Now the pots they cook this food in are iron pots, an iron pot costs in the region of 300 Namibian Dollars, that’s without the transport to get it there – that is if you buy it in town (capital) and obviously the transport from Ontjivero to the closest town is quite expensive because it is a significant way to travel.
To give you an idea, I grew up in a small town where there was no entertainment. To get to the closest movie theatre, was 80 kilometers, to go and do shopping from the whole sellers – because you couldn’t find all the stuff in the small town – was 80 kilometers. So it is a significant point that must be planned well and that is quite costly to bring resources to the town.

Now there was some researcher from Germany writing a negative article about the pilot project and some of his observations only confirm the level of ignorance that exists within the so-called ‘researchers.’ One of his complaints was that the Namibian University was not involved in the research project. To involve a person – or several of them from that university in the project – will cost more than the total money that goes into the pilot project – that should be realized as the first point.

Secondly, the level of Education of the people in an area like that is so insignificant, their capacity so stunted as the current research shows that a person that grows up in poverty will be equal to a person that had a stroke, which would mean that their ability to answer questions – specially from a person not understanding the basic cultural language, even through an interpreter – is not going to get you relevant feedback, because you don’t understand the dynamics that exist within the survival pattern of the particular group of people.
And in Namibia, the basic language for instance there would be like Herero and Afrikaans, as English is not a major language, specially outside the cities to such a degree that when I came to South Africa in 1981, I failed my first year university because I couldn’t speak English, because English was not emphasized – although obviously under the auspices of the ‘United Nations’ and all the wonderful tools with which they pretend to stop poverty, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and stuff like that, the main language has been made English but there has been no significant input to bring about this change, specially where it’s outside the main centers.
So the person is not going to be able to understand the context of the questions and the interpretation of any form of research material will hardly be of any significant value.

Furthermore this researcher claimed that there were no empirical economists to overview the project, so now you want to add another part of the Empireconomists to this whole pile which will increase the cost even more, because this empire – you call them ‘empirical’ I call them ‘Empire-Economists’ because they justify the process of empire – these Empire Economists will cost even more for money that could have gone to the Basic Income Project will now be diverted to the few researches which – whether they’re black or white are in fact actually white, because those blacks that are significantly educated become like white people, because that’s how the brainwashing functions.
So, the research would not have been significant because the statistics used would be to justify why the project can’t work which is exactly what your major organizations like the World Bank and the IMF actually do. Their point is not to find a working model, their point is to justify the model they’re already using and therefore, they’ve already shut down the Basic Income Grant overall because there is no way at the level of the brainwashed Empireconomists where there is any form of understanding that there could be a better system that will involve for instance a Basic Income Grant.
Furthermore this researcher – I don’t know if one can call them ‘researchers’ if they are that ignorant, but let’s attempt to value this point – claimed that in all the years has been ‘no infrastructure development‘. Now tell me, in a community where a bag of mealiemeel is nearly the price of the 100 Namibian Dollar allowance, you want to tell me they have sufficient to buy bricks to do some improvement. Now to give you an idea of what the price is for a brick, the price for a brick before delivery and the delivery will double the price due to the distance – virtually where this is located, the bricks are 5 rand each which is 5 Namibian Dollar Each, which gives you 20 bricks if you take the Basic Income Grant allowance that was received by a person that can buy 20 bricks a month if they don’t eat bricks, they don’t buy food and they accumulate it, it will take them several years to have enough bricks to build an outside toilet, just to satisfy these dear researcher’s peculiar strange conclusion.
So I would not pay much attention to those that claim they are working at some University in some project, doing some form of research that apparently means that they care about what’s going on, they are just being paid with grants, grants that should have been focused on and pulled together for a Basic Income Grant. All these researchers will no longer exist in a Living Income Guaranteed project because there, people will do research because they really care, not because they need the money or they pretend to care. I would not give much attention to how this is all being viewed.


Overall, there would be some change, I mean having money to buy mealiemeel and to have some food where you have virtually no income in a community, certainly is a massive impact, but is it significant that it will actually make a permanent change to the cultural tradition and to the human nature in that area? No, it will not make any significant difference, it will not bring about significant change where the person can make a life changing decision because there is no possibility. This particular Pilot Project is more a project where one will have a look at how effective slavery can exist within the minimum income bracket of the poverty line as accepted. One can call the BIG Project rather a World Bank or an International Monetary Fund Project. Obviously it’s been funded by the church which is some of the significant influencers and supporters of things like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, because the church does not question the suffering and poverty, they in fact ensure that it exists.

So therefore the money that is there is really completely insignificant, the project is insignificant – obviously the people are grateful, they’ve got some ‘more food,’ food that otherwise would not have been there and due to the continuous process of globalization that is even affecting Namibia, there will be less food and less money in this type of communities. But if you guys can continue getting the money to this people, let me tell you: they really need it, it’ll buy them some mealiemeel, they will smile for you, you can take some snaps and publish it all over and tell the world how good you are because you are feeding the starving – they will make a living, they will survive, they will give you the photo opportunity and the public relations opportunity – but don’t fool yourself, your Pilot Project is insignificant and is of no real value. In fact, it only gives an actual overview of the nature of the current Basic Income Grant Project, that the people behind it don’t have a clue what it means to make a difference in a person’s life, it is actually disrespectful to do so little and to blow it out of proportion so much.


So it is important to realize that economics should not be based on statistics, it must be based on fact and another word for fact, the word for Economic Fact is Mathematics and for that you need correct data and then you can work out what is the real situation and what is best.

Now what I suggest to a researcher: if you want to have a model of establishing what would be acceptable in another person’s life: you start with your life and you assess what it takes to have your lifestyle. you do the mathematical data collection and then you start to remove stuff from your life to see at what level you reach the point where your lifestyle is no longer acceptable, and when you get to your threshold, then you have to live that for a significant period, like for instance in the BIG Pilot Project it’s being going on for several years so you have to live at this threshold for several years and then see if it is still acceptable.
From that perspective you can work out exactly what you would be willing to live with as a Living Income and thus, that is what you propose for everyone else because then you do onto others as you would like to be done onto and thus you give as you would like to receive, and so unless a researcher in economics follows the principle of assessing their own lifestyle and establishing what is acceptable or not within their own life – they have no way except a mathematical way to establish what is valid and what is not.
So at the moment we have no real data all around about establishing an Economic System in the world that is Best for All. The Living Income Guaranteed as we are proposing is coming with suggested data models, how to take data into account and how to adjust the structure of consumerism and thus improve capitalism to bring about a sustainable Basic Income for everyone that qualifies.
So investigate the Living Income Guaranteed – we really care and actually do research.

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BIG Pilot Project Namibia -  a Perspective