Right to life

Redemption and the Right to a Living Income

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by Kristina Salas 

Redemption - Canning Documentary - Living Income GuaranteedFor anyone who thinks and believes that those that are unemployed, receiving assistance from the state or federal government, or living on the streets are lazy and no good, feeding off the system, I suggest you watch the HBO documentary Redemption.

Here we watch people all over the streets of New York collecting bottles and cans as a way to survive. To them this is their full time job, walking block after block, day after day, going through trash that sits on the corner to collect all and any bottles or cans that can be recycled. Why do they do this? Because for each bottle or can, they can receive five cents. This seems hardly anything to be working so dam hard for, yet they are doing it. They are doing it with their children because they cannot afford childcare, and because they are extra hands to help out, they are doing it without sleeping, they are doing it to afford to live in a one bedroom apartment with seven other people. They are doing it because money matters in the fight for survival and is the only option available to them.

Redemption Documentary - Canning - America - Living Income GuaranteedBefore you assume to think these are people who put themselves in this situation, as if they deserved it, think again and watch the documentary. These are people with degrees, who have worked for such companies as Microsoft, who worked at the World Trade Center, who fought in wars for ‘our freedom’, who cannot survive on the social security they receive alone.
These are people who are doing what they can to survive, because the harsh reality is that if you make one wrong move, you too can be put out on the street without a helping hand. And you will then see what it’s really like to live for your survival. Money gives us a buffer, we do not see the extent to the consequence our system of life on Earth creates – because we did not pull the shorter stick.


Anyone who suggest that someone does not deserve a Living Income, a dignified life with the resource required to survive, simply because they are not working the job we define as ‘acceptable’ – put yourself in the shoes of another. What would you do to survive? Is your right to food, shelter, hot water, clean clothing more valid then someone who isn’t working, or not doing a job we classify as normal? Would you be willing to walk the streets of New York, digging through trash bags in front of fine dining establishment, simply to ensure you can buy yourself a sandwich for the day? What does shame have to do with anything when it comes to survival?

Redemption - Canning Documentary - LIGI suggest anyone that has such a judgment on those that are down and out and willing to do ANYTHING to make a few bucks, to watch this documentary, to put yourself in their shoes, and to then ask the question, why are Human Rights not a RIGHT given to all, unquestionably?


Investigate the
Living Income Guaranteed proposed by the Equal Life Foundation. The core principle is that all humans have unalienable rights to life – that means food, water, shelter, clothing, education. These cannot and should not be denied to anyone, whether you are not able to find a job, in between jobs, victim of layoffs, whatever – that no matter your situation, YOU have the right to a dignified life, and that you are not FORCED to sift through the rubbish of other humans to collect your income.

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Living Income Guaranteed – How does it all come together?

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Guestpost by Viktor Persson

UDHR+LIGThe Living Income Guaranteed is based on human rights that have been drafted and agreed upon by members of the United Nations. Hence, it is not only a political proposal but also a legal proposal. It represents the means to fulfill the judicial obligations we have taken upon ourselves to fulfill as responsible guardians of this world and as the people of the United Nations.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is by many considered to be customary international law. This implies that the declaration on a general basis is accepted to be part of international law regardless of country or culture. Furthermore, the purpose of the declaration is to define the meaning of the words fundamental freedoms and human rights that can be found in the United Nations Charter article 1.3. The United Nations Charter is for the member states a legally binding document.

Article 1 UDHR states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. This implies that all have an equal right to a dignified life which evidently is not possible without equal economic support and assistance. Herein the Living Income Guaranteed provides a practical method wherein each individual can engage with the resources they require to sustain a dignified life through the use of one’s Living Income. Herein, the Living Income Guaranteed safeguards this human right indirectly by assigning a Living Income to those who are without the means to provide for themselves, who can then use their Living Income tailored to their specific needs.

Article 3 UDHR states that all human beings have the right to life, liberty and security of person. What must be understood is that this cannot be realized unless there is an economic support structure that ensures all receive that which makes life possible. Life cannot exist without food, water, and housing and such resources are thus a right implicit within the right to life. The Living Income Guaranteed will create the necessary environment to allow the right of life to be realized and sustained.

Article 23 UDHR states that all human beings have the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and protection against unemployment. Moreover, it states that everyone has the right to equal pay for equal work and that everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity.

What becomes apparent in looking at the conditions of today’s world is that we have failed miserably in this promise. All too many people presently feel the hardship of unemployment without access to sufficient support which would allow them to change their situation. Additionally, we do not have the ability to freely choose our employment as our path has already been determined by the setting within which we are born into – where we are either born into wealth or not. This in turn impacts on all the decisions we make in life as well as what employment we decide to take on (willingly or unwillingly).

We have in today’s world utterly failed to deliver equal pay for equal work that is proven by the very existence of the corporative tactic of outsourcing production to third world countries. It is clear that in order to fulfill our obligations towards humanity as a whole we require a social economic structure that makes sure all have access to their basic needs wherein employment and right to have a living wage is one of them. The Living Income Guaranteed will yet again revive the economy and produce countless opportunities for employment. In addition, the Living Income Guaranteed will make sure that the salary is not allowed to be less than a minimum amount making sure that all can create a life for themselves that is dignified and enjoyable.

Article 25 UDHR states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services. What is clear is that without financial support, without a clear economic foundation, we cannot create an environment that provides and fosters a dignified standard of living.

The Living Income Guaranteed will guarantee that each human being can create for himself or herself a life that is dignified.

Article 26 UDHR states that everyone has the right to education. In our contemporary world this is not a reality. Even though many countries have a free and public educational system, there are severe discrepancies in terms of the effectiveness of the education given by schools that charge money in comparison to the public schools that do not. Thus those born in unfavorable conditions are disadvantaged and deprived of an effective education compared to their wealthy counterparts.

To create a truly supportive and effective education for all, we yet again require a financially stable structure. The Living Income Guaranteed will make sure that public education does not dumb children down, make them completely dysfunctional and unable to create something extraordinary out of their lives. Herein must be understood that a great education is not something that can be supplied only through a schooling system but that the parent is a primary teacher during the first years of the child’s life. Though, without a sustainable income the parent is not able to attend to his or hers responsibilities and thus the education of the child is forsaken in the name of survival. The Living Income Guaranteed will ensure that parents have the necessary time to educate and support their child to become the best that they can be.

We can conclude that we as humanity through the words written as a promise to coming generations in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have not only an opportunity but also an obligation to realize a world wherein human beings can live a dignified life. Thus far we have failed to live up to our own words as we have not in a practical manner structured our economic system to support the implementation and actualization of human rights. The Living Income Guaranteed stands as the practical tool through which we will be able to make sure that human rights and a dignified life does not just remain a dream on paper but becomes a daily living experience for all human beings.

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