Have you Ever been Swept Off Your Feet?

In both cases – whether the bubble was inflated with positive or negative energy – the participants in the bubble are being swept away further and further away from actual physical reality and start to see everything either ‘extremely negatively’ or ‘extremely positively’ – neither experience is grounded in reality – because the physical is neither positive or negative – it just is what it is.

And Then You Crash – Meconomics

In this little series, we’ve been investigating the phenomenon of inflation, how we in our daily lives participate in ‘inflating our reality’ and so, how we are on a personal level participating in the same principles/dynamics that we see playing out on a bigger scale when it comes to inflation, speculative bubbles and financial market crashes.

Welcoming New Life with Living Income Guaranteed

Comfort, security and nurturing are all things we wish are present when a baby comes into this world. Yet, these conditions are not a reality for many babies, as parents themselves like these things in their lives. In Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu Natal province in South Africa, 3 to 5 babies are…

Humanity Washed Ashore

This was an excerpt of just one of the stories about the boy. Over the last few days, dozens have been written and published on various major news sites. What is more striking than the content of the posts, is the comments that are left on these articles. What is humanity’s response to such images, to such news?

Voting Fun – What does it Feel Like to Have a Say?

Now – before such increased direct political participation is a reality – let’s do a little test to see what it feels like. So – here are some mock-questions where you’re asked to give your input. Imagine that this relates to your direct reality (eg. your town) – and your answer has a weight that influences the outcome of the decision. Of course, in reality…

27 June 2013

Day 237: Planned Obsolescence becomes Obsolete with Living Income Guaranteed

brian-fitzgerald_cc-by During the war as countries no longer had access to their usual trading routes through obstruction like blockades and disrupted commercial agreements, industries had to start making the same things with inferior materials, simply because the usual materials which would ensure quality and durability were out of reach.

As time progressed, an interesting thing was noted. People who bought the products for which inferior materials were used, ended up having to buy the product again after a shorter period of time than what they were previously used to. While the use of inferior materials and the shorter life-span of goods was supposed to be a ‘negative side-effect’ of the war, it turned out to boost the economy as more people were forced to buy more goods to sustain their lifestyle.  After the connection was made between the inferior materials and diminished durability of goods leading to increased economic activity, it was made to be ‘a thing’.

People now started playing around and testing various materials and inputs and their durability within products to design and engineer goods with calculated life-spans. The use of inferior materials and diminished durability was no longer seen to be ‘unfavorable’, but necessary evils which our business men must employ to ensure the vitality and longevity of the economy. Planned obsolescence, had become an ethical thing to do.

Along with it, came also a culture of disposability. You could now use plastic cups, and plastic bags which you use once and then throw away. So that you can just keep on buying and disposing = it’s great for the economy!

While these manifestations may be ‘good for the economy’ in terms of manipulating consumers into extensive buying behavior, these manifestations by themselves obviously also bear great negative side-effects to the world outside of the economy. Re-producing the same products over and over simply to keep the buying going results in massive amounts of waste. Not only are we wasting tons of energy which we could have used more productively, we also end up with huge amounts of waste which accumulate in landfills and oceans. So while the economy may ‘thrive’, we are slowly but surely putting pressure on all other parts and areas of our society.

People are being put pressure on as they have to budget more carefully as goods who used to be once durable are getting a shorter and shorter life-span. What used to be a onetime big investment for which one had to go into debt, is now becoming a pattern where more people are living in debt and what they are receiving in return is of lesser and lesser quality.

Nature and the animal kingdom are being put pressure on as we pollute the environment and seize their habits for expanded production.

Our resources are being put pressure on as we exploit them at an unsustainable rate where they will soon be exhausted before we have put into place alternatives.

So all in all, the price we pay for our economy to thrive through planned obsolescence, is just not worth.

With the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed as presented by the Equal Life Foundation, planned obsolescence itself will become obsolete within the economy.

Currently, we are placing our focus on ‘things’ to guarantee our spending, and thus to guarantee the spinning of the economic wheel. This, as we have seen, is simply ineffective and wasteful. Instead, it would make more sense to ensure spending by firstly ensuring that everyone has some level of purchasing power through having a Living Income Guaranteed in place, and secondly through placing our focus on human capital rather than repetitive buying patterns.

This practically implies that instead of depending on things to break for consumers to spend money in the economy, we move our focus to appreciating and rewarding human labour adequately and properly. This means that we can revert back a high standard of quality and durability, with prices that accurately reflect the amount of human labour that went into the product, so that we can establish wages from which people can live a dignified life.

At the moment, we are counting on low quality level goods and low quality standards of living through low wages for the economy to keep going. It does not have to be this way. If we re-arrange our values and priorities, we can still keep our economy going, but we can do it by directing our attention (and money) to quality, durability and human dignity.

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24 June 2013

Day 236: Living Income Guaranteed will Reduce Suicide Rates

The American Association of Suicidology says:

"There is a clear and direct relationship between rates of unemployment and suicide. The peak rate of suicide in 1933 occurred one year after the total US unemployment rate reached 25% of the labor force. Similar findings have been documented internationally. At the individual level, unemployed individuals have between two and four times the suicide rate of those employed. As well, economic strain and personal financial crises have been well documented as precipitating events in individual deaths by suicide. Stressful life events, financial and others, have significant impact on those vulnerable to suicide where typical coping mechanisms are compromised by the effects of mental disorder, substance use, acute psychiatric symptoms, and a host of other risk factors associated with suicide.

Of current concern is the high rate of home foreclosures. More than a million people recently have lost their homes, about as many as did in the Great Depression when the population was about half what it is today. For most Americans, our homes are our primary investment and the locus of our identities and social support systems. When combined with the loss of job, home loss has been found to be one of the most common economic strains associated with suicides. In contrast to many other developed nations, the US provides little cushion to buffer these strains -- unemployment benefits are generally limited in duration and are considerably less than full pay levels, there is no national health insurance, etc."

Suicide rates can be brought to an extreme low once and for all through implementing a Living Income Guaranteed - where each one who is unemployed is unconditionally provided with an income that is sufficient to acquire what one needs to live a dignified life.

In many first world countries - as economic depression sets in, psychological depression follows suit right away - because security is taken away, because the future becomes uncertain, because if the economy does not start growing in time - every middle-class income household's livelihood is in jeopardy - never mind the lower class. When the depression persists and suicidal thoughts gain the upper hand, children lose fathers and mothers - families are torn apart. Such trauma can be prevented through ensuring a stable economic system. Providing a Living Income Guaranteed must therefore go hand in hand with the necessary changes in the economic and political systems so as to ensure lasting stability and sustainability - instead of being at the mercy of economic polarity-swings.

For more information - read up on the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal on the Living Income Website: http://livingincome.me/wiki/The_Living_Income_Guaranteed_Proposal 

Also check out the google hangout discussions on the Living Income Guaranteed YouTube channel:
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22 June 2013

Day 235: Living Income and Effective Markets

124 "... and it leads to mediocrity by furthering the emergence of a “mass culture” where the lowest tastes are catered for. Furthermore, it is contrary to human nature with its rich diversity. Why make equal that what was not equal in the first place?"

The above quote was made in relation to the promotion of Equality within society. Within the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed, we are promoting Equality within placing everyone in a position where one can participate in Life, economically, politically, socially and culturally.

By giving those who are unable or have yet to establish a stable income stream for themselves, a living income – we ensure that everyone is equipped to participate in society. This places everyone on a more ‘equal footing’, as everyone is able to take care of one’s basic needs and contribute to society.

By implementing a living income guaranteed, we will have a more accurate market system. As more demands are being validated through a living income providing everyone with money to ‘back up’ their demands – our demand curves will more accurately show and reflect the populations demand, consequently allowing supply to adjust to the actual demand levels of the consumers (as everyone is now being recognized as a consumer) and catering for that which is actually wanted by society. Previously (or currently), only those demands were recognized which were backed up by one’s purchasing power. This means that there’s an exclusive catering mechanism taking place for those who have money, by those who want even more money. From this, a mass culture emerged in terms of the arts like in the Music Industry, where mainstream music is all about what ‘most of the people who have money’ want to hear – where only the taste of money is being catered for as that which will be ‘most profitable’ – leading to Music Industry ignoring lots of areas of Music to explore as there is ‘no money in it’, which leaves us with a bland, monotonous, mediocre mainstream music industry. By extending economic participation to everyone, more people are able to ‘place their votes’ as their demands of what it is they want / would like to receive – and thus the music industry will receive a larger variety of signals of types of music to be explored and developed.

For more on the Music Industry and Living Income, read the following blog:Living Income and the Music Industry

Promoting equality such as equality in economic participation, does not lead to mediocrity and ‘mass culture’ – that, we already have and is the result of a profit based system, a system of discrimination. By implementing a Living Income Guaranteed, everyone is able to signal their demands to the market effectively. Only when we have a Living Income can our “human nature with its rich diversity” be captured and reflected in our society and economy and can we truly enjoy the variety and creativity that the Human has to offer.

Stand for a Living Income Guaranteed, Stand for a Better and more Effective Market System!
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20 June 2013

Day 234: Living Income to Cure the World of Crime

One of the objections that has been raised against implementing a Living Income Guaranteed to ensure that every person is secured with the means to support themselves - is that: one would be rewarding individuals without them doing any effort to create a better life for themselves - and so - implicitly, one is rewarding laziness.

This objection obviously does not consider the reality of the economic system we currently live in - where, motivation and one's best efforts are simply not enough to 'make it', let alone make a decent living for oneself and one's family. Those perceptions come from When the economy is in such a state as it is now - then, regardless of one's best intentions and efforts, one can remain stuck in a life of poverty and deprivation, simply because there are no sufficient jobs through which to earn money. Or, one could get a different degree to be able to have access to a particular job market - but this also implies that one requires to already have some sort of income to fund the studies. One can also not start one's own business, because that requires a starting capital.

So - what options are left? What are we encouraging when we say to a person with no means to support themselves that they are on their own and that they must devise their own way to make a living? Well - we are basically suggesting that they should become criminals. That is the one option they have available. And when the economy worsens and less jobs are created, more turn to crime - and when crime increases the economy suffers even more because no-one wants to invest in a country where the law is not enforced, because then there is no guarantee that the investors' interests will be looked after from a legal standpoint.

No - motivation is certainly not enough to make a decent living for oneself. But there is one thing - and if one possesses this one thing - a world of opportunity and possibility suddenly stretches out before one's feet. And that one thing is: MONEY. It only takes money to be able to feed oneself. It only takes money to be able to clothe oneself. It only takes money to be able to educate oneself. It only takes money to make the difference between disgrace and dignity.

Capitalism is a system of incentives and the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed for all those who find themselves without a job - would be the perfect way to discourage crime - or otherwise, to stop encouraging criminal behavior. Because it is easy to say that those with nothing must just do some effort to improve their lives - but if we'd be in their shoes - having to provide not only for oneself, but a family too - with no support system to fall back on - what would you do? Would you sit at home watching your family suffer, or would you do whatever you can - even if it means stealing and robbing and conning - or making a deal with the 'wrong kind of people' where you get dragged into situations you never thought you would find yourself in - but what choice is there, there are mouths to feed, bills and rent to pay. How can we even call such people criminals? Wouldn't it be criminal to in those instances obey the law and not take one's responsibility within taking care of those around us? Then - isn't it criminal to allow a system where individuals are placed in a position where they have no means to adequately support their families within the boundaries of the law?

We're the criminals here because we make laws and follow economic rules without any consideration of what the reality, consequences and implications of these decisions entail.

We are the people and in any democracy - it is the people who are supposed to rule. And if that is not happening - then that is not the fault of those in power or of the corporations or anyone else's - but OURS - THE PEOPLE. Any democratic dispensation places the responsibility of what is allowed to happen in a country squarely on each and every single citizen's shoulders. So - be a citizen and take your responsibility - become politically involved so that you can stop the REAL crime that is being allowed. To create a crime-free and peaceful society - you're going to have to do something - and that is one simple thing: To give to another what you would want to receive if you were in their shoes. And this can at the moment practically be done through the implementation of Living Income. It is a workable proposal. It is a dignified proposal.

So - join the political party in your country that supports a Living Income or form your own - the time to act is here, nagging is just a waste of your breath.
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17 June 2013

Day 233: Can LIG provide us the punch to beat the recession?

recession Whenever the point of policies in relation recessions opens up in economy textbooks, we look at expansionary and monetary policies to help stimulate the economy. Within this government spending, taxation and interest rates play a major role. Here, we are pulling strings from a giant tapestry, hoping that a pull here and there will have an effect way down, on the other side of the tapestry, somewhere down the line… (if we allow enough time to pass by of course).

Yet, we can stimulate the economy a lot more effectively by boosting the aggregate demand in the economy, through the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed
By granting everyone who does not have access to a stable income with a grant that allows them to live a decent life, we generate a greater level of disposable income. Those who were previously surviving and saving – now transfer more money towards spending and consumption.

As disposable income goes up, demand goes up, spending goes up and the wheels of the economy are greased up: economic activity goes up and economic growth is being promoted! As people want more things, more people need to be employed and the unemployment rate goes down. People get their needs taken care of, suppliers and producers are able to sell their things and jobs are being created.
As the economic capital grows, the social capital improves as well. As people’s living standards rise, people become more effective and efficient in their activities.

Implementing a Basic Income Grant System, is a win-win situation.

Check out the following blogs for more information:

13 June 2013

Day 232: Putting Economic Theory into Practice with Living Income Guaranteed

Living Income Guaranteed as the Capitalist’s Answer to a Healthy and Wealthy Economy

Any economist is familiar with Keynes and the Keynesian economic model of a demand-driven economy. Keynes understood that money requires to move for an economy to thrive, in the same way that blood must flow for a body to be healthy.

An economy can be broken down into three basic flows: Spending, production and income – spending requires to happen for companies to be able to produce goods – the production of these goods then provides income to the employees of the companies that produced them. There is thus an undeniable link between spending and income. When too few people have adequate income, or when income is too low – too little is spent, too little is produced – and income reduces even more.
The ideal way to ensure spending is therefore to secure everyone with an Income.

Furthermore – capitalism can only work if Equal Opportunity of Participation exists. Unless Equal Opportunity exists, capitalism becomes a system of exclusion and deprivation – because Capitalism only ensures efficient production and distribution of resources for those with an income. Therefore – to prevent Capitalism from becoming a weapon, but instead, an actual management system as how it was intended to be – each individual should have a guaranteed income.

Furthermore – an economy will not only thrive through money movement, BIG pilot projects have shown that more children attend school, and thus, one will have a more qualified labor force in the future – increasing the intellectual capital in an economy.

A Guaranteed Living Income is a Human Right

Regardless of the economic arguments, guaranteed income is a basic human right. To speak of Basic Human Rights without securing the means through which to benefit from these rights, is useless.

The Equal Life Foundation therefore suggest that the Living Income one receives should be sufficient to be able to enjoy one’s Basic Human Rights, and thus, large enough for individuals and families to live a decent human life – meaning: one can live off a Living Income Guaranteed with dignity. This implies the ability to pay for one’s basic needs such as electricity, water, food and clothing – but also extends to the means to participate in our current society and thus includes things such as a car, a phone/cell phone and internet access.

Social Dividends

To fund a Living Income Guaranteed – a system of social dividends is ideal. In every country there are those goods and services that are vital for the basic well-being of the citizens of that country. Examples are basic resources such as water, electricity, raw materials, transportation and media. Such goods and services do not belong in private hands – but belong to each individual of the nation. Therefore – every citizen should be a shareholder of every company involved in the production of such goods and services.

This is not a new idea – as early as 1935, G.D.H. Cole, wrote the following:

“How will ... incomes be distributed? There are two possible ways - payments for work done, and 'doles', or, to give them a less coloured name, 'social dividends'. I believe the system of distribution will be a combination of these two, but a very different combination from that which now exists. ... There will remain, broadly, two sources of income - work and citizenship. Incomes will be distributed partly as rewards for work, and partly as direct payments from the State to every citizen as 'social dividends' - a recognition of each citizen's claim as a consumer to share in the common heritage of productive power.” (Cole 1935, pp. 234-235)

The dividends one receives from the profits of these nationally owned companies then form the Living Income Guaranteed. With each one being a shareholder, each one immediately also has an equal say in the activities of such companies – which is an application of direct democracy in the areas of life that are most important, which again solidifies and protects each one’s Basic Human Rights.

Incentive to Work

The inevitable question then comes up: If everyone receives an income that covers one’s needs – who will be willing to work?

This is where the Equal Life Foundation suggests an interesting solution. To provide incentive – the minimum wage should be double the Living Income. This means that anyone who has a job can not only fulfill one’s needs, but can enhance one’s quality of life through acquiring luxury items that would not be available on a Living Income budget. One can then afford a bigger house, a larger family, a second car, a bigger garden, more exotic and fulfilling holiday destinations, subscriptions to sports clubs and other leisure organizations, and so on and so forth.

Consequentially - as soon as one has a job – and thus, receives a wage that is at least double the income one would have earned from social dividends – one’s right to the Living Income Guaranteed falls away – simply because one doesn’t require it anymore. The social dividends system then functions as a National Insurance system – combining unemployment fund, life insurance and retirement funds all in one – where, one receives a pay-out based on the applicability to one’ situation.

Also read:

Day 415: Bailouts Are No Solution


COLE, G.D.H. 1935. Principles of Economic Planning. London: Macmillan & Co., 1935.

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