One major difference that exists within the proposal of an Unconditional Basic Income to every individual and the Living Income Guaranteed, is that Basic Income focuses on Demanding the right to life, that is: demanding to the current government within the current system as it currently exists to provide the money – which we already give in the form of taxes – as a basic income, and that’s it. This elemental mechanism overlooks the necessity to address the structural problems that the system is founded upon, such as the lack of structures and mechanisms in which the profits that are usually amassed only by a few in our societies are given back to the society in a sustainable and supportive manner. This means that the sheer provision of a basic income as in ‘giving free money to people’ can become a potential inflationary bubble if further changes in the structure of the system are not addressed and changed accordingly.
Why is this so?
The reason why the definition of Basic Income given by Barb Jacobson from the Basic Income UK organization as “Basic Income is a regular payment made to everybody unconditionally…. and that’s it” is mostly either feared or not taken seriously, is because it can be understood as yet another bubble, another source of crisis and stagnation if such money is used to only consume and there’s no contribution from the people back to the system in the form of work/participation in it – and this ‘work’ is not only manufacturing products, but many other jobs that machines can’t take on, such as the necessity for educators in all fields related to points that I will be discussing later. If people have no incentive to work – because everyone’s granted a basic income regardless of working or not – then further demand of products will exist without the workforce or means to sustain and replenish; this means that prices can hike, production would fall, consumption would reign and there would be an overall social regression if people get the idea that Basic Income implies ‘I just get this money and that’s it’ without giving any further attention to seeing the actual structural problems that exist within the current form of crony corporate capitalism we’re living in and how we have all collectively participated in its creation and formation to the point where as we all know: most of the wealth is in the hands of a few, and we only continue to accept a lesser quality of reality without understanding how we can fund our right to life in a sustainable manner – yet.
Basic Income as it is currently being proposed can only make sense in an ideal society where all of us understand that the current nature of this system that we usually complain about and ‘demand changes’ from, is in fact the sheer mirror of ourselves that have allowed only a few individuals to do the actual work, to set the actual systems that make money only for them – and the majority of the population are just used as work force or bait to further their own interests, painting it all with the idea of growth and progress – this is how it works. But we’re actually not ‘outside’ of that equation as many would point out, we are actually part of it, just not in an equally empowered position, which is why we can’t blame others for something we are actively participating in, where we’ve become the life force of the system as it exists – whether we make it function for our collective well being or not is what’s in question here – and we know it’s mostly not so.
Should we blame ‘the Elite’ for actually making the system work, making their business, banks and enterprises create the results thy expected – even if it’s only for themselves? No, what they have done is in fact what we All could have done if we had have the strength, the commitment, the decision, the vision, the education, the relationships, the patience to make our personal livelihood work in an optimal way. I agree, part of this structural violence implies only a few ‘at the top’ have had access to such important foundation, and this is why we also require to empower us all equally to no longer be defined by birth to be either rich, middle class or poor – this is what we must immediately give direction to, and it is actually possible.
Democracy and Living Income Guaranteed
Now, what we’re saying in the Living Income Guaranteed model is first of all, realizing that if we Demand change to the current political powers: it won’t work, it won’t happen. No current ‘government’ – as it currently exists mostly guarding the interests of a minority – sees the benefit of providing money to people to simply consume, buy and not have any motive to support back/give back to the economy in any way to make the system functional as it is now – this is considering that the system does work, it just doesn’t work to benefit everyone. This premise according to what Basic Income is as a ‘regular unconditional payment given to all’ misses out a key aspect of our ability to decide how things can work to benefit everyone – this includes understanding what Real Democracy implies as our individual responsibility and participation in the system to make informed decisions, to become active participants in how we manage our resources, our lives and also, how we manage our own businesses, how we participate in society and applying a couple of values and principles that are currently non-existent in our society, such as self-responsibility, integrity and the consideration of how I can benefit everyone else including myself – these principles in our day to day living participation ‘in the system’ haven’t yet been applied by each one of us as such. From the beginning of our history as humanity, we’ve always depended on a few ‘at the top’ making the decisions that we’ve believed ourselves to not be ready or capable of making for ourselves, which has turned into a fitting excuse to start creating solutions and stop demanding them.
We can also address the systems through which we all have enabled such complacency. Let’s look at the indoctrination through the Educational System where we already integrate the belief that ‘The Government’ is a group of individuals that take care of us all, no different to the belief-system existent in all major religions. Then we have the overall lack of realization and understanding that it is each one of us individually that must take care of our own lives, that must learn to develop common sense as to make effective decisions and endeavors as part of our own sustenance and further development, while considering everyone else as an equal participant of such equation. The government is and should have always been only a managerial system that we can all have access to and actively participate in, and instead we have absolutely made it into the ‘monster’ we’re now even fearing because we have in fact not taken on responsibility to apply these principles to our own lives and to our participation in the decisions made to manage our lives: none of that is considered at all as our civil duty yet.
We also haven’t realized that focusing on that which only works for ‘me-myself-I’ is what has led us to the general acceptance that self-interest is ‘the way of the king’ and as such, anyone that desires such power and position, has to ignore and deliberately abuse others in order to win. This is the mentality that we are all participating in humanity, which is why it is no different to how the minority of ‘winners’ in this system live by and for – check for yourself, how often we have these same thinking patterns in relation to wanting to win, wanting to have all the power, have little to no responsibility and accountability, enjoy life…. and nevermind who gets affected by it.
The rest of the distractions come in the form of entertainment and media industries that we constantly consume from – these are in charge of continuously impulsing more diversion, new attractions, new situations to focus on to prevent anyone from developing a genuine interest in politics, in how the economic system operates, how the law and money system operates, seeing whether what we learn in school is optimal to develop self-leadership and accountability in individuals, seeing whether the family structure is actually supportive for the development of children and if parents are effectively educated or have sufficient tools with which support a new individual coming into this world – nevermind the rest of the points such as questioning why we haven’t granted each other the right to life from from birth and why the rest of our human living rights are not being provided to each individual as they should. All of these points are in fact a massive task that cannot at all and could not ever have been handled only by a ‘few representatives’ in what we call ‘government,’ nor is merely ‘choosing the right one’ a solution to it either – as we should have seen and realized this long ago, but it seems we still impose religious ideas of a politician being a form of a ‘savior’ that will come and clean up our mess, once again abdicating responsibility and hoping that ‘this one will be different’ when all we’ve seen is the repetition of the same patterns over and over again, and that’s thanks to us too.
We have translated the idea of government to a quasi-religious belief system and transformed it into an omnipotent organization that can take care and control of our lives and apparently have our best interests at heart. Well, it’s quite obvious that is not so, but it is not them to blame, it’s actually ourselves that haven’t taken the matters in our own hands, and this is where we have to realize that we haven’t even yet collectively decided to grant each other the right to life and cooperate in making it a sustainable guarantee in this system – the exact opposite has happened, because we instead collectively agreed to not participate in politics and just ‘follow the leaders.’ How can we blame ‘them’ for ‘abusing us’ if we all are participating and existing in the same reality? My suggestion: if you complain, rather take these words into consideration and start focusing on how to create solutions for the problems we usually complain about.
Does Capitalism undermine Democracy?
It is so that capitalism focuses only on ‘making profit’ without any ethics or major human development for the benefit of all intertwined in it, nor providing part of such profits to benefit the community from which the profits are being resourced from, which end up in the hands of a few that support each other as a minority in society, lobbying political actors to benefit themselves and generally wiping out the mess with the noble ideas that we can read ‘capitalism’ in its pure form intended, and that is still doable – but currently we don’t have such pure form of capitalism, but the corrupted version of it because, yes, we as human beings will always determine the nature of the systems and solutions we create and implement.
What I suggest here that we all realize is that recognize all of us have enabled such scavenging-mechanism to work only for a few, because we have the belief that ‘there are no other options, this is how the system works, only a few are the fortunate ones and poverty has existed forever’ – this is the mentality that we are all responsible for perpetuating and embodying as ‘the way things have always been’ in our societies.
And this is why currently we still have the minority as it’s always been since the beginning of time as humanity where the strong and ‘powerful’ ones impose the laws and forms of control – such as the monetary/banking/government systems – to which the rest of us believe in, submit to and consider as the leaders, the ones to follow, vote for and obey. So, as everything: it takes two to tango and their so-called ‘power’ could have not been possible without our direct participation in its legitimization through our outdated ‘democratic systems’ such as how we have diminished our civil responsibility to ‘voting’ which translates to: “I participate in this popularity contest to see who’s going to take care of my business, to take my responsibility and be the least corrupt with my money.”
This is what we have reduced our Democracy to.
So, HOW to make such changes?
It is very important to understand that we don’t propose the eradication of government as such, but we do emphasize on the requirement of new political parties that understand these basic principles explained above, where we can propose these considerations and information as the primary aspects to educate people about, instead of claiming any form of almighty power structure called ‘government’ to just ‘straighten things up’ and ‘make the system work efficiently,’ because ‘The System’ is in fact each one of us participating in it, and it doesn’t make sense at all to ‘Demand change’ which is no different to asking a god to come and clean the mess we blamed him for without realizing: we did it to ourselves. It sounds ludicrous because I see no government involved in the everyday relationships we form with each other, I see no laws directly being applied in our very own thoughts and decisions to follow our self-interest and not consider everyone’s interest at heart, we require to see within us to stop projecting anger and blame without.
Therefore, it should also be clearly obvious by now that our laws, our current government, our current political establishment is only the reflection of our personalized self-interest that we’ve legitimized through a system called ‘voting’ – a popularity contest that we participate in within the belief that ‘it is our only civil responsibility along with paying taxes (paying the salary of those in charge) and that’s it.’ This is where we have all bitten the dust and it’s about time we understand what politics really mean at an individual living principle, instead of understanding it as a few that ‘take control of us all,’ which is how by such sheer belief and understanding: we recreate its own power and control by believing in it, even by fearing it. How can we fear that which we created ourselves?
The reason why within the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal we suggest abolishing all personal taxes is because the sheer act of ‘paying taxes’ gives continuation and legitimates this relationship of ‘I pay YOU to Do the work for ME’ coming from the citizens to the government, and the government officials in such place make use of such payment and such power endowed onto them to their own benefit, which is not only ‘their problem’ but – we have to be self-honest here – it is everyone’s problem when we’ve also made of our only life purpose to make money, to live happily ever after and never mind the rest of the world.
So, how can we blame those officials in the government for desiring and doing exactly the same that we do in our personal lives?? It doesn’t make sense and if we ask for transparency and integrity to government officials: we should begin with ourselves and predicate with being and becoming the example of what it meant to live by principles that consider everyone that will be affected by our actions and decisions – becoming part of and supporting the Living Income Guaranteed proposal is the first step to agree with this process of taking self-responsibility and becoming active participants in how we direct our lives, within and without.
“Athenian democracy was a direct democracy, meaning citizens voted directly on the policies that would govern them. Each citizen could be drafted to serve for a year in the city-state’s law-making body, and all citizens were required to vote on new laws created by the body.
Being informed about public affairs was part of a citizen’s duties, so much so that not exercising one’s right to vote on matters that divided the state was punishable by loss of citizenship. (Solon, whose words Aristotle or his followers documented in the constitution, condemned those who out of “sheer indifference” just “accepted whatever” the outcome of the disputes without voting on them.)” FUN FACTS ABOUT VOTING
These are the first steps for genuine democracy, which is not the power of ‘voting for the best’ or only ‘majority vote.’ As an example, we could vote for something that is detrimental for everyone, such as reducing the budget in education and because ‘the majority voted for it’ it could become a reality for everyone, which doesn’t make sense when we read it – but if we look at it: we’re already governing our lives by such flawed and misinformed majority contest popularity vote – and in terms of policy creation, not even that! Which is why voting in a genuine democratic system, should be choosing the ways in which we can create and direct our lives to an outcome that’s beneficial for everyone, not a person – and this is in terms of providing our living necessities, make businesses operate in a way that support the workers, support the community, provides higher wages, creates good labor conditions and overall development of high quality services and products to generate healthy competition – this is the least standard I am up to working and dedicating my life to, and this is what the changes within our current system should aim for – this implies integrating each one of us as part of the directions required in the system itself: the way we do things, the way we make business, the way we create new endeavors in any professional field we dedicate our lives to, the way we educate our children, the way we spend our time, the way we spend our money – we already know and have spotted the flaws, so who else can then take the point through a solution than ourselves.
Integrating Democracy into Capitalism
This will in turn start creating the real change: directing the sole mechanism of profit making schemes that the majority of businesses and corporations are running by, and integrate what is best for everyone within such equation, understanding that if we keep running this system within the sheer consideration of survival/making money/making the most as primary objective = we’re digging our own grave since it is not sustainable at all this physical reality that works within reciprocity, this means not only taking and taking and taking without giving anything back, and that’s basic physical laws and understanding of how an economy and ecosystem should work like.
These are the reasons why I see that the notion of only ‘taking a Basic Income’ without further changes, further structural considerations to make such income part of the economy in a sustainable manner is doomed to fail, because all of the aspects of self-responsibility and our direct participation in the system to make all of these changes to make it work in a supportive manner are not yet considered, and we already are the evidence as humanity that a set of new rules or new constitutions cannot do the work by themselves: it is us that actively must make such change happen, one by one.
Higher wages is to begin with something that must come along with the provision of a Living Income to everyone that does not have a means to make an income, meaning that no one will be left behind, poverty will be eradicated as everyone will have their human rights guaranteed – but incentives for workers and support for students will exist, because it is in our best interest to ensure that we keep progressing as humanity and create new jobs that were previously non-profitable, such as the environmental sustainability and educational system that will require many of us to begin integrating this new mentality, this new mind framework with which to consider ways in which we can all take responsibility for this world within a system where each one’s participation is accounted for. There is no way around this – the technology we have, the facilitations with data bases and overall networking enables us to be aware of each other at a level that could not have been possible even 30 or 20 years ago, the time is now and it’s best to focus on creating solutions rather than demanding or protesting about them.
Becoming active beneficiaries from the nationalization of resources – which means: we are directly supported with the profit made from the production and commercialization of the resources we are entitled to as a human right in the form of a Living Income – is yet another way in which we empower each other while at the same time integrating ourselves in the organizations and corporations that we haven’t yet been a part of, not only to benefit from it, but to also have the ability to make decisions and suggestions that benefit everyone – after all, all business and corporations are always creating goods and services that we all need and consume as a society, therefore it makes sense we are also informed and participating in how they operate and function. These are just a few points to consider within the new understanding of what Power of the people to the people implies, as a real meaning of Democracy.
So, it’s time to progress, it’s time to innovate and most importantly, it’s time to change the ‘demanding’ mentality into a creative and self-responsible one, where we stop ‘asking for change’ and we instead create it, become it by realizing that the power we have in our hands is ourselves: not those we only vote for, and instead become part of politics as well. The human is the real capital, so let’s use our skills, time and effort to make this work for us all.
- Read the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal to find out more on How it can be financed
- Read the Equal Life Foundation’s Bill of Rights: Our right to life can only be assured with money, and our Bill of Rights has a direct way to be financed with the provision of a Living Income.
- Watch our Equal Life’s Fundamental Human Rights presentation and share it around
….Watch our Google Hangouts on:
- Redefining Politics – Living Income Guaranteed
- #BasicIncome Petition and Living Income Guaranteed
- Slovenia’s Political Awakening – Living Income Guaranteed
- Why Capitalism Needs Living Income Guaranteed
Review of the documentary ‘The Square’
For More Information:
Watch our weekly Live Google Hangouts on Living Income Guaranteed