Corruption, Poverty and Capitalism

There is a clear correlation between the amount of corruption and the level of economic welfare that exists in a country. In countries that are rich, corruption is not as frequent as in countries that are poor. This shows us some fascinating points about human nature – and it also reveals solutions for how to deal with the tendency humans have to become corrupted, dishonest, and fraudulent when placed in positions of public power.

bribery-corruptionThere are a few things about human nature that are obvious: We all have an inner drive geared towards self-preservation. If we had to choose between us dying, and someone we do not know dying, most of us would have the other person die. And really, there is nothing strange about this. Self-preservation is an innate trait most forms of life on earth – each organism wants to survive and reproduce. Hence, when we are placed in a position of shortage, we will find ways to get out of it – and if it is required – do that at the expense of another.

Then, we have this human characteristic called greed. If we look deeper at the nature of greed, we can see that greed in-fact consists of a deep-seated fear. Greed is the tendency we have to take more than we need, because we fear that we might need that more in the future, and we ‘just’ want to be on the safe side if something unexpected were to happen. Hence, greed is a form of self-preservation, though a more aggressive, and irrational variety – because where greed is involved – there is not an actual need to preserve self.

Moreover, we have a thing called competition. Most people drive themselves through life in a state of competition. They want to compete against neighbors, friends, acquaintances – they want a better car, house, family, etc. Competition thrives in areas/environments where there exists a lack of resources. For example, in an environment where there is little money, the competition for the money will be greater. And when there is a aggressive competition, there will be incentives to cheat, and incentives to preserve self at the cost of another.

We thus have these three ingredients: Self-preservation, greed, and competition – all of which can be said to be ‘natural’ parts of the human experience. And with natural I mean that most people have or develop such traits from an early age – though this does not imply that such traits are impossible to change and direct. No, all of these traits can be directed – and it is possible to change self to not anymore exist within and as self-interest. Though for this blog let us continue with corruption.

We have established that there are certain characteristics in the human nature that is typically part of the human experience. Now, what is clear is that these characteristics represent the foundation, the underlying reasons that will shape and form the decision of an individual to corrupt themselves. And what is fascinating is that these characteristics will become highlighted in a state where there is poverty, and lack of resources to go around. In such a scenario the average human being will start to think only about themselves, and how to make decisions that will benefit their life, and how they can get out of the precarious situation they find themselves in.

We can read the following in an article from Forbes magazine:

“The links between corruption and poverty affect both individuals and businesses, and they run in both directions: poverty invites corruption, while corruption deepens poverty. Corruption both causes and thrives upon weaknesses in key economic, political and social institutions. It is a form of self-serving influence akin to a heavily regressive tax, benefiting the haves at the expense of the have-nots. Trust–essential to financial markets and effective governments everywhere–is difficult to build in poor and corrupt societies.

Poor people and economically strapped businesses have few economic alternatives, and where serious corruption is the norm, they are even more vulnerable to exploitation. In that sense, there is no such thing as “petty” corruption: police shakedowns in a public market, or roadblocks in the countryside where farmers must pay up in order to transport produce to the city, may yield seemingly trivial sums of money, but they help keep poor people poor.

Low-level officials themselves may have trouble earning an honest living. In poor societies, they are often underpaid, when they are paid at all, and must provide a stream of payments to patrons at higher levels. In such settings, bribery, extortion and theft become matters of survival.” (Johnston 2009)

When survival becomes difficult, corruption flourish, hence corruption is a symptom not the actual illness. The real illness is poverty, and poverty is a structural effect of our current debt based money system – also called – capitalism.

”To reduce corruption from its current high levels requires something more than, and different from, additional laws, commissions, invocations of morality, regulations and so on. It requires basic, structural economic change. Earlier reforms achieved so little success because they ignored the very idea or possibility of such change. They left untouched capitalism’s basic incentive structure and capitalists’ power to use enterprise profits for corrupt purposes. Capitalists have continued to face all the benefits and gains that corrupted officials can yield (plus the risks and costs of failing to corrupt them). Capitalists have likewise continued to amass ever-larger profits and thus the funds with which to corrupt.” (Wolff 2014)

It is easy to blame human nature for being the cause of greed, yet at the same time, when we are able to map out and understand how the human functions, would it not then be easy to create a system where these characteristics are not allowed to fester? Is it not possible, that in a system where money is abundant, where opportunities are ripe, and there are no valid reasons to fear for your own survival, that self-preservation, greed and competition would cease to exist?

Maybe we can even stretch this even further, is it maybe so, that self-preservation, greed and competition are products of this current system, characteristics that are not supposed to be part of the human nature? In any case it is obvious, that if we were to restructure our money system and distribute resources equally, this would have massive positive effects on the human population. It has been shown that equality improves, among other things, physical health, mental health and education, and lessens drug abuse and obesity (Wilkinsson, Pickett & Reich 2011).

Corruption is an illness created by inequality and a unfair distribution of resources. We can change this be implementing a new system of distribution – capitalism is not and have never been the only way to structure and organize human labor, productivity and resource distribution. I suggest that we implement a Living Income Guaranteed – a Guaranteed monthly income that is sufficient to sustain a human being so that they can tend to their basic needs.

According to article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all humans have the right to life, though it is obvious that this right cannot be realized unless we implement a system that gives all the money they require creating their lives. Hence, money is a human right and not something that should be subject to conditions and demands.

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed.

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Michael Johnston (2009). Poverty and Corruption. Forbes Magazine. http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/22/corruption-poverty-development-biz-corruption09-cx_mj_0122johnston.html [2015-10-14]

Richard D. Wolff (2014). Political Corruption and Capitalism. Truthout. http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/21559-political-corruption-and-capitalis [2015-10-15]

Richard Wilkinsson, Kate Pickett, Robert B. Reich (2011). The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger. Bloomsbury publishing

Freeze! Stop Squandering Resources For Money!

freezerMy freezer had been broken for some months when I yesterday took it upon myself to call my landlord to see whether they could fix it. The issue with my freezer is that one of the plastic strips on the door have cracked, which results in warm air entering the freezer when the door is closed, which consecutively creates heaps of ice = not very good.

An hour after I called the repairman entered into the picture, and he confidently approached the freezer, looked at it, measured it, and then announced that maybe they would have to replace the entire freezer with a new one. I was flabbergasted – “What! Replace it!” I exclaimed – he looked at me as if agreeing that this was the appropriate reaction. Then he said: “Yes, these models don’t have spare parts anymore, some time ago we had to buy an entire new freezer due to a similar problem” – upon which I replied: “That is unnecessary!” with which he agreed.

Clearly this shows how there is some serious lack of common sense in our current system. I mean, isn’t it obvious that replacing an ENTIRE freezer due to a issue with one plastic strip, will in time cause MASSIVE repercussions in our environment? God, it’s bizarre – the facts are already here, jungles are being flattened, animals are going extinct, nature is suffering and dying – yet still we’re not able to apply such basic common sense that repairing what is already built will obviously be more effective than completely replacing it.

Evidently there is something else going on here, because even though we’re quite stupid, we’re not THAT stupid, we do actually know the results of this type of blatant squandering. Though, there is one voice in our head that makes us look away from the simple fact – the voice of GREED – the voice of wanting MORE – the voice of DESIRE – the voice of COMPETITION. I mean, ask yourself, what is it that drives this kind of behavior? Qui bono? And you’ll see that it’s specific, and it’s done because replacing something will increase profits, while only replacing a spare part, that’s hardly worth the effort.

Thus, we human beings, we move ourselves in this world to make money, to make more money, and primarily, to save ourselves from the anguish of poverty, thus we move ourselves to make sure we survive, and to survive, we’ll do anything that is required, even disregard the most basic common sense, such as the realization that reparation, is clearly a much more environmentally friendly option than replacement.

But let’s look at it even deeper, why is it that we exist in this state of survival? Why is it that we strive to make money regardless of consequences? Is it because we’re inherently evil? Is it because we like to do stupid things? Is it because we just don’t know any better?

The answer lays in the STRUCTURE of our WORLD – the structure of our RELATIONSHIPS – the SYSTEM that governs our life. Because this system of money is currently precariously ineffective as it situates all of us human beings into a state of survival – wherein suddenly common sense doesn’t matter – what matters is money and money works in mysterious ways.

Take a self-honest look at the situation developing in the world, and ask yourself the basic question, where does it come from? Where is the motivation? Where is the drive? How did we get here?

You will see that the root cause of MOST if not ALL our problems is MONEY, the LACK of money – and that this is the primary source of the apparent human incapacity to be compassionate and considerate. Thus, we need to ensure that all human beings are taken care of and have access to their basic necessities such as food, water, homes, clothes, medical care and education, because only through doing this will human beings be able to stand up, and change their ways, to not anymore be driven by the fear of survival, that makes them agents of stupidity – agents of destruction and havoc.

Investigate the Living Income Guarantee – stand up and be a voice of common sense in a world infested with FEAR and it’s colleague STUPIDITY – we need the an Income for all that will Ensure LIFE – it’s only through this that we will be able to save ourselves from ourselves.

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Why We Have Not Been Able To Change

ImageOne thing that we have been able do through out the years is to find problems and issues – this is one of our strengths so to speak – and we have even been able to find and point out fundamental issues; for example, there has during a long time been an awareness as to how politicians are often bought by corporations to pass laws that will support their business ventures.

Yet, one question remains, why is nothing happening? Why is no change taking place?

This is a fascinating point to explore, because really, shouldn’t there be some form of change by now? I mean, we have for several hundreds of years looked at and been able to determine societies and this world’s most infectious problems – but still – any form of fundamental change has yet to occur.

Why is this then?

Well, when we look at how we approach problems, what becomes obvious is that we firstly, tend to focus only on the problem, go into blame and then we stop at that point – we do not even proceed to the solution – we stop at blame and when we have vented our anger – we are satisfied. Secondly, we tend to focus on problems in a one-dimensional and from an amazingly limited perspective. Take for example animal activists that ferociously attack and expose any form of animal abuse in this world – these activists tend to see the problem as: “These people doing this are greedy and just bad!” – and their solution to the problem is “Just to make them stop!” – and this is obviously a severely limited way of seeing the phenomena of animal abuse.

Because animal abuse is multi-dimensional, and often those that abuse animals are poor workers that in order to make a living, require to abuse animals, for example in order to attain fur. Others abuse animals because they simply do not have any effective understanding of the animal, an example is trophy hunters, parents that hunted themselves have often raised these trophy hunters, and accordingly the children will pick up on their parents and become just like them – so here what we are dealing with is a ineffective education. I mean, it’s not that people are “just bad” – there is always a story behind things, and when we understand this story are we able to implement a solution that will produce effective results.

So, our problem has not so much been to see problems – our problem have instead been to understand them and create solutions for them. We tend to go into ENERGY and EXPERIENCE when we see something that is not acceptable, yet what we miss is that when we go into energy and experience, we are not able to see and comprehend to full picture, and we are not able to objectively discern what course of action would amend the situation.

Thus, what we require to do as humanity is to become life scientists, and with this I mean that we stop reacting to the problems existing in this world, and that we instead look at what we are able, what solutions are available, and what specifically it is that creates the problems we are facing in our world.

Fascinatingly enough, what you will find when you allow yourself to become a life scientist, is that most, if not all problems in humanity and this world comes from MONEY or rather, the lack of money. There are political solutions to sort out the credit crunch currently gripping this world – Investigate Living Income Guarantee – and remember – no energy – no experience – just look at the facts.

Where Does Money Come From?

28goodman.xlarge1We tend to take the things most visible and obvious for granted and one of these things that very few people do understand properly yet that they are still in contact with on a daily basis is money. We all need money, we all work for money, and we are all dependent on money for our survival – but what is money? Where does money come from?

Most probably know that the printing rights to money in a country tends to be allocated with a bank that is called a Central bank. This bank has the permission to print money and spread it into the economy of the country. And this is really a fascinating aspect of how money works, it is really just paper that has some numbers printed unto it and there is no actual backing behind the money. There is for example no gold backing up the money – it is just paper with numbers dictating its value. This form of banking system is called a fiat banking system.

Thus these papers we call money do not get their value as a predetermined and absolute value. Instead money gets their value from those who use money in their everyday life in order to buy commodities and services. How we – the users of money – value money will become the value of money. As such the value of money is never stable but goes up and down depending upon how much money as been printed in comparison with the amount of commodities and services in circulation in society as well as the current demand for commodities and services.

This is then the absolutely fascinating aspect of money of which not many are aware. Money is created from NOTHING – literally – and then it is sent out in society and it is given a value – and most often it reaches the population in the form of DEBT. Because here is yet another fascinating aspect of money creation – there is an interest on all money that is printed, which means that there will continuously be less money in circulation than what there is debt that must be settled. This in turn leads to a debt spiral, where more debt must be acquired to be able to pay the old debts.

The conclusion is thus that we are indebting ourselves to receive money to have no intrinsic value in themselves – we are thus indebting ourselves to a life of servitude not realizing that the money printed and spread in the form of debt is not an actual and real measure of value – it is a artificial value that is created through make belief – a make belief that we make a reality because we believe in it and act according to it as if it is a reality.

The question we should ask ourselves is why we should require paying an interest on the money that is in circulation in our countries? Should not money be a property of the people? Should not we all have the possibility to be able to acquire food, education and housing without indebting ourselves?

The answer is obvious, because we all want to live without debt. This is why we require educating ourselves on the process of how money is created and in this understand that we as the people of each and every country are able to nationalize the banks and as such take control over our own money supply.

As I said in the beginning – money is created from nothing. It is merely papers with numbers printed unto it and nothing more. Why is that we then continue to hold unto to the belief that money is a scarce resource and something that cannot be owned in plenty by all?

In nationalizing the process of money creation we will be able to issue money and bring it into circulation and in this support new investments, and we would be able to end the credit crunch currently holding the world in a tight grip, simply because the money issued would not be in the form of credit, but in the form of REAL money with no interest attached to its back.

I thus suggest we nationalize our banks and make the process or printing and issuing money something that benefits the wellbeing of all instead of as it exists today – a seemingly endless debt spiral where more and more people forfeit and have their lives ruined.

Investigate the Living Income Guaranteed – our political proposal involves the nationalization of the banks.

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Q and A: How is that we are going to implement LIG?

Q: How is that we are going to implement LIG? I mean, all our politicians seems to be more interested in their own careers than standing for a system that would bring forth real change, and getting into the field of politics, getting to a position of power and influence, seems to be impossible without having the financial backing of corporations – so how can we get LIG to be implemented on a physical and practical level?

A: “When we see our responsibiity towards the state of humanity and the Earth in its totality – it’s about getting it done, no matter what. This means that either we find those individuals in a position of influence with a grain of integrity and desire for change – and one will find, such individuals are out there – or we become them. We can no longer ‘wait’ for those who have the means and power to grow a conscience on our behalf. That is why the Equal Life Foundation supports the development of leadership skills so that individuals who see the need for change, can find ways to actively work towards it.

Also – to remember – one cannot underestimate the power of numbers and our ability to demand change from those who are supposed to represent our interests. Herein, we have to realize that we require to stand together so that the voice of the people can no longer be ignored. Hence, we ask of all those who see that Living Income Guaranteed is a desirable solution – to promote it in their social networks – as the initial education that will be required for such a change to be manifested.” Maite Zamora Moreno

For more info about the Living Income Guarantee – see:
http://livingincome.me/wiki/The_Living_Income_Guaranteed_Proposal

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Is Economics Too Complicated?

ComplicatedThere is a tendency within human beings when faced with economic considerations to immediately and without any reflection state “economics is simply too complicated for me!”

What is interesting though, is that economics isn’t really at all that complicated. Let’s look at what economics is, in it’s very essence – it’s the exchange of goods and services – it’s about that I want something that you have, and to get that thing I give you MONEY. That’s really the gist of economics – I GIVE you money and I accordingly RECEIVE what it is that I want.

Taking a look at the state of world from this very simple understanding of what economics is makes the picture of what is actually going on much more clear and specific. Because, what is happening in the world is that more and more people are thrown into poverty, more and more people are unable to afford to basics required to survive, which thus implies that they are not able to GIVE money and accordingly RECEIVE goods or services.

What happens when more and more people are unable to GIVE and consequently RECEIVE is that poverty widens, because what is easy to see, is that this GIVE and RECEIVE point is not isolated to individuals alone, it’s a circulation that takes place, which means that when one person GIVES money it empowers the RECEIVER to in turn GIVE and so forth. This is the basics of economics – a constant exchange of the things we need, want or desire – which fuels the system and makes more people able to participate in the GIVING and RECEIVING.

In our current economy, what has happened is that a lot of people have been excluded from this cycle, and they accordingly do not have the means anymore to GIVE and the outflow is that the economy shrinks and thus disables even more people from participating fully in the economy – shrinking the amount of money available as well as the amount of goods and services available.

This is what is happening in our world today and this is the reason as to why our economy is continuously becoming less and less effective. The basic problem is that people do not anymore have the means to give – they do not have the means to participate in the cycle of GIVING and RECEIVING.

The solution to this problem is very simple – it is to give to each individual in the economy the means (money) to participate which can be done through implementing a Living Income Guaranteed; this will allow for all to yet again become part of the cycle of GIVING and RECEIVING, creating more jobs, more opportunities, more money, more welfare – and overall – a less stressful environment for all.

A documentary that explains this relationship effectively is Inequality for all which I suggest that everyone watch.