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.
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.
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…
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?
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…
28 July 2013
26 July 2013
Another point they insist on is the redistribution of land as land is so extremely skewly owned in SA at the moment as an outcome of colonisation and apartheid. To pretend that such huge disadvantage will simply 'fix itself' is delirious. Herein, the EFF wants a full audit to find out how much land is available and what it is being used for - where, land that is wasting away would be re-appropriated and put to proper use. Having this information mapped out would obviously be able to significantly speed up the process of equitable land distribution.
The problem comes in with the call to start occupying land as a statement of 'taking what's ours'.
"The position is that we are expropriating without compensation. We want that to be an act [of law], and before it becomes an act, our people should begin the process of occupying the land.”
Encouraging and enticing people to take the law in one's own hands will inevitably lead the country into disorder, chaos and conflict. Taking such route to increase the popularity vote without consideration for the repercussions is only a sign of immaturity and a lack of understanding of what true leadership entails. Within the international community no-one would take such leadership seriously as it undermines the very political and legal system that it is supposed to derive its legitimacy from.
19 July 2013
So is inflation really this ‘big’ and ‘complicated’ concept that only our economists are in the know about? Not really. I mean, one of the first things you will learn when getting to the topic of inflation is that there is very little known about the exact causes of inflation and how good or bad it is for the economy. Most of the time, the concept will be used to suite the authors ideological standpoint and so you get a lot of conflicting answers to the same question.
So what is inflation? Inflation (because no-one really knows how it works) has been given a very simple and broad definition – so that you can’t really ‘go wrong’ with it:
“Inflation simply refers to the continuous increase of prices in an economy. So - two points are important to note: if prices go up and then remain stable for a while, we don't refer to it as inflation, as inflation only applies to a continuous increase in prices. Secondly - if the price of petrol keeps rising, but all other prices remain somewhat stable, we're also not dealing with inflation, because in the case of inflation all prices keep rising.”
This is taken from one of our previous blogs we made which was on the topic of Inflation, so if you want to read up about it you can do so here: Day 64: Inflation - Part 1 (also read the comments).
So you see, inflation is nothing scary or complicated, it’s just prices of all things going up and up over time. When the ‘issue’ of inflation is brought up, it’s not so much the rising of the prices that is an issue – but the wages that lag behind. Because what happens is that you used to be able to buy say a thousand breads with your monthly salary, and with the prices going up and your wage remaining the same – you can now suddenly only buy 800 breads. So here, you have a problem because your purchasing power has been diminished. Because obviously so long as you keep the variables on either side of your equation in proportion – you won’t have a problem and you’ll be able to buy just as much. It’s only when one variable goes up and the other one stays the same or lowers – that you get a problem in your proportions. What happens then is that people will start buying a lot and hogging things because they fear the future prices which will be higher, but then within this increase in consumption place the products in ‘higher demand’ and thus up the prices again – so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy to the point where you get hyperinflation.
So with putting into place a Living Income Guaranteed to ensure everyone’s Living and placing in a Minimum Wage amounting to double the LIG – yes, your prices will go up and so yes, that could be considered ‘inflation’. But remember that inflation in itself a neutral manifestation – meaning, it just is what it is as pricing going up. It doesn’t mean anything else. It only starts meaning something else when we fail to adjust ourselves where nominal wages remain the same while real wages go down. So yes, there will be inflation but it won’t be a problem from the perspective that your prices are directly linked and interconnected to your wages where at all times your Living is Guaranteed and thus your wages / living income will adjust to the prices to make sure everyone is able to live decently and vice versa where your prices will adjust to ensure that you get a decent wage. Here one must also consider that we will have Bureaus of Standards in place managing Quality Assurance and Control where there will be a move from obsolescence and disposability to quality and durability – which means that you will have to buy less.
So from that perspective – the whole “inflation” horror story will become something of the past as it simply won’t be able to affect anyone to the point where it does damage, as your wages and prices are no longer separate bodies but closely connected and intertwined. You will thus at all times, be protected.
Another point where inflation becomes a problem is when it is linked to a growing money supply without a matching growth in economic activity. So when the government for instance decides to finance its debt simply by printing money – you suddenly have an increase in your money supply which makes money ‘worth less’ (because ‘scarcity’ makes things ‘more valuable’ and so the opposite happens). Because this money came out of nowhere without originating or being connected to any form economic activity of real value such as labor and production – your system / equation gets thrown out of balance and all these money born out of ‘no value’ in turn has the effect devaluing / tainting all other money already present.
This type of situations will not be occurring within a Living Income Guaranteed as proposed by the Equal Life Foundation, as you will be able to discern for yourself from our previous blog on banking: Day 240: A Bank for the People, as banking/financing will always be directly related to actual activity, actual growth and actual value – and will thus not be able to throw the system out of balance.
Also check out Will the Living Income Guaranteed cause Inflation?, to get a new perspective on Inflation and to see and realize how inflation it its traditional use of the word has become a distraction of the actual Inflation taking place in our lives and in the economy – where inflation is an actual problem.
14 July 2013
So, within Living Income Guaranteed, we suggest banking will still be relevant from the perspective of big capital investments such as housing or cars. In some countries, we see a rising trend of loans being taken out, not for such big capital expenditure, but for day-to-day living costs, such as food and clothing. Such points will stop within Living Income Guaranteed, because one will be guaranteed to have an income that is sufficient to provide oneself with these basic necessities.
So - when it comes to loans, banks will herein make money through asking for a once-off fee rather than an interest rate - where this fee must cover labor costs and a profit markup - where the fee is reasonable from the perspective of what is required for banking to be profitable without creating a monopoly on money. And of course loans must only be undertaken if the capacity exists for the debt to be repaid.
The creation of money through fractional reserve banking would have to be revised and a way of money-creation be devised so that it stands in relation to supporting the rate at which the economy is growing - which must take into account population growth as well as available resources.
So - herein, banking becomes an actual life-support system where big investments can be paid over time and where it will increase and support the value of the citizen in terms of their life. And thus, the banking system becomes a means to truly supports economic growth as well as the growth in value of a citizen's life.
09 July 2013
When people would start getting tired of their ridiculous wages and crappy working conditions, the business owners could always just fire them and replace them with people who were worse off and thus wouldn’t ‘complain as much’. With our tendency within society towards division and discrimination, there was always some form of group lower on the ladder, whether they were from a different race, newly emigrated, different gender, lower class,… -- there’s was always some chap in a more horrible condition that would take the job – and so never any real change came about in terms of everyone together standing for a living wage. Much of this same scenario is still taking place in the world – where it is taking place ‘out of sight’ and thus ‘out of mind’. Where slaves and minorities have now been replaced with alienated workforces abroad. As long as it’s ‘not us’ and ‘not in our face’ – we don’t seem to care.
If we have a look at the minimum wage concept, this is a fairly new concept when placing it into context of our entire history. Not so long ago, the idea of a minimum wage was even ruled to have been ‘unconstitutional’ In the United States, because it limits the scope of ‘freedom’ within contracts. So the freedom involving someone entering a contract, was deemed more important than the freedom to one’s Life, to the freedom of earn a living wage whereby you can sustain yourself.
So even though we now have certain protection points in place like the Declaration of Human Rights, and all sorts of Bills that are supposed to safeguard and protect our dignity and well-being – we still seem to shift in our ‘old way’ of doing things, where we care more about the freedom of contract, the freedom of the business environment than we do about the freedom of our own Human Rights. After all these years of so called ‘progression’, we have still failed to see and understand the simplistic connection that exists between prices and wages.
Many of us who do earn some kind of wage, still have to be careful about our spending. Because our wages are not secured, and very likely to be lower than what we’d like – we are picky with our spending and will look for the ‘cheap stuff’. The more cheap stuff we buy, the more stuff we can get for our money. It seems like a rational decision, following that ‘since I have so little money, I better buy things that cost little money, so that I can at least ‘maximize’ my purchases with the little I have’. Because we are purchasing and buying from a starting point of fear, a starting point of lack – we look for what is cheap. Yet, we fail to see that things can only be ‘cheap’, if somewhere down the production line, other things were made ‘cheap’ – which in most cases would be = the wages. So because we have cheap wages we buy cheap stuff and maintain our cheap wages because that is what we are supporting through buying cheap things. It’s a cycle that feeds itself.
When we do our shopping and purchases, we only look at prices in relation to our own pocket. We forget that there is another party involved as those who participated in its creation process, whose wages are to be paid and included within the price of goods and services. We only care about ‘getting the best deal’ where we are happy when we got something very cheap, and then feel cheated if we find out we paid more for something, where we could have paid less. We don’t get that for us to have our happy/winning experience when getting a ‘good deal’, someone else has to be cheated on --- where they are now being paid less than their actual value as a living, breathing, laboring, contributing human being.
In modern society, most of us are both the consumers and the workers. We are the ones feeling like we’re winning when we can buy cheap things and we are the ones feeling like we’re losing / being cheated on when we get our paycheck.
The only way for us to have a healthy relationship towards consumption and our own dignity as a human being as being intricately involved in the creation of products for consumption – is by directly connecting prices to sustainable living wages. Prices should not be set first, where only afterwards we give the ‘leftovers’ and ‘scraps’ to the workforce. Living wages should come first, and not be up for negotiation when setting and calculating prices. It should become downright illegal to price any product or service in a way that diminishes the wage level of an individual to lower than that of a sustainable / minimum living wage – because this would be a direct infringement on someone’s Right to Life.
As part of the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed, Prices should thus firstly serve to sustain living wages and should only secondarily (if at all) be used towards the purpose of furthering competition in the name of business. If everyone lives on a Living Income or at least a Minimum Wage, everyone can afford this form of sustainable pricing (unlike in the current system, where for many households ‘fair trade’ products simply exceed one’s budget) and we can have system where we support others’ labor as a contribution to society the way we would like to be valued and
- Day 252: The Rich Be Cursed, The Rich Be Blessed
- Day 246: Green Economics - the Newest Fad?
- Day 226: Living Income Guaranteed will Prevent Destruction of Homes
- Day 247: Only in a Broken System does Misery equal Profit
- Day 251: Living Income Guaranteed and Market Mechanics
- Day 260: Slavery was GREAT! Why did We Abolish It, again?
05 July 2013
As such - the economy is supposed to be demand driven - where it is the consumers who vote on what should be done with the resources the Earth provides.
HOWEVER - we have developed a very lucrative business - which is the marketing industry, for which tons of research has been done - actual scientific research - to determine how to convince and persuade people that they want or need something that they actually don't. The advertising factor has reversed the production-relationship from demand-determined to supply-determined. For instance - I don't have cable, so I never watch advertisement. When I buy products, I have to actually test the product and from experience, determine whether the product is effective or not and accordingly, I adjust my spending patterns - so that I spend money on that which is actually supportive and worthwhile. Yesterday I was sitting in a waiting area and there was a TV playing. I saw a bunch of commercials, one of which was about a product that I myself had tested. The product was an 'instant soup' powder and the entire focus of the propaganda was to make the viewer believe that there are actual, real ingredients in this power - as in real vegetables, real meat and what have you. And - if I had been sitting at home, watching this commercial over and over - I have to sadly say that I may have been swayed by the information presented, and that I would have bought the product in the perception that 'there is real food in this powder - it said so on TV'. However, I happened to have tested this product before seeing this commercial and my experience showed that my body reacted adversely to it - in a way that it doesn't react to 'real soup'. Herein showing - that: No - this powder is not equivalent to 'real food'.
See - what advertisement does is brainwash viewers to such an extent that the memory of the picture of the commercial that has been seen over and over - overrides one's own actual physical experience - even to the extent that we don't even pay attention to the actual physical experience - because our memory is already 'telling us' what we are supposed to be believing about the product. Advertisement shapes our opinion of a product to the point where we can't distinguish between what's real and what's make-belief.
Herein - obviously - there is no rational decision-making. I could clearly see that if I were to be exposed to advertisement over and over - I may actually be influenced by it when I go through the shops - even if it is just because of familiarity - feeling like I 'know' this product - just because I've been exposed to the brand-name and logo over and over.
And so - advertisement is the way in which consumers have been robbed of their vote. It doesn't matter whether there is an actual demand for a product. Random products that have no life-supporting value and that have the lifespan of a few weeks, are continuously being produced - and it doesn't matter if there was no market for it - because the demand will simply be CREATED through advertisement. So - what we see today is an economy that is run by suppliers, profit-makers and NOT by consumers. Resources are wasted on the production of crap and consumers by the crap because they are too brainwashed to know better.
As such - we don't live in a capitalistic system in the true sense of the words, and any argument raised raised in the context of capitalistic theory is a scam - because we are not adhering to one of the basic principle of capitalism - which is that every individual needs to have the ability to make rational and informed decisions. As such - this ability requires to be protected if we want to truly live in a system that is sustainable and allocates resources most effectively.
Herein - I would suggest to either abolish advertising entirely - so that consumers are obliged to actually test the product for themselves, and based on real physical observation and experience, can influence the production-side of the market through changing spending patterns - OR - that advertisement becomes purely informative - listing the facts in terms of ingredients/materials utilized and the basic purpose of the product. No smiling people, no bright and colorful sparks, no music, no symbolism, no lies.
This would go a long way in preventing the wastage of resources that would now no longer be able to be used in the production of products that no-one actually wants or needs, relieving much of the pressure we have placed on our environment. Furthermore - together with the implementation of a Living Income Guaranteed - individuals will gain back their freedom - equipped with both money and rational decision-making - individuals will truly be empowered in the ability to determine what is valuable and what is not - and as such, capitalism can in fact be used to enhance and enforce democratic principles through economic means.