A Living Income addresses the primary cause of conflict: inequality

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We have been in this care centre for almost four years, living in broken tents and with no one helping us.
Pikas Kapi, Bulolo care centre, Bulolo town, Morobe province Papua New Guinea

Inequality is on the rise worldwide, creating extreme disparities in wealth, education and other areas of human development. Inequality has caused increased marginalization of mostly rural geographic areas and this in turn has caused the rising up of “formerly repressed sectors of society seeking greater independence, power and control.” These countries “were among the most economically vulnerable and least able to cope with crisis.”

Wealth disparity when combined with all the armed conflicts and an abundance of weapons puts civilians at risk unlike in any time in world history. 2014 was a record-breaking year for displaced people. Over 38 million were forcibly displaced within their own country by violence, up from 33.3 million for 2013. 2015 will be even higher and there’s no end in sight. [1]

The corporate media is not compelled to investigate the displaced or to make the connection between inequality and conflict. The media is not compelled to demand solutions. So why do we expect it to?

A living income will allow many more of us to not only read, but read between the lines and challenge the policies of war, the impunity of weapons manufacturers and the prevalence of conflict and poverty – for starters.

A living income would help us understand and challenge the ways and means of conflict so that we can build economic and social parity and give to each other that which we all deserve and desire.

* According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre



‘For Profit’ War

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the mystery that is Franz Ferdinand

The biggest change I’ve seen in my life 50+ years is how most people now (generally) believe that wars are started and created for profit. It’s like “duh” — way to make buckets of money.

This ‘for profit’ angle of the origin of war is not new, it’s taught in every political science class  with Hegel on the reading list… but can we stop for a moment?  If we can pause, breathe, and step outside the dialectic and the explanations/ideologies which lay claim to telling history, we stand back  like a painter facing a blank canvas. The origin of war requires investigation  — that most wars were started for one group/person to profit over another within the understanding that there is never any excuse for this – this is the news whose time has come.  All the dialectics in the world can’t create a decent school, running water, or a clean bathroom. The first casualty of war is not just the truth, it’s also the infrastructure … but none of this is really news. Old Cicero asked, “Cui bono?”

…the profit professional can often be found in professorial positions…

I would twiddle my thumbs when I was taught about Franz Ferdinand and how this single event (his murder) was credited with the start of WWI. Did it add up to you? Theology is hardly confined to religion. The motivation and the cause for the delusion is important but what really matters is the solution.

We agree that war is a business and that it is easy to overlook the effects of war. The generational side effects that include longitudinal despairare scantily reported in the historical record – the grandfather who drank himself to death, the woman who lost her young adulthood and boy who never had a dad. War has a fictional telling that abstracts it’s brutality, a brutality none of us should ever know.

The media and especially the internet are studied and used to illustrate the mechanism – the buy and sell button – of the human and because war must be sold, the marketing of war is of primary concern — but it’s also it’s primary disadvantage… hehe, war can be unsold, the ‘internets’ can assist. War and it’s profit-motive can be reversed and profit can be used to create real things for real people.

So that’s the good news. John Lennon sang “War is Over” and it could be if we stop the general backchat, secret plans, patterns and consequence allowing the rogue elements of our mind to create the belief that there is no alternative to war,   when there is. Each one of us is a creator of an alternative if we choose, to do the leading by example and using what’s already here.

See what’s new in equality!

“War is a Racket” Major Gen. Smedley Butler, USMC

Privatization and Passivity

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Kenya Jones fills a bucket with water at a vacant house in her east side Detroit neighborhood. Jones has been without water at home for a month because her landlord has not paid the bill. (National Geographic)

Privatization will be the evaporation, not only of our water supply and other natural resources but also of whatever democracy there is left to fight for. Will we do something before it’s too late?

The word ‘private’ is ubiquitous: private sale, private offering, private community, and private communications. Privacy is so sought after – is that because we have so little of it? Are we willing to privatize our resources: our water, our earth and minerals, etc. because we have been socially conditioned to venerate all that is private…. is it our secret pleasure to want to ensure that, if need be, we too can avail ourselves of the privileges that come with privacy or are just indifferent or passive?


Nearly 19,500 people living in Detroit have had their water service interrupted since March 1. The Water and Sewage Department began cutting of residents who missed their payments. Detroit has the highest “big-city rate” in the nation, 40% of Detroit live in poverty. Half of all Detroit water customers were behind on payments, owing a combined $90 million and yet General Motors and the city’s two sports arenas also owe millions in unpaid water bills but their water was not turned off.

Charity Hicks, founder of the Detroit People’s Water Board said, “”This is a test being looked at by cities across the US – even the world,” Charity says. “We will not let water be used as a weapon to remake the city in a corporate image. We will re-establish what it is to live in a democracy, with a water system that is part of the commons, that affirms human dignity and that ensures everyone’s access.” One woman said she got involved in the water battle after she received a $600 water bill for one month and yet Detroit has access to our nation’s largest fresh water supply.

The Guardian wrote: “The targeting of Detroit families is about something else. It is a ruthless case of the shock doctrine – the exploitation of natural or unnatural shocks of crisis to push through pro-corporate policies that couldn’t happen in any other circumstance…. and that. The water shut-offs are a way to make the balance-sheet more attractive in the lead up to its privatization.”

As utilities that were once services have now become authorities (in Detroit children are being removed from households that have had their water cut-off) at what point do we challenge our passivity? Supporting a policy that ensure the basics of food, shelter and environmental dignity for all, a policy unaffiliated with a political party, a big foundation or non-governmental organization, the Living Income Guaranteed can be implemented within our existing infrastructure. We don’t need to build a new waterworks, the one we have works fine.

Further reading:

In Detroit, Water Crisis Symbolizes Decline, and Hope

Thousands March for Water Rights in Detroit

Detroit’s Water War: a tap shut-off that could impact 300,000 people



Three Ways to Know History

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The de-industrialization of the U.S. took place about a generation after the de-industrialization of the United Kingdom. Industrialization has since (magically!) moved on to China and places to the east and south. Treaties and agreements like GATT and NAFTA took US manufacturing and industrial jobs without so much as one Zuccotti “occupy Pittsburgh” or Detroit. Why did this happen?

Scholar and writer Anthony Sutton said there are there not three ways of reading and understanding history: the establishment version of history, which is what most believe is true; the revisionist level which is more in-depth but based on documents/facts which come only from the establishment and the third way which is to actually investigate on our own to find out what occurred.

For example, I was taught, at the university level,  that the French Revolution was a predominantly a grass roots movement of angry, organized peasantry against the excess of monarchy. But it was actually an internal division among the French elite. The Duc D’Orleans kick-started the whole thing by paying aristocrats to dress as peasants and carry torches to Versailles. Or how about in the 1920s and 1930s – it was American industrialists who created the economic infrastructure of the Soviet Union; building factories and an industrial base that far exceeded, in scale, what was being built in the United States. Why was I not taught this?  Who benefited?

How do I start to know history –  real history? And what good will it do, if I do? I believe that if I know history – what really happened – I can explain the validity and reasonableness of a Living Income Guaranteed. I believe that the degree of cognitive dissonance – the difference between what we see and know to be true and what we are told is true– is so great that most opt for a consumer high, an autistic retreat into a gadgets and games – or back off from practical solutions in favor of the religious and spiritual – consumerism with a halo, if you will.

The majority of the world is waiting, most without running water or decent food. They are waiting for people like you and me – those who can and willing to create a world of decency for all.

I want to investigate what really happened; what we have really created.

Are you with me?


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