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31 October 2014 Thought
for the Week:
A Report by the Council of The Club of Rome (1991)
A Guaranteed Annual Income?
POVERTY IN AUSTRALIA: SAME OLD, SAME OLD FROM ‘THE EXPERTS’
Of course it is not only the ‘poor and needy’ who are struggling to ‘make ends meet’; just ask the average farmer how he is surviving. When asked how he is going, one farmer at the League’s National Weekend said he was ‘hanging in there’, but the hours worked are long and hard for the resulting monetary returns.
According to the ACOSS (Australian Council of Social Services) report:
ACOSS chief executive Dr Cassandra Goldie said: "We have to take this issue seriously. This is not the idea of if we just have economic growth, then everything will be all right. The reality is we need a really strong set of policies and we [need to] know what they are in order for us to make sure that every person - and importantly every child - in Australia has a decent chance to a decent start, and that we are a country that does not need to have one single person living in poverty. What we are asking the Governments around the country to do is stop what we seem to be having at the moment in Australia, which is once again a blame game that the problem, if you are living on unemployment (benefits), is that you are not trying hard enough. "
A PERSONAL BASIC INCOME FOR ALL
“Douglas’s economics was concerned with the realities of production and consumption, with money as the enabling, not the controlling, factor. His best-known proposals: the debt-free national dividend and the anti-inflationary compensated price, both possessed an element of negative feedback, being governed solely by the need to equate money demand with the price of the real product available, rather than being arbitrary hand-outs determined by prevailing political or sociological opinion.”
In 1988 UK social crediter Geoffrey Dobbs reviewed a 25 page booklet “Basic Income for All” by a industrial Chaplain* Malcolm Torry. Geoffrey Dobbs noted the author gave a brief historical outline of the Poor Law from 1601 onwards and a longer treatment of the Beveridge Report - which made it clear Beveridge’s aim for a universal insurance which would in time abolish the Poor Law (e.g., National Assistance) had not been implemented.
Dobbs also noted Bertrand Russell put forward essentially the same proposal in 1918, in his book “Roads to Freedom”, the same year that C. H. Douglas’s book “Economic Democracy” appeared in the New Age under A. R. Orage’s editorship.
Douglas’ National Dividend – always part of a package designed to cancel debt, prevent inflation and decentralise financial control to consumers - therein lies the main difference…
The proposed scheme is simple: a Personal Basic Income (PBI) would replace all benefits, grants, allowances, and would probably be paid into every citizen’s giro account (children’s to the parents’, probably the mother’s). It would be financed by a tax on all income other than the PBI itself, with no other exceptions or allowances.
The Advantages are Great
Innumerable causes of desperate dissension, frustration and degradation would disappear, though not, of course, all of them, and the conflicting ideals of basic economic equality for all, and freedom for initiative with earned reward for merit, would both be largely and harmoniously realised. The author admits the difficulties, and draws attention to the Basic Income Research Group and the considerable literature now available on the subject. He rightly feels that the proposed great liberation of personal choice as to how and for what purposes to spend one’s life and energy, is fully in accord with Christianity.
So far, so good! That is the positive side of it. To the exclusion of the negative side
If below, then supplementary benefits would still be necessary for some ‘unemployed’ and the scheme would partly fail in its aim. But if it were as much as subsistence level, then taxation could be over 50%.
What we should first ask ourselves is what real basis there is for such a basic income.
It is quite clear that poverty and deprivation in a country such as Britain (and/or Australia…ed) is monetary, not based on the real wealth potential.
Based on Real Wealth — or Political Debate? Author not thinking in Real Terms
It is strange how often Christian people, who in other matters are passionately against any form of compulsion, call for, support it and promote that form of forced extraction of money under threat of fines or imprisonment known as taxation. The proposal here put forward if carried out must necessarily constitute the most merciless discouragement of all gainful economic activities ever attempted, unless, indeed, as would probably happen, trades union or other organised pressure should succeed in inflating wages to cover the tax as well as a fair return in ‘take-home pay’ for the work done.
Dividends would also have to be more-than-doubled for the investment to be worthwhile. All this would mean galloping inflation with which the subsistence income could never catch up, since the PBI-tax itself would be the major factor in enforcing it.
Wages and Salaries are Costs and go into Prices
As electronics proceeds and liberates more people from unnecessary routine labour, how can the wages of the dwindling minority provide a decent income for the growing majority, and why should they? Already, a vast amount of ‘employment’ performs no really useful function, and much of it a damaging or destructive function. It is undertaken solely for the acquisition of money, either as wages and salaries or as profits, and its product, if any, is forced upon the public by the techniques of advertising. But a tax-based basic income for all would require an ever-growing money-earning economy, however wasteful or futile. People who exercised their freedom to avoid such work in favour of more useful unpaid, part-time or lower paid work would simply be destroying the tax-base of their freedom.
Why always Taxation?
Our whole economy is now run on credit, including the ‘consumer credit’ without which it would collapse. It must be repeated that this is debt, repayable with interest, mortgaging future pay, another reason Why pay must be got, regardless of how.
If we add this burden of debt to, say, 50% taxation on all money earned (with no allowances, thresholds, or lower rates) it would mean that only a small proportion of the wage-element in price would be the actual cost of the labour. The rest would be quite extraneous costs. That is not real economics at all.
In the Real World the Cost of Producing Something is…
All money, nowadays, is simply a system of figures, created as a debt repayable with interest, and every economic activity leaves behind it a burden of debt which, ultimately, somewhere in the system, can be repaid in full only by more borrowing. We have given many examples of this, e.g., of a block of ﬂats which was demolished, leaving £43,000 annual loan charges for the next 43 years, and the Humber Bridge, with a debt now at £256 million and still growing, since the tolls cannot meet even the interest charges.
Our Artificial Debt Economy
Our situation since the technological revolution (and indeed, before it) is ironic to the point of absurdity. It is as if admission, say, to a banquet were in the hands of an entirely separate body which limited the tickets according to various theories of ticketry quite unrelated to the places and the meals offered. The fact which people are so loath to face is that our money is now quite as artificial, arbitrary, and centrally controlled a system of computer-and-paper-work as any ticketing system, though of course far more complex and subject to political, ideological and other power considerations which ought to be extraneous to its purpose.
Since, as we all know, the technological revolution has made it easily practicable to produce the necessities and common comforts of civilised living with an ever-decreasing work-force, are we prepared to demand: let those who cannot find a paid job, and their families starve or go short, while we suppress or destroy that which could supply them? for if not, we should realise that we all ought to receive our share of this inheritance which we owe to the scientists, technicians and inventors of the past and not in any way to our own work or merit.
To pay the PBI out of taxes is to kill the golden goose…
Maybe it would be a lifetime’s work, but surely that would be more worthwhile since it aims at a real objective than to devote one’s efforts to the punishing of wealth-production by confiscatory taxation.
No Mention of the New Economics
From 1918 onwards Douglas pointed out in his writings and speeches that the deficiency in purchasing power, expressing itself as a growing time-lag between incomes and prices, was a permanent, built-in feature of the length and complexity of modern technological processes, as financed by loan-credit. Also that it must result in a continuous rise in the cost of living. At the time both these contentions were contemptuously rejected by professional economists as exaggerations of temporary effects.
C. H. Douglas – Engineer and Pioneer of Automation
Douglas’s economics was concerned with the realities of production and consumption, with money as the enabling, not the controlling, factor. His best-known proposals: the debt-free national dividend and the anti-inflationary compensated price, both possessed an element of negative feedback, being governed solely by the need to equate money demand with the price of the real product available, rather than being arbitrary hand-outs determined by prevailing political or sociological opinion.
* Malcolm Torry: “Basic Income for All” (Grove Ethical Studies No.68) Grove Books Ltd., Nottingham, 1988.
AREN’T WE ‘CONFOUNDING THE PERSONS’ AND ‘DIVIDING THE SUBSTANCE’?
by Betty Luks.
According to my understanding it is the responsibility of the electors of this Commonwealth to keep their own political representatives informed of what they want – not the League of Rights do it for them. Many electors do not relate to the Christian Faith but do believe they have the right to be free – in which case they also have the responsibility to keep their political representatives informed of their will on important issues affecting them, and thereby keeping their representatives in check.
As for those Catholic Christians who would ask: “What does Social Credit have to do with Catholicism?” In “The Economics of Social Credit and Catholic Social Teaching”, Dr. Oliver Heydorn shows that “if the Church’s social doctrine successfully encapsulates the seed, or the basic blueprint, of a healthy social order, then the financial analysis and remedial proposals of C.H. Douglas, often referred to under the name of ‘Social Credit’, are of the greatest practical import. Social Credit promises to provide an effective policy and a set of appropriate mechanisms by means of which the Christian vision of society can finally be brought to a spectacular fruition on the economic plane”.
LETTER TO P.M. ABBOTT AND OPPOSITION LEADER BILL SHORTEN
The Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and the leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten, 14 Oct 2014:
Secondly, neither of you has the slightest idea of how the Malaysia Airline plane came down over eastern Ukraine. An inquiry showed multiple holes in the front of the aeroplane, which could have come from cannon fired by a fighter plane (Russian, Ukrainian?), or by fragments from an explosion of whatever provenance. That is, there could have been an on-board explosion, or a missile fired by the Russia-backed militia, or by Russia, or by mistaken Ukrainian government defence people.
The real guilt ought to be on the managers of Malaysia Airlines, and other airlines, who allowed passenger aircraft to fly over the civil war zone. In fact, defence force aircraft had already been shot down over Ukraine, while airlines blithely kept on entering that air space. Russia, the separatists, and Ukraine ought to have co-operated to have the bodies collected and repatriated, and a proper crash investigation to occur. Instead of that, the Ukrainian government forces kept up an offensive operation, and ought to be blamed for that.
At the G20 conference due soon in Australia, please remember the relative size of the Russian
and Australian nations. Look up the population figures, check the defence industries in each
(Australia, to save money, is even ordering its military boots from overseas), and look at a globe
of the world, counting how many time zones are occupied by the Russian Federation, formerly the Soviet Union, and before that, the Russian Empire. Is it triple Australia's?
TAKE NOTE TONY ABBOTT:
A Case Against Canadian Military Involvement in Iraq and Syria by Peter Ewart, 7 October, 2014.
What would likely have happened if Canada had participated? Undoubtedly, many hundreds of our troops would have been killed and thousands wounded or permanently disabled. In addition, hundreds of millions or even billions of government funding would have been diverted from much-needed health, education, and social services in Canada and poured into war spending. Indeed, in the annals of history, Canada would have been numbered among those countries held responsible for a criminal act, the launching of an unprovoked war, one that, along with other actions, has wreaked havoc, death and destruction on a sovereign people and has spread chaos throughout the Middle East.
Flash forward to today. Unfortunately, Stephen Harper, using his Conservative majority in parliament, has finally got his way. Canada will be expanding its role and sending combat forces, not only into Iraq, but also possibly Syria, supposedly to fight the forces of the latest terrorist threat, ISIS. Although the mission will be limited to air strikes (at least for now) and has a six month duration, it is not minor. Forces will include 10 aircraft, including 6 CF-18s, and 600 aircrew and support personnel. This is in addition to the 26 non-combat military advisors already in Iraq (footnote 1).
Now ISIS, this horrific creature nurtured into being by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the UAE, has turned on its sponsors, at least for now, which is very convenient for those Western powers who have long wanted a pretext to escalate intervention in that part of the world against Syria, Iran and other countries. In that regard, ISIS is a very convenient “all-purpose” terrorist group (10,11). On the one hand, it can be used to destabilize countries not part of the U.S. “coalition.” On the other hand, if it gets out of control, as it is now, it can be used as a pretext for intervention or invasion.
For example, just as the 9/11 attacks by Al Queda terrorists back in 2001 were used as a pretext to invade Iraq (a country that had nothing to do with the attacks), many observers fear that the ISIS intervention will eventually morph into an escalated war against the Assad government of Syria, which has long been in the cross-sights of the U.S., Britain, Saudi Arabia and others. In that regard, the British establishment newspaper, “The Independent”, published an article in its October 2nd edition, claiming that such plans to use the ISIS crisis as a cover to overthrow the Syrian government are already well underway by U.S. and British intelligence forces (12). Similar tactics were used to overthrow the sovereign government of Libya several years ago. While U.S., Canadian and European airforces dropped bombs on Libyan government forces, various Al-Queda connected forces on the ground were provided political and logistical support. It is interesting to note that many of the current ISIS personnel are made up of these same Libyan forces that only yesterday were being hailed as freedom fighters by Harper and Obama. In that regard, U.S. general Thomas McInerney has acknowledged on Fox News that the U.S. “helped build ISIS” by supporting ISIS personnel in Libya and allowing arms to be smuggled into Syria (13).
And what has happened since the Libyan government was overthrown? What was once one of the most prosperous countries in North Africa has been reduced to chaos and destruction, becoming a dysfunctional state overrun by numerous warring factions.
It is clear that some dirty business is afoot in this latest Iraqi and Syria intervention. Yet Prime Minister Harper appears obsessed with dragging us into the quagmire. As a result, besides only making a bad situation worse, he exposes our soldiers and military personnel to prolonged and unnecessary danger (some observers say the conflict could go on for years), as well as leaving our country open to possible “blowback” from terrorist forces as a result of our intervention.
Who should deal with ISIS? Well, first of all, the countries in the Middle East region who spawned it, starting with Saudi Arabia and Turkey who both have powerful, well-equipped armies. Turkey in fact has the second largest army in NATO (600,000 in total). If these countries are truly serious, they should cut off all under-the-table assistance and “safe haven” to all the rebels and work in a common front with Syria, Iraq and Iran and other countries already fighting ISIS. In the final analysis, Middle Easterners must be the ones to sort out Middle Eastern problems.
The Opposition parties in Parliament were right last week not to go along with Harper’s latest Iraq adventure. But they should stiffen and expand their opposition, and not support military aid of any kind including providing “military advisors” to this or that faction in the shifting sands of the Middle East. As the old saying goes, “Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread.” Peter Ewart is a columnist and writer based in Prince George, British Columbia. He can be reached at: email@example.com
Response by Wallace Klinck to Peter Ewart’s editorial:
Thanks, Peter—for this excellent editorial (250 News) with which I am almost entirely in agreement. I think that it is increasingly well known that there has existed for some long time a plan not to assist the nations in the Middle East surrounding Israel but to destabilize and destroy their viability as functioning independent states. This has intimately to do with Israel's strategic aims for expansion of control over the region. America is essentially controlled by Zionist influence and acts symbiotically to further the interests of large “American” corporate interests in acquisition of cheap natural resources, esp. in the energy field.
I note the comment by “Socredible” who as usual cuts through all of the confusion and goes straight to the heart of the issue. The debt system of finance to which we adhere causes an exponentially increasing deficiency of consumer income, vis-a-vis consumer prices, necessitating ever expanding debt in an attempt to bridge this gap. Thus, we attempt to overcome this deficiency by mortgaging our future income and by engaging in ever-increasing wasteful and destructive activity in order that incomes may be created to purchase past production.
These factors put enormous pressures upon nations to prioritize exports over imports and drive competing nations to seek cheaper natural and human resources from less advanced nations, which they attempt to acquire through the use not only of diplomacy but increasingly by the use of brute military might.
In this world of cut-throat forced competition, there is no such thing as a “balance” of trade. Might makes right in a world where obviously not all nations can export more than they import. As C. H. Douglas demonstrated, the existing financial system must result in increasing friction among nations resulting in continuing military conflict.
Comment by ‘Socredible’
Suppose to achieve this ultimate goal they, themselves, had self-divided, with one part of their group being 'visible', and promoting their goal more or less 'openly', albeit in small increments. With the necessary propaganda apparatus operational to try to ensure that anything horrible they were really doing, and why, was always explainable as unfortunate, but necessary for their own survival as the long-suffering underdog to have a right to a mere existence.
While the other part was 'invisible'. Even seemingly opposed sometimes to what their 'visible' counterpart was doing. Yet subscribing to exactly the same overall hidden philosophy, under seemingly kinder and gentler methods to enforce it as their policy on their unwitting victims. Which of these two parts of the same thing are the greater danger? That which we can see, which, despite all its efforts at mass-deception cannot help but make mistakes which expose itself to be seen for what it really is? Or the other part, which can't be seen, which operates in the shadows using deception to get others to do whatever it wants under the guise this will be 'good for everyone'?
Which of the two will be the easiest for those of us, the majority of us outside this 'elite' group, I believe, to defeat? Or do we want to defeat them at all, and just bow to their superiority as a manifestation of God's will?
SAD NEWS: SA MP BOB SUCH DIES AFTER SUFFERING BRAIN TUMOUR 11 October 2014:
South Australian Independent MP Bob Such has died, Premier Jay Weatherill has announced. Dr Such, 70, revealed he was being treated for a brain tumour just days after the March election. His wife Lyn, said she and some of Dr Such's family were with him when he died at Daw Park Hospice. Of course this will mean a future by-election for his seat.
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