Humanity has been held hostage for centuries by its self-imposed “leaders”. Feudalism, slavery, wage labour and the current debt-based economy have coerced the majority of the people along with nature into an existence based on fear and violence.
The purpose – extraction of resources and accumulation of wealth.
The need – ego, comfort and an attempt to substitute love and community with money and power. It doesn’t matter that it never works. The system has its psychopathic logic and it replicates the same model throughout its pyramid-like structure.
The method – dispossession through violence and division.
Take as an example the massive breach of human rights orchestrated by the “unity of science and capital where our lives are scraped and sold to fund surveillance capitalists’ freedom and our subjugation“. Psychology and behavioural sciences in combination with surveillance capitalism are advanced enough to exercise unprecedented control and repression on a global scale. As Shoshana Zuboff claims we are experiencing “a form of tyranny that feeds on people but is not of the people. The convergence of freedom and knowledge transforms surveillance capitalists into society’s self-appointed masters.”
Aided by an onslaught on social cohesion by the mass media and its manupulation techniques especially in the current plandemic situation populations all around the world are finding themselves in a mentally and physically lethal combination of shock doctrines.
Threats using the hard-coded fear of death are all it takes to impose control on vast amounts of people, especially if those are led to believe that abuse of their human rights is a form of care. Ask yourself two questions: Why is it that when we have a collective problem the few in control use it to multiply their power instead of finding a solution that does not leave the many with less rights and more limitations? Do you have confidence in the current system?
It never stops to amaze me how in our troubled society institutional and corporate harassment is welcomed and sometimes desired. Just check out some of the “bonuses” included in the average western lifestyle package, the “best” we have – four weeks of freedom per year, four months bonding with your new born baby, food infested with pesticides and carcinogens, “imposed ignorance” also known as education, inadequate healthcare, pollution, unreliable social safety net and uncertain future due to ecological collapse.
In another corner of objective reality stand the brave. They want a new operating system but can’t agree on the features. Over thinking and fear of failure causes division among them. It is natural, the obstacles multiply by the second, they are low on resources and manpower, the deadline is pretty tight (60 harvests) and the responsibility – immense.
In programming there is a term called “staging” used to describe when a system is still being worked on and securely trialed before going live. I believe people need an intermediate testing ground where they can safely experiment with ideas and visions of their individual and collective selves, free from coercion and manipulation. The equivalent of that intermediate platform or state of being where everybody feels free to disconnect from the old discourse and write their own version I call the Universal Freedom Dividend also known as the Universal Basic Income / Universal Basic Dividend. It is the easiest way to make people stop playing a rigged game they never consented to.
A “regular, equal, and non-returnable cash payment that is received individually by all citizens regardless of their material and occupational situation.” This is an old idea currently gaining popularity due to automation and the failure of capitalism to meet the needs of humanity and nature. It is one effective way to make a smooth transformation to post-capitalist society. Its main function would be to share the benefits of technological progress, economic growth (collectively produced capital), natural resources and globalization more equally. It aslo has the potential to end capital accumulation and debt creation as the driving forces of the current economy.
1. Using Value Added Tax
The idea is to have the money for the monthly payments come from the collection of VAT which amounts to roughly one fifth of the tax revenue.
Value Added Tax is a tax on consumption that we all as citizens must pay, at least in most countries in the world and in all of the EU. As much as we are used to being often unconsciously ripped off as an end consumer bearing most of the tax burden (to really understand please check Susan Huang’s comments under the video), because let’s face it, a very low percentage of the population knows how this government scheme works. The recent EU VAT frauds that are bleeding the collective wealth resources are adding to how much we can trust the army of often corrupt accountants and bureaucrats managing a purposely complicated scam-like way to enforce arbitrary taxation on the masses. For the VAT idea to work it will need a total reform that includes – taxing ONLY luxury goods, reducing its complexity (preferably one will not need an accounting degree and hundreds of hours per year to catch up on changes to the regulations) along with eradicating corruption and fraud which is rampant in the current system. The above personally makes me want to scrap the idea just because I have no trust in the people who are being trained in managing our financial wealth. I believe if we are about to experience a profound change it needs to be truly authentic and fail proofed. However, the VAT idea can be used as an argument when discussing for and against UBI with people who say we as a society don’t have money to fund it. This premise is simply not true. We are creating enough value that can go around, the problem is who is controlling it and what do they make us believe in order to justify false scarcity.
Let’s have a look at the Spanish state and how they are managing their human resources given that the country has the second highest unemployment rate in the EU after Greece. The state system keeps the most vulnerable part of society in check by applying something that resembles Conditional Basic Income also known as El Paro and the post-corona version is called el ERTE, both give roughly 4 million people specific criteria based income that equals to 70% of their salaries. Just enough to keep their heads above water, continue paying VAT while having no financial independence or emergency funds. When the institution SEPE responsible for administering the payments collapses leaving hundreds of thousands of people without livelihood for months due to software inadequacy or overpays others, one can really see the human and financial cost of putting conditions on incomes and having the current system manage well being. The end result – division and unseen tension in society just because we have not evolved enough to end the kafkaesque reality others have constructed for us without our consent. It is also well known that one can rarely expect justice from the often arbitrary decisions the SEPE takes in non-COVID times. Bundled with authoritarian attitude and no regard for the individual the institution does what it likes unless one is prepared to spend thousands of euros on lawyers and even then it is not a guaranteed success. Why they do it, because the have the power to play with people’s livelihoods. This is the rule rather than the exception when it comes to most social benefits institutions. Neither the citizens nor the state servants feel good about participating. Make your own local research and I guarantee you will arrive at the same conclusion.
Let the Spanish example be a warning to all, if the execution of the UBI idea falls into the wrong hands the consequences will be devastating for all. As usually happens, humanity would have lost another chance to rise above injustice and inequality. A friend of mine once said in regards to the benefits system in Spain: “It feels like you are in someone else’s house and they are bullying you while trying to kick you out.” This is the level we are dealing with, an open air prison where people feel insecure and in the hands of bureaucrats and state servants while most are working to pay their salaries. Recently we discovered they can also put us in solitary confinement (house arrests due to COVID19) for our own “good”… It would be naive to think the same institutions can miraculously change their perception on what human needs are. I believe their conditioning does not include understanding of what really benefits us all.
2. Another way to fund UBI is by sharing the profits reaped by state and corporations from the exploitation of natural resources. It has already been successfully done in Alaska. I am purposely not giving Norway as an example as their citizens have neither access to their oil fund nor democratic control over what that fund invests in. This means it can hardly be a model of shared common wealth.
If we are to take the rest of the countries as a counter example: how wealth is usurped by the powerful and stolen from the people, because as Thomas Paine says: “the earth, in its natural, cultivated state was, and ever would have continued to be, the common property of the human race”, the most representative case would be Africa. The richest in terms of resources continent with the largest population driven below the poverty line straight into a vicious cycle of underdevelopment and violent conflicts as a result of inability, dating back to colonialism, to share even a tiny bit of the vast amounts of natural wealth that belongs to its people. As we are moving towards post-capitalist society that will be trying its best to leave mother nature alone in order to regenerate and make life sustainable I would like to use this proposal only as an additional evidence against the argument of scarcity – currently the biggest psychological NOT empirical barrier standing in the way of collectively accepting UBI as a possible solution to multitude of problems. Clearly there is enough wealth and money to fund UBI. The real questions are: what is the best way to do it, who should manage the re-distribution and how we can manifest it?
3. This leads us to the best solutions for funding UBI by turning it into Universal Basic Dividend – a way to “broadly sharing the benefits of economic growth and technological progress“. It can be done by: “implementing higher taxes on extreme wealth and very high incomes, closing tax havens, ending corporate tax avoidance or implementing a financial transaction tax. Alternatively, governments could divert a percentage of their colossal military budgets, or withdraw a proportion of the vast subsidies currently paid to agribusiness and the fossil fuel industry. Similarly, new levies on environmental ‘bads’, such as pollution or waste disposal, could help raise revenues while providing a disincentive to ecologically destructive activities.” UBD would also pave the way to Global Resource Dividend that can finally bring social and climate justice around the world.
For UBI to be funded by social dividends on a national and international level we as citizens must be politically active, practice courage and resist by challenging the dominant capitalist logic, the machinations of a corrupt state system and media propaganda. We need to ensure that these social funds are not in private or public hands. They can be decentralized independent citizen controlled collectives that are easy for everybody to access and influence by applying participatory democracy / referendums. If it can work in Switzerland, Chiapas and Rojava it can work anywhere. We need to find a way to divest from harmful for the environment industries and take away our taxes from people who are not representing our interests.
Those are perpetuated by corporations, media and the current state system because unfortunately these entities believe their interests are different from ours where in fact we all need the same things – security, freedom, peace and love. UBI is capable to provide these in abundance for all.
Technological unemployment, rising inequality, the transformation of work, the sharing economy, all of these can only go so far before something gives. Income must be decoupled from work and provided unconditionally, or like an anchor tied to our ankles, we will together be dragged down by our own unwillingness to evolve. The rope must be cut, and if we do that, not only will we not drown, but we’ll be truly free.”
If we want a real progressive change, people must allow themselves to practice it. To be free as a collective we ought to be free as individuals. This is the first step we all need to unite around if we want to see any meaningful re-programming of the current system such as: equality, regeneration of nature, healthy interdependence, a chance to reverse climate change and sustainable and healthy future for the next generations.
Demand and strive for Universal Freedom Dividend and watch the world change effortlessly from within. Laser beam this one single effort/agenda/policy and all other progressive goals will follow. Instead of re-loading a broken system, we have an opportunity to experience evolution.
Please take action:
– Sign the European Citizens Initiative’s petition demanding Universal Basic Income in Europe.
– Join a local/international political movement that is campaigning for UBD.
– Talk to your family and friends and explain the benefits of having financial security and guaranteed human rights.
– Find ways to support institutions that value and work towards just re-distribution of collective wealth and prioritise ecological re-generation.