TaN: [last minute inclusion] From the Oxfam report “WORKING FOR THE FEW“, 178 Briefing Paper Summary (http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bp-working-for-few-political-capture-economic-inequality-200114-summ-en.pdf), it is very informative and well done but I have disagree with some of the points it brought up. First, I could not agree more on the following statements: (1) “…inequality is ‘impacting social stability within countries and threatening security on a global scale‘”; (2) “Extreme economic inequality is damaging and worrying for many reasons. It is morally questionable; it can have negative impacts on economic growth and poverty reduction; and it can multiply social problems. It compounds other inequalities… because of the pernicious impact that wealth concentrations can have on equal political representation. When wealth captures government policymaking, the rules bend to favor the rich, often to the detriment of everyone else. The consequences include the erosion of democratic governance, the pulling apart of social cohesion, and the vanishing of equal opportunities for all.”; and, (3) “…people are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown.” These statements are actually stating the obvious — just take a gander all around you — unless you are asleep or you live in that part of the world (mostly in the First World but there are highly-urbanized areas in Third World countries too) where your world and your whereabouts never take you out of your Gilded and Privileged World.
However, the report appears to imply that inequality can be mitigated but not totally eliminated. As in my previous blog posts, I posit and contend that (1) a need can become a want but a want can never become a need (except when it becomes a “perceived need”); (2) anything that has a beginning must have an end, only those that have no beginning can have no end; and, (3) there is inequality only because the basis of our equality is influenced heavily by what we value most (i.e., wealth) and the system has been “rigged” in such a way that wealth gravitates only towards the rich from the poor, hence the rich get richer and the poor gets poorer.
Given these arguments, I find it unacceptable and deceptive — unintentional and/or without malice, as it may be — to make people believe that mitigation is the maximum that can be done to the issue of poverty and inequality.
TaN: I am suddenly reminded of the wisdom of the statement I heard from the late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. It has a deeper meaning or significance that escapes most of the average person. To most, it would probably mean volunteerism and some sort of patriotism but there is another interpretation — a commitment to contribute to the common good or commons.
Ever since the “controversial” date of December 21, 2012 — where the sublime message is that the Age of Enlightenment (Transparency and Accountability) has come — it has become increasingly but gradually obvious to those among us who are more enlightened it also means that we have to be vigilant and actively involved in government and national affairs.
As the saying goes, The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. There can be no compromise with evil and what is wrong. Like what I have constantly and consistently maintained, There is no such “animal” as “lesser of two evils”. It is used by those who have every intention to do evil and wrong and is just trying to find an excuse to do it — without feeling guilty or being “bothered” by their conscience.
To “do for one’s country” may be interpreted as contribute to the common good…to the commons; to give one’s all for the benefit of others, to share with others whatever we can share in this finite world with its finite resources. We have to make the most of what we have with as many of our neighbors and fellowmen as possible instead of being greedy.
TaN: Everything in moderation. This battle cry is often much abused and practiced in the wrong manner — and many ignorant and unwitting individuals blindly obey without analyzing and understanding its rationale.
It is very tempting to follow the dictum but it is so innocently deceiving. I suppose it is devised by people who have something to sell you but realize that excess (of anything) is generally accepted and acknowledged — no matter how beneficial to you — to be unhealthy or bad. So, as a compromise and so as not to lose patrons and clients, it is better to tone down to a moderate level than to totally lose them because what they are doing may not be healthy or may be bad but you are benefiting from them.
In truth, “everything in moderation” is only applicable to those that are natural and truly beneficial and not to man-made poisons such as cigarettes and junk foods. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security about moderation being a good thing. Moderation is good only if and when it is something that is good for us; it does not apply to those that are detrimental.
In everything in this reality, it is not only important but vital that we are able to differentiate or discriminate between what are sincerely good for us and what are not. As far as what is good for us, moderation should still be observed — not so much as because it will be harmful to us but to conserve so that we can still enjoy them in the future and so will our descendants.
TaN: Wealth originates from man — from man’s labor and values. Without man, there is no wealth. Wealth is not the pieces of printed paper with sophisticated markings and technologies that protect them against being easily reproduced “without authorization”. Wealth is a man-made concept — because nature recognizes not wealth — and all wealth comes from man’s consciousness.
Since wealth is what we make of it and has value only because we gave it value and since all global wealth — most especially those in the possession of the 1% uber rich and global elite — came from the blood, sweat and tears of the 99%, we can choose to disregard the value of the all those in the possession of the 1% (effectively rendering their wealth worthless) and come up with an entirely new and different system of representing, valuing and measuring wealth.
Or, better still, put all wealth into the (collective) commons for everyone and anyone who needs it to access and avail of. Let us amass wealth but put them all in the commons for all those who need may benefit. All wealth will be pooled and made available to everyone and anyone who needs — not wants — it, and no one can keep wealth or is permitted to possess idle wealth (i.e., wealth that is not productive or not put into use for the benefit of man).
The whole idea here (that I am positing) is based on the proposal of the late Nito Doria, that all idle wealth — like idle land or real estate property — be taxed 100% (because it is not productive). “Idle or unproductive” wealth are those that are not being used in the service of man’s benefit — and not just that of the property “owner” or a few select group but for everyone. The idea here is to prevent any one person or group of elites to gain possession of any natural resources and not use it for the benefit of all man.
All of nature should be shared by all and not just the privileged elite, those who were born earlier (so they can have first dibs), or anyone else, for that matter, who have greedy and selfish motives behind the disenfranchisement of a natural resource. Finite things must be shared precisely because they are finite, especially if the finite things are essential or needs.
And so for the 99%. it is high time we shift the balance of power in our favor. Enough of the elites enjoying at our expense. The 99% must take back what is rightfully theirs — the fruits of their hard-earned labor. For it is written, in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 (to wit): For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should be eat — and “work” here would mean honest labor, the sweat of one’s brows.
TaN: What is normal (today) is, in truth, abnormal. This came to me a while back when there was a discussion regarding today’s “normalcy”. This is easy to recognize once you know what to look for and understand how today’s normal is actually an abnormality.
The phrase “new normal” is enough to make one realize that if there is a “new” normal, there must have been a former/previous or “old” normal. This means that when they say “it is the new normal”, it implies that we are supposed to just accept the changes that are transpiring without so much as questioning for what reason or purpose is the change happening — it is happening; do not resist; just embrace it with open arms and just trust us, you cannot stop it anyway.
The superseding of the “new” normal represents a change, an aberration, an abnormality or departure from what is normal. This “new normal” is not normal.
Change is normal. In fact, change is more normal than no-change or stasis. There is actually no such thing that is stationary. Even plants, dead animals, or inanimate objects (such as rocks and boulders) are in constant motion. They may not be moving autonomously (or by themselves) but the ground they are on is a point on the surface of our planet that is spinning on its axis — ergo, it is moving.
But that kind of change is different from the “new normal” primarily because the latter is change not caused by the observance of any natural recurrence pattern while the former is induced or effected by man’s activities on the natural scheme of things. In other words, if man had not exerted any ecologically unsustainable influence or activity on the environment, there would not be a “new normal”. In this regard, the “new normal” is abnormal and represents a deviation from what would otherwise had been natural changes that keep nature in harmonious (and sustainable) equilibrium.