Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Living Income Guaranteed: Nonsense Politics of the Destonians Equal Life Foundation

An online platform

The Living Income Guaranteed (LIG) is presented by the Equal Life Foundation (ELF) as an initiative towards global equality, political and economic stability and a decent standard of living for all. Its Facebook page has over 27,000 'likes' but few details about the LIG are on Facebook, so let's have a closer look...

The South Africa-based ELF is a 'non-profit' company that runs a recruitment scheme for an income plan and an affiliate sales programme selling online products and courses for a group of people 'exploring oneness and equality principles' called 'Desteni'. The ELF states its focus is 'human rights'. It owns copyright of material produced by the Desteni group, including the Equal Money System and audio files of 'self-perfection interviews' with reptilians and dead people.

Publicity for both the ELF and the LIG often omits to mention Desteni, but the LIG is only ever promoted by less than about 100 people affiliated with the group who call themselves 'Destonians'. Their support for the LIG could possibly give the impression that the Destonians are activists but they say that activism has never achieved anything and they are 'practivists'.

The LIG could appear to be a variation of the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) but is a very different concept altogether. Its policies are completely unrelated to the BIG.

The main LIG document wrongly asserts, 'There has never been a plan that would consider how to live harmoniously on this planet so far'. It states 'we don't need leaders' while its supporters take part in a leadership forum.

The LIG document is described as a 'draft proposal' for global political and economic change. Since its inception over a year ago, the LIG does not appear to have been proposed to any politicians, legislators, political groups or organisations, journalists from mainstream or alternative media, governments, state departments, universities, etc. Despite their repeated use of the phrase, 'best for all' to refer to the LIG as all things to all people, there have been no public meetings on the subject and the LIG has only ever been proposed as a topic of discussion amongst the Destonians and at their own web pages. 

The Destonians say the LIG 'solution' is towards Perfecting Capitalism. It is described as an 'economic model' for a 'living income' welfare 'net' to cover basic necessities and equalling half the 'minimum wage', which would be double what it is now. The LIG would not be universally guaranteed, as it would only be available to those who are 'eligible'. Children might be deemed 'eligible' but the unemployed would first have to pass an unspecified 'means test'.

The term, 'nationalization', is used incorrectly by the Destonians to suggest that in a 'LIG system' each citizen of a nation would be obliged to operate as both owner and shareholder of all major corporations and resources. There would be a very limited role for government but somehow the LIG 'solution' would mean prices would adjust to wages and vice versa, personal tax would be abolished and corporate profits and the redirection of military funds would finance public services and the LIG.

Destonians seem to view the erosion of civil liberties as beneficial to society, and a purely digital economy a way of significantly reducing illegal trade. They recommend automation, digital ID cards, digital money / banking and no privacy
, and claim all this will deter 'illicit financial transactions', protests, and what they call social dissidence.

In a LIG system teachers would not protest?

Teachers' salaries in a LIG system would be at half the minimum wage. This would be to stop people from entering the teaching profession simply to make money, but why the same rule should not also apply to other fields of work is unclear.

The LIG includes policies to make PR and advertising agencies focus 'on educating the consumer and/or population in a factual manner' and a 'Bureau of Standards' to ensure products and services are always of the highest possible quality. It seems that the regulations pertaining to the service, manufacturing and advertising industries would be far more strict and complex than at present.

Apparently, the LIG 'solution' would be 'implemented' by 'the people', who would make collective decisions about a nation, its businesses, natural resources and banks through 'direct democracy' facilitated via 'online platforms for political participation'. Creation or management of these platforms is not explained, but a LIG supporter represented as economist (with no credentials) suggests that the 'like' buttons on Facebook prove it can be done, and 'coming together' does not have to be a 'physical event'.

The Destonians' articles on the LIG indicate that they are of the view that political change begins on a subjective level and can be engineered from within, for which they usually imply the ELF 'Desteni I Process' courses and 'Eqafe' products provide the necessary guidance to facilitate 'self-responsibility'.

These are most of the main points covered by the LIG, but the Destonians have failed to communicate any actual ideas. The very few reasonable statements they make are about things which are already being dealt with in far more articulate and effective ways by numerous other more well-established and respected groups and individuals (such as the Basic Income Earth Network). 

The Destonians' 'plan' lacks any coherent understanding or awareness of economics, politics or political theory. The LIG is made up of misconceived, vague, half-baked, irrational notions, pseudo-political slogans, empty clich├ęs and sub-New Age psychobabble. It does not provide any 'practical solution' and offers no strategies or actions to help bring about social equality or political or economic change. In short, the LIG is inconsequential drivel. 

The reason why the LIG is such nonsense is because it is a vain attempt to resemble a political movement in order to try to solve the problem of how to guarantee income and recruit for a quasi-religious cult business which has been doomed from the start, exposed for what it is many times over, and is finally going down the drain. 

It is curious to note that although there are over 27,000 'likes' for the LIG on Facebook, the number of Destonians remains the same as it was circa 2010: about 100-150 world-wide.

Related posts: