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.

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3 comments:

Desteni Cult blog said...

Here is a comment made by '2noame' at the Basic Income sub-Reddit to the posting by 'campbellsburger' of a link to the above article, followed by a response:

"I'm not going to remove this because it is definitely related to basic income, but personally I see no value in creating or posting stuff like this.
So what if someone you don't like is talking about basic income in a way you don't like? If you disagree with the way they're talking about it, it's better to just ignore it than to create a whole blog about it, and write about it over and over again. It's the Streissand effect in action. Avoid that by choosing to ignore something instead of choosing to repeatedly talk about it.
Also, as basic income becomes more and more widespread in the global conversation, there are going to be all sorts of people talking about it in ways we might not like. So what? That's part of talking about something everyone is talking about. It doesn't mean we need to attack those people with whom we mostly agree, but disagree in certain details.
What if suddenly the KKK agrees with basic income and starts talking about it? Does this mean we have to freak out that suddenly basic income is liked by the wrong people? Why? Don't they also eat food and drink water? Does that mean if they start talking about eating food, eating food is an idea we should worry about them supporting because people might start avoiding eating food?
It's ridiculous. We are always going to have people agree with us, in regards to any idea at all, who we might not like. Our reaction to this, to me, reveals a good amount of our character. Do we attack those people? Or do we accept the fact they mostly agree with us?
My belief is we accept it. And if we feel our details are more important than the details they have that differ from us, then it's up to us to show how our details are preferential to others by showing that, instead of trouncing on the details with which we disagree."

(contd in next comment)

Desteni Cult blog said...

(contd from previous comment)

This response is not being posted at the Basic Income sub-Reddit because the subject matter has nothing to do with it...

The article in question is most definitely not related to Basic Income. Neither is the Living Income Guaranteed. A discussion about the Desteni/Equal Life Foundation Living Income Guaranteed is distinct from a discussion relating to the Basic Income.

That article and others on this blog have already made that clear: Destonians do not 'mostly agree' with Basic Income but have a totally different agenda – as we have shown, and can be seen from their LIG 'proposal' and other statements they have published.

That is the main point of any article on this blog that mentions the Basic Income: although Desteni/ELF or anyone else might deliberately or mistakenly confuse the LIG with Basic Income, the two things are entirely unrelated.

The Living Income Guaranteed is Not the Basic Income Guarantee. (http://destenicult.blogspot.com/2015/01/living-income-guaranteed-is-not-basic.html) To try to have a serious discussion about the Basic Income in relation to the LIG is pointless. The fact that the LIG is not the Basic Income or even similar to it, and the reasons why, are not the same as a discussion about the BI.

'Living Income Guaranteed: Nonsense Politics of the Destonians Equal Life Foundation' is also not about the issue of how anyone should promote or support the Basic Income with regard to others who agree with it but may be unlikable. Neither is the 'whole blog'. It is an ongoing report and critique on statements and activities of the Desteni group. Whether or not that group could be perceived as unlikable is irrelevant.

The suggestion that the article or this blog is 'the Streisand effect in action' is mistaken. We are not trying to stop Desteni/Equal Life Foundation from doing anything, but merely observing and commenting on it. Its membership count has stayed the same for the past five years. All the signs are the group is going down the drain and getting less publicity now than it ever has -- but if it was gaining in popularity then we would be reporting on that.

The only thing resembling a Streisand effect which could perhaps occur is if Basic Income supporters give credence to Desteni/ELF/LIG by continuing to do interviews with the organisation, writing badly informed articles which state that the LIG is similar to the Basic Income and by sharing information published by Desteni/ELF without questioning it. If that continues to happen then it would go some way towards undermining the Basic Income movement.

Desteni Cult blog said...

(contd from previous comment)

Link to comment made by '2noame' at the Basic Income sub-Reddit:

http://www.reddit.com/r/BasicIncome/comments/2ztd0z/living_income_guaranteed_nonsense_politics_of_the

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