It is very important to find a balance between the needs of mankind and the resistance of the nature. It is the prerequisite that mankind can live on Earth.
It is possible to guarantee the welfare, when we give up the demand of economical growth.
A functioning democracy is a system of decision making by human beings and it corrects its own mistakes.
In economy the main concept is agreement making. The economy must serve the human being and the society. That is why the power and the forums of agreeing must be decentralized; their distribution must be under control.
When stress in the society is lesser, it is easier for a human being to manage his own life of his own. The justice increases the welfare.
The situation presently, where humanity is overusing natural resources at a rate greater than is sustainable, and at the same time a great part of our fellow human beings are lacking necessities like proper nourishing and drinking water, is an example of the lack of balance.
We know that the use of the natural resources can be set on a sustainable level and at the same time guarantee fulfilment of the basic needs for everybody. Achieving this kind of balance requires for example leaving the “hysteric idea” of necessary economical growth, thus diminishing the class differences and sustaining long term thinking instead of the quartile economy, something that benefits only few.
The idea of balance in society includes for example safety, equality, the experience of fairness, predictability, long-term approach, steadiness, one’s possibility to act in one’s own life and the surrounding society, working communication and the aim to develop democracy. It is easy to notice that there is shortage in all of these aspects, when we look at the life of a human being, one single state or the whole of the world.
Achieving the balance in society cannot mean a crystallised state, a point that should be conserved – such a point does not exist – neither did it exist in the past nor will it in the future. Finding balance is a continuous task, where even the surprising changes are reacted to in a way that takes into account all the different partners and components.
Where are we now, where are we going?
The modern economic model has failed. It creates increasing lack of balance and it is not able to give an answer to the question how to satisfy the basic needs of the human beings. Furthermore this economic model functions like a cancer disease. It destroys its patron, the surroundings, whose wellbeing is the prerequisite of the existence of mankind.
The modern economic model is dependant on economic growth. The increasing consumption of limited natural resources and the increasing of debt have been the method to sustain growth. Both of these ways are exhausted.
The modern model has earlier looked like it’s a working and justified one. That is why some people still trust it and consider it to work even in the future. The circumstances have however changed. Now the thinking has to break out the boundaries of the present, overused system.
The coalition of the political and economical elites has changed whatever democracy that existed in a virtual one. The accepted way of living is derived from the needs of the great investors and industry and serves merely a small number of economically privileged human beings. Meanwhile there is the greatly increasing rift between the haves and have-nots. This cannot go on. In the future there is either a controlled or an uncontrolled change. Surely it is better for everybody that the missing balance will be found in a controlled manner.
Democracy should be seen as a goal that is important enough to take steps towards to, but also as something that is probably not always going to be perfect. It is the same in the development in the society. What matters, is the direction; is the movement in the right or in the wrong direction. It is important to constantly seek the answers to this question. The open and public discussion is needed. Real democracy will be created in the aftermath of such discussion.
The serious problems in democracy, nature, economy and society are interconnected. Thus the permanent solutions to them have to be connected with each other as well.
When the decisions are made, it must be considered what is right and what is wrong. The success of society has to be measured by how the ones with the least among us are coping.
A basic change is needed. A serious attempt to achieve the much needed balance is now a must.
1. The balance between the human beings
Basic needs, possibility for partnership & justice
The basic needs of all human beings have to be fulfilled. Sufficient and nutritious food, clean water, housing, the basics – in the daily life and the basic health care and schooling for all can be guaranteed to everybody. Simply the point is if there is the will to do it.
Housing and the building of housing must not be something close to legal robbery. In the production of housing there must be a possibility for the inhabitants to build their own housing. The state can supply or guarantee long term loans with low or nill costs to the inhabitants and the housing societies ruled by them, instead of giving loan monopolies to those who make money by this basic need of the human beings; the need to live.
It is important to everybody, who is able to work, to have a partnership, labour and meaningful tasks.
Also basic income is needed, from the point of view that it is the duty of the society to fulfil the needs of everybody. On the other hand society takes it for granted that everybody participates in studying or work with full employment and other meaningful tasks.
The fair part of income and taxes
The basic services – health care, schooling, social security, infrastructure, which are delivered by the society, are paid for with taxes or the money created by the state. It is therefore crucial to secure that results of the work and production benefit the whole of the society in a proper way.
Nobody should earn more than ten times the smallest income. The income can be made suitable by the taxes. There should as well be a maximum pension.
Every state should primarily have the responsibility of its own citizens. Large scale emigration destroys the future of the society, especially if the young and well educated are the ones emigrating.
A completely free immigration and low fees and bad working conditions in connection with the immigration benefit few.
The state has the right to define the working conditions and control them within its area. The rich countries have the duty take part in the international co-operation to minimize the distress and extreme poverty in the developing countries and to solve the problems of the refugees. The goal of the help to the developing countries must be helping these countries to become self-sufficient.
Everybody cannot be helped in their own country and that is why the rich countries must also be ready to take the needed number of refugees.
In order to make the life easier for the immigrants there must be teaching of the language, ways of life and culture to them.
It is also worth wile to understand that all the population of our planet could get sufficient nourishing, fresh water, basic health care, basic schooling and plumbing,if only 10 per cent of the costs of the weapons in the world were used for that purpose.
The global balance needs limitations to the military spending and more resources for the environmental programs as well as for improving the status of the human beings, who are poorest. The most important methods in the work against excessive population are minimizing the extreme poverty and educating the women.
Disarmament is one of the most important issues. In that purpose it is important to minimize the stresses inside the states and use the natural resources in a sustainable manner.
2. The power belongs to the people
- A legally binding referendum must be possible both locally and nationally
- Freedom of speech must exist in practise also
- All kinds of corruption must be weeded; structural corruption included
The Independence of the states must be seen as the basis of true democracy. A state can only be considered independent, if (1) it has the power to pass its own laws on its own and independent of other states; (2) it has an independent Department of Justice applying the own laws and (3) it has its own Foreign Policy.
The voice of the citizens is better heard in small units than in great ones. It is easier to notice the phenomena derived from history and natural conditions within smaller areas.
The supranational models of administration can easily change from co-operations to subordination. In the latter case they might very well no longer solve problems but rather creating new ones. Wide and deep co-operation between the states is needed. Such co-operation is only possible for such states that rule themselves.
Referendums must be arranged on the basis of the citizens' Initiative, when a certain number of the voters can trigger a referendum. The referendum can be held again only after a certain grace period.
Referendums force society into discussion. They it also prevent centralization and (constructional) corruption.
In a true democracy, the civil Society, the citizens are influential decision makers and not objects of government. In a civil Society it must unacceptable that the votes and influence can be bought with money.
The parties must be treated without bias. The point of departure for a new election must be that the result of the previous elections does not equal the future. A free election is that the voters have the freedom to choose and that also the parties and debutants have a real possibility to tell the voters about their existence and their goals. This is possible when the state offers the public media – reaching all of the voters – for the discussion.
The fundraising of the parties and the debutants must be open and public in order to prevent corruption. Only private persons should be allowed to donate money towards political activity and only a very limited amount annually. The use of the politicians’ own money has to be limited as well.
The prerequisite of the democracy is open public discussion and information transmission, discussion among the human beings. Every citizen, every decision maker and the every player of the media have their own responsibility of society and its development. The parties who have new ideas should not be isolated outside the most important political discussions.
Democracy can be guaranteed also by establishing a Constitutional Court that is independent from the politicians and the parties.
3. Balance between the economy and the human beings
- The economy and the markets have to serve a human being
- Money management belongs to the state
- The power and the capitals shall be decentralized, their centralization shall be limited
The growth of the production of the goods and the services has earlier benefitted the welfare, but not anymore. In fact many activities increasing the economy undermine the efforts of the welfare.
Safeguarding the welfare and the necessary reformation of the existing financial model requires giving up the requirement of the economical growth. A financial model is needed that is independent of the growth of the economy.
The result of the labour and production has to be directed to the fulfilment of the needs of the human beings and not to speculation as is the case today. The movements of the capitals must be controlled and taxed.
The money shall not be debts created by the private banks but the states must govern their own money. The right to create debts from nothing shall be removed from the banks. The creating of money shall be controlled and the amount of the circulating money shall be regulated by taxation. Thus the state shall not print money to no end.
The citizens pocket out the money to works on selected branches through the money created by the state. These branches are for example health care, care of elderly people, education, police, army, fire department, post, railways and roads.
The responsibility of the actions of the banks and enterprises belongs to their governors and owners. They must be in a personal responsibility of the actions of the enterprises.
The state does not necessarily need foreign debts, when it has own money, central bank and decision.
There shall not be isolation from the rest of the world and it is not needed. Even the present almost complete global free trade is a far cry from benefit to all. There is no theoretical basis for a complete free trade and global speculation, because the so-called “competitive advantage” on the market doesn’t work when the capital is free to move over national boundaries. Instead there is the centralising “absolute advantage”. Only very few ones benefit of the moving capital and complete freedom of the market.
To reduce the speculation there must be a currency transaction tax, so-called Tobin tax. Abuse of tax havens should be banned.
In order to reduce the unemployment the goal must be the reduction of working time over the span of the human life-time. It can be done, for example by shifting to a four-day working week.
The justification of the social costs of firms is the work. This makes employment more difficult and promotes the mechanization. The justification of the social costs must be production. Other costs of work must be given up. Instead there shall be a payment based on pure added value.
The public authority, that is state and municipalities, have to take care that all unemployed and also the young ones get work.
4. The balance between the needs of the human beings and the sustainability of the nature
- Instead of the economic growth the goal must be fulfilment of the needs of the human beings
- The measuring of the welfare must include the environmental status, which is the basis of the welfare of the human being as well.
Competition has not solved our problems. Instead of the competition that benefits only few ones the goal must be that all get along.
The gross national product, GNP does not measure the welfare. The distribution of income, the environmental status and whether there is fulfilment of the needs of all of the human beings are important components while measuring true welfare.
The production of energy based on renewable resources is best if considering the safety, employment, self-sufficiency, security of supply, environment and economy, too.
Every state has the right and also the duty to try to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of the foodstuff.
The market economy fills the needs it is creating by itself. Consumerism based society is based on the dissatisfaction, that is creating new needs. As a remedy to the dissatisfaction we are being offered goods and services. The amount of goods doesn’t however - after satisfaction of the material basic needs - make anybody happy.
Instead of the material living standard the focus shall be in the standard of living. There is plenty of room for the spiritual growth. There is also the deepest human happiness.
Antti Pesonen 5th June 2012