Dear Friends, dear Ladies and Gentlemen!
Last Friday I produced a video in German, (translated) named ‘From Perceptions & Warnings’. It’s great to be perceived! The more, this happened from international well respected and acknowledged scientists. Who I am to ignore the pressure to carry on!? So I felt the need to express myself again, but this time I used and reclined the current Manifesto from the Austrian Prof. Dr. Heinrich Wohlmeyer to substantiate my thoughts. As I always said: People with open eyes, ears and hearts must come to the same considerations. About details there is not to fight, only to discuss. A ‘soft Revolution’ is needed, said the Professor! What was my claim, a few weeks and messages before? We need a ‘peacefully Revolution’!
Click the ‚Video‘ button on my page, scroll up to the date, or copy the following link into your browser: https://1drv.ms/v/s!AldJ3_6QWGmnhn1E19F42SlmFZNW, read later the attachment, it’s great important stuff! It really could widen your view!
The video is also visible on Dailymotion: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4mp3zd and YouTube: https://youtu.be/cCSzaZUwh0Y
Please contact me if you believe that I’m wrong! Today I remain from ‘bad old Germany’
Dr. Roman Schreiber
Handout – Manifesto Concerning the Indispensable Cornerstones for a Future-Oriented Global Social Fabric. Executive Summary plus a plea to read this vital document to the end.
The present societal situation – especially when considered from a perspective of “back casting from the future” – shows that we stand on the verge of dramatic and painful ecological, social and political breakdowns. These collapses can only be avoided through a basic reform of the societal rules – especially concerning the international financial and foreign trade framework. The responsibility for this change rests on everyone, since the facts are self-evident, and since the proposals for the inevitable rearrangement have been properly worked out. Every citizen has a certain amount of room to maneuver in which he/she can contribute to a “soft revolution,” because in the long run even the powerful groups who dominate the financial scene and the media cannot rule against the majority of determined citizens. The common responsibility of the citizens should be guided by the wisdom of the Chinese philosopher and statesman Confucius: “If you know the goal – how can you be stopped?!” – The following handout tries – based on careful consideration, consultation of experts and many years of professional experience – to formulate the goals and to specify the essential regulations for the urgently needed changes. Against the backdrop of a renaissance of customary international law and of multilateral international treaty law, as well as of their ethical foundations, the following steering elements in particular are addressed:
Creation of an international and national financial architecture which is oriented towards the common weal; reform of the world trade order with a view to foster ecologically and socially desirable sustainable development; rearrangement of the methods for financing communities and states (strategic tax reform and debt reduction); creation of sensible job opportunities in the face of rising unemployment; fostering the broad distribution of land ownership combined with a future-oriented food security strategy based on biodiverse agriculture, which takes advantage of all local synergies; and last but not least taking responsibility in the fields of international development and migration (curing problems at the roots and justified asylum).
Preliminary remarks: This handout cannot be exhaustive. It is confined to the essentials of the general international framework that is indispensable for a future-oriented formation of our societies. Without these, all national efforts and welfare models will be undermined and thwarted. These framework regulations are formulated with a view to ensuring that they are applicable at all levels of communities (local and international). Austria is cited as an example. A minimum of explanations is unfortunately necessary, which slightly extends the length of this document.
The present situation: The fact that our world – which we must pass on to our descendants as a good place to live in – will end up in ecological, economic and social ruin if we allow humanity to continue to practice its present patterns of behavior is a depressing reality. The burdens on the life-sustaining ecosystems as well as the economic and social asymmetries exhibit geometric progressions. For the first time in history, they are threatening to overtax the ecological and social carrying capacity on a global scale. The heuristic method of back casting from the future shows this with frightening clarity.
Thus, solidarity with all fellow humans – both current and future generations – calls for an immediate change of course, because otherwise the future problems will be catastrophic. So what are the cornerstones of a realistic approach? (Par. A, B C, D 1-5)
Heightening of the awareness of the situation and of the personal responsibility:
The majority of our fellow citizens are presently occupied with their current personal problems and are stuck running in the “hamster wheel” of the dominant economic system. They must be made aware of the dramatic consequences of the ongoing development as well as their responsibility for simply carrying on with “business as usual.”
This also holds true for the usual excuses for the common passivity: All of these things are too complex. It’s more than anyone can deal with. – Everything has worked well so far. – We will not allow these prophets of doom to intimidate us. – The market forces will efficiently react to future shortages. – The coming generations have to deal with their problems just like we had to do. – The problems are too big. The United Nations has to act or a world government has to be established to deal with them. The same holds true for those groups who deny the dangers so that they do not to have to change their patterns of behavior. Finally, there are those fellow humans who live according to the motto après nous le deluge. These people too have to be brought to recognize their responsibility and their social parasitism – if necessary through ostracism (social exclusion).
Renaissance of customary international law and multilateral treaty law: The dream of a world government that will bring about the necessary changes is not realistic and is a form of self-consolation. How should such large and different communities as China, India and Indonesia be integrated into a “World Democracy” in a direct democratic way? Historical experience also shows that mega systems have always become removed from their citizens and have ended up in a de-facto dictatorship. They have ultimately collapsed in spite of large military organizations. Thus, the renaissance of “traditional international law” (proven and commonly accepted rules) and the further development of multilateral treaty law is the sensible path.
Recognition of basic ethical principles: All human agreements require a minimum consensus of accepted values. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be accepted without reservation by all partners. This general orienting guideline should be flanked by the recognition of the concrete standards of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which are endowed with supervisory mechanisms.
Necessary international and national regulations: The central root of the present race to the abyss is the inherent compulsion of the present economic system towards unlimited growth with no regard for social and ecological limits. The main driving force behind this unsustainable development are the claims of the big capital owners, which are rising in a geometric sequence. The divide between rich and poor is continuously widening both within and between states. In addition to this, the continuously growing financial fortunes are pressing towards capital investments in megaprojects that are having a destructive impact on the environment.
D 1) Creation of a new financial architecture:
International: In 1944, the USA turned down the proposal for a balanced International Currency Union (ICU) in favor of a gold standard linked to the US dollar as the leading currency. After the unilateral abolishment of this system (by President Nixon in 1971), the USD is only backed by “paper and power.” The position of the USD as the leading world currency has been and continues to be safeguarded through the IMF and the World Bank Group, where the USA still has the blocking minority, as well as through the petrodollar strategy. The enormous amounts of USD that have been brought into circulation have been bound in a global financial bubble by the invention of “new financial instruments” – especially by the creation of various financial “derivatives.” In addition, the surplus USD has been forced on other countries – especially on developing countries. Through this strategy, Europe’s direct colonialism has been replaced by a system of financial colonialism (i.e. making developing countries dependent through “aid” bound to unconditional free trade and programs of privatization, which are flanked by investor-state dispute settlement agreements). Furthermore, it must be considered that the US central bank, the Fed, is not a central bank in the usual meaning. It is a cartel of large banks endowed with the privileges of a national central bank. Thus, it acts mainly according to the interests of its big capital owners. The increasing and unbearable world debts are set off against continuously growing, gigantic private assets. Projections (e.g. by Eichhorn and Solte) show that if the present system continues on a worldwide basis, all state revenues would be needed to service the debt within three decades. This exploitative system has not only become unbearable, it is also starting to sway. The desperate attempt to save it by pumping gigantic quantities of money into the system, flanked by military power (“power-backed currency value”), entails the danger of war and irresponsible human suffering. The way out must be an honest and honorable exit of the USA from its no longer tenable position in favor of a world lead currency, determined and carefully organized by the international community.
This move must comprise six core points:
1) Agreement on a clearing currency (called the Union dollar so as not to unnecessarily humiliate the USA) within an International Currency Union (ICU).
2) Fixing of initial exchange rates that reflect purchasing power parity and agreement on fluctuation margins as well as on rules for adjustment in the case of structural imbalances.
3) Penalization of current account surpluses and deficits in order to induce balanced transactions of goods and services.
4) Reorganization of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) into a democratically legitimized support institution and as an office of the ICU.
5) Conversion of the World Bank Group into a genuine development bank, which in contrast to its present practice does not impose overtaxing requirements that favor big investors (e.g. unconditional free trade, privatization combined with investment protection, elimination of social services and general cut of government expenditures).
6) Equal votes for all states. In order to prevent small countries from being dominated by large nations and thereby ensure that the system does not once again develop into an unbalanced regime that ignores the prevailing realities, all states should have equal voting rights.
National: The creation of money has to be returned to the hands of the states. Maxim: “Anyone who gives the privilege to create money to private persons or groups and then borrows from them in return for interest and the obligation of repayment is either brainwashed, corrupt or malicious. He acts against the common weal.” – The “100% Money” Initiative (Vollgeld-Initiative) is a well thought-out concept (e.g. Prof. J. Huber, Monetäre Modernisierung, 2014). This rearrangement of the money system would allow the amount of circulating money to be appropriately controlled in order to prevent economic fluctuations caused by the unjustified expansion and contraction of the money supply. States could practice low-cost self-financing and reduce their accumulated debts, because the gain from the creation of money (the seigniorage) would go to the public, making interest-free money available. This reform would also make “bank runs” impossible. A “Currency Commission” composed of independent experts would monitor and control the creation of money and the performance of the central bank. The conventional savings and credit business would remain in the hands of the banks. But investment banking would be separated from the savings and credit business (no speculation with savings).
International money transfers would have to be reported. If the administration does not object within 24 hours, the transactions would be automatically approved. This system would prevent speculation and efforts to circumvent the prevailing regulations.
D 2) Creation of a just and sustainable world trade order
- a) The ecological and social framework covenants have to be treated in equal rank with the WTO regulations and the various bilateral agreements. In the event of conflicts, the former should be given priority.
- b) The destination principle must govern imports. This means that goods and services are only given free market access if it is proven that they have been produced in compliance with ecological and social standards similar to those in force in the destination country. If equalization levies are collected to compensate for the cost-effective undercutting of standards, they will be funneled into an international development fund, which will be used to support the countries that raise their ecological and social standards.
- c) The purchasing power parity of the employed exchange rates must be guaranteed.
- d) Appropriate infant industry protection and creation of food security in/for developing economies. Food security has to be recognized as a basic and overruling human right.
- e) Renaissance of international commodity agree-ments to avoid speculation and to create a sound and just long-term business base through a sensible open market policy equipped with buffer stocks and oriented towards agreed price fluctuation margins.
D 3) Adequate tapping of those revenue sources that generate sufficient yields to finance the public sector and the social networks. – This paragraph only addresses those measures for the turnaround and the long-term financing of public budgets that not only generate a high yield, but can also be initiated before the structural reforms outlined above are enacted (subpar. a]–d]).
- a) A general capital turnover tax of one per thousand (0.1%). This tax can be easily and effectively collected via the existing clearing platforms, since even over-the-counter (OTC) transactions are registered on these platforms. The yearly turnover of financial transactions amounts to $3,000 trillion. Thus, this would produce a “cake” amounting to 3 trillion that can be distributed. For lack of a better benchmark, these $3 trillion should be divided up based on the share of a given country’s economy in the gross world product (GWP). The share of Austria, for example, would be $18 billion (0.6% of the GWP). This is more than twice the country’s current debt service.
- b) An Internet tax of one cent per megabit, or one millionth of a cent per bit, could yield roughly €30 billion for Austria, which is about 40% of the federal budget. This would be possible in spite of tax-free individual data allowances for every citizen, a tax exemption for educational, healthcare, social and cultural services and a tax exemption for basic supply systems (especially nutrition, energy, repair and maintenance), since about 90% of the present IT transactions are “spams” (information waste).
It makes no sense that mail and other communication services are massively taxed, while IT services remain exempt. Discussing the idea of the IT tax, the Canadian economist A. J. Cordell who proposed the collection of one cent per megabit said that we all accept highway fees as necessary contributions, but as soon as anyone suggests levying a tax on the use of modern data highways, the pundits proclaim that economic destruction is imminent in order to stop it.
- c) Taxation of large-scale capital. Large-scale financial assets amount to three times the GWP (more than 150 trillion). If they were taxed at a tax rate of 50% on the average yield of 5%, a revenue of $3.7 trillion could be collected; the share of Austria would be roughly $22 billion, or €20 billion.
- d) General taxation of all large-scale property (roughly $350 trillion). If these assets were subject to the same tax rate, the revenue would amount to $8.75 trillion; according to the distribution model described above, Austria could get around $52.5 billion, or €47 billion.
Even the first three easily collectable taxes could set the “budget table” in such an abundant manner that not only could the public debts be repaid, but the entire educational, social and cultural net could also be adequately financed. Apparently, the hardships have to grow to such an extent that the resistance of the financial elite (the plutocrats) will collapse in a similar manner to “real socialism” in Eastern Europe and Russia.
D 4) The future of work. Preliminary remark: The rising unemployment and especially the obvious and depressing situation of young people (the “no-future generation”) are the most serious societal problems that have to be dealt with. Reasonable prognoses point to the fact that, within a few decades, only one-third of the labor force will be needed if the present economic architecture is maintained. Current developments are shifting towards computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM), robotics and 3D printing. – In the wake of this trend, not only the financial und physical survival is at stake, because every human being desires sensible activities as a fulfilling life purpose. If people can also be convinced that their activities serve the well-being of society, full social satisfaction can be achieved.
The present situation is desperate: Increasing automation and increasing poverty (the gap between rich and poor is continuously widening) entail rising unemployment. The high unemployment rates represent a social powder keg on a global scale.
The countermeasures that have been taken up to now are only palliative and insufficient on the one hand and largely counterproductive on the other. It is simply not enough to foster education, competence, innovation, research and entrepreneurship if the general demand for labor is continuously shrinking under the present economic framework conditions. The present labor market policy only prepares the work force for the ongoing “international gladiatorial combat,” in which only the strongest and most capable can survive. To a large extent, the current attempts to counteract by means of cheap loans and investment aid fall flat and often even run contrary to the desired effect, since the rationalization effect of equipment investment is usually higher than the increase in capacity. This means that labor will become redundant and unemployment will rise. The following group of urgent rescue measures can be realized if they are safe-guarded through a reform of the present financial and trade order as explained above.
- a) The oft-repeated demand for the relief of human labor from taxes and fees – which is not fundable within the present system – will be possible if the tax sources mentioned above are tapped. This will make human labor less expensive, and social and cultural services will become affordable. The same holds true for repair and maintenance, which are also ecologically desirable.
- b) The destination principle in trade policy makes it possible to protect jobs against imports of goods and services that have a price advantage by undercutting the social and ecological standards of the destination country. The reduction of working hours as an answer to the increasing automation would also be possible if the destination principle is applied.
- c) The so-called informal sector, which serves the cultural and social sphere outside the traditional waged work, will be fundable in conjunction with the relief of human labor from taxes and fees. A mothers’ salary and a pension for mothers who devote their time to raising and teaching their children would also be affordable.
- d) An unconditional basic income is fundable and does not have to remain merely a dream. However, this social innovation can only be enacted if it is supported through appropriate trade policies (destination principle), social policies (origin principle) and education policies (welfare ethics – responsibility for the common weal). An unconditional basic income has the advantage that, on the one hand, there is no pressure to accept hazardous and poor working conditions in order to survive and, on the other hand, that every citizen can choose the specific path of his / her life and his / her personal combination of earnings. This entails the creation of innovative jobs. If this strategy is flanked by school and general education that emphasizes welfare ethics and combines it with good offers for specialized education, individual happiness and the best possible public welfare can be achieved.
- e) Restructuring of the supply systems in accordance with the system principles of the biosphere. The enactment of a future-oriented trade policy and financial framework as outlined above would also make it possible to restructure the basic supply systems in a way that secures the survival of humanity. This restructuring entails not only ample jobs in the investment phase, but also permanent, decentralized work options. The cardinal points are the direct and indirect solar orientation of all energy systems, the cascading use of energy and materials, the circular management of material flows, the pursuit and fostering of biologic biodiversity (especially in agriculture and forestry) and intelligent decentral-lization. The latter helps to translate the first four strategy lines into action. Decentralization also involves survivable and sheltering social units and thus entails social stability and prosperous living conditions. Mahatma Gandhi had similar ideas when he proposed “village industries” as the core of a future-oriented lifestyle for a population of one billion.
- f) In Europe, the problem of mass migration and asylum seekers also has to be addressed. Despite the fact that Africa in particular is not overpopulated and is richly endowed with land and raw materials, no appropriate development policy is being pursued.
On the contrary, European states and the EU are turning a blind eye or even participating in the initiation of local conflicts, the expulsion of certain groups of people, the exploitation of raw materials and the purchase of fertile land under conditions of unjust expropriation of the indigenous people (“land grabbing”). South of the Sahara, already around 17 billion hectares of agricultural land have been expropriated and 240 million people are starving. Tempting false promises surrounding the flight to Europe are spread among the population in order to get rid of the local people. – In the face of rising structural unemployment, hundreds of thousands of mostly unskilled people cannot be integrated into the European labor market. Therefore, this unprecedented wave of refugees not only threatens the social net und the labor market, but will also lead to a collapse of the social contract on which the European welfare state is based if no cure at the roots is quickly initiated. This societal bomb can be defused if the following measures especially in the countries of origin – are taken:
1) Land reform (repartition of the land to the indigenous people) coupled with the introduction of a land register (provision of legal security and opening of a sound mortgage market). In addition, credit, production and sales cooperatives should be established.
2) Further development of the school system – especially of vocational schools and technical colleges – and of advisory services.
3) Tying the provision of sponsored or tuition-free studies at schools, colleges and universities in a host country to a commitment to return to the home country.
4) Democratic reorganization of the communities according to the principle of subsidiarity (giving the local people a deciding vote).
5) Establishment of an independent jurisdiction flanked by “user-friendly” access for citizens; codification and harmonization of the often contradictory existing legal systems (which are an amalgamation of traditional tribal law, old colonial law, newly enacted laws and executive orders). Most countries are currently struggling with extreme legal insecurity, which impedes economic and social development.
6) Offering training and opportunities to gain practical experience for politicians, civil servants and teachers in institutions that are organized in an exemplary manner – preferably in teams, since individual people are mostly not able to change the situation at home.
7) Diverting budgets from military expenditures into the funding of education and infrastructure in order to achieve the above aims.
8) Restoration of the mineral resources, forests and water resources to the local communities. (This can be done under the supervision of the International Court of Justice.)
9) Reorganization of the money system and integration into the new International Currency Union (see D1 above; retransferring the creation of money to the state and international control).
10) Granting of longer-term infant industry protection (protective tariffs) to enable the further development of local production and supply structures.
D 5) Land regime. – The broad distribution of land ownership is a societal desideratum (a desirable social structure). This is desirable not only because humans are space-oriented beings who desire the ownership of their territory. It is also an absolute must for society over the long term, since future food security will demand the biodiverse, habitat-adapted cultivation of land in a horticultural manner (see IAASTD 2008 – Agriculture at a Crossroads). Presently, an undesirable worldwide concentration of land ownership is taking place. One of the major driving forces is the flight away from the financial bubble into real assets (real estate and raw materials). Additional driving forces exist in the agricultural sphere: The trade policy rules on the global market foster large-scale systems practicing “industrial agriculture,” which is not sustainable in the long run. Their production costs are low in the short term. Thus, they are able to undercut the costs of small-scale biodiverse cultivation. A further deplorable development in recent times is the acquisition of land in foreign countries in order to achieve more food security. Large-scale “land grabbing” in developing and transforming countries and the continuous closing of small farms in industrial states are making it so that a shift towards future-oriented cultivation in a horticultural manner will become more and more impossible, and that the essential contact to soil, plants and animals – which is a prerequisite for the sustainable husbandry of nature – will be lost. Therefore, a change of course in land cultivation towards an intelligent network of small-scale, biodiverse, and low-input farms is a global imperative. In addition, emphasis should be placed on ensuring that, in addition to the main goal of food security, this shift also creates permanent, decentralized jobs.
May this advice for urgent and courageous action be accepted by politicians – but also by every citizen, since every person can contribute to the necessary changes in his/her area of activity. Our common future is at stake! Therefore, a basic reform is inevitable. Ecologically and socially speaking, it is five minutes to midnight! Knowledge is a collectible debt. None of us can escape our responsibility, because the proposals for the reform are feasible.
Heinrich Wohlmeyer, Prof. Dipl.-Ing. nat. techn. Dr. iur. Dipl. in Law, Dirndlhof,
Marktlerstr. 13 -Schrattental 1, A – 3180 Lilienfeld, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org