Saturday, March 16, 2013

As an advocate of the Equal Money System, what is your personal economic background?

I have a BA in Political Science from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.  I have grown up in a middle class family in Canada, and while growing up I watched both my parents mature and develop as entrepreneurs. My father worked within the insurance industry at first, until it made him physically ill to deny sick and disabled people the money they required for treatment, due to whatever reason he was paid his salary to defend. He turned down the golden path of being ‘groomed’ to climb the ladder of success in the insurance world, and decided to honour himself and his principles and quit to start his own printing company with a partner. During my childhood, I felt the economic impact of his decision to not follow money, but instead lead a life he could live with. However, despite this, he was able to eventually afford a house, a country house and two cars, along with the contribution of my mother’s salary earned from her art, which is stained glass. Therefore, overall, my experience has been one that was provided for.
However, despite the fact that my parents ‘did everything right’ according to the American dream of working hard and following the rules within the system-my mother’s main competitor became China, and my father could not compete with Walmart. Now, at the age of retirement, they have literally had to start over.
So what have I learned from my upbringing? That you can do everything ‘right’ according to what we learn we are ‘supposed’ to do and how we are supposed’ to live within this system, but at any point you can have the carpet pulled out from under your feet, only to find yourself living pay-check to pay-check, with no end/relief in sight. This can happen as it did in my family, or it can be a divorce, illness, a lay-off or some other unforeseeable event. This is truly a life without security, without freedom, and plagued by differing degrees of fear. The absolute number one priority is getting a job, keeping the job,  and to continue moving just to keep that pay check coming in. Everything else becomes secondary once that is even slightly compromised.  Within this economic system, if you do not start off with a buffer, this type of compromise is quite possible, and increasingly likely.

I also come from an extended family of educators, entrepreneurs and government employees, artists and computer science professionals. Some made it, others struggled more. Some became ill and the only thing that saved them was Canada’s crumbling social safety net.  The only thing keeping that safety net in place is the people, the actual population of the country.
What I learned from my political science degree is that politics are truly compromised by the opposing forces of taking care of the people, and making Canada an economically desirable location for businesses and corporations The high taxes that pay for the medicare system, for example,  are not attractive to companies looking for a home base, thus compromising Canada’s economy. Yet the high taxes help pay for the social systems that catch those like my uncle, who developed cancer, or my sister who’s self-employed husband required surgery at the time of the birth of their third child- both my sister and her husband either have or are working towards their Master’s degrees in their respective fields- everything is fine till something happens. An the entire system is based on this economic tug-of-war, which in many countries is won by the profit-based sector, thus providing no safety net at all.

My teachers included politicians that worked actively within the system, and the same message was delivered over and over, in so many ways: Politics do not function as the rules stipulate in my textbooks, and most of what is familiar as politics is nothing more than theater. They literally have to play camera tricks at assembly meetings in the Capital to make it look like there are more participants in the publicly aired debates than there actually are. Politicians that don’t tow the party line end up as back-benchers or representatives of small insignificant electoral constituencies, they are denied from having a voice. If they do have a voice, it is only allowed if they are in the minority and of no real threat to actually change anything. With the “first-past-the-post” electoral system in Canada, the representation of the people is skewed through such ways as tactical voting from fear of having one’s vote ‘wasted’, and resulting in a ‘winner’ that represents sometimes less than half of the population.  The ‘party line’ is dictated by lobbyists that have unchallengeable resources, and the rules and regulations of the system are written by them in such language that those that are not fortunate enough to have received a decent education would take great pains to comprehend, and thus do not participate to represent themselves or take a stand. And this is generally the majority, the growing lower class that is too busy trying to get by to be able to also make the investment to learn about how the system that dictates their lives was actually created and how it functions.

My teacher told me, politicians are not evil. They are ‘good’ people trying to make a difference and represent the people that voted for them. However, law by law, the system has been created to cater to those with the most resources, to the point where to go against it would be like economic suicide, as I experienced to a degree while growing up. But there are instruments within the system that are there to give it legitimacy, which could be used to actually empower and represent the people- all of us-That is why it is necessary to work with the system, from within the system, as the Equal Money System proposes. There are many many people that this system is taking too much from. Yet it is our value as human beings, and the value of the environment and all the elements that work together to sustain life, that are being taken and turned into ‘profit.’, 'Profit' which is of no actual physical value, save that if your life circumstances and chance placed you in a position to obtain it, will give you access to life’s actual resources, over and above others. It is precisely those that we continue to take from, that is allowing us to continue to grow rich, the equation is directly related and there is actually no such thing as working hard to ‘earn’ a living. Life is not earned. We all deserve a living, and a life, for the mere fact of having been born. What we are actually doing is not ‘earning’, but empowering ourselves to take more than our fair share, thus directly taking from others. And for those that are poor, are on well-fare or are for whatever reason subjugated to the label of being a ‘burden on society’- it is impossible to place such a judgment without considering the entire context of their lives, and the forces imposed upon them, the resources they had access to, and who were they competing with.
For all the reasons I’ve listed here, including my life experience and my education, both within University and the self-education I have worked towards, I stand for an Equal Money System.  I have supported myself through employment my entire adult life,  and I now work at a ‘good’ job with stability and the opportunity to ‘climb the ladder’ to a comfortable life. Through the research I’ve done by pushing myself to understand the economic system and how it functions, and how we’re all actually directly or indirectly impacting the entire world through our participation within it- I could not possibly justify putting my head down and working hard to ‘earn’ my living .I will work hard, and I will push myself to be successful, but my efforts will always contain the starting point of contributing to the development and implementation of a system that will provide my nieces and nephews and all members of future generations, as well as the natural environment required to support them , with a life that they can actually live. One with security and without the fear of what might be around the next bend, without wondering how they will afford to educate themselves and their children, or how they will survive in their old age or if they become sick. This type of a system will produce a changed human, but we must first change ourselves In order to be able to even comprehend and grasp what Life could be if we actually stopped competing to survive. What if we started to instead honour ourselves as life already, and care for one another as members of one group, the group called Life?

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