Our Living World Constitution:
Charter for Economic Rights—Articles 10-15

Posted on 29 May 2019

Our Social Contributions

Article 10.

All should have sufficient means to choose for themselves, as responsible adults, how they wish to live. The government will provide to all of its citizens and residents a basic income which is set well above poverty standards.

1) This income is meant to be a safety net, a way to provide freedom for our creative and journalistic classes, protection for those who need the ability to say “no” to inappropriate working conditions, security while studying at tertiary institutions, and a means by which families can care for children, sick and disabled family members, and the elderly.

2) It will never be set so low that a person cannot successfully survive on this income alone.

3) It will never replace social services for those who need additional help, such as those with physical or mental health issues, single parent families, the elderly, etc.

4) It can never be arbitrarily revoked by the government.

Article 11.

Work gives a person’s life meaning and dignity when it is performed out of a free choice to contribute to the well-being of one’s family, community, and the world. We live in a deeply interconnected world. We rely upon each other’s labour to survive and to live comfortable lives. All work that adds to our society needs to be recognised and rewarded, not just that work which has been commercialised. From managing a hospital to protecting us from conflagrations as part of the Country Fire Services, from sitting in parliament to motherhood–all of these contributions deserve our respect.

1) As such any free and volunteer labour of social or environmental value can be registered with the government and receive a regular wage at a commensurate rate and with similar benefits to comparable commercial work.

2) And furthermore, due to the necessity of everyone’s efforts, no job of any kind will accrue wages and benefits more than ten times those jobs which receive the least wages and benefits.

Article 12.

It cannot be said that we are living in a democratic society when commercial employment is made our primary means of survival, takes up most of our lives, and is in structure autocratic and oligarchic. Work is an essential part of our civil lives and therefore will be made democratic. Therefore, all medium to large businesses will become citizen and/or worker owned cooperatives.

1) To support democratic community based cooperatives the government will preference these when tendering for works.

2) To support the foundation and functioning of democratic community based credit cooperatives, the government will offer special services such as accounting to help these organisations maintain national standards.

Article 13.

Those with a surfeit of resources have a responsibility to contribute to their nation and share with its people. No business or person should have so much of any resource that its availability becomes scarce to other people and/or the environment is strained. Limits will be placed on how much any business can own or earn in profit. Limits will be placed on how much any individual can own and earn, including the institution of a maximum wage as well as a minimum wage.

Article 14.

Our Federal government will retain and apply the ability to revoke corporate charters when corporations have harmed and/or endangered lives, and broken laws, then oversee the receivership of those corporations.

Article 15.

Everyone will have equal access to training for jobs, hiring, commensurate pay, and respectful treatment on the job regardless of

  • age
  • breastfeeding
  • carer status
  • disability
  • employment activity
  • gender identity
  • industrial activity
  • lawful sexual activity
  • marital status
  • parental status
  • physical features
  • political belief or activity
  • pregnancy
  • race (including colour, nationality, ethnicity and ethnic origin)
  • religious belief or activity
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • expunged homosexual conviction

personal association with someone who has, or is assumed to have, any of these personal characteristics.


Explication

Article 10.

As a culture we have become increasingly uncomfortable with helping the poor. Most religions actually encourage respectful behaviour toward those who have fallen upon hard times. However, our current narrative has both villified and dehumanised impoverished people.

The excuses not to help include:
The poor will always be with us.
Certainly under our current system of Capitalism we will have poor people. However, other systems might make it possible to eliminate poverty. Why aren’t we trying them?
The poor deserve their poverty.
The corollary to this statement is: the rich deserve their wealth. This outlook simply holds the status quo in place. People will often point to the crimes impoverished people commit and their ignorance. Having no money for either education or food will tend to create these problems among any group of people. If you were starving to death, wouldn’t you be tempted to steal a loaf of bread? However, crimes are committed by people of all classes. Perhaps kindness to those who are struggling would reduce crime.
If we help the poor, we will all be equally poor.
This is a fear. This is not fact. People are terrified that their money will be taken away, and they will be unhappy, if they help poor people. Worse we have people scared they will never be able to attain a wealthy lifestyle if the rich are taxed. This is a noxious fantasy.
If the poor rise up, they will be too stupid to keep us all from disaster, or worse, seek vengeance.
If we treated our most vulnerable members of society well, we would not have to worry about this paranoid delusion. If everyone had access to a full education, if everyone felt safe and cared for, if everyone’s voice was heard and listened to, this would be a non-issue.

We have locked ourselves into a status system whereby we have learned to value ourselves by where we are in the cultural hierarchy. If we raise the status of others, we put our own status at risk. This becomes a serious fear when loss of status can mean homelessness, starvation, and catastrophic illness.

The whole purpose of these economic rights is to free us from this monstrous rat race, so we can more wholly be ourselves, living secure lives, and making a positive contribution to our family, society, and the whole world.

Providing a universal basic income is a solid start to these rights.

Article 11.

Our culture has come to equate “work” with a “job”. Since only jobs accrue money, any work that does not accrue money is seen as of less importance.

In Australia we rely upon the volunteers of the Country Fire Authority to protect the farms and fields of people living outside the city. We have no system in place to pay these people for risking their lives, and yet they are expected to follow through upon a long list of responsibilities. A sufficiently large wildfire could put our ability to feed ourselves at serious risk.

Why do we endanger ourselves in this way?

We still have only one way to produce new people: motherhood. And yet we provide little to no support to women bearing and rearing children. Their work is taken for granted. Yet, this is the most important and foundational work a person can possibly do.

Why do we abuse our own species in this way?

We have organised our society not to reward people for contributing, but to coerce people to do work they would rather not, while ensuring a few people hold the reins.

In order to achieve a proper democracy we must ensure everyone receives adequate wages for work not just jobs.

Article 12.

Worker and community owned co-operatives sprung up in the middle of the nineteenth century. Not all proved successful, but the need was so great for skilled workers who were being impoverished by industrialisation that many people kept experimenting with this form of business. Today many cooperative businesses can be found around the world.

Cooperatives would ensure a more democratic society without always having to rely upon the government to provide it.

Article 13.

This article challenges our willingness to live in a truly fair world where we agree to share power. We often feel we need more power than others in order to feel safe. However in giving ourselves this sort of power, we create the very circumstances whereby we can no longer trust those around us, because they too end up wanting that same kind of power.

Given we have been living with inequality all our lives, letting go of the power of status can feel like jumping off a cliff. It’s not. A world where we respect one another more would be much safer.

Article 14.

States have had and used the power to disband corporations in the past due to criminal behaviour. We have all forgotten this and corporations have made themselves more powerful than our country’s government. This is not acceptable in a democratic society. The citizens of a country and their democratically formed government should always be the last word, and no one: not a governor general, prime minister, nor a corporation, should ever be above the law.

Article 15.

This is a lengthy list of the many ways a person cannot be discriminated against in their efforts to gain and maintain a position of employment. Some legislators believe that “equal” should mean “equal” without having to go into detail. However without being explicit, many schools, organisations, and employers either consciously or unconsciously maintain discriminatory practices.

Naming types of discrimination educates people and opens their eyes to unfair treatment. It can also inspire people to make a greater effort to include people they suddenly realise are not represented in their organisations.

I would say that ignorance is not bliss for the people who must suffer under biased systems.

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