Debt has been a huge theme in my life. I disagree with the design of the existing money system, not just because of my own experience but because of what I see everywhere on this earth. The dramatic polarity of rich/poor, haves/have nots, better than/less than and the ‘don’t you forget it…we won’t let you forget it’ prevailing message across society at large. This message is ‘in your face’ constantly. Plastered on large billboards, in every magazine, tv commercials, advertisements for ‘things’, expensive things that will supposedly make you feel good about yourself. The never ending orgy of consumerism, the unquenchable thirst Jesus talked about. It’s insidious, this wanting, and it does not satisfy, not for long.
In my early life, within the existing money system, I was very comfortable and protected. I understand I had all the ‘advantages’ therefore it was not too difficult, as a young adult, to become a home owner, consumer, basically another unit in the system/cog in the wheel. I grew up seeing my father as the provider, going to work everyday, my mom stayed at home and looked after the kids. We were told if you get a good education, work hard you will do well. This seemed to be the case.
My parents could afford to send their children to university. I made as much as I could-in the off months- for spending money and books but I was under no financial stress so I had the time to do well in my studies, had enough money to take a ski trip to Vermont when I was at university-twice. My parents owned a lovely little cottage (not extravagant but nonetheless, a second home) in northern Ontario so I could escape to it when needed (or more to the point, to party with crazy drinking friends). My parents had a strong work ethic, you were expected to study hard, work hard…harder you work= more successful you’ll be= more money you’ll make.
So, during in my parent’s generation (1940’s-1960) and in my generation (1960-1980), if you came from a ‘privileged’ home-one that had the financial resources to put you through college/university- and you did some hard work, it was the case that you could ‘succeed’, basically live a dignified, enjoyable life and have some savings/financial security.
BUT, if anything went amiss within this plan: a divorce, a problem such as substance abuse, mental illness, physical illness, job loss, etc. people were encouraged by the banks to use their assets to secure loans. This resulted in your security quickly transforming into DEBT. Once in that black hole, it is very difficult to get out and that is what happened to me.
Everyone is darn friendly, respectful, helpful when you’re paying your bills. But beware, if you become a debtor, love and goodwill get turned on their head. Even those who ‘love’ you can quickly turn against you if you ‘owe’ them money and are unable to pay. Apparently, this is acceptable-to abandon- because there is money owed to you.
This point of abandonment is acceptable even to the point of letting a person be on the street on a freezing cold night. People freeze to death! But no matter, yes, you can feel bad for them but hurry up and get to work so it doesn’t happen to you or your family. Sad and pathetic really, the unspoken secret agreement mankind lives by, the accepted way of life, ‘fear death, but only your own and your inner circle/family, let the others suffer and die, it’s ok.’
In today’s economy, it is near impossible (even if the plan goes smoothly = no unforeseen crisis/bumps in the road along the way) to simply chug along, become that cog in the societal wheel, work hard/get a degree/get a job/buy a home/live a dignified and enjoyable life. No, today many students are downing in a life long debt, young working people cannot afford the inflated prices to purchase a home, and the middle class is disappearing as the income gap, between rich and poor, widens daily.
I often questioned the wisdom of the capitalistic system I grew up in. Like, so what, you make as much money as you can, accumulate as much as possible in a certain time frame, then when you’re 55-65 years old, you retire with a big sigh/relief, ’ah, I made it!’.
I felt confused, helpless but trapped in this capitalistic ideal, as in the idea/design of ‘the pursuit of happiness’ or ‘the American Dream’. To me it seemed like ‘WTF? So whats the big prize? I get to grow old and die? Then what? What’s the point? What about everyone else? Do I close my eyes and ignore the people who are suffereing? Should I just get by? Accumulate as much wealth as I can and Not be the best person I can be=care about the big picture and all of humanity?’
Apparently, one is not suppose to ask because its sacred or ‘you can’t change it anyway’ or it just plain pisses people off when/if someone speaks up/questions the foundational way the government/economy is operating. In fact, people got very upset when I questioned the sanity/point of, for example, continuing to ignore the suffering of others when the earth has enough foodto provide for all living beings here, simply through a re-distribution of resources. Get with the ‘REAL’ world, was the response I most often received.
Trouble is the ‘real’ world is ugly and cruel and I am here, a functioning human being, capable to move and therefore to direct change. Therefore, this is what I choose to do, I support a LIG (Living Income Guaranteed), to work toward the re-distribution of wealth, the natural resources on this planet, so all -not just a select few-may live a dignified life, one full of personal growth, one free from the chains of debt .
If a money system like LIG would have been in place when I was struggling and became a debtor, my life would have gone very differently.
With a Living Income Guarantee each citizen (and children within the home) will be provided the financial support to ensure all necessities for survival and a dignified life are in place. Money to have a home, to have food, to have clean water and to have proper health care and the ability to be educated.
In fact, all debt would be forgiven and to live debt free would be a fundamental human right.
No one should have to live in constant fear of the phone ringing, stressed out by collection calls, harassed and made to feel less than simply because they cannot afford to pay a debt, made increasing more impossible as interest charges accumulate daily. A living income is what is needed in this world, a support foundation that allows all people the opportunity to better themselves.
Please join us. Your input is welcome, ideas, questions, answers!
Let’s continue educating ourselves and the world about the benefits of providing each other the ability to live in dignity.