Friday, November 26, 2010

Citizens Support An Unconditional Basic income

Rough translation from German (via Google Translator)…

Press Release - New Study: Citizens Support An Unconditional Basic income (Grundeinkommen), A Basic Income Supports Work Readiness

...between population groups there are individual differences, but only the group of self-employed is neutral about the idea [other groups are all positive]. In addition, this payment would have no impact on their willingness to work, 72 percent of all currently employed workers would like to continue to work to the same extent even independently of want.

"The concern that an unconditional basic income would seduce Germans to do nothing is completely unfounded" says Dr. Friedrich Schneider, Director of Studies and Professor of the Johannes Kepler University Linz. Furthermore, "in the average population, Germans plan to work 2.4 hours more a week" after it's introduced.

These results are based on the questions of a representative survey of more than 2,000 German inhabitants by the IMAS International on behalf of the Society for Applied Economic Research in May 2010.


"A Certain Small Income ... Should Be Secured To All"

"...a certain small income, sufficient for necessaries, should be secured to all, whether they work or not, and that a larger income, as much larger as might be warranted by the total amount of commodities produced, should be given to those who are willing to engage in some work which the community recognizes as useful. On this basis we may build further. I do not think it is always necessary to pay more highly work which is more skilled or regarded as socially more useful, since such work is more interesting and more respected than ordinary work, and will therefore often be preferred by those who are able to do it. But we might, for instance, give an intermediate income to those who are only willing to work half the usual number of hours, and an income above that of most workers to those who choose a specially disagreeable trade. Such a system is perfectly compatible with Socialism, though perhaps hardly with Anarchism. Of its advantages we shall have more to say at a later stage. For the present I am content to urge that it combines freedom with justice, and avoids those dangers to the community which we have found to lurk both in the proposals of the Anarchists and in those of orthodox Socialists." Bertrand Russell, Proposed Roads To Freedom, Chapter IV – Work and Pay, p77 (1918)


A Negative Income Tax: "A Minimum Level Of Income For All"

"A negative income tax is intended to create a single system that would not only pay for government, but would also fulfil the social goal of making sure that there was a minimum level of income for all. It is theorized that, with an NIT, the need for minimum wage, food stamps, welfare, social security programs and other government assistance programs could be eliminated, thus reducing the administrative effort and cost to a fraction of what it is under the current system, as well as eliminating the perverse incentives created by these overlapping aid programs..."

If it was guaranteed it would reduce the incentive to work in inflexible jobs and increase the incentive to work for one's self at what one is good at and what one sees as required.

It would also incentivise organisations to make the work that members do for them flexible and attractive.


"Provide Everyone With Some Means Of Livelihood"

“[N]o penalty on earth will stop people from stealing, if it’s their only way of getting food. In this respect, you English, like most other nations, remind me of these incompetent schoolmasters, who prefer caning their pupils to teaching them. Instead of inflicting these horrible punishments, it would be far more to the point to provide everyone with some means of livelihood, so that nobody’s under the frightful necessity of becoming, first a thief, and then a corpse.” Utopia, Thomas Moore (1516).


Thursday, November 25, 2010


No matter how much I drink, I will never find the inanity of most social discourse (most social dribble) entertaining or interesting.

How can people find knowing someone, someone-else knows, so fascinating? It is so dull!



There is much to be said for comradeship, particularly for work that is not that compelling on its own. Comradeship makes menial, laborious, dangerous work bearable. And it can lead to a feeling of solidarity.

Comradeship to solidarity.


The Selfish

Why should we let the selfish rule the world? By the way, I don't include most politicians in the selfish.

I do blame the system. But many more people could act to change it, rather than accepting it or confirming it, and by default being selfish.

It's time for the narrow-minded and short-sighted to open their eyes and widen their minds.


Accept The Sacrifices

Accept the sacrifices, that have to be made, to do what needs to be done.


Serious Words

We make ourselves and what we talk about sound serious and informed by inventing jargon (with acronyms) to replace the simple words.

Instead of an asteroid headed for Earth we have a 'near earth object' (NEO), instead of a universal income we have a 'negative income tax' (NIT), instead of civilian casualties we have 'collateral damage' (CD). Not only is this jargon more 'serious' and 'informed' it also distances any emotive association with the subject.


I'm Not Trying To Make Money

I'm not trying to make money.

But this is (meant to be) the driving foundation of our current system.

Each day I can continue my work I am succeeding.



We all drive, photograph, cook, think, socialise, talk, walk, run, swim, listen, act, read, write, help, mend, heal, argue, judge, taste, watch, draw, add, research, organise, plan, use, sort, design, discover, build … And we all specialise in one of these things, usually because we like doing one thing more than others. Well I'm a specialist thinker, that's what I do, that's what I'm good at, that's what I am about.

I think about human life and how our system works to enable it.


Do Not Yield

Don't yield to the expectations of the professor-intellectuals and the power-brokers. Do it your way, this may not be their way, but it is still a valid way.


Business Idea: The Water Stop

A shop, like a café or a bar, that sells only mineral waters: The Water Stop, perhaps. It could also mix cordials with sparkling mineral waters to produce other drinks too.


Democracy, Equality & Freedom In Our Organisations

Democracy, equality and freedom should be in all our organisations and perceived to be just as necessary for organisations as they are for society.


A Basic Income Values Life Itself

We all have a right to life, to live and to grow, we all have a right to a basic income that enables this.


Humanity First

"...make as much money as possible - to ensure that his direct and close relatives would have the conditions for a life without stress, enabling them to choose what to have and what to do, with no restraints."
Luis in DifferenceMakers email 5 Nov 2010

Family first, a very common refrain, one that has been used to attest to the humanity of the worst of tyrants and villains. It has to be bigger than this, making as much money as possible for just your family (or just yourself) can be used to justify poverty for everyone else – we a need a system where money is distributed and everyone has the opportunity to contribute regardless of how much or little money those contributions generate. Humanity is the family of all humans, we are all family.


Do What You Enjoy Naturally

Do what you enjoy naturally (which tends to be what you're good at). Listen to yourself in this. The world isn't going to say "we need another artist" or start paying scientists much, and friends will likely have other interests and find yours dull. It doesn't matter. Do what you enjoy.

I don't want to deal with things using alcohol. I don't want to be an alcohol user. I want to do what I enjoy naturally.


A Base Income That Is Enough

There has to be a base income that is high enough to take the issue of income off the table. Once we have an income that is enough we can contribute 'altruistically' as ourselves.


More Leisure Would Be A Good Thing

Fewer people may work and live the way we do now if a base income comes into effect. Should that be a reason for shock and horror? Think again, to the extent it is true, it is actually a good thing.


The Narrow-Minded

So many people see a job as a paid employee as the only valid way of working.


The Danger Of The Self-Made Man

The danger of the self-made man and the idea that others should have to make the same sacrifices because he did.

I wonder if this isn't at the bottom of some dangerous conservatism, the conservatism that justifies not sharing with one's fellow man.

Sharing doesn't have to be done through state controlled services, but it does need to be done universally.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Adult ADHD

How do adults cope with ADHD? Alcohol? This appears to be at least partly the case: - Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


Capitalism From A Marxist Perspective

The trouble with explaining capitalism from a Marxist perspective is the way it attributes perverse motives to capitalists – it doesn't happen like that, they don't do it to be perverse, it's a result of the system, which makes perverse actions the norm and so accepted. The capitalist system incentivises perversity, incentivises harm. What I mean is that it is not the fault of the people, it is the fault of the system, we should be careful to make this distinction.


Hard Work, No, Sustainable Effort

Work harder. No, work sustainably.

It's not a sprint, it's not even a marathon, it's life.

You can't go the whole way on a single charge. You've got to amass energy to expend energy. Do it efficiently. Do it sustainably. Do it easy. Easy is sustainable, efficient and intelligent.

Of course when you're committed to something in a system that isn't built to sustain autonomous commitment then you're going to find it hard.



I want to get a job that will extend me, that I can learn something from, that will challenge me, utilising my knowledge and skills, not one in which I have already worked and which I already know. I want to get a meaningful job that is suitable for me.

Of course to get a job for me, I should really create the job. And of course I have, but it's not connected to an income. Basically because those who hold the purse strings demand control of what gets done. Until there's a universal income no-one's really going to be able to decide how they contribute.


Name Drop

If I continuously name drop the authors and titles of books I have read in my writing (and talking) people will think I know more, and have read very widely, than if I don't. Academics like it when you do this too.

I could of course just argue my positions based on my own thoughts, which is what they are in reality, and let them stand on the quality of the argument made. This is more pure and I would think more scientific, but this does not appear to be as effective in convincing namedroppers, or those that admire this practice.


Protest Requires A Spark

Protest requires indignation, which requires a spark, a clear, unambiguous example of a wrong to put right.


Why Do You Ask?

Whenever someone asks a question for which their motivation is unclear ask them this, 'Why do you ask?', in order to find out their motivation. This will determine how we should answer.



I want to continue my studies into our system. I want to continue my thinking on our system. I want to continue to communicate on our system. And I want to be with my daughter. But how can I? If anyone can help with this, I'd be eternally grateful.


Jesus Should Have Stayed A Carpenter

Should Jesus have stayed a carpenter? Of course not. But survival is difficult in a system where non-income generating occupations are financially unvalued.


A Two-Tier Health System

A two-tier health system is unacceptable. But this is what we're allowing when we enable the rich to purchase better health insurance than the poor. Health treatment services should be universal, without preference for wealth.



The system we have now makes it feel like we have to beg for a job, and if we get it, be incredibly grateful – there's nothing empowering about this for the worker.


The Republicans Are 'Us & Them'

The Republicans are the party of 'Us & Them'.

Perhaps American politics will work better when the Republicans have control over one of the branches of government (a view I've heard suggested), then at least they must take some responsibility for government reaching a decision. Or perhaps this just gives them greater power to grind government to a halt until they can get back full power.

Reminds me a little of tactics used by some corporates with some unions: 'we won't meet with you, we won't even talk to you'.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not A Victim, Rather, A Survivor

This is how Ingrid Betancourt reframed her experience as a captive of the Farq in Columbia on BBC HardTalk, Oct 2010. And, "…I realised that whatever people say you are, it's not what you are."


Doing Our Best

Sometimes trying to do your best at what your best at doesn't involve a traditional nine-to-five job and a reliable income. In fact our best contribution may very likely not get us a reliable income in our current system, and in the beginning (at least) it may generate no income at all.


Academic Writing

Academic writing in the social sciences – everything referenced to everything else as if one cannot just write something original first. Why is this so prevalent in the social sciences?

God forbid that someone should write an original social theory anymore.


Exhaustion Means A Thought Is Coming

Feeling exhausted means a thought is gestating and will come soon.

Allow it by resting, not drinking.

I must remember this.

I wonder if one day an idea might kill me.


Castigation By The Narrow Minded

Castigation by the ignorant and narrow-minded. It is always a risk.

Those who see the way it is and has been, and those who see it the way it could be and should be. Those who want things to stay the same and people to comply, and those who want things to change and people to be free.


Selfless – Selfish

This is, in many ways, a matter of perspective and interpretation.


Not Cut Out For Some Kinds Of Work

I'm just not cut out for some kinds of work, but there are many valid contributions I can make, if our system will allow, even enable these.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Six Sigma Black Belt

How can anyone take the idea of 'black belts' in 'six sigma' seriously? 'Design For Six Sigma (DFSS)', 'Organisational and Personal Balanced Scorecard', 'Master Six Sigma Black Belt' – how can anyone take these ridiculous terms seriously?


My Weaknesses

I can be wrong. But I can admit that and put myself right.

I have a tendency to drive myself towards the completion of a task without pause or rest – this can burn me out. I have to be careful, to force myself to take breaks, rest and let go.

I'm realising the importance of networking and finding the means to do it effectively.


Irritation at nit-pickers.


My Use Of Tools

Maths, HTML, CCS, RDBMS – they're something I pick up and use when I meet them, and then I put them down (and forget about them). I don't want to learn them when I don't need them. I don't delight in tools. I'm a designer who can build, if I have to. I'm not a builder who designs – this type may not even exist.


Changing The Rules Of The Game

Changing the rules of the game while we're playing: Facebook, LinkedIn, Apple, they all do this.

The same thing is happening for finance…



You can't know what you want to do if you're drinking most nights or taking drugs, and you can't do what you want to do if you don't know what you want to do.


Notions Of Success

Success is not having a job or money. Success is being able to work at what we want to work at. Success is about having the courage to say this is what we want and strive for it.

I can't conscionably take work I don't want just because it pays.


"We Are What We Repeatedly Do"

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." – Aristotle

What a quote! In both parts. From LRN's website ( Ah! But it was not Aristotle who wrote these words, it was Will Durant who wrote them in writing on what Aristotle wrote (sourced from the blessed Wikipedia):

Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers (1926) Ch. II: Aristotle and Greek Science; part VII: Ethics and the Nature of Happiness:
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly; 'these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions'; we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit: 'the good of man is a working of the soul in the way of excellence in a complete life... for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy'" (p. 76).
The quoted phrases within the quotation are from the Nicomachean Ethics, Book II, 4; Book I, 7. The misattribution is from taking Durant's summation of Aristotle's ideas as being the words of Aristotle himself.

Dov Seidman ( – the founder of LRN and author of How:
"Sixteen years ago, Dov founded LRN with a powerful vision that the world would be a better place if more people did the right thing. From that basic notion, he has grown a successful business that has helped to shape the ways millions of employees, managers and leaders behave and interact all over the globe. LRN helps more than 500 leading companies worldwide – including Allstate, Dow, eBay, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble and Viacom – develop ethical corporate cultures and inspire principled performance in business."
"Dov maintains that in today's connected and transparent world, people and organizations stand to gain by dedicating new thought and energy to how they do what they do."


The Purpose Is To Help People

"The purpose of micro-credit is to help people, not make money out of them for the wealthy." Muhammad Yunus (Founder of Grameen Bank) on BBC World Business Report, 8 Oct 2010.

This should be the purpose of all organisations.


Whole System Studies

Whole system studies mean we undertake a truly diverse plan of study to understand our world. We don't specialise. We stay open and we continue to learn always.



I keep reminding myself of this, but this is what anything successful, anything really fulfilling, any best contribution, requires.


Too Many People Doing The Wrong Work

We have too many people doing too much work that does not need to be done (and, even if it needs to be done, it is too often being done at the wrong time and the wrong way). In other words, we have people wasting their lives doing work that isn't of worth, when they could be living their lives doing work that fulfils them.