To be healthy, every community relies on basic systems that provide our individuals and ALL families with basic needs. Some of these are provided locally and some are provided by the federal government, nonprofits, cooperatives, or through national or international for-profit corporations. Some are available to all citizens, but most are only available to those who can pay for them. WHEN SOCIAL STRUCTURES ARE STRONG ALL OVER THE WORLD, WAR IS LESS LIKELY BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE NOT DESPERATE AND CHILDREN GROW UP IN MORE STABLE ENVIRONMENTS WITHOUT THE POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS AND TRAUMA THAT BREEDS HATE AND FANATICISM. What are some of these basic systems?
Food Supply–Once upon a time ALL FOOD WAS ORGANIC! It didn’t require extra special effort to insure that food was organically grown. Today small farmers tend to be more humane and pasture-raised compared to agribusinesses and factory farms but look for the federal organic seal and the words “pasture-raised” to be sure.
Water Supply–Once upon a time water was unpolluted and free.
Medical Care, Pharmaceuticals, Hospitals, and Insurance–Great advances have been made in medical care and medicines. This field could operate much more preventively and effectively with better quality of care and efficiency if it was nonprofit, if physicians and others were paid reasonably well based on prevention and quality effectiveness rather than numbers, and if insurance was nonprofit and single-payer.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Care and Insurance–Great advances have been in these fields as well. They could also operate much more efficiently as nonprofits, physicians and otherproviders were paid reasonably well based on prevention and quality effectiveness rather than numbers, and insurance was nonprofit and single-payer. Mental health and substance abuse treatment need to be fully covered at the level of prevention, including marriage and family therapy and individual counseling. Creative living facilities need to be created for people who need help and cannot live alone due to mental, substance abuse, or medical reasons–where they have assistance with freedom. Wars increase drug availability due to the fact that the U.S. and other countries use drug money to finance wars–and being that war is ineffective and just makes the rich richer, while setting up the next war without solving underlying conflicts (see 400 pages of documentation on war and related issues in my ebook Conceiving a Peaceful World)–war has got to stop.
Affordable Housing–Nonprofit or cooperative banking could provide low and no-interest mortgages and could support low rent affordable housing. Land Trusts also provide options for keeping mortgages and homes prices low while also preserving community safety and cohesiveness along with housing quality and up-keep.
Caregiving–There is little or no funding for caregiving assistance to help families with seriously or chronically ill, special needs, mentally or physically disabled, severely injured, or other family members in need of extra assistance. Families with newborn babies and very young children often need much more help and support. Elderly people may need varying degrees of assistance as they age–even when they are mostly able-bodied or have relatively minor limitations–not only to assist them with particular tasks, but also to prevent falls and help them stay active and involved in their communities and support systems and to prevent mental and physical decline. Many families are desperate for skilled caregiving assistance with minimal or no funding to assist them. A few states do provide 24 hour care at $15 per hour for elderly or disabled persons who qualify and need that many hours of help. Caregiving is a much needed and dramatically underfunded aspect of human life and American society.
Minimum Basic Income–People with disabilities struggle to survive on SSI disability alone. These people need a livable minimum basic income. Many elderly people also have inadequate retirement income because social security benefits are inadequate in today’s economy. Many people work their whole lives without earning the additional retirement income needed to live decent lives in their old age.
Safety–The BEST way to create safe neighborhoods is prevention–which means providing families with decent incomes, medical care, and the other things on this list so that parents can be home to spend time with and take care of their children. Empathy is the foundation of moral development and it only develops when children have caring adults who spend time with them. Emotional neglect and isolation can produce psychopathology and sociopathy.
Fire-fighters, EMTs, Police--Certainly we need adequate and diverse police and fire-fighting forces with adequate pay, staffing, diversity training, medical and mental health services to deal with the trauma that comes with those jobs. These professions are typically underpaid.
Healthy Environments and Ecosystems: Air, Water, Soil, Climate–Both Locally and Globally–Today it’s not enough to have a healthy local environment. Coal ash from coal plants gets blown for miles by the wind. Radiation from Fukushima travels around the globe through the ocean and air. Ground water pollution doesn’t stay in one place–and neither do oil spills in the ocean and oil leaks from pipelines into drinking water sources. This means that the use of fossil fuels: oil, coal, and natural gas–as well as nuclear energy–has got to end. Nuclear energy is neither cost effective nor safe (there is a 4 percent higher rate of child leukemia documented around many nuclear plants in the U.S. and Europe, there is a problem with nuclear waste disposal–many plant storage areas are hitting capacity and nuclear waste has already been dumped on Native American lands, creating higher rates of cancer). Fracking causes earthquakes, radiation and other chemical releases, polluted drinking water, and other nightmarish scenarios–and horizontal drilling practices create similar problems. Many side effects of fossil fuel excavation and production are cancer-causing. Al of those problems don’t even include the massive problem of climate change.
Energy–Clean energy is key to cancer prevention. Solar and wind production are key solutions and viable. Solar power is progressing faster than anyone imagined. Tesla now has battery walls that make being off the grid feasible–and the prices are coming down. The Tesla electric car is now in the $30-$40,000 range. Many local electric cooperatives are talking about building electric charging stations and building their own solar. There is enough wind to power the entire country. The cost of rebuilding the entire U.S. electric grid–which needs upgrading anyway–is about the cost of 3 years of fossil fuel subsidies by the U.S. government. So if we took the fossil fuels subsidies we are now giving to oil and other fossil fuel companies that are already raking in obscene profits every year–and we used that to rebuild the grid–we could have a completely renewable grid in about 3 years–and if we fined companies like Exxon and others who have known about the problem of Climate Change and hidden it and funded climate change denial propaganda by fake “policy institutes” that are really propaganda machines–we could do it in ONE YEAR!
Free Quality Equally Funded Public Schools–Public schools need to be equally funded and brought up to par across the nation. Instead of funding for schools being based on the local and state tax bases, the funding for schools should be divided equally across the nation. It would be easier for all schools to be safe and orderly if all families had decent housing, incomes, and safe neighborhoods in which parents were trying to bring up their children.
Safe Roads, Bridges, etc.–This requires adequate state and community government funding.
Vehicles and Transportation–SAFE public transportation–which means safe for women to not be ogled or groped or attacked while using public buses or other means of traveling or walking alone at night. Maybe this means bus or train monitors, boarding stations in safe, well-lit, security guard-monitored areas, and other accommodations so that women can be safer in using public transportation. This also means adequate family incomes and/or subsidies so that people can afford to purchase reliable and environmentally friendly vehicles such as electric vehicles. Funding for gradual conversion from gas stations to electric charging stations.
Communication: Phones, Internet, etc.–In this day and age, people need phones, computers and other technology, and access to the internet to participate fully in society, to fill out forms, stay informed, etc.
Mass Media–MUST BE NONPROFIT–with limits on how much money they can accept from any one individual–and restrictions saying that they cannot accept any money from corporations or nonprofits that are owned by for-profit corporations.
Cooperatives and Nonprofits–Must replace corporations as the economic business models that support and make possible ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY. POLITICAL DEMOCRACY IS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY. The corporate structure will have to be abolished through peaceful transitions. It is too easily corrupted by small groups of very wealthy and powerful people who then have the power to make decisions that affect the lives of thousands or even millions of people. Small businesses can be allowable with certain guidelines. Instead of bailing out large corporations and banks, they should be purchased by the government and turned into cooperatives or nonprofits while prosecuting culpable CEOs and executives who have broken the law.
Restructured Banking: Nonprofit, Cooperative, or Government Banks–Banking can be revisioned and transformed through the creation of cooperative and nonprofit banks as well as government banks that offer mortgages at low or no interest, with options to freeze mortgages for months at a time during legitimate hardships rather than foreclosing or doing forbearances. People will flock to these opportunities which will effectively defund the for-profit banking industry. The for-profit banks are controlled through the Bank of International Settlements (BIS). The Federal Reserve is a for-profit bank that charges the U.S. government interest every time our government prints money–which makes no sense other than to keep the U.S. government perpetually in debt to the banking industry and make banks rich. The ten largest banks in the U.S. together earned PROFITS of almost one half of a trillion dollars last year (see my previous blog.) It is obscene that banks are earning that much in profit, when we have people who are homeless, people whose homes have been foreclosed on, people who are hungry AND WORKING–and basic human, family, and community support systems that are severely underfunded–for example the low pay of fire-fighters and police officers, the lack of recreation centers for children and youth, the lack of funding for caregiving for elderly people who wish to stay in their homes, etc.–the state of our roads, bridges, dams, etc.–and on and on.
Peace, diversity, human rights, democracy, spiritual and religious freedom, and healthy relational leadership models form the environment, amniotic fluid or lifeblood that nourish these basic support systems of human, family, and community life.
All of the items above and below can be funded more effectively through cooperatives, nonprofits, and government programs. Under the corporate structures’ income inequality raid on countries all over the world, the most important aspects of human, family, and community life are chronically dramatically underfunded–so we are always scraping by or worse. Right now, large corporations, hedge funds, and the international financial system are each suctioning out obscene amounts of profit from the world’s economies through what amounts to, in blunt terms, legalized forms of embezzlement–(through policies, laws, corporate subsidies, that they push through in the middle of the night or against the will of the vast majority of the public). This money could and should be used to support the social structure items on this list instead of lining the pockets of the already obscenely rich which has impoverished 99 percent of the world’s population that is dramatically underpaid for its honest work. Almost EVERY social problem that the U.S. and our global society are facing can be traced primarily to the corporate and financial institutions that operate nationally and transnationally–which are networked all across the globe–and the fact is that they tend to be more loyal to each other and to their own greed than to any one nation.
To help fund adequate social structures, nonprofits, and peaceful transitions, the taxes on corporate profits could be raised back up to 90 percent as they were under President Franklin D. Roosevelt–which is how he funded the New Deal and pulled this country out of the massive financial depression and the despair that it caused.
Retirement Pensions–Many corporations no longer pay into employees’ pension plans. Other corporations have gone bankrupt and eliminated employee pension plans or reneged on them–even while ineffective or corrupt corporate CEOs have made off with millions in stock options and severance pay. It would be much safer to guarantee retirement pensions through cooperatives, endowed nonprofit organizations, or guaranteed retirement incomes that supplement social security. Even social security is being threatened by greedy politicians who want that money for their own purposes.
Children, Youth, and Senior Centers; Community Centers, Peace and Justice Centers
Exercise Opportunities: public parks, community sports, fitness centers, etc.
Basic Appliances, Electronics, Goods, and Services–such as refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, microwaves, stoves, televisions, computers, etc.
THE FOLLOWING STRUCTURES AND PRACTICES ARE UNSUSTAINABLE–AND HAVE TO BE DISCARDED LEGALLY AND NONVIOLENTLY THROUGH NONVIOLENT PLANNED TRANSITIONS
Corporations and Large Corporate Banks–The corporate structure, as Professor Richard Wolfe has noted, is most similar to the structure of Communist governments, in which a small group of people control the fates of thousands or even millions of people. Corporations are not in any way democratic. Corporations and big banks have been behind almost all U.S. wars, for the past 200 years.
The Stock Market–has become basically a casino, and to a large extent a giant Ponzi scheme. Many average people rely on investments to fund their retirement. If retirement plans were transitioned over to cooperatives or endowed nonprofits–for example, social security has trillions of dollars in it–the stock market could be gradually phased out by abolishing certain types of investment instruments like credit default swaps, etc. and incrementally curtailing hedge funds, limiting the number and types of financial transactions, and finding refunding options for legitimately worthwhile projects, etc.
Hedge Funds, Credit Default Swaps, Derivatives and many other financial instruments–that are highly questionable, secretive, and basically untrackable, making them financially unaccountable–literally incapable of being tracked through accounting because of their secrecy and because of the massive volume of transactions per day.
Fossil Fuels and Nuclear Energy–
Greed–WHICH IS IN ADDICTION THAT WE NEED TREATMENT PROGRAMS TO ADDRESS. Greed as an addiction most likely develops as a result of an untreated mental health issue such as extreme narcissism, attachment disorder, sociopathy, untreated post-traumatic stress from childhood trauma or neglect, etc.
Communist governments, corporate boards of directors, the electoral college–are all similar in that a small group of people control the futures of thousands or millions of people–and they usually serve their own interests instead of what is truly best for the majority of people.
The Electoral College–is another example of a small group of people making decisions that govern the public’s life–as if the public itself is not smart or responsible enough to make its own decisions.
Dyansties of Ultra Rich Families who amassed their wealth through illegal practices–many of the U.S. families that have become ultra rich have become obscenely disproportionately rich because of their unethical and/or illegal business practices. For instance, using or contracting with sweatshops, working with the Nazis, hiring thugs to bash labor, price gauging to deliberately put small mom-and-pop stores out of business, paying off politicians, funding fake pseudo-scientific reports to confuse the public which they publicize through fake policy institutes that they fund or create, promoting wars over fossil fuels that also make weapons corporations and banks rich, polluting community air, injecting pollution into the ground under factories and polluting groundwater, and many other heinous acts.
Just like many of the CEOs of the big banks, many of corporate and banking executives have never been fined or prosecuted for these actions–and most problematically–they have been allowed to keep the spoils of these crimes. To be honest, many of these people have made public statements that indicate that they don’t care if the public knows what they have done–AS LONG AS THEY GET TO KEEP THE MONEY AND DON’T HAVE TO GO TO JAIL. So the question is–do we need a corporate crime version of the Nuremburg Trials to go back and prosecute some of these people? Do we allow them or their heirs to keep the spoils of these crimes? These are important ethical questions that need to be faced. AS LONG AS THESE PEOPLE BELIEVE THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT THEY ARE GOING TO KEEP DOING IT.
Or we can allow corporate and banking executives to reap the consequences of their actions–i.e. perhaps their fossil fuel investments become distressed assets–this is already predicted and happening. Because fossil fuels investments for the rich are not pensions, but rather at the level of luxuries–the money invested in them would simply be lost and would not be eligible to be secured by an endowed nonprofit, like the average persons’ pensions would be. Perhaps investments in hedge funds and other financial instruments that are phased out will become distressed assets and the rich who have invested in them would have to bear those losses as well. Perhaps nonprofit banks would only fund mortgages at no or low interest up to $300,000–or the average going rate for a middle class 3 bedroom home in a particular geographic area–and the mortgages of million dollar mansions would not fundable at no-interest or low-interest–or perhaps not at all. Perhaps the minimum wage will become dramatically higher so that it is a truly living wage for ADULTS (not teenagers) and the rich can no longer exploit workers. Perhaps the taxes on corporate profits will go back up to 90 percent as they were under President Franklin D. Roosevelt–which is how he funded the New Deal and pulled this country out of the massive financial depression and the despair that it caused.
There are many creative ways to nonviolently recreate society. Some have suggested a basic income for all people because of the effect that increased robotics may have on the work force.
WE AS A HUMAN FAMILY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT COOPERATIVES HAVE HISTORICALLY BEEN VERY ABUNDANT OVER TIME AND SERVED THEIR COMMUNITIES WELL, SUSTAINABLY AND FAIRLY—MANY COOPERATIVES ORIGINATED IN INDIGENOUS, FARMING OR RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES.
–AND WE HAVE TO COME TO TERMS WITH THE FACT THAT CORPORATIONS AS A STRUCTURE HAVE ORCHESTRATED MASSIVE CONCENTRATIONS OF WEALTH AND IMPOVERISHED 99 PERCNT OF THE WORLD’S POPULATIONS, PERPETRATED VAST NUMBERS OF UNNECESSARY WARS, INSTALLED DICTATORS, AND DESTROYED POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEMOCRACIES ALL OVER THE WORLD FOR MORE THAN 200 YEARS.