News Why World Change is Necessary

…and justice for all? Basic income and the principles of gender equity

The arguments for implementing a basic income are many and varied,[3] yet the proposal remains controversial. And nowhere is this controversy more prominent than among feminists, who have hotly debated the merits of a basic income in terms of its potential contributions to gender equality. Feminist advocates for basic income have pointed to its potential to correct the paid-work bias of contemporary social security systems, and to increase women’s economic autonomy and power within the household by providing a source of unconditional income support that is not tied to paid employment.[4] Critics have argued that basic income will do nothing to directly challenge the gendered division of labour – and may well reinforce it, especially to the extent that unconditional cash benefits increase the incentive for women in particular to reduce their labour market participation, given their relatively weaker attachment to the labour force as a group relative to men, and the central role that this plays in broader inequalities such as income gaps and poverty risks.[5] Accordingly, the feminist debate about basic income has reflected wider feminist disputes about how the state can recognise the unpaid work largely done by women, such as the care of children and the elderly, without reinforcing existing inequalities between men and women.

Five markers of adulthood millennials have had to give up on

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Do you remember when you were young enough to say: “When I grow up I want to ... have a house with a garden/be a vet/fly to space/get married?” It was a lighthearted conversation encouraged by older generations to inspire ambition. But now you’ve grown up, how many of the more moderate goals have you achieved? And how many have you filed under “unobtainable”? Young adults’ incomes are now as much as 20% below the national average, as revealed by a Guardian investigation this week. Low incomes, coupled with rising living costs, debt and a lack of employment mean that some of us are not only unlikely to fulfil our more inventive childhood fantasies, but will fail to meet even the basic milestones of adulthood: a full-time permanent job, a life partner, a home, a pension and earning enough every month to put something into a savings account. Here Guardian readers share their experiences of missing milestones.

A no-strings basic income? If it works for the royal family, it can work for us all

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The idea of the UBI is so contrary to everything that has been drummed into us about preventing the “something for nothing society”, it’s worth advocating it just to see the Daily Mail and Iain Duncan Smith implode with outrage. The predictable argument that will be rolled out is that it will turn the masses from “strivers into skivers”; it will lead to welfare dependency, a lack of initiative and lots of programmes on Channel 5 called Fat Ugly People Spending Your Money on Crisps and Big Tellies. Advertisement But in fact it is the current situation that prevents initiative and holds back entrepreneurs. Anyone who ever invented or created anything did so with a modicum of financial security behind them. That’s why so many of our statues are to upper-class white men; that’s why Virginia Woolf needed “a room of her own and £500 a year” (slashed to £27.85 after that spare room fell under the bedroom tax). For centuries we have tapped the potential of only a small proportion of the British people; the rest have been powerless to initiate or discover where their true talents lay. With the UBI, innovators would be given the room to experiment knowing they would still have something to fall back on; it would see more small businesses and less grovelling on Dragons’ Den.

Millions Falsely Treated for Cancer says National Cancer Institute Report

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(Health Secrets) A significant number of people who have undergone treatment for cancer over the past several decades may not have ever actually had the disease, admits a new report commissioned by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI). Published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), this government study identifies both over diagnosis and misdiagnosis of cancer as two major causes of the growing cancer epidemic. These two together have led to millions being falsely treated for cancer with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, who in reality had no such cancer. The report drops a few major bombshells on the way that many cancers are diagnosed. For example, breast cancer, is sometimes not breast cancer at all but rather a benign condition such as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). However, untold millions of women with DCIS have been misdiagnosed as having breast cancer, and subsequently treated for a condition that likely never would have caused them any health problems. And similarly in men, high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN), a type of premalignant precursor to cancer, is commonly mistreated as if it were actual cancer.

Switzerland to hold referendum on banning private banks from creating money

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The move comes as part of the Swiss Sovereign Money Initiative (known as the Vollgeld-Initiative in German) that seeks to put an end to financial speculations. The group is concerned with the current state of affairs in traditional fractional reserve banking, where real coins, banknotes and central bank liabilities account for only a minor part of money in circulation, while most of it exists as electronic cash created by private banks. “Most people believe that the money they have in their bank accounts is real money... This is wrong! Money in a bank account is… a promise the bank makes to provide money, but it is not itself legal tender,” they group explains in their statement. The initiative claims that it strives to change the system so that it complies with the Swiss Constitution, guaranteeing safety and avoiding such phenomena as finance bubbles and empty money. If the change is introduced, Swiss banks would have to look for a workaround to continue providing their clients with the usual set of services.

How Federal Policies Have Spawned a Heroin Epidemic

Physical pain and financial strain appear to be two of the primary forces driving suicide and addiction rates in the U.S. And, according to a report17 by The Atlantic, undereducated middle-aged white Americans are "dying from despair" in increasing numbers. When you consider the interconnectedness between pain, depression and subsequent addiction, it's easy to see how the end result can be lethal, which is why we really need to reevaluate how we treat pain in the first place.

In 10 Months, This Cafe Has Fed 10,000 People With 20 Tons Of Unwanted Food

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The most unique aspect of the business model is that it has a “pay as you feel” rule. This policy encourages patrons to pay what they feel they can pay. If that amounts to nothing, then they can work for their meal. The Independent reports that in only 10 months, Smith has helped feed 10,000 people on 20 tons of unwanted food. In addition, he’s raised over 30,000 pounds (UK). Since its success, forty-seven other similar style cafes have popped up in Manchester, Bristol, Saltaire, Los Angeles, Brazil, Warsaw, and Zurich. In the United States, a similar grocery store called The Daily Table transforms unwanted or ‘expired’ leftovers into perfectly nourishing and tasty food for customers. The founder of that endeavor is Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe’s. It’s difficult for entrepreneurs inspired to repurpose food to carry out their vision, as in many areas of the world, retailers can be prosecuted if they sell food after the use-by date. The ‘best-before’ date is allowed, which is why Smith’s organization wants the law to be changed to prevent supermarkets from disposing of so much food at the fear of prosecution.

Spain Says “No” to Austerity

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For the third time in a year, the tight-fisted, austerity policies of the European Union (EU) took a beating, as Spanish voters crushed their right-wing government and overturned four decades of two-party reign. Following in the footsteps of Greek and Portuguese voters earlier this year, Spaniards soundly rejected the economic formula of the Troika—the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund—that has impoverished millions of people and driven the jobless rate to almost a quarter of the country.

Savage Vulture Funds Are Killing Puerto Rico

Author David Dayen explains that some years ago, as hundreds of U.S. corporations left the island because they lost their tax-exempt status, unleashing a deep economic crisis, Puerto Rico tried to deal with the crisis by issuing more debt. The vulture funds egged them on, since municipal bonds are free from federal, state and local taxes

Chinese buy up bottles of fresh air from Canada

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Vitality Air’s Mr Lam admits that he started out the company as a joke as well when he and co-founder Troy Paquette filled a plastic bag of air and sold it for less than 50 pence on the auction site Ebay. A second bag sold for $160 (£105). “That’s when we realised there is a market for this,” says Mr Lam. Vitality Air sells bottled fresh air and oxygen across North America, to India and the Middle East. But China remains its biggest overseas market. The company's China representative, Harrison Wang, says their customers are mainly affluent Chinese women who buy for their families or give away as gifts. But he says senior homes and even high end night clubs have also stocked up on their product. “In China fresh air is a luxury, something so precious,” says Mr Wang.

Finland plans to give every citizen a basic income of 800 euros a month

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It sounds far-fetched, but it’s looking likely that Finland will carry through with the idea. Whereas several Dutch cities will introduce basic income next year and Switzerland is holding a referendum on the subject, there is strongest political and public support for the idea in Finland. A poll commissioned by the government agency planning the proposal, the Finnish Social Insurance Institution or KELA, showed that 69% support (link in Finnish) a basic income plan. Prime minister Juha Sipilä is in favor of the idea and he’s backed by most of the major political parties. “For me, a basic income means simplifying the social security system,” he says.

The remarkable thing that happens to poor kids when you give their parents a little money

Four years into The Great Smoky Mountains Study of Youth, the families of roughly a quarter of the children saw a dramatic and unexpected increase in annual income. They were members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and a casino had just been built on the reservation. From that point on every tribal citizen earned a share of the profits, meaning about an extra $4,000 a year per capita. For these families, the extra padding was a blessing, enough to boost household incomes by almost 20 percent on average. But for the fields of psychology, sociology and economics, it has been a gold mine, too. The sudden change in fortunes has offered a rare glimpse into the subtle but important ways in which money can alter a child’s life. The dataset is so rich that researchers continue to study it to this day.

There is something extraordinary happening in the world

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We still haven’t realized of something extraordinary that is happening. A few months ago, I freed myself from society, I’ve released myself from attachments I had and fear that locked me to the system. And since then, I started seeing the world from a different perspective. The perspective that everything is changing and most of us have not even realized that. Why is the world changing? In this post I’ll list the reasons that take me to believe this.

 In America, the Poorer You Are, the Poorer Your Children Will Be

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So poor parents struggling just to cover basic food and shelter face both massive income inequality in their day-to-day lives, plus a seven-fold gap in the amount they can “invest” to help their children thrive in the future. Given that social mobility is already suppressed at all income levels—with children’s future earnings highly correlated with the earnings of their parents—the Herculean amount of “catch up” poor parents must undertake just to get on the same footing as their higher-earning peers makes the great American wealth gap seem even more devastating, for both today’s working households and generations to come.

How To Plan Now For Tomorrow's Robotic Workforce

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The scale of this problem may require some radical, even counterintuitive solutions, like giving money away. A growing chorus of tech cognoscenti, from all-star investor Marc Andreessen to Barack Obama’s onetime director of analytics Jim Pugh, have espoused the idea of a "living income." Not welfare or charity, living income is a stipend—roughly enough to live on and with few frills—paid to every adult in the country, whether they’re working or not. In the U.S., numbers thrown around have averaged from $15,000 to $20,000 per adult per year.

Why Income Inequality Isn’t Going Anywhere

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The conventional view of America as a classless society has long sided with Hemingway—the only difference is the money. But our results suggest that, at least when it comes to attitudes toward inequality, Fitzgerald is right: Elite Americans are not just middle-class people with more money. They display distinctive attitudes on basic moral and political questions concerning economic justice. Simply put, the rich place a much lower value on equality than the rest. What’s more, this lack of concern about inequality among the elite is not a partisan matter. Even when they self-identify as progressive Democrats, elite Americans value equality less highly than their middle-class compatriots. This finding has profound implications for public policy. Contemporary American politics presents an enduring mystery. Why does the public policy response to nearly five decades of rising economic inequality remain so tepid, even as large majorities of Americans consider inequality excessive, and even under a two-term Democratic president?

Would you work if you didn’t have to?

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A new lobby group has formed in the US, Basic Income Action, to coincide with the eighth International Basic Income Week, and the campaign to give every human being a basic minimum wage, no questions asked, appears to be picking up steam. The group, taking a cue from recent similar campaigns around gay marriage and marijuana legalisation, has launched a petition calling on US presidential candidates to support basic income.

3 Things You May Have Missed in the New Poverty, Income, and Inequality Data

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New data released today show that the share of Americans with incomes below the poverty line stayed flat between 2013 and 2014 at 14.8 percent. Six years into the economic recovery, poverty and economic insecurity remain far more widespread than they should be—or than they need to be. This is because policymakers have failed to make decisions—such as increasing the minimum wage and strengthening collective bargaining—that would help ensure that low- and middle-income families get their fair share of the gains from economic growth. Instead of addressing the real problem, congressional conservatives are pushing hard for policies that would make the situation far worse for families, including deep cuts to public programs that promote economic security and opportunity.

Labor Day 2028

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In 1928, famed British economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that technology would advance so far in a hundred years – by 2028 – that it will replace all work, and no one will need to worry about making money. “For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem – how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well.” We still have thirteen years to go before we reach Keynes’ prophetic year, but we’re not exactly on the way to it. Americans are working harder than ever. Keynes may be proven right about technological progress. We’re on the verge of 3-D printing, driverless cars, delivery drones, and robots that can serve us coffee in the morning and make our beds. But he overlooked one big question: How to redistribute the profits from these marvelous labor-saving inventions, so we’ll have the money to buy the free time they provide?

Just What the Doctor Ordered – A Basic Income

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But none of these factors compare to the way that poverty makes us sick. Prescribing medications and lifestyle changes for our patients who suffer from income deficiency isn’t enough; we need to start prescribing healthy incomes. Decades of studies have shown that healthcare accounts for less than 25 per cent of health outcomes. The upstream factors that affect health such as income, education, employment, housing, and food security have a far greater impact on whether we will be ill or well. Of these, income has the most powerful influence, as it shapes access to the other health determinants. Low-income Canadians are more likely to die earlier and suffer from more illnesses than Canadians with higher incomes, regardless of age, sex, race or place of residence. No wonder doctors and policy-makers are beginning to line up behind the notion of a basic income guarantee.

Blogs Education and Solutions

Building A Life For Ourselves

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Us humans need to become more like bees when it comes to looking at our lives, our decisions, where we decide to go, and how we decide to live, and when it comes to contributing and giving ourselves a purpose in relation to the world system. In order for us to contribute the best we can, we must let go of our individuality, our desires, our wants, our feelings of what we WANT to do, and instead look at where we are the BEST; what skills do we have? What supportive characteristics have we nurtured and created within ourselves? All of that should be taken into account when we create our lives, our future, our mission and purpose in this life, as that will make us much more effective, and subsequently, the human race as a whole will benefit.

Terrorism, cause or effect?

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We call our terror attacks humanitarian interventions or peace keeping missions. We say that we fight for peace and democracy when we bomb cities of foreign countries. We lie that our intentions are benevolent, while fact is that there are always ulterior motives; geopolitics, profit, desire and greed. It is impossible to create peace or stability in a country through armed intervention, and it is easy to see that the warmongers are also those that benefit from building and selling the war machines. There has never, and will never be such a thing as a war fought for good reasons. War is in its very nature despicable – a crime against all of humanity.

The Future of Money Creation

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We should really ask ourselves why we structure our economy this why, because can we not find a better way? Does it not make sense to instead build our economy on debt free money, where countries are empowered using debt free grants to strengthen instead of being sucked dry of all life with the excuse that they owe money to someone, or something?

Austerity Measures: Can They Be Justified?

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The consequence of separating economics from Human Rights is such perversities as slavery. Possibly, this is what the new era of austerity and debt has become, a more refined form of slavery, which is free from the moral constraints of its predecessors, because it is now justified with the slick vocabulary of neoliberalism and market economy. Though, when scrutinized, austerity measures are a soulless machine working for an anonymous creditor, fueled with the accepted belief that this is the way things must be. The debt must allegedly be paid back at all costs… because… well because, the market wants it that way.

The Refugee Crisis: A Wake Up Call to the Devaluation of Life

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Since reaching its media attention this year, I see that the refugee crisis comes down to a crisis of priorities that began long time ago in our world and is affecting our sense of humanity. The shocking images that flooded the big screen in the past months, along with xenophobic comments from the far-right are symptoms of a bigger problem, that is: The Devaluation of Life.

Debt as Wages and Steve Jobs

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It is time to remove this pyramid scheme of inequality to life. It is time to realize that poverty is a crime against life. It is time to realize, in deed and systemic form that war is a crime, it is destructive as it is not transformative – it is not using what men can do in constructive ways to create a world where life on this earth is dignified in and as the practice of realizing the value is being here, interacting with others, realizing their perspective to build awareness and to come up with new ways of doing things that improve and respect this physical manifestation of life.

Does a Contract That Violates Human Rights Have Any Legal Standing?

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It is increasingly accepted that non-State actors including international financial institutions, have obligations to ensure that their policies and activities respect international human rights standards. This obligation implies a duty to refrain from formulating, adopting, funding, promoting or implementing policies and programmes that directly or indirectly impede the enjoyment of Human Rights.

The Decision to Bomb Syria is Criminal

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At the moment, the United Nations is more of a farce than an empowered institution capable of having real impact, and the charter, more of a document with words that sounds nice, rather than a document of principles that are lived for real. This can all be changed. The United Nations does have the potential of becoming a World Organ that can stand as a pillar of stability in difficult and tough times. For that to happen, changes must be made, and those changes must come from within the individual nations themselves. Because the United Nations, is an organization of countries that has united, and will as such only be as impactful as the involved countries allow it to be.

Feudal Employers and Basic Income

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It would seem impossible, but many of us don’t yet realize that the true asset of a company is it’s working force, no matter how much money a company has to invest, no matter how much they claim that ‘they are creating job opportunities’ -for which they get juicy tax rebates if not full tax holiday like in some third world countries, eager to attract foreign investments-, they are NOTHING and they can go NOWHERE without their working force. We have become accustomed to a culture of replace-ability, our commercial system thrives on making people irrelevant in the working place, we have developed production models that alienate people while making them insignificant – or attempting to with all our might.

Immigration and Tolerance

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This is a quote from a fiction book and yet so applicable to the events we are facing today as millions are being displaced, migrating to create a life in a foreign country with foreign customs, foreign languages and foreign views of the world. Though, I don’t think ‘tolerance’ is the right word to use. See, tolerance is when you judge something as wrong or unacceptable but will not act upon it. Tolerance doesn’t involve openness, it doesn’t involve questioning your own views in light of someone else’s. Tolerance doesn’t allow for expansion from learning and sharing, it can only ever remain a tolerating of something that you’d rather wish wasn’t there.

MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE

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The attacks themselves are an expression of ‘maximum overdrive’ – going waaaay out there to supposedly make a point/statement, to be ‘heard’. Obviously, in today’s world, an ill-considered course of action with mainstream media having the ability to highjack any event and write its own narrative before the real story/facts were even investigated. Then we can ask as well – what drives a person to such extremes? Why was the cause not picked up and addressed before it came to a point that people felt suicide bombing would be an appropriate way to deal with whatever issue is at the heart of this attack.

The Shootings In Paris, An Act of War?

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Though, for a moment, let us assume that the war on terrorism was actually a real attempt to make the world a safer place. It is time to ask, did this war actually make the world a safer place? The simple answer is no, and it takes no rocket scientist to understand that wars, whatever reason that is used to justify them, creates even more consequences. As such – we require a new way of dealing with things, a new way of approaching conflicts, a new way of handling consequences, were we do not hit back but instead look at how the consequence came about, and more importantly how we were a part of creating that particular consequence.

Present Students, Future Slaves

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Philosopher and political thinker, Sheldon Wollin died this month. His claim that the U.S. government operates, not as a democracy but in what he called “inverted totalitarianism” – “every natural resource and every living being is seen as a commodity and exploited to collapse as the citizenry is lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in government through excess consumerism and sensationalism” and nowhere is this better exemplified than in our student debt crisis.

Student Debt – A Crime Against Human Rights

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Student Debt is one of those things in society we all tend to take for granted. Most that go to college or university are required to in-debt themselves in order to pay for tuition and living expenses. Some countries, like Sweden, do not have tuition fees – though the majority of students are still required to take out loans to cover their living costs. Young people in this world find themselves between a rock and a hard place. Either you take out hefty loans, make it through university, and potentially land a well-paid job afterwards. Or you come to terms with maybe having a low paid job and no debt. Both of these options are completely horrendous. To be forced into debt to make a life for yourself is a crime against human rights – and yet – this is what young people are required to do.

Wasting Food

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Waste happens when we do not push ourselves to see the value in what is here, to appreciate to what is here, and be grateful for what is here. Waste happens when we take things for granted. Waste happens when we become caught in our desires, and our urge to experience things, and we miss the reality, the universe of life that is here as a part of our world.

Corruption, Poverty and Capitalism

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Corruption is an illness created by inequality and a unfair distribution of resources. We can change this be implementing a new system of distribution – capitalism is not and have never been the only way to structure and organize human labor, productivity and resource distribution. I suggest that we implement a Living Income Guaranteed – a Guaranteed monthly income that is sufficient to sustain a human being so that they can tend to their basic needs.

Corruption - Broken at the Core

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What is the essence or the nature of corruption? It really boils down to: acting in self-interest when you should be acting in the interest of the whole. When corruption happens on a ‘big scale’ – eg: when there is a lot of money involved, this really pisses us off, I mean: how dare they!? But when corruption happens on a small scale – then, it’s just ‘life’, ‘human nature’ or ‘only normal’. Just ask yourself and answer honestly: how much of your time do you act in the interest of all and how much of your time do you act purely in your own self-interest? You’ll find that most of the time you’re not even considering how your actions and words might affect other people. Does corruption only apply when it is done by people who are explicitly within positions of so-called responsibility? Aren’t we all always in a position of responsibility simply by virtue of us being here and the fact that we don’t exist in isolation of other people, of nature and of the animal kingdom – even if that’s how we have split things up and categorized them neatly in our minds?

Solitary Confinement – The Horrors of our ‘Correctional’ System

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Even though international governing bodies have condemned the use of solitary confinement since the 1990s, it is still a common practice in many prisons all over the United States. Currently, an estimated total of 80,000 to 100,000 men, women and children are isolated in closed cells for 22-24 hours a day – for periods stretching from days, weeks, months and even years.

Corruption, Poverty and Capitalism

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There is a clear correlation between the amount of corruption and the level of economic welfare that exists in a country. In countries that are rich, corruption is not as frequent as in countries that are poor. This shows us some fascinating points about human nature – and it also reveals solutions for how to deal with the tendency humans have to become corrupted, dishonest, and fraudulent when placed in positions of public power.

What would you do with more time on your hands?

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What is fascinating about the pictures of my grandparents is that they depict a time were there was more time. You can see them sitting by the lake having a cup of coffee, or sitting in their porch, eating a meal prepared on the grill. It is clear that there was less pressure back then, time was not such a scarce resource as it is in today’s hectic world. And talking with my grandfather this becomes clearer. He has shared with me how he used to fish with nets during the autumns and springs, and hunt on the lands. Nowadays, these hobbies do not exist in the same quantity as before – and the reason why? We do not have enough time.

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