PeopleNow.org Doc #64
Salient Problems and Challenges Standing in the Way of Having a Peaceful, Prosperous, Just, Sustainable World
(Updated on September 30, 2015)
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This document outlines the salient problems and challenges standing in the way of having a peaceful, prosperous, just, sustainable world. This is a key part of and should be completed in coordination with the Universal Movement and Global Strategic Plan for a Permanently Peaceful, Prosperous, Just, Sustainable World described at www.PeopleNow.org.
This list is open and additional problems can be added to it at any time.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
64.4 Salient Problems and Challenges Standing in the Way of Having a Peaceful, Prosperous, Just, Sustainable World
This document outlines the problems and challenges that we face.
The objectives of this plan include:
64.4 Salient Problems and Challenges Standing in the Way of Having a Peaceful, Prosperous, Just, Sustainable World. The following lists and describes general problems that must be resolved before we can have a peaceful, prosperous, just, sustainable world. We must understand what the problems are and why they exist, to correct these problems permanently.
64.4.1 1500 high yield nuclear war heads on hair-trigger alert with U.S. and NATO officials provoking Russia and China Civilization could be destroyed in a couple of hours
64.4.2 Extreme shortages of both employment opportunities at living wages and affordable necessities and needs of life.
184.108.40.206 Worker productivity, automation, technology and education and training make it possible today for a small percentage of the world population to provide the food, clothing and housing for all the people of the world.
“ ... the Age of Abundance is upon us. Man need never again go hungry or cold. Natural resources abound, machines necessary to convert them into goods exist, and men are trained to operate these machines. Furthermore, we can manufacture as many machines as we desire, just as we can enrich the soil to produce abundant food and train people everywhere to do likewise, The whole world now has the capability to support itself free from want and almost free from disease ,,,
“... Nevertheless, many people today are still cold, hungry, and sick.. in the midst of plenty!””
As proof of this, according to Forbes, in early 2013:
• The aggregate annual sales of the world's 2,000 leading companies is $38 trillion. (This amounted to almost half of the world's gross domestic product)
• The employment of these 2,000 companies was 87 million employees. (This is about 1.2% of the world’s population).
Assuming that each of the employees, on the average, is the breadwinner for a family of four, it means that these 2000 corporations pay wages that support about 4 % of the world's population while selling about half of the food, goods, fuels, housing, services, etc. to the entire world.
The total assets of these 2,000 companies increased by $10 trillion dollars to $159 trillion in 2013.
We have poverty in the midst of plenty and are prevented from living in a genuine Age of Abundance because of:
64.4.3 The “Beecher Businessmen” who keep prices, profits and their salaries up by keeping goods scarce, curtailing production, paying low wages, laying off employees and forming monopolies. This keeps many in poverty and debt and provides evermore unemployed workers and even lower wages.
64.4.4 The Profit System
Also according to Forbes, the annual aggregate profits of the world's 2000 largest public companies increased by 67% in 2011. Is this good for the economy?
Profits equals all revenue, which is mainly from what the people purchase, minus all expenses, which includes wages and salaries with which people make their purchases. “Businessmen” have convinced almost everyone that high profits means that the economy is doing well. The Beechers explain that the opposite is true:
Profits come mostly from the underlying population and are always created at the expense of someone else. A truly fair exchange cannot involve any profit, since someone, somewhere, must take less than the actual value of his contribution.
As machines became more efficient, each could do the work of many men, but workers never received in wages an amount equivalent to their increased production.
Total wages paid eventually become the sum of the buying power of the underlying population.
In short, the buying power of wage earners steadily shrinks and they are unable to buy the products which they themselves produce. When sales fall off, the businessman will cut employment again and again and thus, the underlying population, which eventually must pay all costs, will, in fact, be unable to pay ANY costs!
This means that the entire economy will fail unless the businessmen can be convinced that they must pay living wages, so that individuals can buy the goods that they produce.
220.127.116.11 Employment opportunities are also being lost due to actions of the “businessmen”
18.104.22.168 Buyouts, consolidations and mergers
22.214.171.124 Bribing Congress into passing free trade versus fair trade agreements
This has resulted in decreasing tax revenues and social security deposits and hurt the nation’s fiscal health increased unfunded obligations (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.), budget deficits, balance of payment deficits.
64.4.5 Interest. The "businessmen", that the Beechers faulted for their profit system and scarcity model now include many owners and executives of banks, financial institutions and Wall Street who bribed Congress in 1980 to remove all controls over interest rates and most of the regulations. Now, according to German researcher Margrit Kennedy, interest composes on average about 40% of the cost of all goods and services. Also, because the “businessmen” are not paying living wages and laying off and not hiring workers, the rank and file are having to borrow at usury rates. Since the Federal Reserve is creating money as money, these loans can not be repaid as long as this system continues.
"Probably, the forthcoming economic breakdown will be handled on a worldwide rather than on a national basis. Only one thing is certain: the resulting system will have small resemblance to what exists now. The Battle of Production has been won, and the Battle of Distribution is in the making. It will begin with the abdication of the businessman and it will end only when methods have been found to distribute Abundance."
Over thirty years have passed since the Beechers’ essay was published. Businessmen have not turned over distribution to anyone and they have not and will not voluntarily abdicate. Profits have not “disappeared”, they have markedly increased. The current great recession and abject failure of financial systems were caused by them. Today we still have massive Poverty in the Midst of Plenty and it is now the Problem of the Twenty First Century. We are approaching a worldwide economic breakdown predicted by the Beechers. Many of the businessmen have profited from their failures and received billions of dollars of bailout money from taxpayers. They are making money with money instead of investing in producing goods.
Today's "businessmen," as described by the authors, which include many executives of large banks, financial institutions, and other corporations and stockbrokers, own/control most of the large banks, financial institutions, rating agencies, major corporations, government regulators and the media. Their representatives and agents occupy key positions in the administration, the judiciary and Congress. They have markedly increased their bribes in the form of campaign contributions and job promises to public servants and exercise control over key individuals in all three branches of the government, the Federal Reserve, the various regulatory agencies, the World Bank, the IMF and the World Trade Organization. They have bribed public servants to remove regulations and controls over interest rates and to pass over a hundred unjust, injurious laws which favor corporations over individuals.
Financial institutions have received over $37 trillion taxpayers dollars in the form of grants, no or very low interest loans and loan guarantees from the Treasury, FDIC and Federal Reserve. From 25% to 0.38% for the very large banks. They charge exorbitant interest rates, as high as 35%, compounded daily, on the money that they are willing to lend. These banks and financial institutions foreclose on homes, small farms and businesses and pay their executives scores of millions in salaries. At the same time, many of the engineers, scientists, farmers and workers responsible for advances in technology and productivity that made the Age of Abundance possible are going deeper into debt to these immoral businessmen.
In the richest country in the world, at least the one with the most millionaires and billionaires, we have many children being born homeless and going hungry thanks to immoral and unethical acts of bankers, businessmen and public servants.
Without job opportunities and employees being paid reasonable wages, there will be less customers to buy goods. With less purchases there will be more lay-offs and lower wages, loss of tax revenues, etc., and the economy will spiral downward with increasing budget deficits.
Please read The Problem of the Twentieth Century. What the businessmen have done and what has happened with the profit system since this essay was written is covered in Changes in the Economy Since The 1970's. Both are available at www.WeThePeopleNow.org
64.4.6 Exponentially increasing inequality
Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in their book The Spirit Level: Why Great Equality Makes Societies Stronger, show that as inequality increases, essentially all social ills, including crimes, suicides, drug abuse, child abuse, violence, divorce, bad health and even the stress on the wealthy, increases dramatically.
As the assets, land, resources, energy sources, factories of the wealthy rapidly grow, the assets of the poor and middle class decline and inequality increases.
Wealth Inequality in America, a great video that explains the massive wealth divide in the U.S. shows graphically what people believe the divide is and what it really is.
64.4.7 Wars, conflicts, empire building, violence, using military force to coerce resources from, and find markets in, other countries, etc.
126.96.36.199 Iraq and Afghanistan occupations
188.8.131.52 Illegal US threats, covert operations, and/or attacks against Pakistan and Iran
184.108.40.206 Other wars and conflicts, e.g., West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Darfur and Kosovo
64.4.8 U.S. history of use of force and violence
220.127.116.11 Nuclear weapons and fissionable material proliferation
18.104.22.168 The United States government spends almost as much on weapons, munitions and a standing army as all the rest of the world combined and has no enemy nations.
22.214.171.124 The United States arms industry exports more weapons and munitions than any other country in the world. Some of the explosive material in these munitions are ultimately used by adversaries in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to kill Americans
126.96.36.199 Large numbers of U.S. troops are needlessly stationed in Germany, South Korea and the Middle East with detachments in over eighty countries.
188.8.131.52 The U.S. spends considerably more on foreign military aid than on foreign economic aid.
184.108.40.206 Israel is using US supplied arms and military aid to illegally occupy the West Bank and deny Palestinians access to jobs, travel, commerce, education, and medical care. Its military has turned the Gaza Strip into an open-air concentration camp controlled by land, sea and air. In the past year, the people of Gaza have barely had enough to eat, as Israel withholds food and energy in an attempt to starve them into submission.
220.127.116.11 The corporate officials from the Military Industrial Complex exercise excessive control over our public servants and political party officials with campaign contributions, job offers and lobbyists.
64.4.9 Money in Politics and Elections
Corporate executives, special interest groups and lobbyists exercise excessive control over legislation and policy decisions with bribes in the form of campaign contributions and job offers.
As payback for these bribes, our public servants:
18.104.22.168 Have put individuals in the government who are plundering the Treasury.
22.214.171.124 Have unconstitutionally surrendered their responsibilities for appropriations in a large part to the executive branch, the Federal Reserve and special interest groups.
126.96.36.199 Are failing to provide anything near adequate oversight.
188.8.131.52 Spend excessive funds on pork-barrel projects and earmarks. Much of the funds for earmarks comes from the Department of Defense and Services O&M (operations and maintenance) accounts, which would normally be used for such things as body armor and hardening vehicles against roadside bombs.
184.108.40.206 Have illegally and unconstitutionally given or committed $39 trillion to stockbrokers and bankers which they have used for massive bonuses, to acquire other banks and financial institutions and for risky investments, which are being guaranteed by the federal government.
220.127.116.11 Are rewarding defense contractors with profits from:
18.104.22.168 Three illegal, unconstitutional wars/occupations and illegal attacks on Pakistan.
22.214.171.124 Manufacturing massive sales of unneeded weapons.
126.96.36.199 Have repealed portions of the Glass-Steagall Act and other regulations.
188.8.131.52 Have failed to pass adequate regulations on commodities trading and the stock market.
184.108.40.206 Are failing to enforce the few meaningful regulations we do have.
220.127.116.11 Are rewarding insurance companies by not providing single payer or public health insurance option.
18.104.22.168 Are awarding bankers by allowing predatory interest rates and unconscionable late fees by banks.
22.214.171.124 Are not enforcing the rule of law by not prosecuting torturers and the lawyers that wrongfully and unlawfully made torture and detainee abuse OK.
126.96.36.199 Have turned over major aspects of health care systems to big drug and insurance companies and energy policy to big oil companies.
64.4.10 Most of our legislators and senior public officials:
188.8.131.52 Are under the control of corporate executives and their lobbyists.
184.108.40.206 Are spending about one trillion dollars a year on DoD, the military industrial complex, illegal wars and occupations. Russia spends less than one fifteenth of what the U.S. spends. China about one tenth
220.127.116.11 Have given, loaned or committed over $37 trillion of taxpayers’ dollars to banks and other financial institutions, as of June 30, 2009.
18.104.22.168 Are providing billions of dollars to private health insurance companies, which continue to raise their rates and deny coverage.
22.214.171.124 Have passed over 100 unjust laws that have injurious effects on human beings.
126.96.36.199 Are talking about cutting Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.
64.4.11 Party politics. The majority of career politicians from the two major parties:
188.8.131.52 Are unwilling to address and solve the issues of war, health care, environment, education, immigration, trade, net neutrality, etc.
184.108.40.206 Answer mainly to campaign contributors and special interest groups and their party leadership, not to the people
220.127.116.11 Are unwilling to fix our electoral process in ways that make it fair for all to participate
64.4.12 Debt. Total individual and national federal debt is $42 trillion.
18.104.22.168 The people’s faith in Congress and government officials is at a record low. Bribery in the form of campaign contributions, job offers, and other antiquated rules that could easily be corrected. The Senate is particularly ineffective due largely to the filibuster which allows a minority to block legislation.
64.4.13 Congress has passed well over a hundred Injurious, Unjust, Unconstitutional Laws; and, our courts have made scores of unconstitutional, injurious, unjust court rulings, including:
22.214.171.124 The 2011 National Defense Authorization Act which includes unconstitutional legislated warrant-less arrest.
126.96.36.199 The Patriot Act
188.8.131.52 The Joint Resolution on Iraq
184.108.40.206 Military Commission Act of 2006
220.127.116.11 FISA Supplement
18.104.22.168 Supreme Court’s rejection of corporate spending limits in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, (2010) (Ruling No. 08-205)
22.214.171.124 Shortages of affordable housing/shelter
126.96.36.199 Chronic worldwide water shortages for drinking, hygiene, irrigation, industry, etc.
64.4.14 The stock market, instead of being a means to raise capital for businesses and provide investment opportunities, has become a giant Ponzi scheme and gambling casino where insiders and the rich take money from small investors.
64.4.15 High percentage (90%) of mass media owned and controlled by five major corporations.
64.4.16 Election campaigns and elections:
188.8.131.52.1 Divisive politics
184.108.40.206.2 Individuals putting corporations and parties ahead of the people and the country
220.127.116.11.3 Campaign finance
18.104.22.168.4 Endemic gerrymandering so that “politicians can pick voters instead of voters picking politicians”. Below is the highly, illegally gerrymandered 9th Congressional District of Ohio which pitted Rep. Dennis Kucinich against Rep. Marcy Kaptur in the recent primary that Rep. Kaptur won.
Ohio’s New 9th Congressional District
22.214.171.124.5 About 50% of all elections have only one name on the ballot
126.96.36.199 Voices of many small groups and individuals are not being heard, resulting in the loss of valuable inputs.
188.8.131.52 The rights of immigrants and migrant workers are being violated in the U.S. and other countries.