Poverty

 

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Nau te rourou, Naku te rourou, ka ora te iwi.
With your food basket, With my food basket, we will have enough to sustain us all.

Maori Proverb

 

 

Some of the information for this section on poverty is excerpted from the book Universal Income for a Sustainable Future by Patrick Danahey. This page also contains updates to that book by Patrick Danahey (copyright November 2003).

Note, much of the information on this page is very sensitive. It is not the intention to offend, hurt, or assign blame to anyone or any group of people/organisations for the issues covered. It is the understanding of the author and Trust members that if blame has to be assigned somewhere then it must rest with those wishing to assign blame. The world is a complex dynamic whereby everyone and everything are so interrelated that all social and environmental issues, related to humanity, are ultimately the responsibility of everyone equally. The human condition is the sum total of what each and every individual brings to it, therefore we are all equally responsible for the world that we live in. The world is what we all collectively make it. Further, since much of the information is focussed on the government of NZ, as that is where this is being written, it is easy to get overly judgemental and critical of NZ exclusively. These issues, however, can be applied with variations to most of the rest of the countries of this planet as well. The purpose isn't to encourage judgementalism, but rather, to shed light on hidden issues to help create honest assessments leading to real solutions to these very pressing problems. P.D.

 

Table of contents

(click on bullets to access further listings)

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Introduction

bulletOverview
bulletThe poor and unemployed are working
bulletDue to technological advances, the age of "well paid full-time employment for everyone" has passed.
bulletIf jobs are not an answer to poverty what determines how people get their wealth?
bullet

Short history of NZ's new poverty

bulletBackground
bulletMinimum wage calculation
bulletCorporate Welfare and the progressive targeted Universal Incomes paid to the rich.
bulletThe poor do not have any valid representation of their concerns
bulletWork for the Dole and the New Jobs Jolt

 

bullet

Global Poverty Issues

bulletIntroduction: Measurement issues and distortions on global poverty
bulletStealing body parts from the poor: the new cannibalism
bulletThe World Bank acknowledges that the privatisation reform agenda doesn't work 
bulletGross Domestic Product GDP
bulletCorporate Welfare

 

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Poverty issues: national in an international context towards a synthesis

bulletBackground issues
bulletPoverty and the poverty line are institutionally created
bulletThe Token Economy
bulletSlaves and the rights of low income workers compared
bulletPoverty Kills
bulletSuggested method for eradicating poverty in NZ

 

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Appendix

bulletUIT Press release: Jobs Jolt

 

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Footnotes

bulletNumbered Lists

 

Introduction

Overview

This page draws together a series of vignettes, ideas and statistics on poverty, both globally and in New Zealand. It shows various aspects of the results of poverty and points to the direction of where the resources and money has gone that created it. A perusal of the Economics page reveals graphs, diagrams and statistics concerning status trends of  national and global wealth. The Violence page illustrates connections of poverty to socio-political violence. The answers to resolve poverty as advocated by the Universal Income Trust lies within the definition of universal income systems itself which can be found on the UI Systems page. As cited on that page, the education component provides the pathway to resolving the social/psychological aspects of poverty. The economic component of a universal income resolves the financial aspects.

A short response to the great so-praised employment miracle going on in Aotearoa New Zealand from 2003 to approximately 2009--whereby it has been regularly claimed that "unemployment has been reduced to a miniscule 3%".

In order to understand the nature of these misleadingly used "spin" type political statistics--which are often designed to lull certain sectors of society into a false sense of security and pride, with such further intents as the eliciting some form of formalised support from those sectors to be given to the authors of that misplaced security--it is important to carefully look at how these so-called "studies" are conducted, constructed, and presented.

There are two broad avenues for investigating the veracity of research: reliability and validity. Reliability relates to the degree that others are able to repeat the same research project and come up with the same results or findings of the original researchers. Validity relates to the degree between what a research project purports to be measuring and what it in fact actually measures. In this case we will soon see that within these studies they are very different things.

In broad general terms we can associate the reliability of this study to the methodology or procedures: the theory and practice of how the study/survey was conducted. The validity will relate more to the study's findings and their subsequent meanings or interpretations that are presented to society.

Two types of common errors that are useful to look for when analysing such studies include the following:

  1. Errors in Omission

    this refers to the leaving out of important facts, principles, and patterns--contextual and otherwise--that would help one correctly understand, interpret, and apply the information gathered in an objective non-biased manner as far as reasonably possible.

     

  2. Errors in commission

    this refers to the insertion of information into a study that is misleading, incorrect, and/or inapplicable--without adequate qualifications--and can otherwise distort a reasoned interpretation of the information at hand.

At the time of writing, 2/10/2009, Statistics New Zealand has not fully published their methodology for conducting the Household Labour Force Survey and its formulas relating it to the census data which are used for their calculations. The information is presently divided among various departments and is not in an indexable publicly accessible format. As such the information that might be given to me for a given enquiry could be quite different for some one else making the exact same request; this makes the information available politically subjective, arbitrary, and nearly impossible to evaluate meaningfully. At this point one can't be confident of having all the relevant information necessary to provide a proper critique. On Statistic New Zealand's website they do have an over generalised and largely useless summary of their statistic gathering methodologies that makes sure to emphasize that...[...]

costs ignored cpi ignores lifestyle changes between work spending more driving eating junk food, Library, child care increases, lower health standards, rubbish pickup, higher medicine costs,  finds,

Effects of statisitics misreporting, avoidance, and black market effects; remote area policy issues, code of social and family responsibility; jobs jolt forced relocation programmes political and media attack of low income people attacking low-income and inciting fear

a household labour an accessible reliable manner for the general public on their website. One has too enquire personally in writing, or by phone,

Arbitrary work hours Joseph savage fulltime work definition full time equates with one persons income being sufficient to provide for a household, and the active participation in the management of local or national government affairs that effects one's stakeholder rights or interests for the sustainability of one's society.

Early definition of Employment from the 1935 labour manifesto of the Michael Joseph Savage government which first formed the foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand's Social Welfare state. This is the definition that has remained the definition of employment for most people in NZ from the 1930's through to the late 1980's 57

[...] To organise an internal economy that will distribute the production and services in a way that will guarantee to every person able and willing to work an income sufficient to provide him and his dependents [inclusive of spouse] with everything necessary to make a 'home' and 'home life' in the best sense of the meaning of those terms [ibid page 165 57].

"Full employment would be a priority but until it was attained the unemployed and their dependents must have their living standards maintained." [ibid page 165 57].as such the same manifesto also recognised as a first priority that it must unconditionally engage in:

[...] restoring a decent living standard to those who have been deprived of essentials for the past [...] years [ibid page 165 57].

Additionally, with the universal minimum-wage level, and unconditional benefit was the universal insurance policy provided by the social security act that treats every citizen and permanent resident of NZ as a respected human being allowing them their rightful heritage to live with dignity and as equals regardless of economic, social, physical, sexual, cultural, racial, or any other distinction.

a national health [free universal healthcare] and superannuation scheme for invalids and their dependents, widows and their children, and all persons at the age of sixty; and access for all children to education from kindergarten to university.

 

Other issues: Legalisation and compulsory Prostitution laws and practices; persecution of the poor and unemployed, code of social and family responsibility; remote area policies, jobs jolts and forced evictions of the poor

 

 

 

 

Some positive developments in economic rights moving to the full

The poor and unemployed are working

Contrary to the popular global misinformation campaign that has been going on about poverty, most of the world's poor are working. According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors 1997 survey of 29 cities, "almost one in five homeless persons are employed in full or part-time jobs. In many states and communities, the percentage of homeless persons who work is even higher: in Virginia, 48% of persons entering homeless shelters are working; 35% are employed full-time. In…Jefferson, Indiana, 50% of homeless persons receiving shelter in 1997 were employed". Quite frequently people assume that the person lying on the street in rags with a bottle of wine got there because of the alcohol. Very often it is the opposite, as a result of having to live on the street with only rags to keep warm, a bottle of alcohol, bought with the money earned working in the fields, helps to create the illusion of warmth for another day.

No one who has ever gone to a third world country can honestly say, to those people who work seven days a week in every job conceivable in the most oppressive conditions imaginable, that all they need is more work or to work harder to get out of poverty. The fact is that it is their labour and resources that provides the west with its foundational structures representing the wealth of the new Information technology: gold, diamonds, salt, metals, computers, electronic components, clothing, shoes, and so forth.

In NZ the food, farming, social service, health, education and arts industries are almost all functioning off volunteer, low-paid, and/or part time workers without which they effectively wouldn't exist. If a law was passed tomorrow that forced an increase in minimum wage standards to meet the international legal standard, which is that one person's income should be enough to provide for a household, a good portion of Aotearoa NZ's businesses and social services would go under. Society would then have more unemployed people. This time it would be the small business and service sectors that would be carrying the weight of the asset sales burden. Notice that their unemployment would have nothing to do with their skill, education level, or being lazy, it would be entirely caused by government policy as it is for the poor today.

 

"Jobs" are no longer an answer to poverty

The answer to poverty, therefore, has nothing to do with people not working, or not wanting to work, or the need for more jobs, but rather, it is one of raising income levels and providing a more equitable distribution of resources.

 

Due to technological advances, the age of "well paid full-time employment for everyone" has passed.

Technology is the practical application of knowledge whose basic aim is to save energy and increase efficiency by reducing labour and costs. As such the continuing development of technology will eventually put the majority of the people out of traditional well-paid full-time work. As of 2002, Germany has over 4 million people unemployed. High percentages of the homeless are working in full-time and part-time jobs in the U.S.A. New Zealand has 51% of its workers receiving some form of income assistance in order to live. Argentina was South America’s second most affluent economy. In 2003, it has six out of ten people living below the poverty line struggling to survive. The Southeast Asian "economic miracle" countries of the late 1980s to the early 1990s have yet to recover from their collapse. Third world countries have the poor working in some of the most repressive situations imaginable. These include sweathouses that sustain developed countries' food, clothing and electronics industries as well as the new information technologies of today. The idea that everyone in the future will simply be working full-time at the jobs that maintain the new technologies negates the point in developing the technologies in the first place.

 

If jobs are not an answer to poverty what determines how people get their wealth?

So if it isn't jobs and education that is going to raise people's income level out of poverty, how does the rest of society get their actual money?

Access to the social capital--a major source of differences in income, between and within societies--is in large part the product of externalities: membership in a particular society, and interaction with other members of that society under practices that commonly give preferred access to particular members. How large are these externalities, which must be regarded as owned jointly by members of the whole society? When we compare the poorest with the richest nations, it is hard to conclude that social capital can produce less than about 90 percent of income in wealthy societies like those of the United States or North-western Europe. On moral grounds, then, we could argue for a flat income tax of 90 percent to return that wealth to its real owners. In the United States, even a flat tax of 70 percent would support all governmental programs (about half the total tax) and allow payment, with the remainder, of a patrimony of about $8,000 per annum per inhabitant, or $25,000 for a family of three. This would generously leave with the original recipients of the income about three times what, according to my rough guess, they had earned.

Ph.D. Herbert Simon, Nobel Laureate in Economics 56

According to Nobel laureate Herbert A. Simon, who is also a supporter of Universal Income Systems, the primary determinant for amounts of income received is based on who you know, what organisations they belong to, and how close their hand is to the proverbial cookie jar. The wealth that they are receiving is actually derived from the capital that is jointly owned by every member of society equally. As such there is a moral mandate to raise the tax rate to 70% so the money can be distributed back to the public in the form of a Universal Income. In US dollars, it nets the equivalent of a minimum wage level income since it gets paid to all people including children. [in NZ 2009 standards one would have to multiply his figures by three (P.D.)]

 

 

Short history of NZ's new poverty

Background

Aotearoa NZ, from the end of the 1930s up to the beginning of the 1980s, was in a state of near full-employment with free health and free education and close to a 100% stakeholder society inclusive of all its citizens and permanent residents. Up to the beginning of the 1990s, honesty boxes for newspapers could be found on the main streets of Auckland from most vendors full of money that anyone could steal if they wished, but as most people had reasonable incomes, the money was left alone. This was a visible tribute to the accomplishments of New Zealand’s past welfare state that marked a more inclusive society. It also had a tax rate almost double what it is today in order to sustain the jobs, education, health and other components of the social welfare state. Economically NZ had one of the most socially just and thriving economies in the world (11 and 44). 

Successive governments beginning in the 1980s sold off NZ's principal assets used for distributing income through those jobs as well as its means for wealth production and security of the country for its people (3). It did this without the "informed consent" of the public and much of it was sold under "urgency" to the very business consultants hired by the government to advise them as to how NZ could improve its economy (46). After the assets were sold the individuals and corporations who usurped them lobbied the government to lower tax rates while they "laid-off" and/or redefined the jobs of close to half of NZ's full time work force into part-time or low-paid work in order to make personal profits and produce services and items a bit cheaper. This was a clear demonstration of the principle concerning private individuals, businesses, and corporations not having the clearly defined social justice and income distributive mandate that a government has.

"So the question is, do corporate executives, provided they stay within the law, have responsibilities in their business activities other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible? And my answer to that is, no they do not."  MILTON FRIEDMAN (1912–  ), interview with John McClaughry, contributing editor of Business and Society Review, on the topic of corporate social responsibility.—“Milton Friedman Responds,” Chemtech, February 1974, p. 72

The result is that 51% of NZ's population is now having to receive some form of income support in order to live. A primary reason for this is that the minimum-wage is way too low for the average person to be able to provide adequately for a household. This is not the exclusive responsibility of those who have low-incomes; but rather, it is a result of the mismanagement of the economic system: the government's responsibility.

It can be quite disconcerting to realise how few people, especially from the economic, legal, and political establishments, are aware of how NZ society actually works. They seem to honestly not be aware that it is the so-called "unemployed", low-income worker who actually picks, packs, processes and distributes the food they eat, while they are trying to figure out how to get them into "meaningful employment". The "unemployed" and low-paid workers also provide the backbone to the essential services of this country. The jobs they are working are mostly non-unioned, low-paid, intermittent, part time work. However most people in these areas are working full-time in actual hours, or more, as they are stringing multiple part-time jobs together. Many are being lableled unemployed as they are legally registered with Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) while they are working full-time hours at an intermittent job such as a seasonal job. Most are are not collecting a full benefit and some are not collecting any benefit. They do this to compensate for the shortfalls in their low-salaries to help pay for rent or top off their incomes in order to provide for their families. Another reason they do this is, that when their job ends--such as a seasonal job--they can immediately qualify for priority status to enter another job working in such places as government agencies, social and health services, city councils, and schools under a subsidised scheme like that of the Task Force Green programme. What this means, in fact, is that these schemes including the unemployment benefit are principally a type of government-social service-corporate-business "targeted welfare payment" that subsidises these organisation's inability to meet their responsibilities of paying a legal minimum-wage salary—such that one person’s income is sufficient to provide for a household.   

Minimumwage calculation

At present NZ’s minimum wage level is about half the legal minimum wage standard mandated in international human rights laws, see International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (I.C.E.S.C.R article 7). I.e. one person’s income should be sufficient to provide for a household. However as of the beginning of the 1990’s, NZ requires that both members of a nuclear family household be required to register for the unemployment benefit as well as fulfilling individual work requirements in order to receive this income. As such the gross income for work--per individual--of approximately $9,000.00 is less than half of what it takes for one individual to provide for a household. Therefore at 2003 the minimum-wage should not be below $18,000 a year. However, considering the increase in rates, and the original means of calculating the unemployment benefit (see below) we should add somewhere between an extra 20% to 25% more. Which means that the minimum-wage should be somewhere, conservatively, around $22,000 dollars a year gross using the present treasury calculations. Note, few small businesses and services could provide this level of income without themselves going under and becoming unemployed. However a universal income takes the exclusive burden of payment off of individual businesses and spreads the responsibility across the board making it affordable for everyone to pay and receive. See economics page for models and details.

Low income people, as such, are no longer considered as equal stakeholders in their own tax and income system as identified by the processes and recommendations from the NZ government's tax review 2000-2001 committee (12). This means that the people of Aotearoa NZ, representing those of its lower socio-econonomic-status, are being systematically disinherited from their full rights and powers of citizenship over their own country.  

1. Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to have effective access, on a non-discriminatory basis, to participation in the government of his or her country and in the conduct of public affairs.

(From Annex Article 8, see also ICCPR Article 25).

Corporate Welfare and the progressive targeted Universal Incomes paid to the rich.

Ironically, if we understand welfare payments to be defined as follows:

Welfare payments are any targeted payment or tax transfer in the form of a tax relief, break, cut, rebate, or subsidy which is not a payment in return for productive services but represents an income redistribution, whereby the rest of society is expected to carry the burden of that payment and\or any shortfall payments directly resulting from that outlay. The shortfalls of which can be found in the inequities and disparities of the requisite funding responsibilities--placed on each individual--for the up-keep of the shared essential services and resources defined by law for that society. These include such things as health, education, natural resources, and minimumwage payments.

We then find that it is the wealthiest individuals and corporations that are receiving the lions share of welfare payments at levels unlike any known before in history (see Taxation Systems: Who Really Pays? on Economic page and Corporate Welfare below). 

James Tobin, a Yale University professor,... winner of the 1981 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science...[and a long standing advocate of universal income systems].

Tobin said that instead of achieving...goals of ending inflation and improving employment, productivity and investment,...cuts in Government spending and taxes will worsen the plight of...poor people. "What it is sure to do is redistribute wealth, power and opportunity to the wealthy and powerful and their heirs,"... 

TOBIN, NOBEL WINNER, SLAMS REAGANOMICS'
Author:
Associated Press
Date:
Friday, October 16, 1981
Section:
ECONOMY

Subsidised education for the rich at the expense of the rest of society

For example free tertiary education is a right, not a privilege, for a society that can afford it like NZ. See the ICESCR Art 13 and Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: New Zealand. 23/05/2003. This committee's comment to NZ is quoted as follows:

10. The Committee notes the absence of any significant factors or difficulties impeding the effective implementation of the Covenant [International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights] by the State party [New Zealand].

Free is a bit of a misnomer as well. It traditionally means the following: after everyone has paid an equal percentage of their income or resources for a "public" resource or service, which they all own or share an equal percentage of, they are then allowed to use it freely without additional costs. NZ used to have a free tertiary education system like many other socialised countries. We are presently, however, using a user-pay-tax type system to fund our system. Under this system those who have the least income pay the highest percentage of their income or resources to go to school, while those who have progressively the highest incomes pay the lowest percentage of their resources or incomes for their education. For example:

A person earning $10,000 a year pays approximately 1000% more under the current user-pay tax system for the same education than a person earning $100,000 a year, and approximately 10,000% more than a person receiving a million dollars a year and so on.

As a matter of fact, since the very wealthy pay so much less for their education than they would under a fair tax system based on a percentage of income, they are not only going to school free, but are actually being subsidised or paid to go to school by the rest of society whether they go or not. Hence, they are on social welfare (See Taxation Systems: Who rally pays?). This tax structure that we are modelling from the USA is from a country who has been cited in the UNHDR 2003 as having the worst education system, of high income countries, in terms of meeting the basic needs of literacy for its own people.

The Human Poverty Index (HPI) for rich countries which ranks them according to their national levels of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and life-expectancy. Sweden comes in at the top while the United States finishes last. The Report notes that Sweden, despite a lower per capita income than the United States, has, on average, more adults who are functionally literate and fewer living in poverty. This Index shows that even in middle or high income countries, inequity persists (47).

The tax system that we are more and more moving towards is one based on fixed chargers: user-pays, flat rates, GST, and resource type taxes. They place more of the burden of payment, as shown, on the lower to middle income earners and place the wealthiest of society on an extreme form of social welfare system that they really don't need at the highest cost of the needs and rights of those with the least in society.

This does not count all the additional subsidies that the wealthiest businesses receive for example:

"Mr Fraser rejected media criticism of TVNZ... [it]... received $12 million from the Government to discharge responsibilities such as greater diversity of programming. TVNZ was withholding funds to reinvest in the business – a common practice, he said."

Higher pay for Holmes indicated in TVNZ report 
16 October 2003 
By KAREN CHAN and NZPA 
The Dominion Post

See Corporate Welfare below for more information

As a result the poorest of society are losing the jobs they once held that paid them decent wages and allowed them to provide adequately for their children. They now have to rely more on subsidies to help them make ends meet even though they are still working the same amounts of hours and in many cases more. The jobs themselves, that people are being forced to take are substandard and are unable to provide the legal minimum requirements for life. The poor's income or subsidy is therefore not really a welfare payment at all, but a compensatory readjustment for wages lost as a result of a mismanaged economy's ability to meet basic minimum rights. The poor's so called "tax transfer subsidy" is also a misnomer. It is essentially no different than a wage for any other government or public employee such as an MP's salary. They are all paid out of the public purse. Minimum living and working standards are not a privilege but a right. The problem therefore, is not what are we going to do with all those poor people on welfare but rather what are we going to do with all those rich people on welfare who are taking everyone else's incomes as a result of their dominance in almost all of the key decision making processes of the country? (See below on corporate welfare for more information)

Further, the decision making power of what to do from here so as to improve the current situation in NZ has been handed over to those who have usurped the people's resources. This is not unlike the perverse absurdity of requiring a robbery victim to have to work for the robber in order to "earn" some of their resources back. The consequences are that there has been a marked increase in crimes, violence, poverty, homelessness, and poverty related health issues/mortality rates (13). From the 1990's to present, 2003, New Zealand has steadily dropped in status from the global social progress and human development ranking values which have gone from averages of the 9th highest in the world during the beginning of the 1970's down to 20th in rank in 2003 as interpolated from the Weighted Index of Social Progress (WISP Studies) and the United Nations Human Development Report 2003 (UNHDR) respectively.  

 

The poor do not have any valid representation of their concerns

The poor, defined here for NZ, are those whose incomes fall below the internationally recognised legal minimum wage standard whereby one person's income is sufficient to provide for a household. These people do not have any valid representation in government or in any of its subordinate departments. They are being denied the requisite time and resources to adequately represent their own concerns as it relates to the issues that affects their lives. In all democratic civilized societies groups of people have the right to adequate representation by elected members of their peers. For example, no one would ever consider allowing men to stand up as representatives for women's concerns, or employers to represent workers, or Pakeha to represent Maori, and so forth. Yet the prejudice against the poor is so endemic, as it was during the age of slavery, that the fact isn’t questioned, i.e. the allowing and encouragement of representation of the poor by the rich, or people and organisations that have a direct conflict of interest and whose livelihoods are dependent upon the continued existence of poverty. It is not surprising therefore that all the decisions made about the alleviation of poverty, finances and economics are always in the interests of those consulted. Yet those who bear the heaviest burden of the consequences thereof are ignored. Successive governments have even gone to the extremes of promoting specific "politically correct" programmes via the mass media with selected stereotypical token representatives of the poor to convince the public that all low-income people needed was something else besides an adequate income in order to alleviate their poverty. 

With certain exceptions most of the categories of people that can be discriminated against whether they be employment related, racial, cultural, sexual, age, physical/ psychological abilities, it is the poor of those categories who are discriminated against the most.

 

Work for the Dole and the new Jobs Jolt

Work for the Dole

In NZ, 51% of the population as of 2001 are on some form of tax transfer subsidy and are viewed as "non-stakeholders" in NZ's society, even though the vast majority of these people are working. New Zealand since the beginning of the 1990's has had a work requirement for the Unemployment Benefit. The initial name was called the Community Task Force. It has gone through subsequent changes of a more punitive nature since then. 

In 1998 the NZ government went so far as to enact a system of financial sanctions based on work performance such that employers can doc pay as they see fit to punish the poor and keep them in submissive servitude. Criminal in itself, the work for the dole system violates international compulsory labour laws (see ICCPR article 8). 

In a news industrial press release, Dunedin, February 18, 1997, "Josh Stevenson, of the Centre for Psycho-Sociological Development, said the ILO committee of experts viewed working for the unemployment benefit as forced labour, as it meant losing the benefit if the work was turned down."

None of these policies, however, have improved the plight of the poor in New Zealand.

The sanctions ultimately have punished the children the hardest--the New Zealand Government was officially sanctioned by the United Nations committee on economic social and cultural rights (ECOSOC) on the effects of the economic policies on the poor, children, and its traditional workers during the 1990's (49)--and debased the level of humanity of this country in the eyes of the civilised world, as Aotearoa NZ was one of its leading countries of Social Justice. For example:

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 It was the first modern western country to recognise women's right to vote.

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 The Maori Women's Welfare League played an instrumental role in expanding the breadth of international cultural rights to recognise the dynamics of group rights.

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It was an original founder of the United Nations.

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Aotearoa NZ was a recognised egalitarian country that had in excess of 30 years of full employment with well-paid jobs.

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It had a minimum wage level such that one person's income was sufficient to provide for a household.

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It provided government built Low-rent housing and cheap loan financing for those who wished to buy their own house.
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Prior to 1939 New Zealand had a "privatised free market" driven economy. During the year of the influenza epidemic of 1919, more people lost their lives than in World War 1. A four year enquiry found that substandard housing was the leading cause for the spread of infection in NZ. They also found that the number of unoccupied homes exceeded that of overcrowded substandard homes. The forces of "supply and demand" did not "clear" the market. There was excessive supply in the face of shortage. Unregulated private ownership could not deal with the problem. The people demanded change. The government of Michael Joseph Savage, answered the people's call by introducing an active, State supported housing policy which rested on a two-part intervention. State rental houses were built by the government and cheap loan finance was made available to those who wanted to buy their own homes. This remediated the problem and set the standard for NZ's housing policies for the next several decades (P. 86-87 11).

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It had free health services and free tertiary education (45). 

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It had an unemployment benefit sufficient for people to participate in their society and live with some sense of dignity.

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In spite of its tumultuous internal history of struggling to work though the barriers of cultural differences--with all its failings and successes--those successes have far outstripped the successes of most other countries struggling with those same issues. 

The fundamental values of inclusion, providing a children friendly society, respect and appreciation for the differences of others, desire to live in a society that respects the basic dignity of all people, and to be able to live in harmony with the natural environment were all defining characteristics making the above achievements possible. It still had a long way to go in helping to extend those values to all people but its achievements were remarkable.

In addition this regimen provides an effective means for further institutionalising such anti-social and criminal behaviours such as bullying, and sexual abuse/slavery into New Zealand society. Under this system, employers are offered, carte blanche, the controlling and repressive powers of the use of the “death threat” via a partial to total income denial in order to exact compliance for any desire they have from their employees. This kind of unbridled power to manipulate and control people against their will has the morbid effect of going way beyond normal job skill development requirements to desensitising the manipulator/employer to fully explore their darkest, fetish, desires with minimal fear of consequence. If the employee is fired or quits she or he is not entitled to unemployment or any social welfare benefit. This means that the worker will not be able to feed, house, or care for their children’s or their own life sustaining necessities. In short, people who come from poor backgrounds that do not have inheritances or wealthy families’ resources to fall back on, have the real threat of death placed on them and their families (see Poverty Kills). They are forced to submit to any abuse and keep silent about it. The poor must work unsupported in mostly non-union job situations; they, their concerns, and their word are not trusted and treated with the equality of respect and dignity given to those from wealthy backgrounds by the rest of mainstream society. Many people in order to protect themselves from these kinds of abusive and threatening situations would rather turn to prostitution, selling drugs, stealing, and joining gangs of a criminal nature in order to survive.

[Note on prostitution and exploitation]

The point of bringing up prostitution is not to create a value judgement about the “goodness” or “badness” of the profession but rather highlight the issue of exploitation against the background of stereotypes. Anytime people are compelled to work in a job against their will it is exploitation. People are different; a job that is desirable and acceptable to one person may rightfully be the opposite for another. If someone is working in a job of their own free will, are happy with what they are doing, its legal, and it is not harming anyone then that job is fine for that person as a worker. On the other hand that same job to a different person can be totally exploitive of every physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual sense that person has. For someone like that the job is pure exploitation and can lead to the total destruction of the psychological integrity of that person. People subjected to this kind of abuse are rarely going to be providing anything positive to a society until they come to terms with their abuse; for many this may never happen. Policies that override international human rights laws and compel people to work at jobs that will, are, or have violated people to this degree provide nothing useful for a civilised society. Therefore there is no positive societal benefit pursuing social welfare/employment policies that can force outcomes of this nature. The right to free choice of employment (ICESCR Art. 6 ) does not mean extorting cheap labour by compelling people to choose a job that is the lesser of oppressive evils. 

These types of programmes are almost always implemented via some public disinformation campaign designed to incite public prejudice by the creation and/or reinforcement of false stereotypes against the poor (See press release below). In the final analysis the real purpose for pursuing programmes of this nature are as a means of lowering the wages of the traditional “working class” population. Ironically, forcing more people to aggressively compete for limited jobs lowers the wages but it also reduces the amount of money available for people to purchase resources, pay taxes, fund the essential social security structure of a society, and ultimately it reduces the overall profits for the majority of that society’s businesses. Therefore having so many people working at the lowest possible wages undermines the economic  stability and security of that society.

 
February 29, 2000 : the youngest school murder

Flint Michigan (U.S.A.), at Buell Elementary School, a six year old child shot and killed another six year old girl named Kayla. The child that shot her was the son of a woman that was forced away from her home to work in a Work for the Dole programme and was unable to care for her child properly. They were also being evicted because she wasn't earning enough money to live there anymore. As such she had to leave her child with another relative who had a gun in his house where the child found it and brought it to school. This incident marks the youngest school murder in US history. That same impoverished district has homicide as the leading cause of death for young children, a sad tribute to the achievements of their work for the dole scheme. This was the same welfare reform model adopted by the New Zealand government in 1998 to inflict on its poor. The principal funder and supporter of the programme in the US was Lockheed Martin (6), the biggest weapons manufacturer on the planet. The idea was to turn welfare into a profit making industry exploiting the hardships of poverty to create a cheap labour force to create more money for the rich. 

The central location for this giant weapons company is in the small town of Littleton Colorado, where it is its largest employer, and one of its most influential organisations ( see Michael Moore's academy award winning documentary movie Bowling for Columbine). This is the place that gained world notoriety for the Columbine school massacre. Thirty-three children were gunned down at school by two other children in the deadliest school killings in U.S. history (7). Fourteen children--including the shooters--and one teacher died on that fateful day of the 20th of April 1999. Twenty-one other children were wounded. To date the parents of the dead children are still trying to get the information released on why this massacre happened. But they are under court order not to speak of the evidence released in videotapes and letters recorded by the shooters that explained their actions. The presiding judge has ordered that all the evidence be destroyed. A reason given was that their may be copycat killings. However, the methods of how they were planning to kill the children and acquired the weapons are already public knowledge. Similar killings on a smaller scale have also already happened. So at this point what is the actual risk of explaining "why"? The children who did the shooting were both from "gifted education programmes" and they left records in written and audio visual format as to what they were thinking and trying to achieve. What they have to say is absolutely critical for understanding the nature of this type of violence and preventing it from happening again. What is it that they have said that is so threatening to the establishment that they have to take such extreme measures to keep it from the public and risk further recurring incidents in the future?    

Whatever it is they are hiding in Lockheed Martin's town of Littleton, that obviously exceeds the horror of what has already been cited as public record, we may never know; but however, one has to ask "why is it that the government of New Zealand feels that the US of all countries--which rates well beneath New Zealand in social progress issues (see WISP studies and UHDR Reports)--and Lockheed Martin's projects in particular, should be the model for the development of NZ's social welfare system?". The track record of this company's handling of their work for welfare programme has been so appalling and expensive that they have lost their contract and the US government is taking the welfare system back into its own hands (5). The United States has not ratified the full International Bill of Human Rights. It has a death penalty along with a plethora of policies and practices that are condemned in International Human Rights Laws. New Zealand along with the majority of other civilised countries on this planet that have ratified the International Bill of Human Rights have a legal mandate to adhere to these laws (see Human Rights Laws Supersede National Statute Laws). If we are going to be modelling social welfare programmes from other cultures we should be examining those of Scandinavian or other countries that are working towards compliance with international human rights laws

 

Government misleads the public on the status of social welfare in New Zealand

One of the reasons given to the public for this "crackdown" on the poor was the sudden increase in people claiming "income support" benefits. What was not told to the public but was revealed in several government documents later such as the draft submission to the United Nation’s ECOSOC committee submitted in 2002 was that, during that time, they raised the eligibility age for superannuation such that those who were no longer receiving it had to claim unemployment or sickness benefits.

 

Jobs Jolt and remote area policies

The "Jobs Jolt" can probably be best described as another social welfare programme for dysfunctional businesses: corporate welfare. Instead of allowing the so-called market forces to encourage these businesses to raise their wages and working conditions to attract employees, the government is saying to these organisations "we would like to reward whatever you have been doing wrong with your business. So we have decided to intervene and get the tax payer to pay for sending you unwilling employees--another fictitious label applied to justifying the re-introduction of outlawed slave labour programmes--to your dysfunctional businesses from all over the country so you can save money and prosper on the backs of the tax payers". We shift welfare from those who really need it to those who don't and who, likewise, were the primary forces that have been pushing for its abolishment. See Corporate Welfare for more information below

The overall effectiveness and usefulness to society of the Jobs Jolt and the Work for the Dole schemes can best be summarised by Groucho Marx:

"Look at me: I worked my way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty".

Marx, Groucho (Julius Marx) (1895-1977) US comedian. Monkey Business, 1931

 

As of August 2003, the NZ government implemented this compulsory labour scheme referred to as the "Jobs Jolt" programme. See Press Release below. In this programme people are compelled to take even more part-time jobs strung together in order to minimise their dependence on welfare in order to avoid being relocated.

Parliamentary Debates 5 Aug 2003. p7557 
(HANSARD)

Barbara Stewart [MP]:

How does the Minister reconcile his "move or lose the dole" scheme with the rights of those experienced and skilled people in the 55 to 59-year age group who have already contributed their labour and taxes and who face enormous barriers in re-entering the workforce?

Hon STEVE MAHAREY [Minister for Social Development and Employment]:

For people who are 55-plus years, the package means that now they are work tested they also have access to work support, so that they can find a job. For people in remote areas, case managers will now be able to take those people who have decided that they simply want to live in a remote area but not seek a job, and ask them to move.

This will do very little to increase their incomes as it will lower the overall wages for everyone since more people will be competing even harder for the limited part-time and even rarer full-time jobs available. The difference between this programme and work for the dole is as follows:

Under the work for the dole system the income received is viewed as a community wage, for compulsory work in the volunteer sector paid at the level of the unemployment benefit which is way below minimum wage.

Under the jobs jolt programme people will be compelled to take primarily privatised, non-unioned, part-time jobs that are strung together in excess of traditional full-time hours except the total wage will be no higher than the dole after expenses. They will also be compelled to take any full-time work no matter how low the job standards are. Both "work for the dole" and "Jobs jolt" are compulsory. The jobs jolt adds the additional threat and punishment of relocation from remote areas to some place that nobody else, living near there, wants to work at either. 

The following refers to some of the Laws and parameters governing the rights to free choice of residence and movement within a country that are violated by these schemes.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Ratified by NZ on the 28th December 1978; put into force 28th March 1979. No reservations on this Article) 

bulletArticle 12 (for more information see 12) 
bullet1. Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory,
 have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.

Freedom of movement (Art.12): . 02/11/99.
CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.9, CCPR General comment 27. (See General Comments for more info. requires adobe acrobat reader)

GENERAL COMMENTS ADOPTED BY THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE UNDER ARTICLE 40, PARAGRAPH 4, OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS

bullet

1. Liberty of movement is an indispensable condition for the free development of a person. 
It interacts with several
other rights enshrined in the Covenant, as is often shown in the
Committee's practice in considering reports from States
parties and communications from 
individuals. Moreover, the Committee in its general comment No. 15 ("The position
of aliens 
under the Covenant", 1986) referred to the special link between articles 12 and 13. 

bullet

2. The permissible limitations which may be imposed on the rights protected under article 12 
must not nullify the
principle of liberty of movement, and are governed by the requirement 
of necessity provided for in article 12, paragraph
3, and by the need for consistency 
with the other rights recognized in the Covenant.
 

bullet

3. States parties should provide the Committee in their reports with the relevant domestic 
legal rules and administrative
and judicial practices relating to the rights protected by 
article 12, taking into account the issues discussed in the present
general comment. They 
must also include information on remedies available if these rights are restricted.
bullet

[Note, the remedies taken have included further human rights violations such as the 
right to free choice of employment and the right to a minimum-wage level sufficient 
to provide for a household. (A) (B) P.D.]

bullet

5. The right to move freely relates to the whole territory of a State, including all parts of 
federal States. According to article 12, paragraph 1, persons are entitled to move from 
one place to another and to establish themselves in a place of their choice. The enjoyment 
of this right must not be made dependent on any particular purpose or reason for the person wanting to 
move or to stay in a place. Any restrictions must be in conformity with paragraph 3.

bullet

6. The State party must ensure that the rights guaranteed in article 12 are protected not 
only from public but also from
private interference. In the case of women, this obligation to 
protect is particularly pertinent. For example, it is
incompatible with article 12, paragraph 1,
that the right of a woman to move freely and to choose her residence be made
subject, by
law or practice, to the decision of another person, including a relative.
bullet

[In the specific case of the Jobs Jolt programme, private interference would include 
businesses, corporations, investors and unscrupulous wealthy entrepreneurs. P.D.]

bullet

7. Subject to the provisions of article 12, paragraph 3, the right to reside in a place of one's
choice within the territory includes protection against all forms of forced internal 
displacement. It also precludes preventing the entry or stay of persons in a defined part of 
the territory. Lawful detention, however, affects more specifically the right to personal
liberty and is covered by article 9 of the Covenant. In some circumstances, articles 12 
and 9 may come into play together. 
bullet

[This lies at the core of what is being violated by the remote area policies 
of the Jobs Jolt programme. The reservations cited refer to people who have committed 
crimes and are prisoners or under detention programmes. Clearly poor people are not 
criminals and should not be treated as such.]

It has to be asked, "What kind of job's are these, that are so bad that in a society where the work ethic is so highly entrenched, no one wants them or wants to live anywhere near where they are at?". 

Parliamentary Debates 5 Aug 2003. p7557 
(HANSARD)

Hon STEVE MAHAREY: The Jobs Jolt package addresses both employer and job seeker needs. The package will ensure better matching between job seekers and particular labour shortages in areas such as hospitality, retail, and transport.

Translated into english, this means that we will be forcing people to leave their homes and land in which they have been raised, worked, and developed, to live and work in cities at such places like McDonalds that do not allow their workers to unionise, have extremely high work burnout and turnover rates, have been cited by courts for misleading advertising concerning the nutritional value their "junk food" has on the health of people, and their exploitation of the vulnerabilities of children in order to sell their goods. See McSpotlight for court cases and more information. In short whoever is forced to leave their home and part time jobs for that of a McDonald's type job will find that they will probably be unemployed in less than a few years and will be living in a more expensive and less desirable place. Retail work will generally mean working at some non-union supermarket chain with similar turnover rates and so on with the rest of their so-called jobs. As such people will be forced to work more hours and receive less income. In New Zealand Census of Population and Dwelling 2001 new categories have been created to accommodate the extended hours that many people already have to work now. Though New Zealand officially lowered its full-time work week around a decade ago to 30 hours per week, in reality a growing population are now officially working around 60 hours per week. 

New Zealand has had, for over a decade now, a remote area policy that prevents people from moving to remote locations to live. The logistics and legality of which should be questioned (see above). The idea being that since there isn't many jobs in those areas the government won't allow poor people to move there. The reality is that there aren't any more jobs in many of the locations that people are allowed to live. As cited, over half the population is working for some form of benefit. So what difference does it really make where they live. Most city people prefer to live in the city and would not want to move to remote areas. Therefore the amount of people migrating to remote areas would be statistically insignificant. Further many of these remote areas have education classes, community programmes, stores, and businesses that desperately need more people attending, purchasing goods and resources in order for them to survive. Having more people living there would certainly be a boost to their economy and create more jobs. There are also cases under this system where couples that have children aren't able to live together and raise them because they are receiving some form of income assistance and are banned from living with their partner who would be living in another remote area. They can't afford to get married because it reduces their incomes. NZ is riddled with these types of situations where its own citizens are becoming aliens in their own country. Free citizenship is becoming replaced by a conditional citizenship, which is based on ones worth, rights and freedoms being determined by how much wealth one has.

There seems also to be a move to start shutting down operations and/or reduce staff for WINZ in these remote areas by moving these people out: hence, more unemployment.

Aside from being illegal and detrimental to the worker, forced labour programmes are also detrimental to many of the service organisations exploiting their labour. For example it would be extremely hazardous to the well-being of children, mentally handicapped, infirmed, and any clientele of the social service industry to have employees who are not intrinsically motivated to be there. The many global longitudinal studies testifying to this are some of the best in the fields. They include the Lebanese Creche studies, the Kauai studies, the British orphanage studies (e.g. Tizard and Rees) and the Headstart studies. In short placing children or people in need of care in the hands of people who are "cold" or do not have the skills and resources to effectively communicate nurturing values of love, can negatively effect the health, mental development, and general well-being of the individuals in their care ( P 214-217; 51). 

It should be remembered that as far as children are concerned they are already at a disadvantage in many instances, when they are forced to be separated from their primary care giver, to have to be raised in an institutional environment such as a daycare centre. The main reason is that young children need to develop continuity with their care givers in order to develop one-to-one attachments. This is an important requisite for emotional stability and the ability to develop long term meaningful relationships. In an institutional environment, regardless of how good and well meaning the caregiver is, the relationship is necessarily short term, and temporary. Therefore it is possible to raise the "IQ's" of children and some of their creative potential if it is an excellent centre with highly skilled caring staff. But it is at an important emotional cost if the parents or primary caregivers are not there to participate willingly with their child. What we know about children directly refute the governments assertions that children are better off being raised in daycare's while their parent(s)/primary caregiver(s) are at work. 

Note, NZ use to have very high standards in its provisions for the basic needs of its children. The play centre programmes that included parents and their children in cooperative learning environments is one such excellent example. The early Plunkett system was another. These programmes are grossly under funded and under utilised as a result. Few people have the time and resources to make the most of what these programmes have to offer under our present system. 

The whole mentality and practice underlying the "Work for the Dole" and the "Jobs Jolt" programmes whereby everyone should be in the paid work force is fundamentally flawed, wrong, and a violation of basic human rights. The Rights of the Child allows them to be raised by their primary caregiver(s) or parent(s) (see Rights of the Child Article 5). This isn't a negotiable luxury item for children. This is an essential requirement that children have for the development of their well-being such that they can contribute positively to the future development of their world. Its nice that the government is providing for paid parental leave. But the children need more than just a parental leave. They need their parent(s) at home. 

Working with people in the social service sector requires, dedication, training and an innate sense or desire to want to be there and help. No amount of financial punishments or threats can make people develop this innate sense of being. It is like love, you can't make people love something or someone by punishing, threatening, and hurting them. At best all these actions can do is create a more violent and psychotic society.

The only redeeming part of this programme, is that there seems to be some money allocated for grants that people wishing to move out of a remote area can apply for just that purpose. This is the beginning of a reasonable strategy leading to a more effective humanitarian way of working with people.

A final concern with this programme that everyone should be watching out for is the very real possibility that this could digress into a land grab situation (See above list of comments to the rights on freedom of movement esp. #7). Many moderate income earners, and superannuates, have houses and land that they have earned or inherited but are working and receiving some form of income assistance now. It would be quite easy for some unscrupulous wealthy entrepreneurs/investors to influence friends within the WINZ system to oust people out of their homes to move to other locations and take over their land. At the time of writing, housing prices have soared. Investors from the cities are buying up houses and properties in rural areas subsequently raising the prices and rates to levels that many of the locals can't afford. This forces locals out of their remote areas leaving it open for rich retirees, second home owners, and developers to take over those communities. Certainly, the more densely populated areas of NZ have "unemployed" people where those particular jobs are as well, so why focus on moving more "unemployed" people to those same regions?

This of course has a serious negative effect on the local economy of any community. If only rich people are encouraged to move to an area, they will tend to bring their rich lifestyles to that community as well. They generally vote for lowering taxes based on percentages of income or resources, but support the raising of rates and user-pay "tax" schemes in order to pay for public resources. In short everyone who is not extremely rich will find in short order that they too will have to move away from that area, because they won't be able to afford to live there either. Housing, land, and general cost of living prices will tend to soar. Eventually New Zealand will become a divided and segregated country similar to many other third world countries. We are on that path.

Summary of rights and laws violated by NZ's Jobs Jolt

In short the policies of the jobs jolt programme violate the following rights.

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 

[NZ Ratified June 3rd 1983 in Force June3 1984]

Article1 (Discrimination)
bullet

" For the purposes of this convention the term "discrimination" includes:

  1. any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion,, national extraction or social origin, which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 


[NZ Ratified 28 Dec. 1978 put into force 1993 with the reaffirmation of the Bangalore Principles via the 1993 High Level Judicial Colloquium in Bloemfontein, South Africa. 
New Zealand was represented by Rt. Hon Sir Robin Cooke KBE, President 
of the Court of Appeal.]

Article 5 (Illegal to destroy, limit-- such as minimizing interpretation, or ignore any of these rights)
bullet1. Nothing in the present Covenant maybe interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognised herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the present Covenant.
Article 6 (Right to life)
bullet

1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

Article 8 (compulsory labour and "wage slavery" -- servitude--are illegal)
bullet

No one shall be held in slavery; slavery and the slave-trade in all their forms
shall be prohibited.

bullet

No one shall be held in servitude.

bullet

No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour"

Article 12
bullet

Everyone lawfully within the territory of the state shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his/her residence.

bullet

Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.

bullet

The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognised in the present Covenant.

bullet

No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

Article 17 (Protection of honour, reputation, and unlawful interference with one's home and family)
bullet

1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his 
privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.

bullet

2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference
or attacks.

Article 25 ( All people have the freedom, without any discrimination of status, and right to participate directly in the management of public affairs)

Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:
bullet

(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;

bullet

(b) To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;

bullet

(c) To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his
[her] country.

Article 26 (Law must protect all people equally against any form of  discrimination)
bullet

All persons are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection of the law. In this respect, the law shall prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights

[NZ ratified 28 Dec.1978, put into force 1993 with the reaffirmation of the Bangalore Principles via the 1993 High Level Judicial Colloquium in Bloemfontein, South Africa. 
New Zealand was represented by Rt. Hon Sir Robin Cooke XBE, President 
of the Court of Appeal.]

Article 5 (Illegal to undermine or destroy these rights)
bullet

Nothing in the present Covenant may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights or freedoms recognised herein, or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the present Covenant.

Article 6 (Right to free choice of employment)
bullet

1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his/her living by work which he/she freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right.

Article 7 (Right to equal pay for equal work without any distinction
of any kind as well as a minimum wage set at a level such that one person's income is sufficient to raise a family/household.)
bullet

"ensure[s] in particular: Remuneration, which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:  

  1. Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind…  

  2. A decent living for themselves and their families in accordance with the provisions of the present Covenant;"

  3. Safe and healthy working conditions;

  4. Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;

  5. Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays.  

Article 9 (Right to social security and social insurance)
bullet

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognise the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance.

Article 11 (Right of everyone--it cannot be taken away "unconditional", without distinction of any kind--"universal", to an adequate standard of living for him/herself and his\her family--"income")
bullet

"The State Parties to the present covenant recognises the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself [herself] and his [her] family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The State Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realisation of this right, recognising to this effect the essential importance of international co-operation based on free consent."

Convention on the Rights of the Child  1989 

[NZ Ratified 6 April, 1993; in force 6 May 1993 with Reservation. Note the NZ Government has received official censuring for its human rights abuses against children]

Article 5 (Governments have a legal mandate to allow and support parents, principle care givers, and extended families as based on the cultural values of a given ethnic/ cultural group to act accordingly as the principle caregivers for their children. Governments should not stand in the way or hinder them, economically or otherwise, from this right and responsibility) 
bullet

States Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family or community as provided for by local custom, legal guardians or other persons legally responsible for the child, to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the
child of the rights recognized in the present Convention
.

Article 9 (Governments shall not separate children from their parents or primary care givers e.g. governments do not have a right to compel low income parents to send their children to childcare centres while they take on under paid jobs against their choosing at the expense of tending to their child's welfare.)
bullet

1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child's place of residence.

Article 16 (Child has a right to protection from unlawful interference, with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, and his or her honour and reputation.)
bullet

1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or 
her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or 
her honour and reputation.

bullet

2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference
or attacks.

(Compelling both parents of low income families away from their children, publicly implying that they are non-working, non-contributors to a healthy society, abusers of taxpayers money  and are subsequently the principle causes of human rights violations to workers and the children of NZ society because of their "irresponsible" abuse of everyone else's "hard earned income" is illegal.   This all happened in NZ with the commercialisation of the 1998 nation-wide survey entitled "The Code of Social and Family Responsibility" followed by the implementation of the "work for the dole" scheme. Not once in the document did it mention that low-income earners are tax-payers, as well as workers i.e. their income is legally earned, and in addition to this work, they are also major contributors to the volunteer sector of society. Almost all of the solutions offered for the misrepresented problems, to which the government's own policies can be identified as the actual source, involved separating low-income parents from their children, limiting their rights, resources, and income. In the final analysis it is the children of the poor who are and were hurt the most by these unprovoked acts of violence . These parents who have the legal right and responsibility to raise their own children are now having to go to soup kitchens, and food banks after work to feed their children. They are being held responsible for their children's conduct and educational performance, yet they are being deprived of being able to stay home and raise there child as well as provide the resources that are necessary to facilitate and reinforce their child's health and learning. They have been victimised by policies that have reduced the availability of real jobs complying with human rights standards, reduced income, reduced opportunities and resources with a disproportionate increase in expense for the funding of societies social structures via "user pay schemes" and so forth. 

The "Head Start" studies which have provided some of the most extensive longitudinal studies performed on children in pre-schools, have shown that children are far better--across the board--at home with the stability of a healthy family than they are unattended by their parents at an average preschool. These are major ongoing human rights violations aimed against low-income parents and their children as well as all other low-income people in NZ. It is also designed to keep workers "in line" via the "fear of poverty". It is difficult to imagine how the children of low-income families feel and felt like when everywhere from television, radio, newspapers, school, and into every household of NZ, these documents, issued by the government, concerning the so-called  "irresponsibility of their parents simply because they have low incomes" was being discussed. They had to cope with their parents being accused of being singularly responsible for all the principle human rights violations against children, and the mismanaging of the nations resources. The nation wide discussions of how to make low-income people be more responsible parents was based completely on  misrepresented information. The abuse, violations, and damage these children and their families are and have been experiencing as a result from our government's ignorance is staggering.

Article 18 (Parents and legal guardians have principle rights and responsibilities to raising their children, therefore it is the states responsibility to assist them financially and with resources to meet these ends.)
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1. States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the 
principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing 
and development of the child. Parents or, as the case maybe, legal guardians, 
have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the 
child. The best interests of the child will be their basic concern.

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2. For the purpose of guaranteeing and promoting the rights set forth in the 
present Convention, States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to 
parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing 
responsibilities and shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.

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3. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that children of working parents have the right to benefit from child-care services and facilities for which they are eligible.

(This article ensures that it is the parent’s responsibility and right to raise their child, that they should receive assistance to that end. If parents decide to both work in paid employment it is their freely chosen decision, not something imposed on them and they too can receive assistance.)

 
People not receiving enough income

People are simply not receiving enough income for their work on which to live. In many cases, both partners of a family are working in traditional paid work and do not have the time nor money to adequately raise their own children. Their combined incomes after stringing together a series of part time jobs, which can stretch through a full seven-day period, well in excess of a full-time job--without holidays--leaves them still in need of social welfare. As such, people are systematically losing their full rights of citizenship and access to representation by their elected peers. 

 

 

Global Poverty issues

Introduction: measurement issues and distortions on global poverty

As referenced elsewhere on this website, "225 of the world’s richest billionaires have a combined wealth equal to the poorest 47 percent of humankind...200 [of them] more than doubled their net worth in a 4-year period... (42) " The United Nations Human Development Report 2000 states that one third of the population of our planet is living on less than a dollar a day and close to half the population is living on less than two dollars a day.

This same trend is still occurring today as evidenced by the latest United Nations Human Development Report for this year, 2003.

2003 Human Development Index Reveals Development Crisis

21 countries suffered socio-economic reversals in the 1990s New York, 8 July 2003—The world is facing an acute development crisis, with many poor nations suffering severe and continuing socio-economic reversals, warns the Human Development Report 2003. The Report’s annual Human Development Index (HDI), measuring the progress of nations on key social and economic indicators, shows that 21 countries experienced declines in the 1990s. In the 1980s, only four countries tracked by UNDP showed similar decade-long declines. "Reversals in HDI are highly unusual as these indicators generally tend to edge up slowly over time," said Mark Malloch Brown, UNDP Administrator. "The fact that over the course of the 1990’s, 21 countries experienced a decline—in some cases a drastic drop—signifies an urgent call for action to address health and education as well as income levels in these countries."(48)

 
UNITED NATIONS MILLENNIUM DECLARATION: from the Millennium Summit

The Millennium Development Goals are an ambitious agenda for reducing poverty and improving lives that world leaders agreed on at the Millennium Summit in September 2000. For each goal one or more targets have been set, most for 2015, using 1990 as a benchmark. The one that most relates to this page is cited as follows:

Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger Target for 2015: Halve the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day and those who suffer from hunger.

As a result of this project, some world leaders rather than honestly tackling the problem, have been seeking out ways of simply redefining it in such a way that we can solve the problems statistically on paper rather than in actual fact. Right winged organisations have been releasing statistics showing that poverty is decreasing in third world countries relative to the "dollar-a-day" poverty bench mark. This was of course hailed as an achievement of the present globalisation and liberalisation intervention statistics and strategies. The World Bank's previous studies from the decade of the 1990's was also used in support of this claim. As cited in the previous paragraph the UNHDR 2003 does not accept that analysis to date. It should be added that according the the World Bank's most recent 2004 study, they are also backing away from the over simplistic solutions of the privatisation of public resources and the reliance on the general trade liberalisation models as the only viable solutions. See the World Bank's World Development Report 2004.

Sala-i-Martin, a leading right winged economist, in his paper, "The Disturbing 'Rise' of Global Income Inequality," which appears on his "eccentrically playful Columbia University faculty website" provides his theories for how poverty is being reduced. 

This short synopsis from CID at Harvard University:: Mind the gap the debate over global inequality heats up, Boston Globe, 1/5/03 has other eminent economists  critique his work. The first is by Branko Milanovic.

Sala-i-Martin has to fill the holes in the World Bank's data set in order to reach his optimistic conclusions. For countries that show data for some years and not others, he extrapolates to cover the years without observations. For countries that have only one inequality measurement on record, he assumes that this figure remains constant over the nearly 30 years of his study (inequality within countries tends to shift relatively slowly over time). For countries where no data are present at all, he uses GNP per capita [This assumes that everyone in the country earns about the same level of income: a ridiculous assumption for a study that purports to study the varying inequalities of poverty. P.D. Critics, including Milanovic, charge that these assumptions render Sala-i-Martin's calculations highly speculative.] 

Some of the best economic analysis and critiques on the World Bank measurements 
of global poverty supposedly being reduced, that I have encountered, are done by Sanjay Reddy and Thomas Pogge, also of Columbia University. They provide the second critique of Sala-i-Martin's theory summarised here.

Sanjay Reddy and Thomas Pogge, also of Columbia, in a recent paper called "How Not to Count the Poor." Reddy and Pogge raise a strong objection to their colleagues' [Sala-i-Martin] methods. To compare one country's poverty problem with another's requires converting currencies across vastly different economies. Economists get around this problem by using a measure called Purchasing Power Parity, or PPP, which bases conversion rates on the cost of goods and services within a given country as well as on overall consumption patterns inside that country. According to Pogge and Reddy, the use of PPP leads economists to mismeasure poverty. Services-say, manicures, drivers, and massages-cost a lot less in India than they do in the United States. Goods, including basic foodstuffs, also cost less in India than in the United States, but not as much less as services do. So as Indians become generally wealthier and consume more services, the dollar will appear to go farther than it used to in India. But for India's poor, who are mainly consuming food, the worth of the dollar, or the rupee, has not significantly changed. What looks like a drop in poverty is...[more than probably] a statistical illusion.

For more information on these Topics see INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL ANALYSIS – A GLOBAL VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATION  ESTABLISHED BY SCHOLARS AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

 

Stealing body parts from the poor: the new cannibalism 

BBC World Service cites the following disturbing trends:

All over the world rich people who are ill are prepared to pay huge sums of money for the chance of a normal life.

Equally, desperately poor people are driven to sell a kidney [or other body parts] as a way of feeding their families.

Into this trade have stepped unscrupulous brokers, prepared to trick people into parting with an organ, often for a paltry fee.

In this programme we report on the global adoption scam showing how rich people are buying babies for huge sums believing them to be "orphans" when they are not. How brokers and middlemen are preying on vulnerable families [the poor] and persuading them to part with their children.

Anthropologist Scheper-Hughes cites the following:

The first inklings of a commercial market in organs appeared in 1983, when a U.S. physician, H. Barry Jacobs, established the International Kidney Exchange in an attempt to broker kidneys from living donors in the Third World, especially India. By the early 1990s some 2,000 kidney transplants with living donors were being performed each year in India, leading Prakash Chandra (1991) to refer to India as the “organs bazaar of the world.” (9, P. 195)

Brazilian newspapers carried ads like this one published in the Diario de Pernambuco in 1981: 

“I am willing to sell any organ of my body that is not vital to my survival and that could help save another person’s life in exchange for an amount of money that will allow me to feed my family.”  (9, P.194)

The poor and homeless in western countries such as the U.S.A. are also easily abused by the organ donor business. In the U.S.A. health services are principally only for those who can afford health insurance. Most low-paid and part time workers cannot afford it. Homeless farm hands, fruit pickers, service workers, along with poor mentally disabled people are easy prey for this business. When they get sick many are simply allowed to die and are used for their body parts.

The problem of presumed consent for organ retrieval from cadavers is not limited to countries in the South, where vast segments of the population are illiterate or semiliterate. In the United States today there is considerable resistance to cadaveric organ donation (Kolata 1995), and James Childress (1996:11) notes that the laws regarding organ harvesting from cadavers are “marked by inconsistencies regarding rights holders, whether these are the individual while alive or the family after the individual’s death.” In practice, the state assumes rights over any cadavers presumed to have been “abandoned” by kin. In addition, in many states there is “presumed consent” for the removal of corneas, skin, pituitary glands, and other tissues and parts even under ordinary circumstances and without informing the next of kin, but this presumption of consent is called into question whenever people become aware of routine organ and tissue harvesting practices. (9, P 209)

In her article The New Cannibalism (8), Ph.D. Scheper-Huges cites the growing trends of organ stealing, from the poor as a form of modern day cannibalism.

Japanese sociologist T Awaya describes the trend more bluntly: 'We are now eyeing each others' bodies greedily, as a potential source of detachable spare parts with which to extend our lives.' And he calls it a form of 'social...cannibalism'.

 

The World Bank acknowledges that the privatisation reform agenda doesn't work 

"...no country has achieved significant improvement in child mortality and primary education without government involvement." World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work For Poor People

World Bank 
World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work For Poor People

A rather large section of this report, has been quoted here due to its significance. For over two decades now there has been a massive privatisation movement happening across the planet to which NZ has also sold of the bulk of its assets as a result. This is one of the first research reports that I am aware of coming from a conservative organisation of this magnitude to question the legitimacy of that entire movements claim. This has a lot to offer NZ in terms of assessing the best ways that it can rebuild a free tertiary education system and an equal access health system again for its people.

Public services versus private - a false argument?

Providing communities with healthcare, education, and other services has been a contentious issue in many countries, with government services pitted against large-scale privatization. The report says that while there are frequent problems with public services, it would be wrong to conclude that government should give up and leave everything to the private sector. If individuals are left to their own devices, they will not provide levels of education and health that they collectively want. Not only is this true in theory, but in practice no country has achieved significant improvement in child mortality and primary education without government involvement.

Furthermore, private-sector participation in health, education, and infrastructure is not without problems - especially in reaching poor people. The extreme position that the private sector should do everything is clearly not desirable either. "Instead of getting caught up in the public versus private services argument, the only issue that really matters is whether the mechanism that delivers key services strengthens poor people’s ability to monitor and discipline providers, raises their voice in policymaking, and gets them the effective services they need for their families," says Ritva Reinikka, the Co-Director of WDR 2004, and Research Manager for Public Services at the World Bank.

The report says that some aid donors take a variant of the "leave-everything-to- the-private sector" position. If government services are performing so badly, donors may ask, why give more aid to those governments? "That would be equally wrong," says Reinikka. "There is now substantial research showing that aid is productive in countries with good policies and institutions, and those policies and institutions have recently been improving.

The reforms detailed in this Report (aimed at recipient countries and aid agencies) can make aid even more productive." When policies and institutions are improving, the report argues, aid should increase, not decrease, to realize the mutually-shared objective of poverty alleviation, such as the Millennium Development Goals. At the same time, simply increasing public spending - without seeking improvements in the efficiency of that spending - is unlikely to reap substantial benefits.

Gross Domestic Product GDP

Frequently it is expressed that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the measurement of society’s growth and only those who directly pay into that should receive any benefits. "...there is increasing evidence that the main measure economists use to gauge the economy’s performance (GDP) is a very poor indicator of social well-being. A large portion of what has been called economic growth in the past 20 years has been due to factors that harm our society’s welfare, with crime, the breakdown of the family, and pollution being three prominent examples [Cobb, Halstead, and Rowe 1995]." The problem with using GDP as a measurement of growth, for example, is that if someone rapes a woman it raises the GDP because counsellors, health services, the judiciary, police, and a whole host of other people would be called in to work on this case directly or indirectly. This of course raises GDP since money is transacted. On the other hand women or house husbands that may be taking care of their house and families while a spouse works at a traditional job are not viewed as contributing to GDP, nor would a person who saved a child’s life that was playing on a railroad track. But in fact people are the real wealth of a society. Their well-being and education are some of the most important factors for securing a society’s future. Without people there would not be a computer age, or an economic system at all. Therefore, though economists may hail a society as benefiting from a high GDP or growth rate, it does not mean that the society is benefiting socially, environmentally, or in terms of real wealth at all.

Real wealth defined

Real wealth is defined here as the accomplished means or technological ability to protect, nurture, support and accommodate all "growthful" needs of life.

 

Corporate welfare

The end of the great depression, in many ways, marked the beginning of the rise of the great modern multinational corporations. These corporations were born out of the "socialised" New Deal of Frankin Roosevelt's democratic government in the USA. The American public paid for the restoration and development of these companies which had collapsed. The subsidies were carried out similarly as follows:

Critical Paths P.94

Then FDR's U.S.A. Treasury, with all FDR's lawyers' advice, ruled that the large private enterprise corporations could make their new plant expansion and equipment improvements and charge the costs to operating expenses, which expenses were then to be deducted from new earnings before calculating income taxes. This amounted, in fact, to an indirect subsidy to cover all new equipment acquisition. The U.S.A. Treasury next ruled that all research and development "R and D" was thereafter also to be considered by the U.S.A. Treasury Department as "an operating expense" and also to be deducted from income before calculating income taxes. The U.S.A. thereby eliminated almost all the "risks" of private enterprise.

Next Henry Luce, representing news publishers in America the news papers and magazines went to Roosevelt and said, "Your democracy ~ needs its news. You have to have some way for the people to know what's ~ going on." "Yes," said FDR. Luce went on, "We publishers can't afford to publish the news. The prices people are willing to pay for the news won't pay for the publications. The newspapers and magazines are only paid for  by advertising, and the New Deal has no allowance for advertising in its operating procedures." The New Deal then ruled that advertising was henceforth to be classified as research and development, therefore deductible from gross income as an operating expense before calculating taxes. Thus advertising became a hidden subsidy of very great size about $7 billion a year at that time hidden in tax calculation procedures. The subsidy was so great as to cover the founding of what has come to be known as "Madison Avenue."

 

They paid for the restoration of the electric companies, the telecommunication companies, the Media, the Arms industries, Steel Industry, the Atomic Energy Commission and so on.

The socialised subsidies of the new Deal didn't stop then. They are still going strong today all around the world, including NZ. Big business and multinational companies thrive on welfare. The article by Ph.D. Janice Shields connected by this link provides a wonderful analysis of the modern social welfare state of Big business. http://lists.essential.org/corporate-welfare/msg00003.html

What this shows is that the so-called free market ideology purported by big business with its emphasis on maintaining efficiency, independence--everyone needs to pull their own weight, and a balanced budget is simply a hoax. It is a "do as I say not as I do" philosophy. Big business represents the biggest social welfare state of all time. The bulk of the money is not going to jobs it is going straight into pockets.

 

TAX BREAKS FOR BUSINESSES AND WEALTHY INDIVIDUALS WILL TOTAL $3.7 TRILLION FROM 1996 THROUGH 2002; CATO INSTITUTE ARGUES THAT GENERAL TAX BREAKS FOR BUSINESS ARE NOT CORPORATE WELFARE...

On May 2, 1996, Citizens for Tax Justice released its annual report, "The Hidden Entitlements," detailing 122 "tax expenditures" totalling $3.7 trillion over the next 7 years. "Tax expenditures" is the official term used to describe the vast array of government spending programs that are implemented through the tax code in the form of tax credits, deductions, deferrals and exemptions. According to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, "Tax expenditures are most similar to those direct spending programs which have no spending limits, and which are available as entitlements." Robert S. McIntyre, director of Citizens for Tax Justice, argues "These tax subsidies aren't just hugely expensive, many of them don't work." "Many of these programs are targeted to industries with lots of political clout," he adds.

Examples of tax expenditures that the study particularly targets as generally both unfair and bad economics include: 

Tax breaks for multinational corporations, costing at least $95 billion over seven years. 

Business meals and entertainment write-offs, costing $44 billion over seven years.

Accelerated depreciation, costing $259 billion over seven years.

Tax breaks for insurance companies and their products, costing $204 billion over seven years.

Oil, gas and energy tax breaks, costing $21 billion over seven years.

Tax breaks for timber, agriculture and minerals, costing $10 billion over seven years.

Tax breaks for banks and other financial institutions, costing $7 billion over seven years...

Ph.D. Janice Shields
Coordinator, Corporate Welfare Project
Center for Study of Responsive Law

 

Poverty issues: national in an international context towards a synthesis

Background issues

Approximately 60% of all workers in western countries are in non-wealth producing jobs

Ph.D. R. Buckminster Fuller (Earner of 47 doctoral degrees and a lifetime promoter of a universal income for the entire population of the planet; see Fuller Buckminster R. Critical Paths, St Martins Press, New York 1981) states that approximately 60% of people in western countries are in jobs that do not produce wealth or life support and as such it is cheaper to pay them to stay at home since the amount of energy and real wealth their work consumes exceeds the amount that they produce. 

Richard Nixon's Family Assistance Plan [a type of American universal income system] almost became law. Its architect, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, made no bones about the cynicism of its motivation: paying people not to work is cheaper than job creation schemes, and buying off violence is cheaper than suppressing it. 41

Such non-wealth producing jobs that he cites include military personnel, spies, counter-spies, underwriters of insurance underwriters, inspectors of inspectors, jobs with insurance companies that induce people to bet that their house is going to be destroyed by fire while the insurance company bets that it isn’t, and so on.

It is true that there are also economists hired by governments and certain private enterprises who say that they can figure out jobs that everyone can be doing in the future. In other words they have found highly sophisticated systems that can actively engage and challenge 6 billion people in meaningful employment to alternately monitor and push the same wagon up a hill. This would all be quite humorous if it weren’t for the serious nature of the extent, immediacy and gravity of the problems of sustainability that our planet is facing as well as the horror and suffering which those who have been excluded must continue to endure. Economists have not been trained in design science technologies, biodiversity issues, human growth and development models, and the vast array of known and unknown disciplines that would be required to resolve our present global crisis. The effects of the almost incalculable inter-relationships of the voluminous amounts of chemicals--toxins and potential toxins--that are daily entering our environment and their interactive effects on the biology and life systems of our planet are beyond the scope of almost any existing discipline to adequately assess. (See " Seven billion pounds of toxins release by USA in 2000" on page 50" 41.) Yet this needs to be done and acted on soon. Economists are not going to be able to solve this for us.

 

Poverty and the poverty line are institutionally created

The "dole" or Unemployment Benefit is the established poverty line of New Zealand. Called New Zealand's Income Adequacy Standard, it was set up by the Social Policy Branch of Treasury during the second half of the 1990's. It was derived from the results of a research enquiry presented to the Department of Human Nutrition at Otago University. The results were four poverty lines, liberal, Moderate, Basic, and low (or absolute minimum that the most thriftiest could possibly survive on.). The researcher Winsome Parnell who was one of the people who helped establish these lines, later said that the lowest line should not have been offered because most people would not be able to live adequately on it. Treasury then adopted this "lowest" level and cut it by a further 20%, and that became the poverty line for New Zealand: the current Unemployment Benefit (4).

The insistence of retaining a sub-caste structure of society in extreme need via a poverty line demonstrates a total ignorance of accepted human growth and development models. The idea implies that we need a social welfare level that is below a minimum wage level income in order to act as a "big stick" to compel people to work at any job, no matter how useless or oppressive to society at large or the workers themselves, in order to alleviate the poor’s present anguish of not being able to feed and clothe their children properly. Poverty and the poverty line is therefore an institutionally created phenomenon. For over a decade now in New Zealand we have compelled people to work for this income level at jobs that used to be paid a living wage such as teacher's aides and so on. Further the use of this "big stick" in society has been primarily implemented for its "two-way" swinging capacity. That is, it swings equally at the traditional workforce keeping workers at higher paying jobs in line by using this same fear of poverty as a control mechanism. They will be afraid to complain about environmental hazards, human rights abuses, safety issues, and benefit packages for fear they will lose their jobs. If this isn’t bad enough the types of jobs people are being compelled to work at are below the legal minimum wage standard such that one person’s income is enough to raise a household. These jobs are mostly non-unioned, therefore we have a very destructive anti-union or union busting policy carried out and enforced by people in unioned jobs themselves. Unioned jobs aiding in the destruction of the very policies and rights that they themselves were setup and paid to protect. We are lving in a society that is rapidly self-destructing through socially conditioned prejudices being used as the basis for policy development. 

There are no models of human growth and development that advocate the use of these archaic types of punishments against people in order to motivate positive behaviours. 

What models we have suggest that unless people have been abused, they naturally want to create, work and contribute positively to their world. Those that have been abused need help not punishment. For example, if a child is crossing a railroad track and a train is coming, the average person, without compensation or threat of punishment, will help protect or save the child from being hit by the train. Except for a mentally disturbed person, they will not ask someone for money or compensation for a job well done. When people get off of work they almost invariably build, garden, and fix things around their house. It is almost impossible to make people not work. This is the natural state of who we actually are. It is true that when we are training someone we frequently use rewards to initially instill confidence in their abilities where necessary. It is then standard practice to remove the rewards to allow the person to find their own inner sense of motivation and satisfaction that does not rely on externally applied rewards or reinforcers. The models of punishment and rewards used by governments and economists are out-dated, wrong, and ultimately damaging to the psyche of a civilised society. See the plethora of studies in educational psychology concerning operant conditioning, vicarious learning and the generally accepted human growth and development models in use today.

Token Economy

Of special note for study is the research on the social control model--modernly referred to as Contingency management-- called the Token Economy. Education psychologists may recommend this system of allocating tokens based on merits earned as a last resort method to help develop classroom discipline in schools. The tokens like money can be cashed in for such things as food toys, comic books etc. It is effective in certain circumstances for initially motivating classroom discipline and getting a dysfunctional class to start working on schoolwork. However, if the students aren't weaned as soon as possible from the merits or tokens they rapidly become addicted to working for the extrinsic value of the merits and not on the intrinsic worth and knowledge inherent to the given discipline(s). In short it stunts their growth and development to be self motivated to learn and contribute positively to a "self-reinforcing" learning environment: the opposite effect of what an education system purports to achieve. They become money/token/merit addicts: a form of institutionally conditioned mental retardation. 

We destroy the...love of learning...in children by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards--gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A's on report cards, or honor rolls, or deans lists, or Phi Beta Kappa Keys...

John Holt
How Children Fail

The effects of this system have been well researched with numerous longitudinal studies performed from various viewpoints verifying the conclusions (e.g. a summary of some of the earlier foundations of the research which have since been further corroborated by additional studies are as follows: Flanagan 1973, Deci 1975, Notz 1975, Greene and Lepper 1975, Condri 1977, 43).

Applying the research from these studies to the outdated 17th century models we are presently using for our economic system it should give us pause to consider an old traditional Dyak saying: 

Don't turn the problem of what to do with the bananas over to the monkeys".

Sadly, this is exactly happens when we consider what to do with income distribution issues [See the structure of the Tax review 2001 consultation procedures as it relates to stakeholders and non-stakeholders, and the Business Round Table's Budgetary Stress model from Jane Kelsey's The New Zealand Experiment 1995]. We go to those who have the most and let them dictate what to do with the income. Naturally what they say is "give the money to us and magical/theoretical market forces that you don't rightly understand will solve it for you".  And that’s what governments do, they lower taxes based on percentages of income or resources, institute user-pay schemes, and offer subsidies to the most affluent at the expense of those who need it the most. In order to maintain this dynamic the additional prescriptive measure of keeping people "busy, entertained, and ignorant" is offered and ritually adhered to. This means compelling people to work the maximal amount of hours possible even if the work is unnecessary, that way no one will have the time or energy to do anything about it; offer support to the entertainment industries to keep people distracted when people do have a little time off; and finally, make the knowledge and skills for people to understand how the system actually works--so they can effectively engage in it--as inaccessible as possible for the majority.

Addiction refers to any out of control repetitive behaviour done to excess causing harm to oneself and/or others. The excesses of the following: the over-consumption of resources, gambling or speculating on stocks and currencies, and the desire to control and manipulate people are all pathological behaviours of an addictive nature. It is important to note here as elsewhere throughout this website that this is not being written to blame anyone or hold any group or individual singularly accountable for what is being cited but rather to understand the dynamics of the problem. Just as the whanau, family, and friends are a part of the dynamic relationships of an addict so too is the rest of society just as responsible for the reinforcement of the behaviours cited of those who are displaying the severest expressions of the quoted illnesses. If we are going to offer alcohol to alcoholics we are going to have to assume the consequences of them drinking it. 

Society is the sum total of what every individual brings to it. From this it should be quite easy to see that we all are exhibiting the same dysfunctional behaviours to varying degrees. The vast majority of people are working for the extrinsic rewards of money, merit, attention, recognition, status, and/or etc. Secondary is the intrinsic value of the service we are providing to society and/ or the advancement of the discipline(s) with the pleasure of participating in the knowledge and skills we obtain. Yet as individuals like R. Buckminster Fuller have pointed out, that if the people of our planet worked cooperatively to share the resources rather than competing and hoarding them we would have enough to allocate a universal income equivalent to a billion dollars for every person on this planet.

Moving in this direction would require a complete reassessment of what work is in a world where we all are billionaires (see environmental sustainability page for more proposals on how a global universal income system might evolve and work.)

 

Slaves and rights of low-income workers compared

It can be quite illuminating to compare the rights and privileges of slaves from traditional cultures of thousands of years ago to today’s low-income workers.

The following view of the Hebrew laws of slavery is compiled from Barnes' work on slavery, and from Professor Stowe's manuscript lectures.

The law secured to the slave a very considerable portion of time, which was to be at his own disposal. Every seventh year was to be at his own disposal.--Lev. xxv. 4-6. Every seventh day was, of course, secured to him.--Ex. xx. 10.

The servant had the privilege of attending the three great national festivals, when all the males of the nation were required to appear before God in Jerusalem.--Ex. xxxiv. 23.

Each of these festivals, it is computed, took up about three weeks. The slave also was to be a guest in the family festivals. In Deut. xii. 12, it is said, "Ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your men-servants, and your maid-servants, and the Levite that is within your gates."

Dr. Barnes estimates that the whole amount of time which a servant could have to himself would amount to about twenty-three years out of fifty, or nearly one-half his time.

The average low-income worker in NZ is lucky if they can get a few holidays off. Over half the population of NZ has less rights and privileges than some of the slaves from thousands of years ago. A whole book could be written on comparisons of slavery with today’s low-income worker from various cultures. It is quite staggering to realise how little has been achieved in social development.

 

Poverty kills

Aotearoa NZ like most other "civilised" countries do not have a death penalty. However many people including politicians, academics, treasury officials, business leaders, government employees and even some social workers still do not realise that poverty kills, even in NZ. Benefit cuts and minimum wage levels that are below international human rights standards lower life expectancy and increase the probabilities of acquiring life threatening illnesses and being placed in life threatening situations. It is an invisible killer. We do not see people die from poverty. It is similar to smoking tobacco. People don't die directly from smoking cigarettes; they die from its effects such as heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema. Poverty is the same. Poor children frequently live in crowded places where it is easy to get run over by a car or in environments with poor nutrition, safety, sanitation, hygiene, heating and cooking facilities. Thus it makes them more susceptible to a whole range of life threatening illnesses and situations that they have a right, like everyone else, to be free from.

 
Social Inequalities in Health: New Zealand 1999

The Ministry of Health commissioned report, Social Inequalities in Health: New Zealand 1999 has highlighted the varying health-related quality of life issues that people from different socio-economic group's experience.

The report confirms that in all age, gender and ethnic groups, people living in deprived neighbourhoods have shorter life expectancies and higher hospitalisation rates than those from more affluent areas.

Director General of Health Dr. Karen Poutasi said the Ministry was aware of the problem.

"We have known the grim health facts for people from lower socio economic backgrounds for some time. We have been working to improve the health status of people from poorer backgrounds in recent years but the issue is complex and requires input from other areas including employment, social welfare and housing," Dr. Poutasi said.

Some key findings include:

lower household income is associated with poorer health status

lower educational status is consistently linked to higher prevalence of diabetes, asthma, hypertension and lower physical health. This is consistent with international findings.

Suicide linked to unemployment

Unemployment is associated with a higher prevalence of disability, and worse mental and physical health. Also, other New Zealand research (e.g. Rose 1999) showed unemployment is linked with suicide and intentional self-harm.

The relationship between overcrowded houses and self-reported health was marked. Residents in overcrowded homes were more likely to self rate their health as poor. Also, a case control study has found crowding is a major risk factor for meningococcal disease.

People in more socio-economically deprived areas have higher hospitalisation rates than those in less deprived areas

Maori have higher mortality rates than European New Zealanders and there is generally a widening gap between the ethnic groups as deprivation increases

Pacific peoples experience worse health status than Europeans, and like Maori are concentrated in the lower end of the socio-economic scale.

Ishaemic Heart Disease IHD is by far the largest single contributor to the socioeconomic gradient in avoidable mortality. In 1996-97 it caused an average of 25-41 deaths per year in the 0-74 age group--approximately 20 percent of total mortality in this age range. IHD mortality shows a statistically significant gradient from an age and gender standardised rate of 49 per 100,000 in the least deprived decile to 100 per 100,000 in the most deprived - a rate ratio between extreme deciles of almost exactly two.

About half the excess avoidable deaths among people living in deprived areas can be attributed to IHD, stroke, diabetes, lung cancer and CORD. These conditions are common and have steep socio-economic gradients, with at least a two- to threefold difference in age standardised mortality rates between extreme groups.

Many people who are involved in the basic income movement also argue for poverty level or below subsistence level wages for the basic income, so as to act as a motivating factor to keep low-income people stressed out enough to continually be trying to get better jobs. I.e. they want to keep poverty as an institutionalised stick to beat the poor into submission like in the days of slavery. Sadly, this is the current developmental level of ignorance at which most of our MP's and government officials are also operating.

Modern poverty in NZ was principally, created by the asset sales of the mid 1980s through the 1990s. Its continued existence is based on the general conditioned ignorance and prejudices that have been reinforced from a variety of sectors of society.

NZ Social Report 2002

Income inequality has increased over the past decade....Data on low incomes shows an increase in the proportion of the population experiencing low incomes between 1988 and 1994. Between 1994 and 2001, the proportion of the population with low incomes has decreased, but remains well above 1988 levels....Almost one quarter of households pay housing costs greater than 30 per cent of their income. The proportion rose over the decade from 1988 to 1998...

 

Suggested method for eradicating poverty in NZ

A first step to eradicating poverty in NZ is to eliminate the poverty line of the Unemployment Benefit, then elevate all those incomes to the minimum wage level since everyone is working. Then raise the minimum wage level to meet the legal international human rights standards of one person’s income being sufficient enough to raise a household. Of course only a few of New Zealand’s small businesses and social services could afford to pay that wage and would go bankrupt thereby creating more unemployment. It should be evident now why government State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) were so inefficient. They were used to fulfil the social distributive mandate of governments to distribute income via jobs. Private firms do not have that mandate so they laid off the excess workers after buying the assets. Society has to come to terms with this: full employment costs money. According to Ph.D. Herbert Simon, Nobel Laureate in economics, approximately 90% of the income obtained by western countries is derived from the social capital: that which is shared or owned collectively by everyone. As such everyone should be able to share in this income. 

Nothing is created in isolation and no one can claim that they are the sole creators of anything. For example a farmer doesn't create the seed, the ground, the air, the water, the knowledge or technology of farming. He/she needs workers, educated people that speak the same language that can be communicated with via a free education system, and so on. An artist doesn't create the paper they draw on or the language they use to think with, they didn't create the bodies that they are using, or the food that keeps them alive. Everything and everyone is an integral part of a great dynamic process that cannot be completely separated from anything or anyone else. There is no such thing as a person or persons who produce things independently separated from the works of everything and everyone else. Yet we are presently paying people as if that is the case. The answer of a Universal Income is to remedy these distortions educationally (see next section below) and economically by having the government pay everyone for their role as a sovereign of their democratic society. It acknowledges the reality that everyone is already employed. It allows people to leave repressive jobs that may be negatively impacting on our environment while retaining full employment status. It also places the burden of payment on everyone not just businesses. Everyone has a right to a share of society’s return of the resources that all own or are stewards of. Everyone contributes to society’s wealth whether they are in recognised/unrecognised paid or unpaid employment.

 
Education Component

The research on how to motivate positive work behaviours as well as how to motivate responsible and sustainable citizenship revolves around redressing the inadequacies of the education system. This is the required paired counterpart to the economic right/income compensation aspect for a UI system that is a defining attribute of what comprises a UI system. The symbiotic relationship of an enhanced education system, where necessary, to reduce its emphasis on training people to “fit” into a system of servile occupations--that won’t be waiting for most when they get out--to that of emphasizing the provision of the knowledge, skills, and responsibilities of free citizenship and the people in their paid role of the shared sovereignty over their society is requisite for a full UI system to be effective. Combined, these two aspects of education and income will provide the necessary psychological, economic, skill and empowerment shift required to address the critical sustainability issues of  “poverty eradication” and “empowerment” necessary to address the "participatory requirements" of its entire people to be able to have the time and resources to engage in shaping the future that the people of a country would most want to live in.

As stated on the UI Systems page there will be a fundamental change in how people will perceive themselves and be treated within a society adopting a universal income. When people graduate from school they will not only be educated to appreciate, respect, and support the unique qualities of all people and the diversities that all cultures bring to a society but they themselves will be treated with the same appreciation and respect by their own government and the rest of society. They will be welcomed into their role of the shared sovereignty when they graduate or come of voting age with the resources to live and engage as equals in the governance of their country, shaping it for future generations. The self worth of people will be less conditionally determined by others in terms of "merit" or how one "fits in" and does what one is told, but rather, more from the intrinsic side. It would develop from such processes as ones own inner growing awareness expanding from effectively using and honing ones skills through cooperative and personal engagements in living in harmony with the forces of the natural world and the realisation of ones own fullest potentials.

 

 

Appendix 

 

Universal Income Trust Press Release

NZ’s economic rights further eroded and jeopardised by Coalition government’s new get tough dole package: “jobs jolt”.

Aotearoa NZ, 5 August 2003: Response to Coalition Government’s new “Jobs Jolt’ get tough dole package

The Universal Income Trust, an educational charitable organisation that focuses on economic rights is concerned that the NZ government is breaching international human rights laws with the new “job jolt” programme for beneficiaries. According to international law, people have the right to reside where they wish in a country as well as the right to freedom of movement; people have the right to free choice of employment; they have a right to a minimum wage standard such that one person’s income is sufficient to provide for a household; and most importantly they have a right to life and to be free from the fear of poverty. The right to life, which the coalition government is presently threatening with its new scheme, is a death threat aimed at the poor, forcing compliance. Since many of the poor, with no other resources to fall back on such as inheritance, need this money in order to survive and care for their children.

Another serious concern is the public stereotyping of the poor. In NZ 51% of the population are receiving some form of income assistance in the form of tax transfer subsidies (see report from NZ Tax Review 2001). The fact is that the vast majority of those receiving income assistance are working. Not only are they working but their spouses/partners also have to work. Their combined incomes after stringing together a series of part time jobs, which can stretch through a full seven-day period, well in excess of a full-time job--without holidays--leaves them still in need of social welfare. NZ has had a work requirement for the unemployment benefit for over ten years now. All these people (i.e. 51% of the population) are potentially affected by this reform. Relocation, and more under-paid jobs--that are not compliant with international human rights standards--are not what they need: they need money. These reforms are enacted to supposedly address the government's concerns about 4200 people that they have identified as long term unemployed; these people represent less than 0.2% of the population. The reforms will not only affect beneficiaries but also will tend to lower wages and reduce job security for those in well-paid full time employment.

 

 

Footnotes

 

3. Jane Kelsey The New Zealand Experiment 1995

4. In a Land of Plenty: Researched, Written and Directed by Alister Barry; NZ Film Commission

5. No Welfare for Lockheed of Maximus
http://www.laweekly.com/ink/99/35/news-murray.php

6. Lockheed Martin gets contract for welfare to work program
http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/1999/10/25/daily12.html?jst=s_rs_hl

7. Jefferson county Sheriff's Report on Columbine shootings
http://63.147.65.175/news/colreport/Columbinerep/Pages/INTRO_TEXT2.htm

8. The New Cannibalism Ph.D. Scheper-Hughes from Organ Watch
http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/biotech/organswatch/pages/cannibalism.html

9. Ph.D. Scheper-Hughes Global Traffic in Human Organs Current Anthropology Volume 41, Number 2, April 2000 q 2000 by The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

10. Johannesburg Earth Summit papers, http://www.earthsummit2002.org/.

11. NZ Can Be Different and Better, Wolfgang Rosenberg.

12. New Zealand’s Tax Review 2001, http://www.treasury.govt.nz/taxreview2001/.

13. Our Health Our Future, Ministry of Health.

14. United Nations Human Development Report 2000.

41. Universal Income for a Sustainable Future p19 2003 by Patrick Danahey

42. United Nations Human Development Report 1998-1999

43. Educational Psychology in Theory and Practice 43. Educational Psychology in Theory and Practice p266-270 J.W.V. Zanden, Ohio State University, Random House, New York. 

44. Weighted Index of Social Progress, 1970-2000 (N=163)
Estes, Richard J. 2003. At the Crossroads: Development Challenges of the New Century (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers).

45. Note, "free" traditionally means after everyone pays their taxes, as an equal percentage of their income or resources, that they are able to freely paricipate in the use of the government service or resource. See economics page "Who really Pays?". Free has never meant a handout. The only real handouts given are to the rich in the form of lowering the tax levels such that they do not have to pay their share of public expenditures by passing their costs on to the rest of society in the form of fixed rates such as GST type systems and userpay schemes.

46. Someone elses's country Vangard Films

47 HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2003 Published for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press 2003

48.Press release Human Development Report 2003   www.undp.org/hdr2003

49. United Nations Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ECOSOC) It is available from the human rights division of the Ministry of Foreign affairs.

50. P.D. = Patrick Danahey

51. Childhood and Adolescence A Psychology of the Growing Person; by Stone Church, and Raskin; New York 

52. Critical Paths; Ph.D. R.Buckminster Fuller 1981

53. Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights : New Zealand. 23/05/2003. 

54. New Zealand Census of Population and Dwelling 2001 

55. World Bank's World Development Report 2004

56. Herbert A. Simon, UBI and the Flat Tax, Boston Review, Oct/Nov 2000, MIT.edu/BR25.5/simon.htmlBoston Review.

57. FROM THE CRADLE TO THE GRAVE; A biography of Michael Joseph Savage; by Barry Gustafson; REED METHUEN PUBLISHERS LTD 39 Rawene Rd, Auckland 10 Copyright © 1986