Where Do We Go From Here by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This work is copied from the following site linked here.  http://www.progress.org/tpr/martin-luther-king-on-guaranteed-income-social-dividend/ and needs no other explanation by me.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Few people have heard of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last book. It was called Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (New York: Harper & Row, 1967).

Even fewer people realize that Dr. King was an advocate of a guaranteed income. He weighed the issue carefully before drawing conclusions and making the following statement.

Toward the end of Where Do We Go From Here, in a chapter titled “Where We Are Going,” King states his support for the guaranteed income policy, that right-wingers and left-wingers had both been studying. See what he says to us.

In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike.

Up to recently we have proceeded from a premise that poverty is a consequence of multiple evils: lack of education restricting job opportunities; poor housing which stultified home life and suppressed initiative; fragile family relationships which distorted personality development. The logic of this approach suggested that each of these causes be attacked one by one. Hence a housing program to transform living conditions, improved educational facilities to furnish tools for better job opportunities, and family counseling to create better personal adjustments were designed. In combination these measures were intended to remove the causes of poverty.

While none of these remedies in itself is unsound, all have a fatal disadvantage. The programs have never proceeded on a coordinated basis or at a similar rate of development. Housing measures have fluctuated at the whims of legislative bodies. They have been piecemeal and pygmy. Educational reforms have been even more sluggish and entangled in bureaucratic stalling and economy-dominated decisions. Family assistance stagnated in neglect and then suddenly was discovered to be the central issue on the basis of hasty and superficial studies. At no time has a total, coordinated and fully adequate program been conceived. As a consequence, fragmentary and spasmodic reforms have failed to reach down to the profoundest needs of the poor.

In addition to the absence of coordination and sufficiency, the programs of the past all have another common failing — they are indirect. Each seeks to solve poverty by first solving something else.

I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.

Earlier in this century this proposal would have been greeted with ridicule and denunciation as destructive of initiative and responsibility. At that time economic status was considered the measure of the individual’s abilities and talents. In the simplistic thinking of that day the absence of worldly goods indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber.

We have come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. The poor are less often dismissed from our conscience today by being branded as inferior and incompetent. We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands it does not eliminate all poverty.

We have come to the point where we must make the nonproducer a consumer or we will find ourselves drowning in a sea of consumer goods. We have so energetically mastered production that we now must give attention to distribution. Though there have been increases in purchasing power, they have lagged behind increases in production. Those at the lowest economic level, the poor white and Negro, the aged and chronically ill, are traditionally unorganized and therefore have little ability to force the necessary growth in their income. They stagnate or become even poorer in relation to the larger society.

The problem indicates that our emphasis must be two-fold. We must create full employment or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available.

In 1879 Henry George anticipated this state of affairs when he wrote, in Progress and Poverty:

“The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind, the work which extends knowledge and increases power and enriches literature, and elevates thought, is not done to secure a living. It is not the work of slaves, driven to their task either by the lash of a master or by animal necessities. It is the work of men who perform it for their own sake, and not that they may get more to eat or drink, or wear, or display. In a state of society where want is abolished, work of this sort could be enormously increased.”

We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished. The poor transformed into purchasers will do a great deal on their own to alter housing decay. Negroes, who have a double disability, will have a greater effect on discrimination when they have the additional weapon of cash to use in their struggle.

Beyond these advantages, a host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security. The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands, when he has the assurance that his income is stable and certain, and when he knows that he has the means to seek self-improvement. Personal conflicts between husband, wife and children will diminish when the unjust measurement of human worth on a scale of dollars is eliminated.

Two conditions are indispensable if we are to ensure that the guaranteed income operates as a consistently progressive measure. First, it must be pegged to the median income of society, not the lowest levels of income. To guarantee an income at the floor would simply perpetuate welfare standards and freeze into the society poverty conditions. Second, the guaranteed income must be dynamic; it must automatically increase as the total social income grows. Were it permitted to remain static under growth conditions, the recipients would suffer a relative decline. If periodic reviews disclose that the whole national income has risen, then the guaranteed income would have to be adjusted upward by the same percentage. Without these safeguards a creeping retrogression would occur, nullifying the gains of security and stability.

This proposal is not a “civil rights” program, in the sense that that term is currently used. The program would benefit all the poor, including the two-thirds of them who are white. I hope that both Negro and white will act in coalition to effect this change, because their combined strength will be necessary to overcome the fierce opposition we must realistically anticipate.

Our nation’s adjustment to a new mode of thinking will be facilitated if we realize that for nearly forty years two groups in our society have already been enjoying a guaranteed income. Indeed, it is a symptom of our confused social values that these two groups turn out to be the richest and the poorest. The wealthy who own securities have always had an assured income; and their polar opposite, the relief client, has been guaranteed an income, however miniscule, through welfare benefits.

John Kenneth Galbraith has estimated that $20 billion a year would effect a guaranteed income, which he describes as “not much more than we will spend the next fiscal year to rescue freedom and democracy and religious liberty as these are defined by ‘experts’ in Vietnam.”

The contemporary tendency in our society is to base our distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and to compress our abundance into the overfed mouths of the middle and upper classes until they gag with superfluity. If democracy is to have breadth of meaning, it is necessary to adjust this inequity. It is not only moral, but it is also intelligent. We are wasting and degrading human life by clinging to archaic thinking.

The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.

You can see the Rev. Dr. King viewed the guaranteed income as the way to abolish poverty. It does have that effect, but when properly funded (not touching earned income) and properly distributed (to all people), it becomes more than that — it can be a fundamental instrument of economic justice.

What about you? What does Dr. King’s message say to you? How would you answer Dr. King’s question — where do we go from here, chaos or community? Tell us!

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Think Outside the Box, Really

Think.

When I am told that it is just common sense this is what comes to my mind.

Inside the Box

I read somewhere recently that you should not think outside the box but live outside of it.  This I can agree with.

I do not know when I crawled out of the box; sometime before I was ten.

Since then I believe my mind or the way I think is not like other people.  Now we all think in some way different but I mean I do not believe even in general I think like others.  How does one prove this?  I am sure I do not know but for now I can tell you that I more than think, I live, work, laugh my whole being is outside the box.  This is more than a blessing it is a curse that I would never give up even if I could.

I state that I crawled out before ten.  This I assume because around the age of ten I started my first protest movement.  It was a success after that I can not remember anything really odd but I know I challenged everything and everyone.  I told my teachers when I thought they were wrong at times even proving it in front of the class.  Since I had few friends this won me no a-ta-boys from my peers and only made me more of an outcast.  The older I became the more alone, while I may not have been introverted I at least leaned that way.  And later came the depression, much later.

Of course I believed that everyone thought like me.  After all I was a human being; male, white with at least average intelligence why should I not think like everyone else.  But why did few people understand me?  Why did they not make the same conclusions I did?  Why did it seem I was always the odd man out?  It took me well into my life before I began thinking that maybe I did not think like others around me.  Now in my mid-life I can see that at some point I stopped living outside the box.

I did not move back into the box.  Somewhere along the way I have lost it.  It is covered with dust in a part of my mind that is used for storage of unused items that maybe someday brought back into the light.  No I did not move back into that box but I pretended to for the sake of friendships and getting along with others.  It is much easier to be you if you act like people want you to.  At least you do not have explain, or try to explain your every choice.

But while it might have made it easier for my everyday living it did little to improve my attitude.  I felt alone and vulnerable and not knowing how to express my inner thoughts in a way that did not make me feel outside the human race I kept the secret inside myself.

Yes I am like you, I think like you, I like like you do, I hate like you do.  I am you.

Thanks for sharing my thoughts.

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!

Life Is For ……

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Life Is For….  [THEY TRIED TO ERASE ME]

I saw a sign that stated, “Life is for spontaneous laughter, grand adventures, eating ice cream and finding love.

Thanks Winners

Life is for ….

Yes indeed this is life as we have come to know it.

The reason I like this sign is that it highlights, at least for me the most important things.  Life is not about judgement, keeping up others, being the best, or any of the nouns that we come to believe in.  By this I simply mean that all the labels we inevitably place on events and things in our life are simply placed there by us or at least ACCEPTED by us to reinforce our view of reality.

My greatest belief is that we should not judge.  For those who follow Christianity, Judaism, and I would think, but not wholly sure, Muslims this is a central part of their belief.  Well at least in my view.  How we go from not judging to the point of judging everything is for another posting or probably several.  Let me just say for now that every time we judge we are really trying to say that this meets or strengthens our view of the world or that it is trying to weaken or make my world more unsure.  When the action or idea upholds what we already believe we feel secure and content thus we assume this is positive, good, and true.  On the reverse side of the coin when the action or idea is trying to weaken or go against what we already believe to be true we feel threatened and hurt thus we assume this is negative, bad, and false.

So back to sign.  {Sign, Sign, everywhere a sign, breaking up the blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind…}

Life is for spontaneous laughter

No judgement here.  Not the laughter of mean spirited people playing jokes on others or the when one person hides or not their judgement of others as being less than themselves, as bullies will do, but genuine, from the gut, belly laughter.  The type that is both contiguous and hard to stop.  This type of laughter typically crosses cultural and societal norms and barriers.  It allows for the release of tension between peoples of many different backgrounds and if we could it would allow a common point on which to grow.

, grand adventures,

This too I believe has no judgement.  Again putting aside those who would call the mistreatment of man against man an adventure as I know people do from time to time.  No the adventures here are those that bring people together for common good.  Sometimes it starts with a shared misery but can also start with a shared dream in any case when people strive to achieve a common goal that neither can do on their own then great things occur.  Not just in end goal but some times even greater accomplishments of human growth can be achieve, new ideas, well at least changes in old ones.

eating ice cream

ice cream, ice cream, we all scream for ice cream.  What can be judged by this.  The sharing of food of substance is thought in many cultures to show that two people are friends or at least not enemies.  And once shared no hostility could be brought to bear on either party by either party.  Even today think about getting together with your friends or trying to make new ones and our first thought goes to food.  Where should we go to eat, what should we share.  Definitely we need to share more so we can …..

and finding love

….find love.

Yes everything I know I learned from that sign.  In this case it does not block out the scenery from my mind and it definatly does not break.

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!

 

I Like Working With You

She said “I like working with you.”

Nothing strange or unusual in that statement, it is almost has innocuous has “Hello, how are you doing?”, or in my way of thinking noise.  Noise; yes well to understand this you need to know that people say things for only two reasons, good reasons that is.

You believe that the hearer needs to hear it.  Comforting words are in this category.

Or you need to say the words, and in this we can expound to you need the hearer to hear what you have to say.

Anything else is just noise.

So what happens if you need to say something and the hearer does not want to hear it. Well the words become noise to them and typically your feelings are hurt or you become confused about the hearers attitude.  Both of these responses may lead to anger in us if we do not find a way dealing with it.

Back to subject, the statement made to me did not appear to me as noise so it left it in one of the two good reasons to be said.

Was I unintentionally or unconsciously showing discomfort or even uncertainty in the position I was in.  I do think so.  I am well used to be in strange and even overwhelming situations, I would go as far as stating I look for these and then place myself in them.

So if it was not noise and I did not need to hear it did the other person need to state it or need me to hear it?

I felt no disquiet between us and while, and I believe most people would take this to be a given that, the statement was just a way of building a positive atmosphere between the two of us, I do not see this as being true.

True.  That of course is a topic for another post.

In the end I will never know what was meant unless the person feels the need to expand on the statement.  If it was just noise then they will have forgotten it and would be astounded at my being able to not only remember the words but being able to put so much thought into it.

If they believed I needed to hear it or even if they wanted me to hear it the event as occurred as they needed and is finished.

If they needed to say these words it will probably reemerge in another way.

For myself I believe the sayer needed to say it and I will be waiting to see how it resolves itself.  For now…