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A NEW VISION FOR EUROPE – PROSPERITY NOT AUSTERITY
|Back to the future, to a Europe in which citizens decide their future, not governments, banks and global corporations. We need to put public money and political power back in the hands of the citizens of Europe... it's time for change!!|
A full social economic recovery across Europe requires the immediate implementation of a 'real world' economics strategy that quickly establishes a sustainable, low-cost economy that is based on full employment, fully pensioned early retirement and affordable housing - the 3 keys to a sustainable economy. It has to be an economics strategy that; has no negative impact on our lives, that puts an end to corporate fascism, that imposes no major change to our existing lifestyles, that does not require measures of austerity and one that doesn't inflict a chaotic period of transition – just a simple fast-track path to prosperity and a fairer society. Democracy returned to the citizens of Europe.
* To introduce a social economic system that offers full employment, early retirement with full non-contributory pensions for the ‘over 55s’ and affordable homes – the 3 keys to a sustainable economy.
* To promote a social economic system that is based on people and resources, for balanced sustainable living – sustainable living that strengthens the individual, the family and the community.
* To provide all citizens with a solution to end inept governance, to end corrupt international financial systems, to end state sponsored corporate fascism, and to end globalised corporate trade agreements such as the TTIP – an end to global economic failure, an end to debt slavery.
* To introduce a social economic system that ends poverty and homelessness – an economic system that works for the people and not for the ruling elite.
A practical and realistic way to achieve this is to embark on a new strategy for social and economic reform. The following lists the minimum set of high priority actions necessary for a social and economic recovery across Europe. Implementation of these policies will initiate a transition to social stability, sustainable economics and environmental responsibility. Failure to do so will result in long-term recession, increased unemployment, increased poverty, increased cultural damage, social deprivation, civil unrest and probably war.
ACTIONS FOR A SUSTAINABLE RECOVERY
PRIORITY Nr. 1
* All sovereign debt to be written off. An end to sovereign debt means an end to government borrowing. An end to government borrowing means an end to debt slavery and government sponsored embezzlement of public funds by global corporations and the private banks. Sovereign debt is free money for the banks from the interest payments, and lost tax revenues from the public purse. National governments must live within their means.
Building a caring society, rather than a benefits culture through welfare – a subtle difference that makes a world of difference.
* 700/month for the unemployed. Unemployment to be replaced with Community Employment schemes and a 'back-to-work' monthly basic income of 700 Euros, or the equivalent to 70% of a country’s recognised 'living wage'.
* 1200/month retirement pensions. Everyone to have the option to retire at 55 with a monthly pension of 1200 Euros, or the equivalent to 120% of a country’s recognised 'living wage'.
* Introduction of national self-build programs for the construction of affordable, low energy homes. In the footsteps of the visionary architect Walter Segal, 75m2 homes built to a carbon neutral, zero resource loss standard would have a target self-build cost of around 50,000 Euros, or the equivalent to 50x a country's recognised monthly 'living wage'.
* Tax revenues to be collected primarily from VAT, corporation tax, high earner income tax, home loans interest, electronic transaction tax and a new dividends earnings tax. No more indirect stealth taxes.
* Sales tax (VAT) set at no more than 20% on all goods and services, 0% on labour. Sales tax must be applied and paid to the country in which the sale was made.
* 0% income tax on salaries up to 100,000 Euros and 40% on all earnings above.
* Corporation tax set at no more than 20%, and must be paid to the country in which the company has it's operational headquarters.
* Home loans repayment interest. State owned national central banks to be the principal lender for 1st home loans. Interest payments on theses mortgages, fixed at 2%, would become a major new revenue stream for the public purse.
* Electronic transaction tax. Introduction of new Euro credit/debit cards issued by individual sovereign states so that all electronic transaction charges become another major new revenue stream for the public purse, rather than profit for the private banks via the likes of Visa and Mastercard.
* Dividends earnings tax set at a fixed rate of 20% on all share dividends and share sales profits.
* Sales tax on property sales and building plot purchases (stamp duty) fixed at 1%.
* Tax revenues will simply go directly into common pots for national and regional treasuries, from which all budgets can then be apportioned.
* No more bailouts of privately owned banks and corporations. No more state funding of private sector debt - bad banks like bad corporations must be allowed to fail. This to be backed up with a depositor compensation scheme for all accounts up to 100,000 Euros.
* National Central Banks must be 'nationalised' and taken completely out of private ownership by the world's major banks, the current owners, and run free of government interference. National Central Banks must be an economic resource for the country and it's people, and not just a means by which private banks increase our sovereign debt.
* A low cost, sustainable economy needs to provide affordable housing with low running costs so that the monthly living costs of a modest family life can be supported with the salary of just one person working full-time, and not as it is currently where both parents have to work full time just to cover the monthly expenses.
* For example, if a self-build home costs 50 times the monthly living wage, which is say 1000/month, the total cost is 50,000. A loan of 3 times an annual salary of 15,000 raises 45,000 and could be serviced by a monthly repayment of 325/month over 15 years, with a fixed interest rate set at 2% over the full term. An affordable home for everyone! This is the sense of a low-cost economy that yields a high quality of life. This is the social economic direction Europe should be taking. For this to become a reality, we just need to make urban community land available, not green field countryside, and reform planning legislation that favours the individual and the family rather than big business.
A NEW VISION FOR EUROPE
THE EMERGENCY STEPS TO RECOVERY
The following steps should be considered the emergency steps needed to be taken immediately, if we are to save Europe from irreparable social, economic and cultural damage.
* Germany should exit the current Eurozone and reintroduce their national currency, with other strong economies following the same path one by one, year by year. This would then allow for a stable dismantling of the paper Euro across the remaining Eurozone countries, and facilitate the full integration of all countries in an electronic exchange rate mechanism, supported by the re-introduction of national paper currencies. This will end the current policy of austerity and stagnation, and significantly help the Mediterranean countries to recover from recession. Allowing weaker economies to take the initiative and exit first is possible but risky since this could certainly initiate a ‘run on the banks’ and create social, economic and political instability in those countries. However, with appropriate short-term capital controls, a country's exit is feasible and much more preferable to doing nothing and continuing with the current policy of austerity and stagnation.
* The 'Schengen' agreement must be based on social economic parity between participating nations – nothing less.
* Full border controls must be implemented along the entire length of all current EU external borders, and the perimeter borders of 'Schengen' nations – land, sea and air.
* The free movement of people within the EU must be maintained with conditions, as in fact it always was even in pre-EU times - for people with goods, services and skills to trade. Basically, individuals within the 'Schengen' area can go anywhere they want to live and work – provided they have a job or funds to support the move. All other movement within the EU, subject to a job to go to that is supported by a work permit issued by the nation in which the job offer was made. No welfare payments should subsidise the movement of people. Social security payments should only be available after a minimum of 5 years in the new country and at the discretion of individual countries.
* European gender equality must not be compromised. Any male dominated mass immigration is a threat to Europe's envied gender equality. As European nations continue to accept thousands of refugees, our political establishments are failing to consider that most young adults entering are males. This could have a significant impact on gender equality. We only need to look around the world to see, that societies with far more men than women amongst the young adult population, are unstable. These societies have higher rates of violent crime, property crime, crimes against women, and reduced freedom of movement for women. European women fought not for decades but over centuries to create the kind of culture where gender equality could flourish. Our political leadership has an absolute obligation to its citizens to do everything possible to preserve that normal balanced sex ratio.
* Population stability is a major issue to be addressed. We currently have a world population of over 7 billion people that requires one and a half planet earths to satisfy our annual demands on it's resources. 4 billion is probably the break even point at which some kind of sustainable lifestyle can be maintained in balance. Ideally, quality of life and carbon neutral living would be best achieved with a world population back at 2 billion. With regard to Europe, we probably need to return to the population levels at the beginning of the 20th century.
* Cultural Cohesion mass immigration is at best a major challenge therefore immigration in small numbers should be kept as a means to temporarily resolve skills shortages and nothing more. Immigration should also be limited to those coming from countries with similar cultural and religious backgrounds. Immigration of those with skills or goods to trade, along with those that move to marry will continue to be more than welcome. This is a tough call but there is a big difference between multi-cultural and multi-racial societies - the latter being the one we should champion and the one that works... one that is based on the willingness and enthusiasm to fully integrate in their new society.
WHERE IT ALL WENT WRONG
* It all started going wrong when the political agenda became greater than the economic one and the European Union (EU) replaced the EEC. The European Economic Community (EEC) was exactly where we should have stayed – individual sovereign states trading within a trading zone based on common values and neighbourly respect.
* Next came the problem of a common currency pushed on countries with very different economies evolved from very different cultures, geography and climates. A 'one size fits' all economic policy was never going to succeed.
* If this wasn't enough already to undermine the wealth and stability of Europe, an open-door policy that allowed mass immigration would be the final straw.
HOW TO PUT THINGS RIGHT
* The first step is to reverse the political agenda and transform the EU back to it's original form – a European free-trade association.
* Europe can once again be an association of trading countries that share similar values, a common interest of prosperity and a strong desire to improve the quality of life for their citizens. Nations in this trading zone must follow a similar economic model, must have a similar regard for the value of life and have no cultural or legal framework that exploits their citizens. A trading zone based on freedom, liberty, dignity, respect, self-determination and the policies of change presented on this web-site - 'an new vision for €urope'.
* ALL nations within the trading zone must balance imports against all exports, or against national 'gold' reserves or other internationally accepted collateral. There must no longer be residual trade deficits by any nation once the collective books are balanced annually across the trading zone.
* This trading zone must not offer membership to countries that take commercial advantage through the exploitation of their people, whether by imposed poverty or environmental damage.
* A European trade association should be for European countries only – no others. Collectively Europe is large enough and strong enough to set our own standards and choose with whom we trade. On this basis we are always free to negotiate 'external' trade agreements with all countries around the world that share a similar vision for sustainable economics.
* The principles of Schengen must be based on the freedom of movement between member nations that share similar social economic standards, similar cultures and shared religious roots. Countries within ' Schengen' would most likely represent a smaller part of the total geographic area covered by all member nations of the European trading zone collectively. External 'Schengen' borders would have tight border controls, as would the external borders of the trading zone. Free movement of people within Schengen, free movement of people within non-Schengen countries (if they choose) – full passport controls between Schengen and non-Schengen countries, and for all those that move in and out of the trading zone.
* Quality of life has to be the new indicator of social economic health, not GDP. We have to end this obsession with GDP and accept that the economics of never ending growth is the economics of debt, resource depletion and unsustainable population growth. An af€ proposes a policy of sustainable living based on low-cost economics that offers high quality of life and long-term price/resource stability.
* The Eurozone should have never meant a single paper currency - in today's electronic world it was never needed. It was an economic failure and unfortunately a tool used by those wanting to push forward with a federal Europe. The Eurozone should now, today, include all countries in the trading zone that agree to share a common electronic exchange rate mechanism that reconciles all transactions made between the member nations. Individual member nations would maintain their own paper currencies for their domestic economies and utilise this new electronic exchange rate mechanism for all other transactions, whether by card, online or by App. Individual exchange rates can be fixed against this new 'electronic Euro' or remain afloat depending on a nation's choice or economic needs. This virtual currency could be the first step towards a crypto currency for Europe that would operate alongside cash.
* A Eurozone based on an electronic exchange rate mechanism that converts against a virtual Euro means that local payments can be made via cash or electronic transfer. International visitors can pay by card or by cash withdrawn locally via ATMs – as it already is, as it has been for years. The important issue here is that we need an electronic exchange rate mechanism, not Euro notes and coins – a fundamental flaw, cost and complication.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CASH
* Cash is the only means by which everyone maintains their right to privacy and anonymity.
* Cash is the only way that prohibits banks or governents from using our transactions as a means of commercial or political surveillance.
* Cash is the only way to safeguard ourselves from transaction charges imposed by the banks. With the introduction of credit/debit cards issued by national central banks, as proposed earlier, the transaction charge would become a new tax revenue for the public purse.
* Cash is handy, so is the card, but best we have both!
Download the pdf version.
The most important reforms are described with full details of policy and financing in the section [ principles of change | A MANIFESTO FOR CHANGE ]. These reforms are absolutely necessary to initiate positive reform of our political systems. Policy in all areas of state involvement needs urgent attention but must be part of an ongoing process of consensual change through a system of direct democracy and consultative referendum.
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a social economic model for sustainable living in and beyond the 21st century
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Written by: Michael Livingston Seagull