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Welcome to the blog site for OUR SYSTEM. OUR SYSTEM is a global location for changing our system so it enables us all to live without harm. If you are interested like us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Our Agenda

A conscious acknowledgement of our common purpose as fulfilment without harm so we may organise ourselves, our justice systems, our economies, our organisations, and our societies to enable our pursuit of it. The organising principle of fulfilment without harm must override the pursuit of money and/or power. Specifically: (more...)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Love

When I wrote The Common Purpose Manifesto in 2007 I tried to cover every key aspect of our system. But one part I left out is critical to creating a system where everyone has the freedom to live without harm. That part is love. Love is the strongest and most rewarding emotion - love of life, love of wisdom, love of truth, love of others - these are vital to building a system based on fulfilment without harm, because fulfilment is all about life, wisdom and truth; and the capstone of living without harm is the love of others.

The following excerpt on love was added yesterday to The Common Purpose Manifesto...

"The pursuit of fulfilment without harm is the love of life, wisdom and truth, and the love of all people, to and from whom there should be no harm.

"Fulfilment is living. That is what life does, fulfil itself. This is it purpose, its prime directive. Sometimes this purpose is obscured by the complexity of our systems of government, economy, organisation and society. However, at their base, their key guiding principle should be to enable fulfilment for every person.

"The purpose of fulfilment often gets obscured by the competing purposes of income, property, status, and power. These purposes override the primary purpose of fulfilment in systems that aren't shaped to adequately protect and enable the fulfilment of everyone.

"Wisdom is the knowledge and understanding of life gained through experience and learning. As the most intellectual of all animals, wisdom is a key element of human fulfillment. Humans have evolved into beings for which wisdom, learning and understanding are primary to living.

"Truth is a requirement of wisdom, and is what is sought when wisdom is pursued. Incorrect understandings are not of greatest benefit, and the theories and ideas we produce to further our understanding are constantly under test by our observations from reality to ensure their accuracy and truth.

"For the purpose of fulfillment to be realised for all it must be pursued without harm to others. So, at the very least, the requirement is not to harm or accept harm. And given we are all one human species, there is every benefit for ourselves as a species to love and assist one another in a manner that best suits our individual abilities, that is, in a manner that fulfils ourselves doing it.

"Our own needs are our primary responsibility, we are responsible for ourselves, but in pursuing our fulfilment we can help others seek fulfilment in a virtuous cycle of increasing fulfilment, providing we act with love and without harm to others.

"When we have a system that enables everyone to fulfil themselves and realise their potential without harm then we will have a world of 'peace and love'. This goal is realised by shaping the systems we have and influencing the people who live in them. It is not reached through catastrophic upheavals and religious interventions to 'purge the wicked'.

"The pursuit of fulfilment without harm does have similarities to the Christian commandments to love God (which can be interpreted as love life as God is the creator, love wisdom as God is all knowledgeable, and love truth as God is the truth) and love your neighbour (so, at the very least, do them no harm). But fulfilment without harm does not require the carrot of the Promise that comes with Judgement Day (when all nations will war and Jesus will come to save the righteous who will live forever). This promise (and threat) isn't needed or helpful in the secular pursuit of fulfilment without harm, for the benefits of creating a system where everyone can find fulfilment (regardless of religion) accrue to everyone and are being pursued now. It is a positive purpose and an empowering purpose.

"Love was also around before Jesus and the bible. Christianity, or other religions, do not own love no matter how strongly they claim to. The bible puts a commendable emphasis on the love of God and neighbour above all other things. An emphasis we should realise non-religiously in the love of life (of ourselves and all 'creation' realised by pursuing our fulfilment and our understanding of the universe) and love of others (not harming them or accepting harm from them but assisting them in the ways we are best able). This maximises good relationships, peace on Earth, fulfilment for all, and love."

[Excerpt from The Common Purpose Manifesto]

Monday, October 7, 2013

Framework for Fulfilment

It's been a long-time, but inspired by a workshop I attended today on the Living Standards Framework (given by the New Zealand Treasury), I created this framework, which I think more accurately and deliberately targets the greater goal (greater than just living standards) of all people to lead fulfilling lives, ones that increases their general well-being and life satisfaction.

I haven't given any specific, numerical measurement indicators for the five components of the framework - Legal, Economic, Organisational, Social, and Change. However, I think the sub-components of each of these point pretty clearly to what some obvious indicators may be.

I also haven't written here any further explanation of what the sub-components actually entail in terms of a fulfilment framework or system. However, I have already written on these fairly extensively on this website and on others (www.thecommonpurpose.com) and in print. I will also be developing this framework further.

Anyway, below is the draft framework for fulfilment, feel free to comment on this to me directly or on this site. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Friday, June 7, 2013

Well-Being & Income

Well-being continues to increase with income according to data gathered in a recent journal article by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers of the University of Michigan.

This contrasts with assertions that increases to well-being diminish as incomes pass above a level at which basic needs are met.

The table below provides clear evidence that well-being continues to increase significantly as incomes increase, far above levels at which basic needs are met:

However, the more salient matter for well-being is not income levels per se, but income security.

It is income security - that is income which is not lost due to loss of work or other misadventure - that enables people to choose how they contribute and work, so increasing individual well-being.

Without guaranteed income security, the motivation is to attain very high incomes, as at very high incomes wealth can be built, and only wealth can provide life-long income security when it is not guaranteed.

We can see from the chart that at incomes of over $500,000 per annum, people are 100% very happy and very satisfied. Not all of this well-being is due to high-earners being able to build a pool of wealth that delivers them the income security to choose how they contribute and work, but a substantial proportion is.

If we were to create a guaranteed level of income security for all people, then we could expect that the happiness and satisfaction of those earning less would very greatly increase.

Society still doesn't have the level of shared understanding and empathy required to introduce something like a shared base income. But when it does, and the internet is continuing to expand and build these levels, then we may see happiness and satisfaction distributed in a much more even and fair way.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Reference: Subjective Well-Being and Income: Is There Any Evidence of Satiation?, B. Stevenson, J. Wolfers, April 2013.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Technology, Capital & Labour

In economics, “Capital and labour are two inputs into a production process. When they are used to make a good or services, they function as both complements and substitutes to each other. Generally, for a given level of output they are substitutable - depending on wages and the cost of capital we could change the mix of labour and capital we use to create a good. However, they also complement each other in the sense that the more capital you have, the greater the additional output a new employee could create.

“As a result, although it is true that, for a given level of output, more productive capital means we need fewer workers - the fact that each additional worker can make more from this capital implies that wages are higher, and makes hiring workers more attractive. As a result, the real change in employment is not clear - all that is clear is that technology that makes capital more productive leads to greater output and income.

“In order to understand the impact of a change in technology on employment, we have to ask how it fits into this relationship between capital and labour, and we have to ask how people can change their skills in order to adjust to the change in technology. Contrary to both utopians and dystopians this process is far from clear and predictable!”

Should We Fear The Robot Uprising, Infometrics

Following on from above, increased capital can be used by the same total number of (possibly more skilled) workers to produce more product, and the wider question becomes, ‘how much more product can we consume?’, as if consumption were limited there would be a limit on how much production we need and on how many workers we need to do this production. If there is not a limit, then no matter how much capital we supply we can always find work for more workers.

Probably we don’t need to consume much more raw food, oil, or other commodities per person than we do now (and we shouldn’t in many respects given factors such as climate change and finite resources). So we could just take growth in their extraction as equivalent to per capita growth (although climate change, commodity replacement and other factors should incentivise us to lower resource extraction per capita as well), however, in terms of their transformation into more diverse and refined products there are next to no limits on production or consumption (only our imagination), so we can create and ‘consume’ better houses, better fuel, more efficient cars, more delicious varieties of chocolate, better machines, and so on, without any real limit on the creativity side.

Likewise, and in some ways less-resource depleting, are the products of software application and the web – to which there are also essentially no limits on our production or consumption of.

With next to no limits on production and consumption, due to the unlimited nature of technological advancement and human creativity, the only real limit on production is the quantity of non-renewable raw commodity (or how quickly renewable raw commodities renew). The less these finite resources are a factor of a product’s production (because instead refining technology makes up most of their finished states) the less they limit total production.

With no limit on the creativity (or technology) multiplier of production and consumption the issue then becomes, 'how can we enable people to work in ways that don't limit them to the jobs replaced by automation and fast advancing technology?', or to put it around the other way, ‘how can we enable people to work in ways that use their creativity to either a. produce the technology which replaces repetitive work, or b. produce the final (creative) products and services that improve our lives?’ And related to this question (because it relates to enablement) is, 'how do we fairly share the incomes from the ownership of raw resources, capital and technology, given that these incomes (which enable people to contribute) are always generated via the good fortunes of inheritance (genes, fortunes and class) and circumstance (geography, nation, education and government)?

The market is good at distributing resources (within its work and income limitations), but is less good at distributing work, and is poor at distributing incomes. Given this, the simplest way is to share the income from work and profits into a base income everyone over the age of entitlement receives (say half is shared into the base income, half retained), as this allows everyone to make their own choices about how they learn, develop and contribute - a freedom that would produce an enormous and on-going increase in productivity as people became ever more able to realise their own diverse contributions.

The Infometrics article above reaches at this later in the piece with: “The simple answer seems to be that we allow people in this situation the opportunity to increase their skills, and where they can't, redistribute some of the gains from mechanisation to these people in the form of an income payment”. But Infometrics confines that sharing ("redistribution") within the concept of unemployment benefits, student loans and subsidised education. So the additional question remains, 'how should income be shared - by some sort of government mediated benefits, student loans and subsidised education, or (and) directly via a base income all receive?'

Personally, I favour a mix of a direct shared base income with on-going, dynamic, and in many cases diminishing, government programmes. I don't think the government is good at picking winners (and nor should it) or that people should have to crawl to government to get a benefit. However, there are programmes that should be centrally organised and provided to ensure that everyone contributes and benefits from them when required (such as health and education). These programmes must be accountable to the people in a set of regular accounts accompanying the shared base income.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Monday, January 28, 2013

Performance

I think the concepts behind the diagram below are largely self-evident, but the primary message is that by adopting a confident, relaxed and comfortable posture and attitude you enhance your ability to deal with pressure. On the other hand, passively holding an unconfident, tense and awkward posture can lead to less than optimal results.

These postures or attitudes are affected by external stimuli such as praise or criticism of performance, and so performance management in organisations is highly relevant. However, self-awareness of your own posture/attitude can help you adopt a posture that is more positive and resilient regardless of external input.

Testosterone and cortisone are the chemical-biological intermediaries which are generated in response to pressure, converting pressure into either increased performance via the confident-relaxed-comfortable posture or into increased stress via the unconfident-tense-awkward posture.

These concepts and the diagram are informed and inspired by the Wired article "The Truth Behind Testosterone" and the TED talk "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are" by Amy Cuddy.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Friday, January 11, 2013

The War On Drugs

Isn't it time to finally stop this wasteful war on drugs?

Watch the documentary. Sign the petition.

For more information visit http://breakingthetaboo.info/

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Presentation V: The Common Purpose Change

This is the fifth presentation in a series of five on the common purpose and elements of it. This one gives a brief summary of the common purpose change.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Presentation IV: The Common Purpose Society

This is the fourth presentation in a series of five on the common purpose and elements of it. This one gives a brief summary of the common purpose society.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Presentation III: The Common Purpose Organisation

This is the third presentation in a series of five on the common purpose and elements of it. This one gives a brief summary of the common purpose organisation.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Presentation II: The Common Purpose Economy

This is the second presentation in a series of five on the common purpose and elements of it. This one gives a brief summary of the common purpose economy.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Presentation I: The Common Purpose

I'm posting some presentation slides developed to inform on the common purpose and elements of it.

This is the first presentation in a series of five, and gives a brief introduction to the common purpose and its interpretation in human rights and law.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Universal Credit Is Not Universal

The UK government is introducing a ‘universal credit’ to replace a raft of government benefits. The idea is that fewer benefits will be simpler to manage. But that is highly debateable, as while there are less benefits in name, in reality the assessment of benefit (aka credit) will still be made, taking into account individual and household incomes, rent and other factors.

The continuing high complexity of assessment means there are unlikely to be great efficiency gains from the move to a universal credit. The only way to remove assessment is to remove conditionality, and this is not happening with the universal credit.

The new universal credit will also have a smoother progressive scale and be more responsive to income variations. However, this element is not unique to a universal credit, it could just as well be introduced within the current variable benefits system. The smoother sliding scale will be better for incentivising work over dependency than the current scale (as less of the benefit is lost as paid income rises), but it won’t be as effective as a base income that is never lost regardless of paid income levels (like a universal basic income).

The universal credit is similar in idea to a negative income tax, where below a certain level people receive supplementary income (tax credits) from the government on a sliding scale. In a similar manner to the negative income tax, the universal credit could be confused with a universal basic income or shared base income, but it most certainly is not, as it is highly conditional, and, therefore, not (in fact) universal.

The ‘universal’ credit is highly conditional because it is both means tested - the credit paid depends on paid income according to the level and scale created by government - and because it is subject to financial sanctions (reductions to the credit) if people do not meet the government-mandated requirements, most particularly for employment availability.

The first and second conditions mean that it cannot be considered a universal basic income or shared base income, or even universal. And the second condition also divorces it from being a true negative income tax – as most conceptions of a negative income tax remove government requirements in order to reduce government intervention and lower costs, which the universal credit does not.

So what good is the universal credit? Not much. Will it make things simpler for the general public? I seriously doubt it, because replacing the titles of the individual benefits, while still retaining the complexity of means testing and conditionality behind the scenes, is more likely to baffle the public than simplify things.

If I were a UK citizen, I would be concerned about this policy. As an advocate of universal basic incomes, I am also a bit alarmed, as giving this scheme the title of universal credit, when it is anything but universal, is going to harm the public perception of truly universal schemes.

Ben Wallace
Author The Common Purpose Manifesto
LinkedIn - http://nz.linkedin.com/in/benwallace13
Twitter - http://twitter.com/BenDWallace

Universal Credit, Department of Work and Pensions (UK)
Negative Income Tax
Basic Income Guarantee (Universal Basic Income)
What About A Shared Base Income?
Income & The Common Purpose