Global Justice Movement

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Environmental Justice

Contents of this Page: Underlying Causes of Environmental Destruction - A. Deleterious Effects of Interest - B. Poverty - C. Population Matters - D. Prevention of Green Technological Advance - E. Terms of Trade and IMF Conditions for Borrowing - F. Greed - G. Power Must Be Spread - H. Abuse by Corporations - So, Environmental Justice demands

Respect The Earth

As a trustee of a delicate biosphere whose carrying capacity we have a duty of care to sustain, every person must respect the rest of creation and take responsibility for preserving the environment including the fauna and flora all of which are interdependent and share a divine origin with humanity.

Life on earth is a fragile miracle. Its preservation and, wherever possible, reconstruction is not possible without a global and intergenerational perspective – which is what GJM provides.

Environmental destruction has underlying several causes some of which are not always obvious and, even if noticed, are often conveniently ignored.


Underlying Causes of Environmental Destruction

The first such cause is interest whose deleterious effects are as follows.

"Seven Steps to Justice"
by Rodney Shakespeare & Peter Challen

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A. Deleterious Effects of Interest

Exponential growth of compound interest

When money is not, or cannot be, repaid (and, because of predatory lending, that is the situation in many countries today) the total amount owed, at compound interest, increases with ever-increasing acceleration. Assuming no repayments, the amount owed slowly increases before beginning to shoot upwards on its way to infinity. For example, if somebody borrows at 12% to pay for, say, a farm, and is unable to pay back the money then, after 18 years, he has to pay back the equivalent of not one farm or two farms, but eight farms! After 24 years it is sixteen farms.

It has been calculated that one pfennig invested in the year 0 A.D. at 5% compound interest would by 1990 have earned the value of gold worth 134 billion times the weight of the earth. Today we are in 2003 A.D.!!!

More money is owed than is available

If $100 is borrowed and $800 is repayable then, on the world scale, there is a continual and frantic effort to find $700 i.e. the difference between $100 and $800. The only way forward is to borrow more money!! Thus there are huge, and unnecessary pressures to increase economic activity merely for the purpose of paying off the interest (as opposed to paying off the original sum).

One of the most sinister consequences is to entrap people into a frenetic activity with an associated endless increase in consumption. Combined with advertising, this makes people believe, and behave, as if they have limitless material needs, when they do not.


Transfer of resources from poor to rich

All the time, as a result of the grip that the banking system now has on the world, a massive transfer of resources is going on from the poor to the rich. An example from Germany is illuminating. Between 1950 and 1989 German Gross Domestic Product increased 22 times, while interest paid on the national debt increased 75 times. That is extraordinary remembering that, overall, 80% of the population lose from the effects of interest, 10% neither lose nor gain, and the last 10% most definitely gain.

And borrowing more money generally only worsens the problem. Eventually capital assets tend to end up in the hands of those who lend money.


B. Poverty

A second main cause of environmental destruction is poverty. Poor people, for example, often have little choice but to take the shortest route to satisfying their immediate physical need. Thus if electricity is not available, poor people will cut down the nearest trees to provide fuel for cooking and warmth.

Generally, moreover, where the environment is concerned, poor people do not have much choice about how they earn their living. It is hard enough for the middle classes and the working poor in industrialized countries to face up to the choices between the environment and their livelihood. Still harder is it for those in poorer nations where, in far greater numbers and proportions, people suffer and perish for lack of necessities.

Thus, if there is to be fundamental advance on the green front, not only must poverty be addressed but there must be a method by which ordinary people can be stopped from earning their living in one way and given another, more green way, instead. If there is no other way to earn, destruction happens. The recent history of the Canadian cod fishing industry is an example. The seas off Newfoundland were being over-fished. But because, in order to limit the cod catch, fishermen would have to be deprived of their livelihood, inadequate action was taken. It is now, alas, possible that Canadian cod will never be seen again. Unhappily, this dismal history looks like being repeated in the North Sea.


C. Population Matters

In considering a third main cause of environmental destruction it can be noted that a large population does not, of itself, cause poverty. Rather, poverty causes the large population. Many people believe that the most intransigent problem facing the world is the burgeoning population. In many countries, the population increases while, at the same time, there is a standard of living just above the starvation level; abysmal, if not non-existent, health and education services; and no welfare state. In such situations:–
• families have large numbers of children to ensure that some survive
• children are necessary to provide for the upkeep of the aged
• women have little choice as to whether or not they have children. This is not just a matter of economics but also a reflection of a power balance between the sexes, a balance tilted against women.

However, there is much evidence that population levels stabilize, even decline, where there is:–
• a reasonable standard of living
• an education and health system
• some, if only minimal, empowerment of women.

Thus, in the USA and Europe today many strata of society are generally showing a population decline. Needless to say, Global Justice provides:
• a reasonable standard of living;
• education and health systems; and,
• a considerable empowerment of women.


D. Prevention of Green Technological Advance

Fourthly, environmental destruction will continue while green technological advance is prevented. Windmills and solar energy-generating systems are examples of investment projects that can, and should, be done with interest-free money. However, while, as at present, all such investment has to be made with interest-bearing money, the projects have a borderline viability.

With interest-free money, however, they become economically feasible. Getting such technologies into operation is now environmentally urgent. Indeed, unless it happens within about five years, it may be too late.

There is hope, however, because some mind-bending alternative energy and other technologies are now on the verge of practical possibility. Examples are the Motionless Electromagnetic Generator and various processes for using hydrogen obtained from water. It is utter madness not to give these new technologies a chance to save the planet. The use of interest-free money would be that chance.

Unfortunately, at present, vested interests and fossilised mindsets have induced a deep paralysis. Green technological advance is essential but while all such investment has to be made with interest-bearing money, the chances of it being viable are small.


E. Terms of Trade and IMF Conditions for Borrowing

A fifth main cause of environmental destruction is the poverty and distress arising from the disastrous imposition of unsuitable terms for borrowing. A recent World Development Report recounts the reasons behind Malawi’s food crisis. Briefly, the problem is not harvest failure. Rather it is inappropriate conditions for borrowing imposed by the IMF and World Bank. In particular, these conditions, rather like water privatisation, do not take account of poor people’s inability to pay more for food. Malawi’s international indebtedness, moreover, is such that a potentially prosperous country is being environmentally wasted.

Furthermore, the terms of international trade are often biased against the agricultural production of poor countries.

Debt Cancellation

The case for cancelling the debt of these countries is strong because, unless the debt is cancelled, they will never get out of debt (indeed, it will increase) and so, in effect, will be milch cows for evermore. Putting countries into never-ending debt is a sure formula for creating never-ending hatred.


F. Greed

Lastly, environmental destruction is caused by large-scale over-consumption.

At the moment, unfree finance capitalism has, at its core, a demand for the endless repayment of interest. That demand necessarily causes an endless expansion because of the need to repay borrowed money. While the money supply is almost wholly dependent upon bank-created money issued with a requirement for the payment of interest, a frenetic over-consumption is certain.

Therefore when conventional economics views humans as being endlessly greedy (as it does view them) it is only giving expression to what is required by the conventional economic system.

Apart from the present finance system, moreover, endless greed is also stimulated by a lethal combination of insecure social status and the insecurity which comes from poverty or, at the very least, a perception of insecurity.

Therefore the elimination of greed requires:

• a fundamental change to the system of finance
• policies to ensure that everybody earns a big proportion of their income in the same way, and in a secure way
• societies with an obvious fairness.

Only then can it reasonably be expected that the forces which today tend towards endless greed will at the very least be mitigated.


G. Power Must Be Spread

Justice and sustainability of human life on the planet cannot be achieved with a concentration of power that corrupts people and their environment. An ecologically rich division of power is required to provide checks, balances and interdependency to provide a rational basis for trust and cooperation to sustain humanity as part of Gaia.

To achieve a widespread division of power democracy needs to be re-defined to eliminate it operating through command and control bureaucracies. Democracy has been hollowed out through the public sector being captured by the command and control bureaucracies of corporations that allows them to minimise their political accountability.

Political democracy cannot be achieved without economic democracy. Even the most advanced economies no longer have a meaningful form of economic or political democracy. Corporations are beginning to rule the world. They are more and more becoming accountable only to investment managers who by law are not allowed to take action on only social or political grounds. Even on financial considerations, investment managers are not motivated to make corporations accountable as they depend upon them to earn their living! Justice is denied because bureaucrats in the public or private sectors can avoid political accountability. Social accountability is denied, as citizens cannot afford to take court action against power bureaucracies.

Justice depends upon enriching democracy to give citizens rather than institutions control of society. This can be achieved by adopting ecological forms of ownership, control and money. See Complementary, Community and Ecological Currencies. This would create interdependency between the social and natural environment to build "Ecological Republics" based on the bio system of each locality. Dr Shann Turnbull has made a proposal as follows: —

Like all forms of biota, ecological ownership, control and money would be subject to environmental changes and have a limited life. With realty this would mean users would become owners over time as occurs in squatter settlements. All alien ownership would become localised to provide both the means and incentive to sustain the natural and built environment. Ownership rights to corporations would no longer extend past their investors' time horizons. This would substantially reduce the concentration of wealth from investors being overpaid. Conversely firms would be sustained by acquiring as owners, their employees, customers and suppliers on whom it depends for its existence.

It is for this reason that such ecological forms of firms are described as Ownership Transfer Corporations. OTCs would replace the current static, exclusive and perpetual rules of ownership with ones that are dynamic, inclusive and time limited. In this way ownership would continually be widely distributed to those people on whom firms depend for their existence. Like all forms of biota, ecological ownership, control and money would be subject to environmental changes and have a limited life. With realty this would mean users would become owners over time as occurs in squatter settlements. All alien ownership would become localised to provide both the means and incentive to sustain the natural and built environment.


H. Abuse by Corporations

Companies (UK) or corporations (US) were originally allowed into existence with privileges because they could give benefit to society. Today, however, the right to create a corporation is increasingly treated as a right by people intent on abusing the privileges, indeed, intent on abusing society e.g. tobacco corporations. Worse, the individuals involved in many corporations are able to shift the costs of damage they cause onto the public sector. Corporations located in tax-avoidance countries are particularly prone to this. Global Justice would review the role of corporations.


The word “stewardship” well summarizes what is needed. All humans alive are, or should be, stewards aiming to hand on to succeeding generations a world in good shape. Stewardship means:–

• using our resources wisely
• a concern for structural justice
• demonstrating financial accountabilities
• preserving the environment
• making decisions on behalf of the future
• earning community trust.

The Global Justice Movement gives a lead in stewardship because it:–

• greatly mitigates the deleterious effects of interest
• improves the situation of the poor by providing two basic incomes
• increases the productive capacity of individuals
• promotes green investment
• allows alternative incomes to those at present engaged in anti-environment practices
• promotes the voluntary control of population levels
• spreads power
• strengthens localities

Best of all, the GJM promotes a positive attitude away from self and towards others. Without that attitude there is little hope that people will co-operate sufficiently to make an impact on environmental problems.

So Environmental Justice demands

1. Interest-free money for public capital investment

2. Interest-free money for private capital investment if new owners are thereby created. Tax incentives for wide capital ownership.

3. Interest-free money for farms, small and start-up business

4. Non-repayable, debt-free money for a second secure income

5. Interest-free money-free money for green capital investment

6. Complementary, community and ecological currencies

7. A rejection of extreme left-wing and right-wing politics

8. Good healthcare, education, clean water, sewage and electricity

9. A proper deal for women – and babies

10. The cancellation of the debt of poor countries

11. Review of the role of corporations

It has been well said that:—
“the question of rights within a global system revolves around the right to livelihood for the human and other species. Livelihood is not ultimately about money or having a job. It is about the right to share in the bounty and beauty of the planet, within sustainable limits – not because the right has been given by someone else, but as a consequence of being alive.”

The five Justices combine in livelihood.

Remember – the world has the technology and productive resources to eliminate misery, poverty and injustice and save the planet (particularly if the Motionless Electromagnetic Generator and other new alternative energy sources become commercially viable).

N.B. Over time, in the Global Justice economy, interest-free money will come to replace interest-bearing money and not be in addition to it. Since it is replacing, it cannot be inflationary.


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Global Justice – the true, fair, democratic and efficient solution to poverty. Global Justice means Inclusive Justice!