Justice, politics

The 12 basic needs

Don’t do anything upon someone else that you would not do upon yourself! That’s the basic rule of the world of justice and all kinds of laws and regulations internationally. Although it sounds so simple, it has been embattled throughout the centuries! In relations, between two or more people, between nations and between all people worldwide in two great wars and now in the struggle about climate change, debtrelease and fair trade, and the right for clear drinking water and so on.

Looking to the whole world of justice, law and order, democracy, politics and international relations we can recognise that we ourselves as consumer/citizens are in fact the basis on which all systems are built! The world of justice has everything to do with people and their relations, and how people are working together in realising their lives, their ideas and their needs. It’s the “crossing” between people and between mind and matter.

Although the books with laws can fill a supertanker, the starting point is always our relation with one another in friendship AND in conflict, especially to be there before conflict starts! In small groups we know the rules, but in nationwide and worldwide networks we need written rules to live together and to work together. This year (2008) it’s even 60 years ago that we discussed this worldwide for the first time in the foundations of the UN Human Rights! What Jean Jacques Rousseau named in his book Du Contrat Social the “Social Contract” (published 1762) was made up in 1948 for the first time worldwide and we are now working towards version 2.0 by discussing all the items of globalisation today!

But in this century and from now on everybody is involved in all things that happen worldwide, so we can’t leave it to the paperwork and the politicians and judges only! In an economy of question and answer we have to ask the best possible questions to expect the best possible answers, also as citizens (consumers of democratic services) in a democratic world! Therefore we have to read about it, talk about it and to act when neccesary. When freedom of thought and speech is actual, or democratic principals or justice are at stake, or in all aspects of economic production, fair trade and quality control in the end (guarantees and hallmarks)

The best way to stay ahead of any problems or even conflicts is a good relation with our neighbour citizens, our politicians and all our producers. Direct contact when possible and via consumer organizations to let them make the best rules to work together or to help solving problems collectively. Reading the annual reports to know the trends must be the basis of our common knowledge.

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11 202311 NOVEMBER 2023

Voting For The Future We Want?

In Holland we voted this month for a new Parliament with more ideas then ever before. About green and sustainable, about reasonable incomes and more responsibility, about more dialogue than debate only, about a better future. Enough ideas for the next four years! But we all know that ideas and good plans are only the beginning … ! Read more in the next elections in 2028!

Interesting is also that this summer already in Maastricht (where the euro was invented!) the next citizens advisory board with around 100 members was installed to exchange thoughts about the future of the city! And that two parties (GroenLinks/PvdA) were going to work together not only for the national elections but also for the next four years and beyond.

Most important of course will be to see how the social structure of the country will be developing towards a strengthening of the economic, political and cultural sectors in their own working areas and in their working together.

In fact the Netherlands have often played a pioneering role in the world. Situated in the Delta of the river Rhine with the biggest harbour of the world Rotterdam, disseminating the knowledge and experiences of Europe. Now ALSO especially for all consumers of the world! Birthplace of Consumers International (IOCU), World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), True Price, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Amsterdam Stock Exchange in the 17th century, World Trade since the East India Company (VOC), taking globalization from Venice to the whole wide world.
Co-founding Benelux being the basis for the European Union, and co-founders of the UN and the International Court of Justice in The Hague with 200 other countries.

So we can see: the rivers and the oceans are the connectors of the WorldWideWeb360 of information (post, magazines and books), international relations and travelling, and finally transport of commodities and all the products for our consumption. Basis for globalization even more than via land, by air or internet.

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Why How What: The Cultural Political and Economic Sectors
Consumer360Academy Poster IFHE Conference Malta 2015


11 202211 November 2022

We The People – Civil Society ThinkTanks

Already more than 500 civil consultations worldwide have been working together with governments in researching and discussing 500 issues of great importance according to the SDG’s in progress! Researcher and journalist Eva Rovers wrote a great little book about this new phenomenon of the 21st century! How groups of 150 citizens can be invited as co-thinkers for the biggest issues to be decided in laws and politics. We the People is becoming more and more practice on the road to the consumer-producer dialogue: in this case citizens-politicians dialogue.

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11 202110 October 2021

Best Practices for Shaping the Future

In 1919 Rudolf Steiner published the Essence of the Social Question after more than thirty years of research and try-outs. It already gave most interesting best practices for shaping the future which we can use today! Even now hundred years later the experience of biodynamic agriculture, waldorf education and anthroposophic health care show us how a deeper insight in the nature around us give us the tools for better understanding of how nature works.

But the Social Question is more complex than nature and more difficult to work on. Because we have to learn ourselves how society works and we ourselves are of course the ultimate players on the worldstage! But all kinds of questions about economy, human rights and cultural development are high on the agenda nowadays. So knowledge of the basic laws in the social sciences can be of great help!

Because the human being him/herself is in the centre of the universe it is the best and EASIEST way to look around and see all the problems, opportunities and possible solutions in an overview! As consumer, citizen and co-creator we are the ones who have all the (daily) needs, ask the questions (marketing), receive the answers (products and services), and pay for it in the end. That’s why we can call it “consumer governance”.

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11 202109 September 2021

The Great Reset – From Corporate Governance to Consumer Governance

The Great Reset is the bestselling book written by Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum. It gives us an outlook into a future where corporate and government governance will try to continue their leadership roles which they had in the centuries up till now. But in the 21st century it will be more and more the consumer/citizen/co-creator who will take over the steering wheel of the future we want. By asking better questions for better answers (products and services). By all forms for dialogue between consumers and producers. And by co-financing the companies they are connecting with by prepay, financing product-stocks, or even financial stocks. Most of the consumers still have some homework to do! Not only working toward a so-called “stakeholder capitalism” but towards mature, sustainable and responsible lifestyles!

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11 202012 December 2020

Ralph Nader – Looking Back – and Forward on Consumer Advocacy and Social Change

Ralph Nader the wellknown consumer advocate who wrote the book Unsafe at Any Speed. It was published November 30, 1965. It was Ralph’s first book. And it was the book that launched the modern consumer movement. Just before the worldwide student revoltes. March this year he gave a highly inspiring TEDx speech for all of us and the future we all want. Looking back to what happened in the last 40-60 years in the world economy and how the consumers/citizens worldwide were wakening up to prepare for the 21st century. Talking about all the crises in which we are now, struggling to find and create human and real mature solutions and institutions for the future. And forward on how the future we want could look and how we could work to achieve our own personal goals including the Sustainable Development Goals.

Nader was also a frontrunner being one of the founding fathers of the Green Party in the USA and even going for president more than once! He studied law at Harvard and Princeton, is now 86 and still going strong! He fought for us against the unlawful aspects of many big companies and now helping the debate for a realistic democracy in the US and worldwide. But especially to be a frontrunner and example of how consumers/citizens could and should be interested, informed, enthousiast and active themselves in the 21st century and beyond! To become rebels with a cause every time when necessary!

Realistic thinking about the economy and the world as a whole has its starting point in our own life. As human beings we are cultural creatives, citizens and consumers. Creative in education and development, citizens in discussions about laws and rules to coordinate the world between each other, and consumers in the discussion with trade and production in order to get the “stuff” we need. Maturity in the 21st century has a name: consumer governance. Period.

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11 202009 September 2020

75 Years United Nations and the Future We Choose.

In 1945, August 15 the Japanese signed for piece and a better future after World War 2 on the battleship USS Missoury. October 24 the United Nations were founded together with 51 countries. In 1956 and 1973 Japan and Germany became members as well. Today almost all 196 countries are member of the worldwide dialogue about the Future We Want. In 2015 they decided to go together for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals 2015 – 2030 towards the Future WE Choose! (Booktitle Christiana Figueres). The book Alternatives to Economic Globalization / A Better World is Possible by 21 world thinkers and coordinated by John Cavanagh and Jerry Mander started the first World Social Forum in Porto Alegre Brazil in 2001. A first constructive start of consumer/citizen conciousness and responsibility (we met them in Stuttgart 2004). In the years that followed also education started up worldwide in schools and in society about mature, responsible lifestyles. In 2017 the manuscript The Freedom to be Free by Hannah Ahrendt was discovered and published, a research document about what has to be done after a revolution or a war. About the management of building the future! The UN Assembly meeting in New York September 21 will be titled: The Future We Want – The UN We Need.

The human being is always in progress becoming a real co-creator! From Adam and Eve untill today and beyond. (Arnold Toynbee – A Study of History). From the thinking of the Greek, the civil rights by the Romans and the start of economic globalization and trade since Marco Polo and the Market Hall in Venice (and Paciolo the founder of bookkeeping) the human beings became “heads hearts and hands” in managing the world. From the Renaissance in the 14th century, the American and French Revolutions in the 18th century toward the globalization of production today reaching a deeper level of working in the world as a whole. And towards the 21st century of maturity the individual consumer/citizen came into the spotlights. To take his/her own responsibility for searching all possible information, all relevant arguments and trying to take the best possible decisions to buy or not to buy! Since 1960 the protests came but also most national consumer organizations to look for all information on products and services and on consumption itself. From 1970 onwards consumers organized themselves in all kinds of specific initiatives and organizations around shops, schools, medical centres, etc etc. In 1980 and beyond all kind of innovative banks (GLS Bank Triodos Bank and our own MoneyManager360) and all kinds of financial structures came into being, in the 21st century all kinds of organizations started consumer education on schools and for adults (PERL, IFHE, Consumer360Academy). The Partnership for Education and Research on Responsible Lifestyles PERL was a worldwide network of researchers and teachertrainers (we joined them in 2006) that worked especially towards new curricula for schools. Much of their expertise and knowledge later adopted by the International Federation for Home Economics, EU and UN and Consumers International. All expertise is of course available to all organizations and all schools and all of the consumers/citizens of the world family!

For the individual consumer we suggest the next twelve directions of further development and innovation:

01 RELIGION: Emancipation of Everyone! / Basics of ALL Religions (Martin Buber: Ich und Du)
02 ART: Thinking in Solutions! / Everyone is a Co-Creator! (Joseph Beuys)
03 SCIENCE: From Materialism to Holism! / From Geometry to Projective Geometry (Olive Whicher)
04 EDUCATION: Become who You are! / From Montessori to Waldorf Schools (Rudolf Steiner)
05 HEALTH: Eat and live Healthy! / Institute for Positive Health (Self Management)
06 FOOD AND NATURE: Towards 3D Agriculture! / Efficient-Biologic-Dynamic (Demeter)
07 HOUSING: From Cubic to Tangential Organic Architecture / Google “Sandcastle” Amsterdam (ING Bank HQ)
08 FINANCE: Past Present Future – Buying Lending Donating / Three ways of Financing – in Greek tri-odos (Triodos Banks)
09 TRAVEL: For Production For Trade For Consumption
10 COMMUNICATION: Free Thoughts Free Press Free Dialogue
11 HUMAN RIGHTS: From Romans to Revolutions to Consumer Rights (Freedom to be Free, Hannah Ahrendt)
12 ASSOCIATIONS: Consumer Trade Producer Together in Cooperations / True Price and Sustainability (UN SDG)

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11 201912 December 2019

Consumer/Citizen Responsibility – The Basis for the Future We Want

Published November 19 just after the impeachment hearings in Washington, these words are at the heart of the epilogue of the bestselling book “A Warning” written by Anonymus, a senior Trump administration officer who took the courage to write this book as a warning for all of us consumers/citizens worldwide. A warning that we are all responsible not only to choose the governments best fit for governing, but also to keep being involved in what happens year by year, minute by minute. Thomas Paine already said so in his book “Common Sense” published 1776 when the United States were founded. He also signed his book as an anonymus: “written by an Englishman”.

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11 201911 November 2019

The New French Revolutions

The French Revolution of 1789 was about inequality. And all the revolutions this month in Lebanon and Santiago de Chili are about inequality too. So what’s new(s)? Thomas Piketty wrote a new book on how to manage property between individuals and society, with the intriguing title “Capital and Ideology”. A 1200 page book on capital and property (english edition will be published in 2020 March 10). About the billions earned by means of more and more efficiency and innovation should not be the property of individuals, but of society as a whole. To reinvest in innovations of new products and in education of future consumers and producers who will shape the society we want. Some enterprises are already changing their mission statements to make money work for all, by asking labourers and consumers to participate in their decisionmaking.

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11 201907 July 2019

Sustainable Development Goals – First conclusions after four years

The adoption of the 2030 SDG Agenda was a victory for international cooperation, but most of all for the world’s people. The high-level gatherings in September 2019, including the high-level political forum on sustainable development, will give the United Nations a moment to reflect on the first four years of this essential journey. Notwithstanding slow progress, I remain convinced that the Organization can bring the Agenda’s inspiring vision to life.

On all fronts, multilateral action is essential. Only together can countries find solutions to poverty, inequality and climate change, the defining challenges of the times. Only together can they bolster their rules-based global trading system and mobilize the technology, solutions and financing needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Only together can countries transform economies and societies to empower all women and girls, truly benefit all people and preserve the health of the planet.

Let countries make the world gathering in September a moment when they summon the ambition required on climate change, re-energize and refocus their response to the Sustainable Development Goals and step up their commitment to reaching those who are the furthest behind and supporting the most vulnerable countries.

The pressures of the era are mounting; the trust that binds the world is fraying. Today’s generations and the next need the world to do better. Fortunately, there is still time to achieve the future envisioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Let the world find the wisdom, the solidarity and the will to move ahead in order to ensure a life of dignity and prosperity for everyone, everywhere.

(These conclusions will be the basis for the UN SDG Summit in New York 2019 September 24 – 26)

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11 201906 June 2019

Looking for New World Strategies

This month the wellknown magazine Foreign Affairs is all about searching for a strategy for the USA. It is published by the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, which is since almost hundred years the most important advisory board for US foreign policy, It is also very interesting to read for politicians and business people worldwide. And now in the 21st century also highly interesting for NGO’s, civil society, consumers and consumer organizations. Because the globalised world now involves all parties. Because we are all dependent on all resources and therefore responsible for all kinds of relations between people worldwide. Searching for new strategies how to work and live together is basic stuff for everyone! Especially now that world politics, world economy and the interactions between all cultures are most actual after the EU elections!

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11 201812 December 2018

A Reasonable Income is a Right – A Human Right

This was the essence of our article “About the quality of life” which we wrote for a conference in 2008. It was published on the website of the PDSE conference about sustainable and socially responsible economics at the university of Tilburg in the Netherlands. Especially the word “REASONable” was meant to focus attention on all kinds of REASONS in the division of all created welfare (GDP) into all kinds of income. How much do you really need for daily expenses, insurances, study or other expenditures, for all twelve necessities of life? Because the discussion about basic income is in fact the starting point for the much bigger discussion about all levels of income between a dollar per day and ten million per year.

November 28 an evaluation and a wider discussion about basic income took place in Amsterdam at Pakhuis De Zwijger organised by the VPRO tv channel for future journalism. A long interview with Rutger Bregman and discussions with many others and the public as well. What is the progress five years after Rutger’s TEDxMaastricht talk and what are the perspectives today and tomorrow?

The most interesting opinion was that basic income in western countries is already existing but named otherwise such as social security, medical assurances, payment for unemployment, and finance for study and retirement. The discussion about basic income is not about the gap between rich and poor in general. But it can help us think about it in the years ahead.

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11 201808 August 2018

Sustainable Development Goals, 3 Years In Progress
United Nations HLPF / Partnership Exchange July 13

This year the High-Level Political Forum HLPF on the Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030 took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York July 9 – 18 including one day especially for the Partnership Exchange (we were there in 2016). The “hot items” this year were goals number 6, 7, 11, 12, 15, 17. Of which number 12 is on consumer-producer relations for sustainable development – which is our main goal! Because only by good relations the best possible sustainable developments can be achieved.

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11 201801 January 2018

Looking back and forward

January last year Donald Trump became the new president in the United States. One year later he is still in charge and the Republican party can make quite a lot of progress for the economy as such but almost nothing in the direction of sustainability and/or social welfare. The whole world is now looking to him if he will be relevant or irrelevant for the the year(s) to come ……

Also the Monsanto Tribunal last April in The Hague was like a wake-up call to the whole world that genetic engineering is still a great threat if used for commercial purposes only without asking the essential ethical and environmental questions about the sustainable future of mankind. Although the honeybees are the ambassadors of nature we have to make the right decisions as human beings, as consumers, as citizens, and as presidents as well ….. !

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11 201509 September 2015

Citizens Income in Perspective

The newest book 101 Reasons for a Citizen’s Income offers a short, accessible introduction to the debate on a Citizen’s Income, showing how a universal, unconditional income for every citizen would solve problems facing the benefits system, tackle poverty, and improve social cohesion and economic efficiency. For anyone new to the subject, or who wants to introduce friends, colleagues or relatives to the idea, 101 Reasons for a Citizen’s Income is the book to open up debate around the topic. Drawing on arguments detailed in Money for everyone, it offers a convincing case for a Citizen’s Income and a much needed resource for all interested in the future of welfare (Policy Press).

Next year the Basic Income World Conference will be in Seoul, South Korea July 7-9, 2016. This year’s pre-conference in June was already very inspiring because of so many initiatives and laws in-the-making in so many countries. Next year it will become visible how the pilots have started in Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands and perhaps even more countries. And how to interprete the first results and experiences.

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11 201507 July 2015

Democracy Rising – World Conference in Athens

CRESTON DAVIS, GLOBAL CENTER FOR ADVANCED STUDIES: “Boy, we couldn’t have planned the conference to be at a better time given the volatility of what’s happening here in Greece. But basically yes, after Syriza came to power here in January, my friend Maria Nikolakaki, a professor, and myself started to think, let’s put on a conference that deals with specific questions about democracy rising that is a kind of inspirational moment where you connect up the Occupy movements to things that happened in the Arab Spring to all over. And you start to bring together leading intellectuals, public intellectuals like Tarik Ali, to journalists, novelists, and even politicians from Podemos and Syriza.”

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11 201501 January 2015

Gene Sharp’s 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action

How to Start a Revolution is the inspiring movie about the ideas of how people can work towards societies of living together in the best possible harmony. Gene Sharp was nominated three times for the Nobelprize and worked lifelong on this research and published a small book of only 70 pages about the basic principles of nonviolent revolution: From Dictatorship to Democracy. It became a worldwide bestseller for all people that wanted to change towards taking own responsibility for their own life and freedom of choice, for their country and society as citizens, and for their participation in the worldeconomy as a whole as consumers.

One way or another, people are more and more active today in what Alvin Toffler already wrote in all his books The Third Wave, Future Shock, Powershift, Revolutionary Wealth and others about the changes in civilzation into the 21st century.

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11 201406 June 2014

Capital, inequality and income

On top of all discussions about basic incomes, top salaries and the rising inequality between both this book appears about how capital works in the economy. Thomas Piketty not only wrote a masterpiece in economic science since Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Paul Samuelson but also in inspiring “storytelling”. A bestselling book worldwide in the financial world but also in a wide interested public which is now almost the whole civil society because of these discussions!

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11 201209 September – December 2012

How much is enough? How much do we really need? A bestseller!

Robert Skidelsky who is the biographer of John Maynard Keynes and wrote – together with his son Edward – a highly interesting and bestselling book about the issue of quantity!

Ghandi once said “There is always enough for everyone’s needs but never enough for anyone’s greed”. This book is about that central question. How much is enough? What do we really need? How much time do we need to work to meet our consumption goals? What is quality of life? Limits to Growth – Natural or Moral? A wake-up call!

Ban ki Moon introduced the new website of the United Nations about education not only for all but also for education towards responsible citizenship.

And the Club of Rome celebrated 40 years after the worldwide bestseller Limits to Growth in 1972 and now published the book “2052”…… what can we expect for the next forty years?

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July 2012

Rio+20 and beyond …

After Rio the Janeiro it is now up to all of us individually to work on realizing our commitments made before and during the conference and those yet to be chosen. Rio+20 accelerated consciousness around the world for all seven billion consumers. Which makes it easier to take better decisions. As a consumer, consumer organization, politician or producer. We’re living in a most inspiring time!

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11 201206 June 2012 (SEE ALSO MAY AND JULY)

Citizens on the move – Consumers of the future

Between over-enthousiasm and deepest critics lies the real road ahead in the 21st century. Looking at the final draft of the Rio+20 conference we can have mixed views and different emotions. Some said it was more than expected but less than hoped for but in the end it is what it is. The outcome of a long process where all parties were involved – and hopefully – evolved and became wiser!

The only way to understand human history is to compare it with the biography of the human being itself. Since we learned thinking in ancient Greece, living together through Roman laws, and working together since the Industrial Revolution we are now in the 21st century of “maturity” thinking discussing and deciding about our own future, the future WE want.

But in the same way as growing up we can’t expect all things happening in one day! And not everyone is growing as fast as the other. So we can indeed recognise cultural creatives as the ones who take the lead, citizens who are working on transitions in civil society and society as a whole, and “consumers-only” who are only consuming and not convinced yet to change their lifestyle.

But we ourselves human beings are of course the real managers, as consumers (making choises, and paying ALL the bills), as citizens (arguing all the pro’s and con’s in politics and on the streets) and as cultural creatives (asking new questions, starting initiatives and evaluating progress). The future we want is in the making every day and we are of course lifelong learning as an individual. Society is the mirror we made/make ourselves and in which we can see our own biography.

The Rio+20 conference has given a huge impact worldwide on people’s thinking, motives and tools for change. Especially because of social media and press. Which gives a broader basis as a license-to-act for politicians, business and ngo’s as well. For helping implementing our Agenda 21 and more!

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May 2012

Ready for Rio+20 – Consumer Education in Responsible Living

Around the world almost everybody and every organization is thinking and talking already for a year or more about the event to come in Rio de Janeiro next month. The title “the future we want” has triggered everyone to prepare well what we are going to talk about and what we think that should be decided in a new worldwide social contract about a sustainable future.

In Rotterdam in the Netherlands we joined a big conference with 1300 people discussing in many workshops about almost every issue. Consumer/citizens and people of many different organizations listened and discussed about problems, possibilties, priorities and pioneering initiatives. A special keynote speaker was Crownprince William Alexander who is working on the worldwide problems of water, the expertise of the Dutch while living in the delta of the river Rhine. And one very interesting award-winning project is working on making prices more transparent and all inclusive so that people are better informed to take better decisions to buy or not to buy.

Especially young people at the conference gave a cry-out for more education about how to work towards a more sustainable future. As we know many organizations have already worked many years on education and is now really coming into a rapids this year.

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11 201204 April 2012

Beyond Economic Growth – Beyond GDP

Quality of life is a much wider perspective than quantity or economic growth only. All discussions about all crisis-situations we have in the world today are now more and more connected to the one single question about the meaning of life. What have we created so far, what are we doing now and what is the future we want? That’s the discussion worldwide now for the Rio+20 conference. The prime minister of Bhutan was at the UN to talk about an interesting way to look from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to Gross National Happiness (GNH).

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11 201101 January – March 2011

Spring at last

On the 17th of December last year an outrage began what is now called the Arab Spring (writing 2012), an uprising of the people against their dictatorial government. Later followed by Libya and Egypt and other countries. An historic development of consumer/citizen awareness and responsibility for real democracy.

Professor Yunus’ message from Bangladesh to Davos

Social Entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director of the Grameen Bank, sent a message from Bangladesh to World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011 participants, promoting the cause of social business. Yunus drew a line between ?selfish business? that maximizes profit and ?social business? that focuses on other benefits such as development. The two can coexist, he said, but sharing norms and dreams means pushing a new image of humanity. Best known for his engagement in microcredit, Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 together with the Grameen Bank. Muhammad Yunus is on the Board of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

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11 201009 September 2010

The Whole World at Work – About the Millennium Development Goals in Progress

Always highly interesting to follow the United Nations “live” where 192 countries gathered this month to tell about what they are doing about the world problems in their own countries and how the MDG’s are in progress! Best speakers are always those who speak paperless: Poland about solidarity worldwide, Obama as the great mediator about that we (all) can! And the Netherlands as co-founders of globalization, EU and UN about renovation from old to new structures in international institutions.

Looking to the world as a whole is now much easier for everybody thanks to internet, but seeiing the big picture and all kinds of relations is only possible by our own imaginations of course! And even more important is to think about remarks that not only governments and NGO’s but also business must be involved, and most of all of course we ourselves as consumers! Because we are the ones that ask the questions, always pay the real price direct or indirect, and enjoy yes or no the quality of all products and services, the quality of life.


11 201008 August 2010


Decade for a Culture of Peace 2001-2010

At the end of the UN Decade for a Culture of Peace now the final report is published by the project manager David Adams. From over 100 countries worldwide 1.054 organizations of which 147 international organizations gave their opinions about the past and the future, about problems and opportunities for a worldwide future of peace, sustainability, tolerance and solidarity.

Eight categories of organizations reported about their experiences and about their points of view. Education as the most important. Sustainability, Human Rights, Gender, Participative democracy, Understanding tolerance and solidarity, Freedom of information, Peace and security. The most interesting development mentioned in the report was the worldwide famous project of micro credits, the Grameen Bank of Yunus who gave the most powerful impuls towards a better world.

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PS: We joined the country-conference which David Adams held in Amsterdam in 2005 together with thirty people of other dutch organizations. In the final report 2010 we give our opinion about the past and the future by mentioning our annual report and our publication “about the quality of life” (see international organizations / sustainability / vrije consumenten / free consumers or see our website).

11 201007 July 2010

Our Common Future 2.0 in the making

More than 400 people in the Netherlands have gathered to write an upgrade version of the famous Brundtland Report and to present it in 2012 exact 25 years after the first publication by the United Nations in 1987. Starting next month on the yearly “Sustainable Tuesday” in the old parliament building in The Hague on September 7 with a presentation to politicians and the public. This crowdsourcing project of twenty teams working on different themes everybody will spend two weeks of his/her time in the next three months for discussions and try to rewrite the report and make it fit for the 21st century.

Of course only the most exact scientific knowledge can show us the best possible roadmaps. And only the most humane institutions we build can help to build the most reasonable human relations. And so the best possible circumstances for our common future. We think!

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11 201006 June 2010

From the End of Poverty to Common Wealth

Jeffrey Sachs wrote a masterpiece again with a magnificent title! One word that can motivate everyone of us everywhere to go forward working for a better world possible! A title that invites us to go on even when one should disagree with parts of his book. In the 21th century thinking and talking is necessary, but trial & error is even more important!

Jeffrey D. Sachs is the director of The Earth Institute, professor of sustainable development at Columbia University. He is also special advisor to United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. From 2002 to 2006, he was director of the UN Millennium Project on the Millennium Development Goals.

About the book: Drawing from his unexcelled experience and knowledge, Jeffrey D. Sachs has written a state of the world report of immediate and enormous practical value. Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet delivers what the title promises: a crystal-clear analysis, a synthesis, a reference work, a field manual, a guidebook, a forecast, and an executive summary of recommendations fundamental to human welfare. It says to those responsible for Earth’s 6.6 billion people: Just look at the numbers. The world has changed radically in the past several decades; it is going to change more, faster and faster. In spite of all we have accomplished through science and technology -indeed because of it – we will soon run out of margin. Now is the time to grasp exactly what is happening. The evidence is compelling: we need to redesign our social and economic policies before we wreck this planet. At stake is humankind’s one shot at a permanently bright future.

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ISBN 9780141026152



11 201003 March 2010

Kennedy and the World Consumer Rights Day

It was president John F Kennedy who announced on March 15 1962 the Bill on Consumer Rights, giving the consumers and their newborn worldwide organization Consumers International (International Organization of Consumer Unions) some very important tools to become partners on the playing field of the world economy.

This year Consumer Rights Day was about “It’s OUR money!” pointing towards everyone who is working with money one way or another. But of course we ourselves are the first and most important players in the economy! Because every time we decide to buy or to finance something WE decide who is going to work for us as e farmer, teacher, politician or automaker, and a euro yen or dollar begins a new round!

So in one way or another …. we are also responsible for the whole process in the end! In the same way that a manager has responsibility for the whole factory, consumer governance is about the whole chain of production. Made visible in fair trade and all kinds of labelling. Made practical by all kinds of consumer associations, visitors days and dialogues every season and/or every annual meeting with producers and all other stakeholders.

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11 200912 December 2009

Keynes and the issue of labour and income

Keynes is in the picture again worldwide! John Maynard Keynes already indicated in 1929 that our necessities of life, at least the basic ones are always there whatever crisis occurs! If you don’t have the opportunity to buy them, life is coming to an end and so the economy! The process of producing and consuming has to go on, and so the system of financial registration of wealth and the division of it has to be well organized! Keynes indicated that government should spend more when the economy goes downward. In fact he says that we have to take care for enough buying prower. But why not complete social security – or even better – the whole incomedivision system for everybody in the world?

How much is enough?
(Keynes’ biographer Robert Skidelsky in November 2009)

The economic downturn has produced a wider critique of “growthmanship” – the pursuit of economic growth or the accumulation of wealth at all costs, regardless of the damage it may do to the earth’s environment or to shared values. John Maynard Keynes addressed this issue in 1930, in his little essay “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren.” Keynes predicted that in 100 years – that is, by 2030 – growth in the developed world would, in effect, have stopped, because people would “have enough” to lead the “good life.” Hours of paid work would fall to three a day – a 15-hour week.

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11 200907 July 2009

Globalization is recognizing the threefold character of the human being
Nicanor Perlas for President in the Philippines

In the second sentence of the US Declaration of Independence of 1776 it is called: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. In the French Revolution we hear the words Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, recognizing our freedom in cultural life, equality among each other in all aspects of human (and consumer) rights, and fraternity where we are working together in the economy, which is global per definition. This month it has been 220 years that the French Revolution of 1789 took place; in France and in many other countries “Quatorze Juillet” was celebrated.

In the Philippines Nicanor Perlas announced this month to run for President in 2010, due to many people who asked him to. He believes that now it is the time for good governance to tackle cultural, political and economical problems in a globalizing world whereever possible. Because of his lifelong research and experience in the threefold character of the human being and the human society, he will certainly give a big push towards innovative thinking in globalization! Nicanor Perlas may inspire us to be creative in the shaping of our cultural life, as a citizen and as a consumer, as a politician or as a producer in the 21st century!

Biography (publications)

Perlas has written over 300 articles and monographs including an international best selling book, Shaping Globalization: Civil Society, Cultural Power, and Threefolding, translated in over 9 languages. (English ISBN 9789719223306) He was technical writer of the Philippine Agenda 21, the official government blueprint for sustainable development in the Philippines as well as technical writer of Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SIAD), A Framework for the Localiation of Philippine Agenda 21. Both were written for the Presidential Council for Sustainable Development.top.

Nicanor Perlas also has been a resource Person and keynote speaker in over 70 global conferences and 130 national conferences on a range of cs including culture and societal transformation, integral sustainable development, globalization, technology, corporate social responsibility, science and spirituality, second scientific revolution, multiple intelligence, safe energy, good governance, global warming, social threefolding, strategic microfinance, direct democracy and many other topics.

Perlas has been consultant and adviser to UN agencies, Philippine official delegations to the United Nations, government and donor agencies, and civil society organizations including colleges and universities in the area of human development, organizational transformation, appreciative inquiry, integral sustainable development, civil society, multiple intelligence and other areas of work.

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11 200904 April 2009

Rethinking Society – what’s new(s)?

As the civil society organization Civicus celebrates 16 years of being in action next month for a better balance between civil society state and private organizations (cultural life, political life and economy) it seems good to think about the basics of life, the principles on which the cosmos the society and the human beings are built. For we are now in the middle of a time of rethinking society and all its institutions, thanks to the financial crisis which ignited it …….

As human beings we all have our head heart and hands as our tools for thinking feeling and willing, or as the manager calls it planning organizing and realization. In a household we call that “make a list, go shopping, and purchase the goods and services you find the best choice!”.In a wider perpective we see that also in the world as a whole: in the cultural political and economical sectors of society, where we can recognise ourselves as cultural creatives, as citizens and as consumers.

And that’s exactly where the French revolution mentioned the three laws of society that the great philosopher Rousseau meant: liberty equality and fraternity. Liberty in our thoughts, science, arts and religion, in education and communication. Equality in everything what has to do with our social relations in human rights, politics and international relations including our human right for a reasonable part of all the wealth of knowledge, civil participation, and a reasonable income. And brotherhood / working together in all aspects of economical life.

It is obvious that a (world)society of human beings has the same organization as the human being himself, isn’t it? An interesting example we can find in the decision already made in the 12th century in Paris to build the Sorbonne University on the left bank of the Seine (Rive gauche), all the economical activities on the right bank (Rive droite), and …. the Court of Justice in the middle on the island (Isle the la Cite)! But to understand exactly how we are positioned in the cosmos we have to look in our vertical line where we are in the polarity of the infinite cosmos and the small island called Earth. In the spiritual world with our head, in the human world with our heart (more specific heart and lungs, our rhytmic system), and in the material world beneath with our hands and feet.

So far so good and nothing new! Old stuff for everyone who has an open eye for the world around.But the inner qualities of society are even more interesting! When liberty equality and brotherhood are working in the other sections of society (or organization). For instance when equality reigns in religion, or when too much liberty is given to economical life as we see now in the crisis of capitalism … In the same way that our head heart and hands are working together as a harmony of three specialized instruments, so has to do society and its institutions. So we have to rethink a few things! And to discover and recognise the inner qualities of society … THAT’S NEW(S)!

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11 200812 December 2008

United Nations 60 Years: from Human Rights to Consumer Rights

The Declaration of the Human Rights in 1948 was the first time in the history of mankind to write down ourselves the basic rules for living together, for a “social contract” Rules which the philosopher Rousseau, kings, priests and god himself did before us! Rules that now are also the basis for all kinds of discussions in parliaments, corporate governance and …consumer laws.

After the consumer advocate Ralph Nader declared US cars “Unsafe at any Speed” consumer laws came into a current worldwide. Although the US and especially the state of California have a comprehensive system of consumer laws, the European commission for Consumer Affairs has developed a structure connecting laws of 27 countries. Plus an online educational program called Dolceta and a Europa Diary for all schoolchildren. So there’s only one more step to go for a worldwide handbook and education …

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11 200811 November 2008

The whole world at the kitchentable!

Barack Obama as one of the most important new Coordinating Executive Officers in a globalizing world! Since more and more people are talking at the “kitchentable” called internet we are now in a world where everybody is learning to be a worldleader him/herself (…… for 1 / part). And Obama could well be a very good coordinator because he lived in different countries and shows to be interested in the people not only as voters but as future clients!

Perhaps he already read the book The IBM Way, how they became one of the most excellent companies in the world by listening to clients first. They called it “business on demand” foreseeing already that the 21st century would be the beginning of an economy of question and answer. Interesting is also how people act and react worldwide! People see each other more and more as citizen, as consumer, but also …. as friend and colleague in solving world problems together. The whole world at the kitchentable!

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Example of a kitchen-question, see this pdf…


11 200802 February 2008

Ralph Nader for President

February 24. Ralph Nader – the world famous advocate and frontrunner for consumer rights announced his plan to go for president! In the NBC television interview Meeting the Press he said ………….

  • Twenty-four percent of the American people are satisfied with the state of the country, according to Gallup. That’s about the lowest ranking ever. Sixty-one percent think both major parties are failing. And, according to Frank Luntz’s poll, a Republican, 80 percent would consider voting for a independent this year. Now, you take that framework of people feeling locked out, shut, shut out, marginalized, disrespected and you go from Iraq to Palestine/Israel, from Enron to Wall Street, from Katrina to the bungling of the Bush administration, to the complicity of the Democrats in not stopping him on the war, stopping him on the tax cuts, getting a decent energy bill through, and you have to ask yourself, as a citizen, should we elaborate the issues that the two are not talking about? And the–all, all the candidates–McCain, Obama and Clinton–are against single payer health insurance, full Medicare for all. I’m for it, as well as millions of Americans and 59 percent of physicians in a forthcoming poll this April. People don’t like Pentagon waste, a bloated military budget, all the reports in the press and in the GAO reports. A wasteful defense is a weak defense. It takes away taxpayer money that can go to the necessities of the American people. That’s off the table to Obama and Clinton and McCain.
  • I came to Washington over 40 years ago to help improve my country and started a lot of citizen groups who did that. That was a time you had a hearing in Congress, regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration would be more responsive–Auto Safety Agency, EPA. That’s a time Nixon, because he heard the rumble of the people, and he was the last president to really fear liberals enough to change his position, signed OSHA, signed EPA, had a health plan that he didn’t really believe in, had a minimum income plan to abolish poverty, and then it started.
  • Around 1979, the doors started closing on the citizen groups. So my concern, Tim, comes from, to give you statistics quickly, 58,000 workers who die every year from work-related diseases and trauma on the job; 65,000 people according to EPA who die from air pollution; over 100,000 people who die from adverse effects of medicines; 250 people a day who die from hospital-induced infections; and all the fraud, waste and abuse that’s eating at the heart of the family budget, aggravating them. They can’t get answers to their questions. They’re thrown into huge debt. Now they’re losing their houses while Wall Street speculators laugh all the way to the bank.
  • That’s where my concern comes from. And I hope it’s shared by a lot of people around the country. I hope a lot of people will be gathered around the country to establish Congress watchdogs in every district, a thousand people–we want to hear from every congressional district—
  • To show the American people how easy it is to turn the Congress around if people are organized. Fifteen hundred corporations get their way by–from a majority of 535 members of Congress. We’re millions of people out there, and we simply have to, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, and the state of our nation in the world, we have to mobilize in that manner, and that’s what that, that Web site is all about.
  • It’s not just a website. It’s a gathering center!
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11 200609 September / October 2006

Worldwide discussions about disconnecting income and labour

First this: what counts most for us all as a human being is the quality of life! Isn’t it? Everything we choose in doing things ourselves, or buying products or services from others (producers government or cultural institutions) is to maintain or increase the quality of our life in the way we decide it to be quality! So the quality of life is always priority number one. And so the quality of products and services. But why are still so many products so poor in quality, unsustainable or even dangerous?

Because all labour is still connected to income! This system which was introduced a few centuries ago and later promoted by Adam Smith has driven the economy in a positive way. But also shows to be counterproductive to quality because income (quantity) was in fact the priority instead of quality. But the worldwide discussions now are revealing the truth that producing is only an economic issue. And talking about who needs what in a (world)family is an issue between all people, not only the producers! As we can see in all social sytems developed in the 20th century arranging finance for children, students, sick or jobless people and elderly (and for holiday or sabattical).

The discussions worldwide now about basic income and/or top wages are only the beginning of thinking about this! When all forms of income will be arranged between ALL people in the future, then, yes then the producers can really go for sustainability and quality! Then also visible in terms of bookkeeping, because everybody then has the money to pay for quality.