Campaign for Universal Peace

by Peter Kasser



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26th May 2023, Port-au-Prince/Haiti  -  Wishes 22 / 23 / 24

In the name of Peace and Justice.

I have three wishes today, which I present to you in the name of Peace and Justice - in the hope they may be fulfilled. 

I remember, at the turn of the century, when many people were so euphoric about the prospect of being witness to a brave new world in a new century, full of joy and happiness and prosperity, that many governments and organizations joined hands in an effort to develop ideas about how to participate in the creation of this brave new world.

The World Bank, for one, declared after very deep thinking and calculation, that even in the poorest of all countries every  person should earn at the least the equivalent of one USD per day in order to survive. That's USD 30 per month. Later, after some more deep thinking and calculating, the World Bank announced that this amount should be doubled in order for people to really survive. That would be USD 60 per month. A "Millennium Goal" was drafted to that effect and signed by all UN Member States.

After having visited many of these poorest countries in the world, I can confirm that it's quite unrealistic to try and survive there on USD 60 per month. I think it more realistic to talk about a minimum amount of USD 150 per month, just to pay for rent (in some cheap slum area) and very basic food and cloths.

Now what's the point in talking about minimum needs and setting Millenniums Goals if such needs and goals are never met?

My first wish for today is that we do less talking and start acting. My wish is that this minimum amount of USD 150 per month be paid unconditionally to every adult person in the poorest countries in the world (proportionally less to children under the age of 20) - plus any amount of money needed to cover costs for basic education and health care, in countries where such services are not fully and automatically offered free of charge by the state.

Now obviously this is going to cost quite some money. Who's going to pay for this?

With this, I'm coming to my second wish for today.

I think that those who have lots and lots of money should pay for the poorest in this world, for them to survive in a decent way. If the poorest in this world cannot live a decent life, there can be no Peace on Earth. And what we all want is PEACE.

Rich people got their wealth from somewhere: they got it, some way or another, from less rich people - in the final analysis, from the poorest. I think, for humanity to live in peace, there must be a limit to the difference between rich and poor.

I think wealth should be limited. I think for somebody to be a millionaire is nice. For somebody to be a multi-millionaire is questionable. For somebody to be a billionaire is obscene. For somebody to be a multi-billionaire... well, that's where all limits and laws of decency have failed, where the very basis of human social cohesion has broken down.

I think that personal wealth, worldwide, should be limited somehow. It can be limited anywhere, but I think it should be limited somewhere. Let's say, at USD 50 million per person. With 50 million in one's bank account, one can live very comfortably till the end of one's life.

What's more, I think people who deal in financial transactions with the sole purpose of making a profit, should also be heavily taxed. In a sense it's like gambling (which is already heavily taxed but should be much more heavily taxed: not on winnings only but on sums invested for gambling in the first place). To invest in shares or commodities (hoping to garner a fat profit) is a nice thing - but it's a gamble nevertheless and should be taxed accordingly, for the benefit of the most poor people in the world who have no spare cash for gambling but fight for their very survival every day.

And one more thing: I think that international holding companies, who make untold billions and billions and billions of profit worldwide, also need to be taxed completely differently from what they are taxed today. In many cases such companies don't pay any taxes (or hardly any taxes) at all because they shuffle their turnovers and profits from one tax heaven to the other in such a clever way that in the end they are cleared of any obligations to pay taxes anywhere.

In my view, international holding companies should be taxed by international law, for the direct benefit of the poorest in this world. And to avoid cheating and hiding, I suggest the following taxation scheme:

1) 1 percent tax on total global turnover

2) 10 percent tax on total global profit

3) 100 percent tax on total top-level management salaries (including bonuses, discounts and gratuities of all kinds)

Such taxes would be levied outside and on top of any existing national taxes, to be paid directly to a UN special fund for the financial support of the most underprivileged poor people in the world.

To have a functional system of basic income payments to the poorest in place, as well as the financial means to pay for it, surely is a good start to make this world a better place. But it's not enough. In the long run, USD 150 per person per month simply won't do the job. In terms of poverty line and basic income, in Switzerland, just to give an example, we're talking about some USD 2300 per month!

With such discrepancies, there's no justice in this world. This is not OK, this has to change!

And with this, I'm coming to my third wish for today. It's about gradual adjustments of income worldwide.

It's normal that some countries, for whatever reasons, are more expensive than others. But it's not OK that somebody who's doing exactly the same job (as a teacher, or a mechanic, or a sales person, or whatever) should earn 50 percent, or 100 percent, or even 1000 percent more in one country than in another. In my view, the difference between the highest and the lowest income for the same job worldwide should stand at most at 10 percent.

Now of course we surely wouldn't want to lower any income in richer countries. But we surely would want to increase income in poorer countries. So, to start with, we need to gradually increase those basic USD 150 per month to come closer to those basic incomes in richer countries.

This is my suggestion and my third wish for today:

The unconditional basic income of USD 150 per month for the poorest countries, as discussed above, after its introduction in the first year, should be increased in the second year by 10 percent.

In the third year, it should be increased again - not by 10 percent, but by 9.8 percent (0.2 % less than the previous year, in order to slow down the process in the long run).

In the fourth year, the increase should be 9.6 percent (0.2% less than the increase in the previous year) - and so on, every successive year with an increase of another 0.2% less than the increase in the previous year.

According to my calculation, this should result in an increase of the basic income from USD 150 to USD 888 per month in 25 years time (which means within one generation only!), and to USD 1767 per month in 50 years time (within two generations only!). This is already coming very close to those USD 2300 for Switzerland which I mentioned above - by then, times and conditions will have changed, new approaches and solutions will be discussed. 

Such are my three wishes for today, which I present to you in the name of Peace and Justice, in the hope they may be fulfilled.

In the name of Peace and Justice, thank you!