When I first introduced Charlie Eagles, I mentioned his plan to revitalise and transform Australian government. He relates that it’s simply a first step, that by fixing issues in our own country we would then be in a position to fix issues with the world.
‘One of the biggest problems in the world – and it affects us, it affects Africa.. are how third world countries relate to Western countries.
Developed countries are still, by and large, quite parasitic. We rely on smaller countries to supply our goods and services, the debts that they have keep our economies afloat. We can’t really save the planet until we fix third world countries, and we can’t really save them until we fix our own problems. It doesn’t matter whether the approach is on the human aspect, environmental or economic. At some point you realise, you can’t proceed until you clean up the mess your house is in.
We need to enable third world countries to grow into their own entities, encourage better living standards and economic growth. We can’t do that until we stop being parasitic, and to get there, we need to change how the first world operates within itself.
We’ve come a long way in the past 50 years, a lot of things have improved.. indigenous rights, rights for women, gay rights, environmental legislation, those needed to happen but we’re still so far off.
Plenty of people disagree with me:
“Women have got too many rights, men are an oppressed minority! There’s so much green tape on everything, I can’t make profit anymore!”
The thing is that we haven’t gone far enough.
More legislation isn’t the answer, we do have too many rules and restrictions, what we need is a change of attitudes and methods, a change of the system.
When Wall Street made it’s disaster and let the American people pay for it, the problems of the American people got worse. Rates of crime, domestic violence, drug abuse, all increased rapidly from that point. The more successful society is, the lower those rates are. Look at Germany, Norway, and so forth, these problems are virtually non-existent because they have such support for their people. There’s a direct correlation.
I would like to see society grow to a point where these issues are resolved as a byproduct of a successful design. The easiest way for a person or a business to be successful is by doing something that others won’t do, hence we have politicians rigging elections, corporations dumping toxic waste, and so on. I’d like to steer us in a direction where that [productive influence] is constructive rather than destructive.’
Your mantra is “Change the system to change the symptoms.” How would you change the system?
‘If I was to change a country, this one for example, there are some things I think would need to be done to improve rates of productivity, efficiency, for everyone and everything involved. For our collective future. And I don’t see any other way of going about this. I had initial problems with this idea, I think the world will debate it for a while before they settle on it as an inevitable conclusion.
(Over several sessions, I went on to prompt Eagles on the points of his plan, as outlined in Meeting Charlie Eagles. They are presented below, in condensed form, sans prompts.)
I would change our constitution to be based on the International Declaration of Human Rights. I want to have that taught all the way through school so that people understand what they can and can’t do, and what’s expected of them up to an international level. Kids should be taught the basics of Australian law in highschool as well.
We should become a republic with a Bill of Rights supporting that Constitution, that way we can make our own decisions without being directly affected by other countries, as we are.
Universal Basic Income should replace social security.
The basic idea is that everybody gets an amount of money [from the government] greater than the dole. It raises the basic living standard so that everyone has not only a basic subsistence wage but the ability to innovate or invest in business. It’s not welfare, it replaces welfare, as a citizen’s right.
The concept is that the income is a royalty based upon your ancestors efforts in making your country as good at it is. It enables people to grow out of poverty. People need to be able to not only survive but to improve their lives, and to preferably achieve their goals.
“With [universal] basic income, everybody gets an amount of money greater than the dole. Everyone has the means not only to basic subsistence but the ability to grow out of poverty. That’s it.”
Most people in the middle and lower classes struggle to get by, day to day. They go to work, pay the rent, put food on the table so that they can go back and do it again, and their life doesn’t change. There’s no room to improve their situation because they have no avenue to do so. If we give them the finances to make choices, they can say: I can now pay off that debt, invest money in my own business, move to a better house, buy a car. Change their lives to become more effective. The theory is that everyone has the capacity, at a minimum, of being able to improve their situation.
That’s it. No questions asked, the money goes straight into their bank account, all they have to do is spend it. We’re not giving people free money, nor wasting it because it’s collected back in tax anyway.
People ask ‘Well how is that not socialism?’, or ‘How can we afford it?’ My answer to that is, you’re overthinking it! You don’t need all of this welfare state stuff, you can get rid of all of it. You can get rid of dole payments and the questions Centrelink [the welfare arm of the Australian Government] ask, like.. “What is the sexual preference and age of your flatmates?” Who gives a shit?
Why is someone paid to read that crap, how is that important in the face of the fact that if I don’t get this money, I’m going to die?! Instead of paying pointless bureaucracy to evaluate who is eligible for what, we can just take that money.. and give it to the people.
People say ‘But wait, why give money to the rich?’ ..It still costs less than paying the wages of the people who work at Centrelink! There are so few of [the rich] that you can actually save taxpayer money!
The other thing about Universal Basic Income is that people say: well if people didn’t have to work, they wouldn’t go to work.
People want to be valued and to feel like they’re achieving something, they want recognition. The way to do that, generally speaking, is to work.
So even if you give people enough money to take care of all of the problems in their lives, they’ll still go to work because they need to feel like they’re achieving something, even if their job was picking up rubbish. Not everybody wants to be a famous movie star. If there was a choice between being a checkout chick and a famous politician or a movie star, realistically most people would choose to work at the supermarket because it’s far less stressful.
I also think we should change the tax system. I think 10% GST is good, I think it should be on everything.
I’d get rid of income taxes, almost all the other taxes we have.
I would install a 1% electronic transfer tax so that every time you use EFTPOS, or an ATM, that’s 1% automatically done behind the scenes, you don’t even notice it.
It will affect corporations, and banks, which do millions of transactions per minute, because that’s a lot of money shifting very, very fast. That would make more money than 10% GST.
But what it’s taxing is not the everyday person. It’s mainly taxing businesses, and particular businesses that deal in money as their product. And it’s all done automatically.
“Imagine the effect on people if you have no luxury tax.
When the cost of a Mercedes Benz is not much more than a Ford.
When you have no income tax, you won’t have up to 40% of your income going directly to the government. [We] won’t need it.”
I would have an import tax, to offset imports from other countries and protect workers. That’s only necessary while we have third world countries. If the situation in third world countries was improved, you wouldn’t need an import tax.
The final tax would be on only those things where you want to increase the cost for the benefit of people, for example the tax on cigarettes. It makes a stupid, large amount of money, but it’s there to discourage people from smoking, the same as the tax on alcohol. Marijuana, as well, if you legalise that.
You would have no other taxes. Income tax, luxury tax, all that tax, gone.
People will pay less tax, yet the government will be making more money, and there’s less tax forms to fill out.
Those most affected would be those dealing internationally and those dealing in say, cigarettes. But most people, they’ll only be aware of the 10% GST, which we already have.’