Solar storm heads Earth's way after double sun blasts

Solar storm heads Earth's way after double sun blasts
The Aurora Australis is observed from the International Space Station during a geomagnetic storm on May 29, 2010 (AFP Photo)

Northern lights over Terschelling, Friesland..

Northern lights over Terschelling, Friesland..
(Terschelling, Friesland, Netherlands - 27-28 February, 2014)

Northern lights delight Dutch in surprise showing in north and east.

Northern lights delight Dutch in surprise showing in north and east.
Still from timelapse film by Schylgefilm (Terschelling, Friesland, Netherlands - 17 Mar 2015)


Amsterdam, The Netherlands
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)





North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk
North Korean defector and activist Hyeonseo Lee, who lives in South Korea, poses as she presents her book 'The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story' in Beijing on March 26, 2016 (AFP Photo/Fred Dufour)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Koningsdag 2016

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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Dutch lawyer starts criminal case against tobacco firms

DutchNews, April 29, 2016

Photo: DutchNews.nl
A Dutch lawyer and lung cancer patient are planning to take tobacco companies to court for for producing cigarettes designed to turn people into addicts as quickly as possible. 

Lawyer Benedicte Ficq and cancer victim Anne Marie van Veen are putting together a criminal case against cigarette producers, arguing that out of court settlements do not go far enough.

‘I want to see tobacco firms prosecuted for deliberately damaging people’s health,’ Ficq told television programme RTL Late Night. 

Tobacco firms cannot hide behind the freedom of choice of people to smoke because they are deliberately influencing smokers’ behaviour, Ficq and Van Veen argue. 

Poison

‘To limit that freedom, addictive chemicals such as nicotine and other additives are put into cigarettes,’ they say. ‘And [the companies] overcome our natural aversion to poisons by adding substances like menthol.’ 

Nor does the argument that the government does not ban smoking hold water, Ficq said. ‘If I fed my children rat poison every day and they eventually die, I would be prosecuted for murder,’ she said. ‘The tobacco industry is simply getting away with it.’ 

Ficq and Van Veen are appealing for other people to sign up to their campaign.

Related Article:

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. 

The Next Ones to Fall

There's something potentially coming that you should know about, and I've reported it before two other times. But I want you to hear it again. What other very large industries don't have integrity, but also have a great deal of money? Prepare for the crumbling of big pharma in America. It is starting now and when the reports happen and the movie is created [smile], Americans will wake up to the fact that they have an enormously wealthy industry that keeps people sick for money.

You're not going to like it and you're not going to tolerate it. Watch. What I say today is not fortune telling, dear ones. I am reporting the potentials of Human nature before me. I'm reporting that awareness is starting to grab that which is inappropriate on this planet, what you call old energy, and slowly is beginning to move it to a place you never thought it would go. It's a place of integrity that your parents told you was impossible for large institutions, but here you are living it. Along with this also will be changes in the very large business of insurance, as we told you before. …”

Dutch councils get €500m extra to help settle refugees

DutchNews, April 29, 2016

Photo: Depositphotos.com
The government has set aside an extra €500m to help approved refugees integrate into the Netherlands. 

The money will go to local authorities to fund language lessons, run employment projects and to help schools, the cabinet has agreed. Most of the money – €353m – comes from the foreign ministry and aid budgets. ‘We have to learn from the past. 

We have a shared interest and that is that integration is successful,’ home affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher said.

Related Articles:



Friday, April 29, 2016

Freedom of speech cannot be bargained with, says Dutch foreign minister

DutchNews, April 28, 2016

The Dutch government considers freedom of speech and the freedom of the press to be fundamental values which cannot be used as bargaining chips, foreign minister Bert Koenders said a briefing to parliament on Thursday.

 ‘We do not bargain with fundamental values, even if we are making agreements with a country about other issues’ Koeners said. ‘These are completely separate.’ 

Koenders was updating MPs on the arrest of Metro columnist Ebru Umar, who was picked up in Turkey last weekend after sending out two tweets considered to be insulting to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

Some commentators had suggested the Dutch response to the arrest had been muted because of the deal struck between the EU and Turkey on dealing with the refugee crisis. 

Reactions

The arrest, Koenders said, has generated strong reactions. ‘But I would urge people to listen to each other and accept each other’s opinion on the basis of freedom of speech and active tolerance,’ the minister said. 

Umar, who has been banned from leaving the country, said on Thursday she is taking legal steps to renounce her Turkish nationality. ‘I’ve wanted to do it for some time but my parent were opposed to the idea,’ she said.

Related Article:

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / CreatorReligions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“.   New Tolerance

Look for a softening of finger pointing and an awakening of new tolerance. There will remain many systems for different cultures, as traditions and history are important to sustaining the integrity of culture. So there are many in the Middle East who would follow the prophet and they will continue, but with an increase of awareness. It will be the increase of awareness of what the prophet really wanted all along - unity and tolerance. The angel in the cave instructed him to "unify the tribes and give them the God of Israel." You're going to start seeing a softening of intolerance and the beginning of a new way of being.

Eventually, this will create an acknowledgement that says, "You may not believe the way we believe, but we honor you and your God. We honor our prophet and we will love you according to his teachings. We don't have to agree in order to love." How would you like that? The earth is not going to turn into one belief system. It never will, for Humans don't do that. There must be variety, and there must be the beauty of cultural differences. But the systems will slowly update themselves with increased awareness of the truth of a new kind of balance. So that's the first thing. Watch for these changes, dear ones. ...."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Shell calls on government to triple wind farms by 2030

DutchNews, April 25, 2016

An offshore wind farm. Photo:
Depositphotos.com
 
The government should triple the number of offshore wind farms being planned by 2030 in order to maximise profits from green energy, according to Shell. 

The oil and gas giant included the call in its Shell Election Manifesto, which was sent to MPs earlier this month as the company looks to set the agenda for next year’s general election, AD reports

Shell says the next cabinet should provide for the construction of offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 5 to 10 gigawatts between 2023 and 2030, which would require between 1,000 and 2,000 extra windmills using current technology. 

Shell said the IJmuiden Ver region, off the North Sea coast near Amsterdam, had the potential to be turned into a wind farm generating 5 to 6 gigawatts. In the longer term the company said wind energy could be as big a domestic energy source as natural gas.

‘High levels of wind, the available space, the proximity of the market and low seabed depths make the Dutch section of the North Sea a unique unexploited area for generating energy,’ the manifesto stated. 

The manifesto marks a policy change by Shell, which until recently focused almost exclusively on fossil fuels. But the problems in the Groningen gas field, where the government has restricted production because of the growing frequency of earthquakes, have prompted the company to consider other long-term options.

Related Articles:




"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally)Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet; again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much…

Water

We've told you that one of the greatest natural resources of the planet, which is going to shift and change and be mysterious to you, is fresh water. It's going to be the next gold, dear ones. So, we have also given you some hints and examples and again we plead: Even before the potentials of running out of it, learn how to desalinate water in real time without heat. It's there, it's doable, and some already have it in the lab. This will create inexpensive fresh water for the planet. 

There is a change of attitude that is starting to occur. Slowly you're starting to see it and the only thing getting in the way of it are those companies with the big money who currently have the old system. That's starting to change as well. For the big money always wants to invest in what it knows is coming next, but it wants to create what is coming next within the framework of what it has "on the shelf." What is on the shelf is oil, coal, dams, and non-renewable resource usage. It hasn't changed much in the last 100 years, has it? Now you will see a change of free choice. You're going to see decisions made in the boardrooms that would have curled the toes of those two generations ago. Now "the worst thing they could do" might become "the best thing they could do." That, dear ones, is a change of free choice concept. When the thinkers of tomorrow see options that were never options before, that is a shift. That was number four.”

Monday, April 25, 2016

Dutch journalist 'detained in Turkey' over Erdogan criticism

Ebru Umar, a columnist for the Dutch "Metro" newspaper, says she has been detained for publishing tweets critical of the Turkish president. This comes after a diplomatic spat between Turkey and the Netherlands.

Deutsche Welle, 24 April 2016


The detention occurred at Umar's home in the western Turkish resort town of Kusadasi late Saturday, according to a post on the journalist's Twitter account.

"Police at the door. No joke," she wrote.

In a second tweet, she said, "I'm not free, we're going to hospital" for a medical examination before being interrogated by prosecutors.

Umar, who is a well-known atheist and feminist of Turkish origin, had written an article in the "Metro" about a recent diplomatic row between Turkey and the Netherlands, later tweeting extracts critical of Erdogan that led to her arrest.

The Dutch foreign ministry said in a tweet that it was in "close contact with" Umar and "local authorities."

In The Hague, Foreign Ministry spokesman Herman van Gelderen confirmed Umar had been detained but had few further details.

"We are aware of it, we are in contact and we're following the case very closely," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected to the post in August 2014, authorities have launched nearly 2,000 lawsuits against people accused of insulting the politician.

One such case is in Germany, where the government has given the green light to authorities to begin criminal proceedings against satirist Jan Böhmermann under a decades-old lese-majeste law that many say should have long since been abolished.

The 'Böhmermann Affair' has filled
headlines in Germany for weeks
Twitter and tattletales

Erdogan's apparent sensitivity to all criticism of his person or politics also seems evident in the affair about which Umar wrote in her report, which involved claims that the Turkish consulate had asked Turkish organizations in the Netherlands to forward social media posts and emails deemed insulting to Erdogan or Turkey itself.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he would ask Ankara to clarify the call, saying it was unclear what purpose the Turkish government hoped to achieve.

The Turkish consulate has said that the email in question had been sent by a consular official who had used an "unfortunate choice of words."

The Netherlands has a similar law on insulting representatives of foreign states to that in Germany, but Dutch Justice Minister Ard van der Steur told lawmakers on Wednesday that he wanted to jettison it.

Umar's detention came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top EU officials were in Turkey to bolster an agreement that aims to slow down the flow of migrants to Europe. The EU leaders have been criticized for failing to speak out against the increasing lack of freedom of speech in the country for fear of damaging the controversial deal.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

D66 put forward motion to scrap the specific crime of insulting the monarch

DutchNews, April 22, 2016

Photo: Sisyfus via Wikimedia 
The Liberal democratic party D66 is submitting a motion to parliament on Friday which will scrap the offence of ‘lèse-majesté’, which means the crime of ‘offending the dignity of the monarch’, from the statue books. 

The Netherlands is one of the few country’s in Europe to have such a crime, for which the maximum sentence is five years in jail. 

D66 parliamentarian Kees Verhoeven says the party opposes the higher sentences which the courts can impose on people who insult the king. ‘It should not matter if a king or an ordinary citizen feels insulted,’ he said. ‘Both should be able to decide if they want to take legal action using the same criminal law.’ 

The government has already said it plans to scrap the law making it a criminal offence to insult the head of a friendly state but will not act on lèse-majesté. The decision was taken in the wake of Turkey’s plans to prosecute a German comedian for reciting an insulting poem about president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

Support

Verhoeven says this does not go far enough. ‘We are not in favour of issuing insults, but the sentences are far too high,’ he told the Volkskrant. ‘If you insult the king, you can lose your right to vote. And that is not appropriate in this day and age.’ 

D66 can count on the support of Labour, the Socialist party and the left-wing greens of GroenLinks, the Volkskrant says. The three Christian parties in parliament have all said they will not accept the changes. The ruling VVD and the anti-Islam PVV have not yet reached a decision. 

Last year an anti-monarchy campaigner faced legal action for insulting the Dutch royal family at a rally in Amsterdam in 2014. Abulkasim Al-Jaberi was arrested at a demonstration against Zwarte Piet for shouting ‘fuck the king, fuck the queen and fuck the monarchy’. 

The case was later dropped after officials decided the statement was not a crime because it was made ‘within the public debate’.

Related Article:


Friday, April 22, 2016

Government poised to raise minimum pay for youngsters

DutchNews, April 21, 2016

Photo: Regering.nl 
The minimum wage for youngsters is to be increased slightly and the age at which adult rates kicks in will be reduced in stages from 23 to 21, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher is set to announce later today. 

The plan is one of several contained in a new package of measures aimed at getting more people into work. The package has been put together with employers and unions, and unions in particular have been keen to see changes to youth pay. 

Currently one in six of the under-23s earns the minimum wage, compared with one in 20 people on adult incomes. An 18-year-old on minimum pay earns €32 a day before tax and premiums. The over-22s earn €70. 

The minister is also expected to announce changes to the way seasonal workers are employed and help for small firms faced with paying ill workers sick pay for two years.




Dutch queen Máxima is one of Time’s most influential people

DutchNews, April 21, 2016

Photo: AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

Queen Máxima is the only Dutch national on Time magazine’s new list of the most influential people in the world. 

Máxima, who is Argentine by birth, was described as an ‘envoy for opportunity‘. She is included in Time’s list of leaders, which also includes Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel  and Donald Trump.

‘With her firm grasp of the technical issues, political savvy and boundless energy, queen Máxima has masterfully used her role as the UN secretary-general’s special advocate,’ Time says. 

The magazine praises her ’empathy and her easy laughter to cajole, encourage and support decision makers—from the hallowed halls of the financial-standard-setting bodies in Basel, Switzerland, to the female leaders of savings groups in rural villages’. 

A survey by RTL news on Tuesday showed Máxima is the most popular member of the Dutch royal family. 

Long read: Why we should give free money to everyone

DutchNews, April 21, 2016

Photo: Depositphotos.com

We tend to think that simply giving people money makes them lazy. Yet a wealth of scientific research shows the contrary: free money helps lift people out of poverty. The time has come for a radical reform of the welfare state, writes Dutch author Rutger Bregmann.

London, May 2009—An experiment is underway. Its subjects: 13 homeless men. They are veterans of the street. Some have been sleeping on the cold pavement of the Square Mile, Europe’s financial center, for going on 40 years. Between the police expenses, court costs and social services, these 13 troublemakers have racked up a bill estimated at £400,000 or more. Per year. 

The strain on city services and local charities is too great for things to go on this way. So Broadway, a London-based aid organization, makes a radical decision: From now on, the City’s 13 consummate drifters will be getting VIP treatment. It’s adiós to the daily helpings of food stamps, soup kitchens and shelters. They’re getting a drastic and instantaneous bailout. 

From now on, these rough sleepers will receive free money. 

To be exact, they’re getting £3,000 in spending money, and they don’t have to do a thing in return. How they spend it is up to them. They can opt to make use of an adviser if they’d like—or not. There are no strings attached, no questions to trip them up. 

The only thing they’re asked is: What do you think you need? 

Gardening glasses

‘I didn’t have enormous expectations,’ one of the experiment’s social workers later recalled. But the drifters’ desires proved eminently modest. A telephone, a dictionary, a hearing aid—each had his own ideas about what he needed. In fact, most were downright thrifty. After one year, each had spent an average of just £800. 

Take Simon, who had been strung out on heroin for 20 years. The money turned his life around. Simon got clean and started taking gardening classes. ‘For some reason, for the first time in my life, everything just clicked,’ he said later. ‘I’m starting to look after myself, wash and shave. Now I’m thinking of going back home. I’ve got two kids.’ 

A year and a half after the experiment began, seven of the 13 rough sleepers had a roof over their heads. Two more were about to move into their own apartments. All 13 had taken critical steps toward solvency and personal growth. They were enrolled in classes, learning to cook, going through rehab, visiting their families and making plans for the future.

‘It empowers people,’ one of the social workers involved in the project said about the personalized budget. ‘It gives choices. I think it can make a difference.’ 

After decades of fruitless pushing, pulling, pampering, penalizing, prosecuting and protecting, nine notorious vagrants had finally been brought in from the streets. The cost? Some £50,000 a year, including the social workers’ wages. In other words, not only did the project help nine people, it also cut costs considerably. Even the Economist had to conclude that the ‘most efficient way to spend money on the homeless might be to give it to them.’ 

Hard data

Poor people can’t handle money. This seems to be the prevailing sentiment, almost a truism. After all, if they knew how to manage money, how could they be poor in the first place? We assume that they must spend it on fast food and soda instead of on fresh fruit and books. So to ‘help,’ we’ve rigged up a myriad of ingenious assistance programs, with reams of paperwork, registration systems and an army of inspectors, all revolving around the biblical principle that ‘those unwilling to work will not get to eat’ (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Touted as a shift ‘from welfare to workfare,’ the underlying message is clear: Free money makes people lazy. 

Except that according to the evidence, it doesn’t. 

Already, research has correlated unconditional cash disbursements with reductions in crime, child mortality, malnutrition, teenage pregnancy and truancy, and with improved school performance, economic growth and gender equality. ‘The big reason poor people are poor is because they don’t have enough money,’ noted economist Charles Kenny in Bloomberg Businessweek, ‘and it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that giving them money is a great way to reduce that problem.’

In their book Just Give Money to the Poor (2010), scholars at the University of Manchester furnish countless examples of cases where cash handouts with few or no strings attached have worked. In Namibia, figures for malnutrition took a nosedive (from 42 percent to 10 percent), as did those for truancy (from 40 percent to virtually 0 percent) and crime (by 42 percent).

In Malawi, school attendance among girls and women surged 40 percent, regardless of whether the cash came with or without conditions. Time and again, the ones to profit most are children. They suffer less hunger and disease, grow taller, perform better at school and are less likely to be forced into child labour. 

From Brazil to India, from Mexico to South Africa, cash transfer programs have become all the rage across the Global South. By 2010, they were already reaching more than 110 million families in 45 countries. 

The great thing about money is that people can use it to buy things they need instead of things that self-appointed experts think they need. And, as it happens, there is one category of product on which poor people do not spend their free money, and that’s alcohol and tobacco. In fact, a major study by the World Bank demonstrated that in 95 percent of all researched cases in Africa, Latin America and Asia, alcohol and tobacco consumption either remained the same or declined

But it gets even stranger. In Liberia, an experiment was conducted to see what would happen if you give $200 to the shiftiest of the poor. Alcoholics, addicts and petty criminals were rounded up from the slums. Three years later, what had they spent the money on? Food, clothing, medicine and small businesses. ‘If these men didn’t throw away free money,’ one of the researchers wondered, ‘who would?’ 

Utopia

Free money: It’s a notion already proposed by some of history’s leading thinkers. Thomas More dreamed about it in his book Utopia in 1516. Countless economists and philosophers—Nobel Prize winners among them—would follow. Its proponents have spanned the spectrum from left to right, all the way to the founders of neoliberal thought, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. And Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) promises that, one day, it will come. 

A universal basic guaranteed income. 

And not merely for a few years, or in developing countries alone, or only for the poor, but just what it says on the box: free money for everyone. Not as a favour, but as a right. Call it the ‘capitalist road to communism.’ A monthly allowance, enough to live on, without having to lift a finger. The only condition, as such, is that you ‘have a pulse.’ No inspectors looking over your shoulder to see if you’ve spent it wisely, nobody questioning if it’s really deserved. No more special benefit and assistance programs; at most an additional allowance for seniors, the unemployed and those unable to work. 

Basic income: It’s an idea whose time has come. 

Mincome, Canada

In a warehouse attic in Winnipeg, Canada, nearly 2,000 boxes lie gathering dust. The boxes are filled with data—graphs, tables, reports, interviews—about one of the most fascinating social experiments in post-war history. 

Evelyn Forget, a professor at the University of Manitoba, first heard about the records in 2004. For five long years she tried to convince Canada’s national archives to allow her access to the warehouse. Finally, in 2009, she succeeded. Stepping into the attic for the first time, Forget could hardly believe her eyes. It was a treasure trove of information on the real-world implementation of Thomas More’s dream from five centuries before. 

In March 1973, the provincial government of Manitoba earmarked a sum of $83 million in modern U.S. dollars for the project. He chose Dauphin, a small town of 13,000 northwest of Winnipeg, as the location of the experiment. Everybody in Dauphin was guaranteed a basic income, ensuring that no one fell below the poverty line. In practice, this meant 30 percent of the town’s inhabitants—1,000 families in all—got a check in the mail each month. A family of four received what would now be around $19,000 a year, no questions asked. 

For four years, all went well, but then elections threw a wrench in the works. A conservative government was voted into power. The new Canadian cabinet saw little point to the expensive experiment, for which the national government was footing three-quarters of the bill. When it became clear the new administration wouldn’t even fund an analysis of the experiment’s results, the researchers decided to pack their files away in some 2,000 boxes. 

When Professor Forget first heard about Mincome, no one knew what, if anything, the experiment had actually demonstrated. For three years, she rigorously subjected the data to all manner of statistical analysis. No matter what she tried, the results were the same every time. 

Mincome had been a resounding success. 

From experiment to law

‘Politically, there was a concern that if you began a guaranteed annual income, people would stop working and start having large families,’ said Forget

What really happened was precisely the opposite. Young adults postponed getting married, and birthrates dropped. Their school performance improved substantially: The ‘Mincome cohort’ studied harder and faster. In the end, total work hours only notched down 1 percent for men, 3 percent for married women and 5 percent for unmarried women. Men who were family breadwinners hardly worked less at all, while new mothers used the cash assistance to take several months’ maternity leave, and students to stay at school longer. 

Forget’s most remarkable finding, though, was that hospitalizations decreased by as much as 8.5 percent. Considering the size of public spending on health care in the developed world, the financial implications were huge. Several years into the experiment, domestic violence was also down, as were mental health complaints. Mincome had made the whole town healthier. Forget could even trace the impacts of receiving a basic income through to the next generation, both in earnings and in health. 

Dauphin—the town with no poverty—was one of five guaranteed income experiments in North America. The other four were all conducted in the United States. Few people today are aware that the United States was just a hair’s breadth from realizing a social safety net at least as extensive as those in most western European countries. When President Lyndon B. Johnson declared his “War on Poverty” in 1964, Democrats and Republicans alike rallied behind fundamental welfare reforms. 

First, however, some trial runs were needed. Tens of millions of dollars were budgeted to provide a basic income for more than 8,500 Americans in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, Indiana, Seattle and Denver in what were also the first-ever large-scale social experiments to distinguish experimental and control groups. The researchers wanted answers to three questions: (1) Would people work significantly less if they receive a guaranteed income? (2) Would the program be too expensive? (3) Would it prove politically unfeasible? 

The answers were no, no and yes.

Declines in working hours were limited across the board. “[The] declines in hours of paid work were undoubtedly compensated in part by other useful activities, such as search for better jobs or work in the home,” noted the Seattle experiment’s concluding report. For example, one mother who had dropped out of high school worked less in order to earn a degree in psychology and get a job as a researcher. Another woman took acting classes; her husband began composing music. “We’re now self-sufficient, income-earning artists,” she told the researchers. Among youth included in the experiment, almost all the hours not spent on paid work went into more education. Among the New Jersey subjects, the rate of high school graduations rose 30 percent. 

And thus, in August 1968, President Nixon presented a bill providing for a modest basic income, calling it “the most significant piece of social legislation in our nation’s history.” A White House poll found 90 percent of all newspapers enthusiastically receptive to the plan. The National Council of Churches was in favor, and so were the labor unions and even the corporate sector (see Brian Steensland’s book The Failed Welfare Resolution, page 69). At the White House, a telegram arrived declaring, “Two upper middle class Republicans who will pay for the program say bravo.” Pundits were even going around quoting Victor Hugo—“Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come.”

It seemed that the time for a basic income had well and truly arrived.

“Welfare Plan Passes House […] a Battle Won in Crusade for Reform,” was the headline of the New York Times on April 16, 1970. With 243 votes for and 155 against, President Nixon’s Family Assistance Plan (FAP) was approved by an overwhelming majority. Most pundits expected the plan to pass the Senate, too, with a membership even more progressive than that of the House of Representatives. But in the Senate Finance Committee, doubts reared. “This bill represents the most extensive, expensive and expansive welfare legislation ever handled,” one Republican senator said. Most vehemently opposed, however, were the Democrats. They felt the FAP didn’t go far enough and pushed for an even higher basic income. After months of being batted back and forth between the Senate and the White House, the bill was finally canned. 

In the following year, Nixon presented a slightly tweaked proposal to Congress. Once again, the bill was accepted by the House, now as part of a larger package of reforms. In his 1971 State of the Union address, Nixon considered his plan to “place a floor under the income of every family with children in America” the most important item of legislation on his agenda (see Steensland, page 157). 

But once again, the bill foundered in the Senate. 

Not until 1978 was the plan for a basic income shelved once and for all, however, following a fatal discovery upon publication of the final results of the Seattle experiment. One finding in particular grabbed everybody’s attention: The number of divorces had jumped more than 50 percent. Interest in this statistic quickly overshadowed all the other outcomes, such as better school performance and improvements in health. A basic income, evidently, gave women too much independence. 

Ten years later, a reanalysis of the data revealed that a statistical error had been made; in reality, there had been no change in the divorce rate at all. 

Futile, dangerous and perverse

‘It Can Be Done! Conquering Poverty in America by 1976,’ Nobel Prize winner James Tobin confidently wrote in 1967. At that time, almost 80 percent of Americans supported a guaranteed basic income. Years later, Ronald Reagan would famously sneer, ‘In the ’60s we waged a war on poverty, and poverty won.’ 

Yet some ideas just won’t die. 

Recent years have seen basic income make a comeback on political agendas. Switzerland is already looking forward to a referendum. Large-scale experiments have been announced in Finland and Canada, and are in the works in nearly 20 cities in the Netherlands. Even in Silicon Valley, basic income is the talk of the town. 

Maybe now the time has come that we can finally be rid of that pointless distinction between two types of poor—and to the major misconception that we almost managed to dispel some 40 years ago: the fallacy that a life without poverty is a privilege you have to work for, rather than a right we all deserve. 

Remember: the great milestones of civilization always have the whiff of utopia about them at first. But almost as soon as a utopia becomes a reality, it often comes to be seen as utterly commonplace. Utopias always start out small, with experiments that ever so slowly change the world.

It happened just a few years ago on the streets of London, when 13 street sleepers got £3,000, no questions asked. As one of the aid workers said, ‘It’s quite hard to just change overnight the way you’ve always approached this problem. These pilots give us the opportunity to talk differently, think differently, describe the problem differently…’ 

And that’s how all progress begins. 

Rutger Bregman (1988) is the author of Utopia for Realists: The Casefor a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-Hour Workweek, available in English and published by The Correspondent. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @rcbregman

Translated from Dutch by Elizabeth Manton.