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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Graph: US Incarceration Rate vs Dow Jones Stockmarket performance

The US prison population WILL GO DOWN. As Obama's golden age of education and universal basic income takes the coercion out of society, so will crime come to an end.

The average length of incarceration in the United States steadily increased in the 1970s. MORE PRISONERS.
MORE non-violent drug addicts who would run free in Europe.

Click to enlarge

at 31.12.2007 - The United States has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's incarcerated population.

Total prison population

Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJI - Wed, Jan 14, 2009, 6:49PM ET - U.S. Markets Closed.

Incarceration is the detention of a person in jail or prison. People are most commonly incarcerated upon suspicion or conviction of committing a crime. Incarceration rates, when measured by the United Nations, are considered distinct and separate from the imprisonment of political prisoners and others not charged with a specific crime. Historically, the frequency of imprisonment, its duration, and severity have varied considerably. There has also been much debate about the motives for incarceration, its effectiveness and fairness, as well as debate regarding the related questions about the nature and etiology of criminal behavior.

The United States' incarceration rate is, according to official reports, the highest in the world, at 737 persons imprisoned per 100,000 (as of 2005). A report released in 2008 indicates that in the United States more than 1 in 100 adults is now confined in an American jail or prison. The United States has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's incarcerated population.

In 2006 the incarceration rate in England and Wales is 139 persons imprisoned per 100,000 residents, while in Norway it is 59 inmates per 100,000, whilst the Australian imprisonment rate is 163 prisoners per 100,000 residents, and the rate of imprisonment in New Zealand last year was 179 per 100,000.

In 2001 the incarceration rate in China was 111 per 100,000 in 2001 (sentenced prisoners only), although this figure is highly disputed. Chinese human rights activist Harry Wu, who spent 19 years in forced-labor camps for criticizing the government, estimates that 16 to 20 million of his countrymen are incarcerated, including common criminals, political prisoners, and people in involuntary job placements. Even ten million prisoners would mean a rate of 793 per 100,000.

Ireland has the lowest prison population with 3417 prisoners incarcerated. Ireland has relatively low crime rates and those rates continue to fall. Ireland received 101 reports of homicide in 2003. Also reported were 4763 cases of assault and 2463 sexual offences.

Denmark also has a low incarceration rate with a total of 3774 inmates in the country. Denmark has 59 people in prison for every 100,000 citizens. 62 violent crimes such as rape, murder, robbery, and aggravated assault were reported. There were 322 Property Crimes reported.

India has the lowest incarceration rates with only 281,000 prisoners in their jails. This is just a fraction of their total population, 1,129,866,154. India reported 1,764,630 crimes in 2007. There were 236,313 assaults and 111,296 burglaries.

In many countries, it is common for prisoners to be paroled after serving as little as one third of their sentences. In the U.S., most states strictly limit parole, requiring that at least half of a sentence be served. For certain heinous crimes, there is no parole and the full sentence must be served.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average consists of the following 30 companies:

Company Symbol Industry Date Added
3M MMM Diversified industrials 1976-08-09 (as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing)
Alcoa AA Aluminum 1959-06-01 (as Aluminum Company of America)
American Express AXP Consumer finance 1982-08-30
AT&T T Telecommunication 1999-11-01 (as SBC Communications)
Bank of America BAC Institutional and retail banking 2008-02-19
Boeing BA Aerospace & defense 1987-03-12
Caterpillar CAT Construction and mining equipment 1991-05-06
Chevron Corporation CVX Oil and gas 2008-02-19
Citigroup C Banking 1997-03-17 (as Travelers Group)
Coca-Cola KO Beverages 1987-03-12
DuPont DD Commodity chemicals 1935-11-20
ExxonMobil XOM Integrated oil & gas 1928-10-01 (as Standard Oil (N.J.))
General Electric GE Conglomerate 1907-11-07
General Motors GM Automobiles 1925-08-31
Hewlett-Packard HPQ Diversified computer systems 1997-03-17
Home Depot HD Home improvement retailers 1999-11-01
Intel INTC Semiconductors 1999-11-01
IBM IBM Computer services 1979-06-29
Johnson & Johnson JNJ Pharmaceuticals 1997-03-17
JPMorgan Chase JPM Banking 1991-05-06 (as J.P. Morgan & Company)
Kraft Foods KFT Food processing 2008-09-22
McDonald's MCD Restaurants & bars 1985-10-30
Merck MRK Pharmaceuticals 1979-06-29
Microsoft MSFT Software 1999-11-01
Pfizer PFE Pharmaceuticals 2004-04-08
Procter & Gamble PG Non-Durable household products 1932-05-26
United Technologies Corporation UTX Aerospace, heating/cooling, elevators 1939-03-14 (as United Aircraft)
Verizon Communications VZ Telecommunication 2004-04-08
Walmart WMT Broadline retailers 1997-03-17
Walt Disney DIS Broadcasting & entertainment 1991-05-06

The individual components of the DJIA are occasionally changed as market conditions warrant. When companies are replaced, the scale factor used to calculate the index is also adjusted so that the value of the average is not directly affected by the change.

On November 1, 1999, Chevron, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Sears Roebuck, and Union Carbide were removed from the DJIA and replaced by Intel, Microsoft, Home Depot, and SBC Communications. Intel and Microsoft became the first two companies traded on the NASDAQ exchange to be listed in the DJIA. On April 8, 2004, another change occurred as International Paper, AT&T, and Eastman Kodak were replaced with Pfizer, Verizon, and AIG. On December 1, 2005, AT&T returned to the DJIA as a result of the SBC Communications and AT&T merger. Altria Group and Honeywell were replaced by Chevron and Bank of America on February 19, 2008. On September 22, 2008, Kraft Foods replaced American International Group in the index.

A basic income is granted independent of other income (including salaries) and wealth, with no other requirement than citizenship. This is a special case of GMI, based on additional ideologies and/or goals. While most modern countries have some form of guaranteed minimum income, a basic income is rare.

A basic income is a proposed system of social security, that periodically provides each citizen with a sum of money that is sufficient to live on. Except for citizenship, a basic income is entirely unconditional. Furthermore, there is no means test; the richest as well as the poorest citizens would receive it.

A basic income is often proposed in the form of a citizen's dividend (a [transfer]) or a negative income tax (a guarantee). A basic income less than the social minimum is referred to as a partial basic income. A worldwide basic income, typically including income redistribution between nations, is known as a global basic income.

One of the arguments for a basic income was articulated by French economist and philosopher André Gorz:

"The connection between more and better has been broken; our needs for many products and services are already more than adequately met, and many of our as-yet- unsatisfied needs will be met not by producing more, but by producing differently, producing other things, or even producing less. This is especially true as regards our needs for air, water, space, silence, beauty, time and human contact...
"From the point where it takes only 1,000 hours per year or 20,000 to 30,000 hours per lifetime to create an amount of wealth equal to or greater than the amount we create at the present time in 1,600 hours per year or 40,000 to 50,000 hours in a working life, we must all be able to obtain a real income equal to or higher than our current salaries in exchange for a greatly reduced quantity of work...
"Neither is it true any longer that the more each individual works, the better off everyone will be. The present crisis has stimulated technological change of an unprecedented scale and speed: `the micro-chip revolution'. The object and indeed the effect of this revolution has been to make rapidly increasing savings in labour, in the industrial, administrative and service sectors. Increasing production is secured in these sectors by decreasing amounts of labour. As a result, the social process of production no longer needs everyone to work in it on a full-time basis. The work ethic ceases to be viable in such a situation and workbased society is thrown into crisis..."
The Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) describes one of the benefits of a basic income as having a lower overall cost than that of the current means-tested social welfare benefits.However critics have pointed out the potential work disincentives created by such a program, and have cast doubts over its implementability... elites need the coercion, otherwise nobody would obey. In later years other proposals have been suggested.

Guaranteed Income: The Way of the Future?

Germany is in search of recipes to thin the ranks of its over 5 million jobless. It's the country's main problem, Chancellor Angela Merkel said this week. And entrepreneur Götz W. Werner thinks he's found the answer.

"We are still living under the impression that full employment can be achieved," said Götz W. Werner, whose national drugstore chain, dm-drogerie markt, has made him a millionaire. "The big problem is that many people don't have a work place, they have an income place."

According to Werner, who also holds a professorship at an entrepreneurial institute at the University of Karlsruhe, Berlin should provide people with a tax-financed basic income that would free people from the need to earn money, rather than create jobs for the 12.2 percent of Germans who are unemployed.

Society can fulfill its needs without full employment, Werner said, and it would be better off if it did.

"The work that we are compelled to do can also be done by machines and methods," he said. "Where we have a great potential is work that focuses on people: social work, cultural work."

Ridding people of the burden of work would allow them to devote time to things they actually want to do, whether volunteering at an old folks' home, pursuing dreams of an artistic career or spending more time with their families. And it would relieve millions of people from the stigma of not having a job.

Shift of paradigms

In Werner's scenario, every man, woman and child would receive a monthly allowance that would cover the costs of living, plus a little bit more. The state would finance the new system through a high consumption tax that would replace all current taxes and could be gradually introduced over 20 to 30 years. The non-wage labor costs, such as social welfare and pension contributions, that add to the high cost of German jobs, would be a thing of the past as would the bureaucracies that administer them.

Werner is one of Germany's most vocal proponents of an unconditional basic income, but he's not alone. Thomas Straubhaar, head of the Hamburg's HWWA economic think tank, also backs the idea -- from a different angle. He thinks it's important to move away from a system financed by labor costs in favor of one financed by taxes.

"In the long term, it will be unavoidable to get away from today's system, because it's not financially feasible in some areas," Straubhaar said. But people should receive only the existential minimum so that "the majority will continue to want to, to have to work."

Straubhaar added that Werner's reliance on consumption tax was untenable. Instead, the system could be financed by a combination of high consumption tax -- 25 percent, for example -- and direct taxes of the same level on income from work, rentals, investments, dividends and speculation.

"Don't feed the horses to feed the birds," Straubhaar said, stressing the advantage of shifting from indirect to direct aid for those who need it.

If it's not broken, don't fix it

But others are skeptical.

"I find the suggestions either illusory or brutal," said Gustav Horn, director of the IMK economic think tank in Düsseldorf. "The one side of the suggestion is illusory because it would provide an income up to 1,500 euros ($1,800) for each person. There are no suggestions on the table that deal with financing it adequately. The second version is brutal because the amount that people would receive would be much lower than the current social welfare amount. That would make people already receiving welfare even poorer."

A basic income would allow people to do what they wanted -- even if it meant doing nothingBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: A basic income would allow people to do what they wanted -- even if it meant doing nothing

Horn said tackling social benefits isn't the way to deal with high unemployment, but that the "problem of the social security system is a result of high unemployment. The real problem is economic policy."

As far as Werner's concerned though, his pet project's time has come.

"More people than ever recognize that the problems that have developed can't be solved with the current solutions," he said. "Unconditional basic income would mean everyone has the freedom to do what he wants. Our democratic aim should be that people have freedom, that means being independent to do what they want to do."

Nancy Isenson

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