Op-Ed; Opinion

OPINION: Living Income Guaranteed – A proposal for a Basic Income from Equal Life Foundation

If you are searching the internet for ‘basic income’, ‘basic income guarantee’ or related subjects or you are a regular visitor to the various internet-based social networks like Facebook it would hardly have escaped your attention that quite a few of your hits will point to websites or blogs discussing topics like the Equal Money System and recently also Basic Income Guaranteed (previously ‘Grant’), with the acronym B.I.G. (or BIG)., but not to be confused with the Basic Income Guarantee (without ‘d’) of organisations such as USBIG that are affiliated to BIEN.  Even more recently, the name was changed again, this time to Living Income Guaranteed (LIG). The terms are here used interchangeably. All those sites can ultimately be traced back to an organization called Desteni which is based in South Africa and its offspring, an online community of groups in more than 20 countries, called Equal Life Foundation.

According to the Equal Life Foundation, the LIG is considered part of and the first stage in the development of the overall philosophy of the Equal Money System and a human right, an intrinsic part of citizenship. It is to be financed in part by equal access to resources such as ‘mining resources and water resources, electricity, cellphones, telephones’ of which all citizens become ‘shareholders’. Those resources, some of which are already owned by ‘capitalists’, are to be nationalized, the reason being that the shareholders, that is the citizens, ‘should have owned them in the first place’. It is considered a human right that profit from such corporations be shared equally among all citizens as social dividends in the form of a Basic Income because, in the final analysis, natural resources belong to no one but the earth. ‘This way the corporation = becomes government, the shareholder = the citizen, the profit = the Basic Income Guaranteed’. Occasionally, owning property beyond what is reasonable is even referred to as ‘theft’ or ‘treason’.The ‘capitalists’, however, will also profit from a transition to LIG as more people will be able to spend money on products and this will, in turn, boost the general economy.

In addition to the nationalization of resources, financing the LIG may take place through tax on goods and services, that is, sales tax, value added tax or important duty. The philosophy behind is that the value of labor should be directly reflected in the prices of the goods and services: ‘part of the price is another person’s livelihood, and that as you give = you will receive’. Toll tax on roads is also suggested as another form of tax on consumption.  All income and corporate taxes are to be abolished and so will play no part in financing the LIG, as this would allegedly amount to ‘charity, where the rich give to the poor’.

How does the LIG compare with the Basic Income advocated by BIEN and its affiliated organizations? Following one of BIEN’s prevalent definitions, four conditions are to be met for a proposal to qualify as a genuine Basic Income: It must be universal, individual, unconditional and high enough for a decent standard of living.

LIG reportedly complies with the first condition in that it is paid to individuals rather than families or households.

LIG is universal in the sense that everyone including children, in principle, is entitled to receive it. The exceptions to this fall under the category of conditionality, a subject that I will return to next. In a transitional period, children may receive a lower grant, a ‘basic child grant’, but the goal is a full LIG for all and will not be dependent on the parents’ income.

LIG is not unconditional or at least only to some extent. First of all, there are certain limitations (‘Certain Rules‘) to what recipients of a LIG can own. If you are able to sustain yourself through investments or savings or if you have a job, you are not entitled to receive a Basic Income. In other words, prospective recipients are means-tested. From this perspective, LIG is sometimes referred to as a form of insurance in that it is paid out if you are unable to provide for yourself the basic needs. ‘Basic income is a means to an end and not an end in itself’ and ‘there is no point in giving to people who don’t need it because their human rights are already secured’. It is, however, to my knowledge not discussed how to deal with people who are not willing to work even if one is available, but from my own correspondence with members of ELF and this reply it would seem that there are no strings attached to their proposal besides means-testing. If you are willing to live very modestly, with few possessions, you may live exclusively on your LIG and will not be forced to take a job.

LIG seems to comply with the condition of being ‘high enough: ‘The basic income should be ‘sufficient for a person or a family to live a decent life, one worthy of their birthright as a citizen’. However, in order to keep an incentive to work, ELF suggests a fixed minimum wage at ‘double the Basic Income’. For people working part-time, this will only pay off if they work enough hours and/or if they are sufficiently educated or skilled to receive a higher pay than the minimum wage. Otherwise, they might just as well live off their LIG and do voluntary work. However, this part of the proposal does not appear to be fully worked out.

In addition to the LIG, a ‘Subsidy for Homes‘, that is, for building one’s own house, will be provided, to the benefit of both the recipients and the industry.

The system as a whole is characterized as a mixture between capitalism and socialism, in other words, while the proposal is meant to restore justice through equality, it is not directly opposed to capitalism: ‘The Basic Income Guaranteed will function as the medium through which a state is able to remediate the most direct negative effects of a capitalistic system, while still being able to maintain some of the perks that such a system represents and embodies.’ This version of the Equal Money System – actually an intermediary stage before the full implementation of EMS – is also sometimes referred to as ‘Equal Money Capitalism‘, a system that is further characterized by equal wages and joint ownership to corporations. What this means is that workers are to be shareholders in the companies and the profit generated by them will be paid out equally to all workers once the basic costs of running them are covered. Also production will not take place according to a ‘supply and demand’ principle, but only according to what is needed and ecologically sustainable.

Some, or maybe in due course all, welfare benefits such as pensions will be phased out, at least gradually, as it is suggested that the LIG recipients invest part of their grant in private companies and the revenue from this will eventually make them ‘self-sufficient’. This type of investment appears to be on a voluntary basis however.

One peculiarity of the proposal is that teachers at all levels will be receiving an LIG, meaning they will not get paid, the reason being that teaching is a ‘calling’ and teachers are not supposed to be in it for the money. The educational system as a whole should be entirely free.

In order to prevent corruption, it is stressed that the distribution of the Basic Income is to take place electronically with as few people involved as possible.

In due course, LIG is to be distributed globally.

Basic Income Guaranteed


Equal Life Foundation

Equal access to resources

Nationalized resources

Natural resources belong to the earth

Basic Income can save Capitalism

Basic Income Guaranteed and Taxation

Basic Income Guaranteed with Labor as Interest

Abolishment of personal Tax

BIEN’s Criteria for an Unconditional Basic Income

Universality of LIG

Individuality of LIG

Basic Income Guaranteed and Conditions

No Obligation to Work

How BIG will stabilize your Economy

Working part-time in a LIG economy

Subsidy for Homes

Equal Money Capitalism

Equal Wages and joint Ownership

Phase-out of Pensions

Teachers on Basic Income Guaranteed

About Karsten Lieberkind

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The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.


  • Wingnut

    As I mentioned before, I love the heart behind a basic income plan, but inflation will not allow it to happen. A race will happen between the amount of basic income, and the cost of living.

    Also, the world of capitalism/economies depends upon a certain group of people being “over a barrel” and thus they are forced to do nasty jobs and be ordered around. Nasty jobs will not be filled when folks can easily refuse such servitude positions and conditions.

    Address these issues with a feasible and plausible plan, and I’d climb aboard. But I already know it is impossible. The only way to solve the problem you are trying to solve… is to eliminate economies completely. That includes the elimination of money, ownership, and price tags. Look to the (USA) military’s price-tag-less and custodianship instead of ownership, its all-are-treated equally/fairly policies, its total lack of monetary discrimination, as well as its “we’re all on the same team” policies… for the solutions. Not a single other living creature on the entire planet, uses economies.

    Best Regards!

  • Karen Lewison

    All those sites can be traced back to an organization called Desteni which is based in South Africa, but its offspring are around 100 disparate individuals in various parts of the world called Destonians: http://destonians.com.

    The Equal Life Foundation is not in any way a community of groups. It is a non-profit company run by the Desteni group in SA and to which donations are taken and payments made for their Eqafe products (https://eqafe.com) which runs as an affiliate marketing scheme and the Desteni I Process (http://desteniiprocess.com) courses which operate as a form of multi-level marketing.

    The LIG is indeed represented as “the first stage in the development of the overall philosophy of the Equal Money System”, but both the LIG and the EMS are expressions of the philosophy of Desteni, which involves, amongst other things, a belief in eugenics and channelings of reptilians and dead people by Sunette Spies whom they call an interdimensional portal.

    The Desteni group, its Equal Money System, the Equal Life Foundation and their “Basic Income Guaranteed” or LIG have all been discussed in detail since 2008 at the Cult Education Forum:


    • Karsten Lieberkind

      Yes, I am perfectly aware of all this and much more, but this is for another article. This one was meant to describe ELF’s Basic Income proposal, and nothing else, using their own sources exclusively.

    • Karen Lewison

      Sure, but their own sources have never said the Equal Life Foundation is a “community of groups”.

    • Hi Karen,

      Desten is an organization that researches and investigates all things in existence. Herein, it has been found that existence is much more than what science and mainstream history claim it to be. The Equal Life Foundation, however, is an organization that seeks to find solutions in terms of how we can organize human life to be supportive and create a life-experience for each one that is worth being lived. Herein, it does not intend to advance or impose any philosophies or beliefs. Its approach is entirely based on guaranteeing the basic Human Rights that are widely accepted. So – bare in mind that Desteni and ELF are two different entities with two different purposes.

    • Karen Lewison

      If so then perhaps you can clarify why it is that donations towards Desteni “research” at desteni.org, and for destonians.com are paid to the ELF?

      Also, if Desteni and the ELF are two different entities with different purposes how is it that the ELF owns copyright on the Desteni I Process courses, the Desteni-run demonology.org and destonians.com websites, as well as the products sold via Eqafe, which are created and can only be sold by members of the Desteni I Process..?

  • Not only is a system change required we also do need to change ourselves into responsible human beings worthy of life. The Earth is the test that stands before man: will we be equal? Will we be able to give each other equally?

    Everyone is going to-have to Learn How-to Forgive and How-to Love Thy Neighbor – And How To Do-unto Another what you want-them to Do-onto You – Slowly, creepingly -unexpectedly, Things- will Become-Worse And you’ll Note an Very-Interesting thing about the Nature of What is Happening, Is that there is Nothing You can Do about-it, and No-matter what Preparation you do = it makes No-Difference. You’re gonna-also Notice that Relationships between People will become Increasingly -Strained- Communication will-become Difficult- Misunderstandings will-Increase, Disagreement will-Increase. In-Essence one must look-at Reality from a Peculiar-way or from a View-Point look at-it In- Reverse- that means start moving backwards, looking-at the History of Mankind – that is Known to-you and start having a look-at How did we Arrive at-this Place where we are Now as Humanity. Then you’ll start Noticing what has-been driving the Decisions thats been-made both at an Individual-Level, at a Family-Level and at a Cultural-Level and at a Group-Level as Humanity, and you’ll Notice-that What is Here today Is the Actual Out-flow of – Who Each-Human Has Become And, its Not-gonna get-Better without Self-Forgiveness, It is Not going-to become-Better without Radical Self-Honesty its Not going-to become-Better without Humanity starting-to Work-Together as One, Realizing that: You’re going-to have-to Support Each-Other to Become-Equal in Understanding as to the Workings of the Basic Human-Being unless, Everyone becomes Equal in Understanding How the Human-Mind Operates and the Human-Operates and Do something about Changing what has been Accepted = things are gonna get rather Nasty and Spiteful. Obviously what is going to-be quite amazing is, some of the Reactions and Responses to this Message, I mean the very-Nature of the Message is the Same Jesus would’ve-given, its the Same Buddha would’ve-given, its the Same Osho would’ve-given, Lao-Tzu, its the Same-Message God would’ve-given. But fascinatingly-enough, most Hearing this Message will try and find some-Excuse as to Why they should-Not Hear this Understand that you’ve been Programmed to-have that Particular-Response – Not-to worry, Reality will become So-Difficult that You-Will Hear this Message, You-Will Forgive, You-Will Become Self-Honest and You-Will Become-Equal. You have no other Will than that because, that has been your Higher-Desire, the only-thing that’s standing in the way is Ego- What is Ego? Ego is that You want Somebody-else to Change before You-Change. You want Somebody-else to Be-First in Taking Action. You don’t wanna Take-Action because Apparently by Not-Taking-Action, you’re Protected and you’re Safe. It’s quite the Opposite Not-Taking-Action = your path will become More-Difficult.

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