[GRRN] A Mustard Seed

From: caretakers@earthling.net
Date: Thu Aug 24 2000 - 20:19:27 EDT

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    {..one of the smallest of seeds needing sharp eyes to see it, grows into
    one of the biggest of trees, and is now valued throughout the world)

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    Basically, many from both the left and the right in politics seem to have
    concluded that participation in the market place is the only real way to
    meet one’s needs and fulfil one’s obligations.
    As a result, the imperative we are faced with for the mutual obligation
    equation is that all Australians have a moral obligation to participate
    fully in the work force where they are able.

    This moral position stems from an uncritical acceptance of the fact that
    land, the basis for community and the source for meeting all our needs, has
    become a commodity. It is this fact which fundamentally commits us all to
    participation in the market place.

    The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission challenges the moral
    soundness of this situation by stating that "Access to land is fundamental,
    and it should be determined by basic principles of human rights and social
    justice, rather than exclusively by market forces." (Reference - Chris
    Sidoti - Chairman HREOC - 15/10/99)

    This principle would make the current understanding of the mutual
    obligation equation inappropriate and in need of further re-examination.

    A right to land has deeper roots than any right which may exist to
    employment in the market place, or to welfare. The right of free access to
    land precedes such constructs and exists whether there are market place
    opportunities for work or not. Land, like air and water, is part of our
    natural heritage. People should not be forced into the market place in
    order to survive.

    Non Market Alternative
    The Welfare Reform recommendation attached describes a model which would
    allow unemployed people the option to participate in a non market,
    cooperative community workforce. The basis for this model would be public
    land for public housing and community development.

    Regulation of access to public land could be designed to ensure that
    participants in such a model would progress from welfare dependency to
    economically, socially and environmentally sustainable productivity. Since
    this is the goal which the market economy must also achieve, all steps made
    in this direction will be complimentary.

    Most of the structures for this non market participation option are already
    established in various government policies. These would simply need to be

    You can find a fuller description of the proposal in ‘Cooperative Community
    - from welfare dependency to productivity’on our home page

    In considering the pros and cons of the model we present, we hope you will
    not be distracted from the basic principle. Land and the other elements by
    which an individual may sustain life are freely provided by nature. If the
    current debate about mutual obligations is to have a sound morally base,
    some suitable option to market place dependency for land access is
    essential. We hope you will speak out for this.

    Chris Baulman

    Sustainable Work, Community and Lifestyle Project
    02) 4758 8411

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