The Netherlands

Basic salary for everyone

Introducing basic benefits for everyone would save a lot of bureaucracy. And there are more good arguments.

In principle, nobody has to starve to death in the Netherlands. Workers pay taxes to help people who are unable to work for whatever reason - due to illness, old age or lack of work, for example - to receive an income.

Over the years, this system has evolved into an extremely complex system implemented by multiple ministries and governments, so complex that it takes years of study to understand all the finer points.

The social benefits system has degenerated into chaotic shambles.

Social security is monstrously complicated
 A small selection: we know WW, WAO (now: WIA), WaJong, sickness benefit, IOAW, AOW, ANW, AWW, redundancy pay, social assistance, student finance and a number of more. For each type of benefit, a specially trained body of civil servants is available to decide whether these benefits are properly paid. Special inspectors examine benefit recipients to see whether they are complying with the conditions, not earning extra extra, owning more than is allowed and the like.

False thinking behind social security: solidarity with the rich and 'pitifulness'
This system is based on two serious fallacies. These are the direct cause of the problems that continuously occur.

The main fallacy is the curious interpretation of the concept of solidarity. The Unemployment Insurance Act, WW, is a compulsory unemployment insurance (or tax) whereby, in exchange for a premium, the employee is insured against loss of income due to unemployment. The more the employee earned, the more unemployment benefits they receive. If solidarity is so important, why is the unemployment benefit or disability benefit of a high-paid employee much higher than that of a low-paid employee?

The second fallacy is to assume the degree of pitifulness instead of what is the best solution for that person and society. People entitled to social assistance without a cent are pathetic, so they receive social assistance benefits. If someone with a low wage has been so stupid as not to use up his wages immediately with an expensive holiday, for example, but to save it and he is fired, then after a few months of unemployment benefit he will first have to 'eat' his savings. The amount of savings and other assets that a single social assistance recipient is allowed to have is approximately € 5,400. Anything above that must be 'eaten' first. The result: an extra call on all kinds of pots because the person entitled to social assistance does not have enough money to, for example, replace broken equipment or pay bills.

A basic salary: the benefits
Every person has the right to a dignified existence, is stated in the universal treaty of human rights. Without income or support in kind, there is no dignified existence. Something like social assistance benefit is therefore logical. It is less logical to punish thrift, which is the case with the current system.

The introduction of a basic wage will put an end to the huge mess of benefits. Every Dutch person who lives in the Netherlands and is older than eighteen receives a basic benefit of, for example, five hundred euros. Workers receive an employment bonus of two hundred euros. The child benefit is replaced by a tax deduction equal to the child benefit. Medical aids for the seriously ill will be free. A fixed flat tax of, for example, forty percent must then be paid on all income. So one tax bracket. All deductions are abolished. Students have to pay their own tuition fees, but receive a much higher tuition allowance.
Students who want to live at home get as much as those who want to live on a stand. No room shortage.

On the other hand, everyone can earn as much as they want, as long as he or she pays tax on it. This will actually significantly lower the minimum wage, which will create a lot of new jobs. Even someone who earns zero euros per hour, extremely unlikely, will still be left with six hundred euros net. In practice, there will be so much competition between employers that wages will be comparable to today.

If all benefits are replaced by a single basic benefit for everyone, bodies such as the UWV can be discontinued.

Much fewer officials needed
Administration can be much simpler in this way. The social insurance bank SVB, which now provides the AOWs, can easily transfer these benefits without additional staff. The other benefits agencies such as UWV (16,000 employees), social services (a comparable number) and the like can all be discontinued.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment can also be considerably smaller. The simplified tax system also saves many civil servants, with an estimated total of 100,000 civil servants involved in all aspects of social affairs and related policies. The salary costs of this are high: about 2 billion per year, one hundred euros per Dutch person.

Costs: 78 billion per year, yield: at least 120 billion
The costs are quite easy to calculate. Today there are about thirteen million people over eighteen. This means 78 billion euros in benefits and tax credits per year. Everything that is paid out in terms of unemployment benefits, student finance, AOW and the like, as well as all tax deductions, can be canceled out. This plus the lower salary costs for civil servants.

From oppression to open opportunities
Right now, the social insurance system revolves around control and repression. There must be sufficient sadness, otherwise no benefit will be paid. This has a devastating effect on the self-confidence of people on benefits.

If this is replaced by an amount that everyone is entitled to on the basis of the fact that they are human, there will be room for starting entrepreneurs who are supported during the period without income, for artists, for volunteers and for people with a craft business where a marginal income can be derived from.

Populism exposed

Maarten van Rossem prefers to see populism disappear as quickly as possible.
Political parties such as the PVV and previously the SP and LPF are often accused of being 'populist'. Disturbing news: populism appears to be much more deeply rooted in Dutch society than previously thought ...

According to the retired professor of American history Maarten van Rossem, an influential PvdA member and world famous in the Amsterdam canal belt and surroundings, populism must 'disappear quickly'.

The leading French newspaper Le Monde, mouthpiece of the French elite, also expresses its concern about populism in Belgium and the Netherlands and calls it a 'disease'. The Dutch elite are very concerned about the rise of 'populist' parties, according to a recent survey by de Volkskrant. When the greats are so concerned, there must be something going on. In short: reason for visionair.nl to take a look behind the scenes.

What is Populism?
According to the dictionary Van Dale, populism is “it; o (min) tendency to focus on the mass of the population“. A simple and clear definition that can answer a number of urgent questions. From a visionary point of view, of course, the most interesting question is: what does a country that is dominated by populism look like?

A number of disturbing conclusions can already be drawn. The populist danger is much greater than even the greatest anti-populists dare to suspect ...

Parliamentary democracy is populist

Ed van Thijn saved the Netherlands from populism by blocking the referendum and the elected mayor.
General elections are held once every four years. Each vote counts equally. In other words, the mass of the people, not an expert elite, determines which party will be the largest.

The voice of Achmed the street sweeper from Alblasserdam counts just as much as the voice of Mark the Prime Minister from The Hague. In doing so, the party with, to quote Van Dale, the strongest tendency to address the masses of the people, will normally get the most votes. In short, the decision to introduce universal suffrage was a disgraceful bow to populism. This has sown the seeds for the current march of populist parties.

Referendum and republic are populist
You wouldn't believe it if you were former auctioneer Pechtold hears about the populist danger, but it was precisely his party D'66 that had until recently been seriously affected by this pernicious virus.

In its early days, for example, D'66 was in favor of the introduction of the republic. In other words, the majority of the population decides in a populist way who becomes president instead of the elitist monarchy. Also, in her more idealistic days, D'66 has tried to get the corrective referendum, in which the majority of the population directly decides what decision is taken, to pass. No wonder anti-populist Ed van Thijn is there in collaboration with other regents has really done everything to torpedo the referendum.

The true nature of populism unmasked
Some of you, dear readers, will have guessed. Indeed, populism and democracy are synonymous. Populism and democracy are the same. In other words, people who turn against populism really want less democracy. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, think of the Congress of Vienna, democrats were therefore seen as a great danger by the then elite. Nowadays people think little better about populism.

Elite people, like everyone else, want to feel better than other people and have more to say. However, saying that out loud is not wise if you don't want to be exposed as anti-democratic. In short: history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Down with religious freedom

Rond 2010 kwam in Pakistan een geval aan het licht van een islamitische geestelijke die een bedrag van vierduizend euro op het hoofd van een christelijke vrouw heeft gezet omdat ze “de islam heeft beledigd”. Discriminatie van niet-islamieten is in Pakistan en veel andere islamitische landen een zeer ernstig probleem.

In Pakistan is religieuze waanzin invloedrijker dan hier, maar ook hier in Nederland kenden we tot 2014 we een verbod op smadelijke godslastering. Rechtsbescherming, met andere woorden, voor iets dat niet door middel van door een rechtbank geaccepteerde forensische technieken, of zelfs maar door welke natuurwetenschapper dan ook, is aan te tonen.

Daarom moet het afgelopen zijn met het “respect” voor religies, alleen omdat het om een religie zou gaan.

Alleen door godsdienstige ideeën te behandelen zoals alle andere ideeën lossen we de godsdienst-gerelateerde problemen op.

Het lichamelijk letsel toebrengen aan kleine kinderen is strafbaar, toch accepteren we besnijdenis omdat het een religieuze gewoonte is.

Er is een filmkeuring die kinderen beschermt tegen beelden van geweld, sex, discriminatie en dergelijke. Het land is te klein als ouders klinderen leren de Hitlergroet te brengen en Hitler ophemelen. Toch wordt kinderen geleerd zogenaamde profeten te respecteren en te vereren die zich schuldig maakten aan etnische zuivering en massamoord.

Discriminatie is strafbaar. Toch worden kinderen op bepaalde religieuze scholen volgepompt met haat tegen on- of andersgelovigen, vrouwen en homo’s.

Dierenmishandeling is strafbaar, toch mogen dieren ritueel en onverdoofd geslacht worden omdat religieuze regels dat zeggen.

Artikel 6, waarin de godsdienstvrijheid is geregeld, kan gezien worden als het voortrekken van gelovigen ten opzichte van niet-gelovigen. Immers, volgens artikel 1 is ieder mens in Nederland gelijk, en is discriminatie dan ook verboden. Toch worden op basis van artikel 6 soms vergaande uitspraken door gelovigen goedgekeurd, terwijl zij wel met artikel 1 in strijd zijn (met dank aan prog.lib)

Daarom. Schaf de bijzondere voorrechten die gelovigen genieten af en vervang ze door de rechten die atheïsten genieten. maak geen onderscheid meer tussen meningen en heilige meningen. Vervang, met andere woorden, de vrijheid van godsdienst door de vrijheid van levensovertuiging.

Stock exchange as successor bank

Banks are indispensable, they call out bankers the loudest and many people think. But is that really so?

In recent months, Europeans and Americans have suffered heavily for the mismanagement by bankers. Literally thousands of billions of euros have evaporated while the bank managers pampered themselves extensively.

Banks made themselves indispensable
Banks, is popular wisdom, are a necessary evil. They provide loans, they are “money brokers” who enable the holders of capital, in the form of savings, to get a return on their property in a relatively safe way: interest on savings. The bankers themselves lend this money to buyers who pay much more interest: people who are overdrawn, companies, mortgage borrowers. Even more shocking: bankers borrow extra money from the central bank at a very low rate: one percent in 2010, and then lend it out again at extortionate rates, five percent or more: the so-called fractional banking system.

The DSB bank affair once again showed that the banking system in the Netherlands is no good.

Because banks control the total flow of money, they have made themselves indispensable. Capital owners have to go to a bank to keep their capital safe. Salaries are no longer paid in cash at the end of the month, as was the case in the past, but transferred to a bank account. Owning a bank account is therefore mandatory for everyone who is employed or receiving benefits.

Banks extort the population tens of billions
This 'system function', as it is called in The Hague, gives the bankers a powerful blackmail tool. By just threatening that their bank will collapse, the government, that is the Dutch population, has to help tens of billions. We had to do that in 2009.

The Icelanders have probably had to pay the hardest price. The people of this small country have to toil for decades to pay off the debts incurred by failing bankers. High spending to bail out oversized banks has also left Ireland beggar.

Will the Netherlands become a second Iceland?

The Dutch treasury has also suffered serious damage. Our national debt has risen by tens of billions in one fell swoop. If the enormous ING concern (balance sheet total 1,300 billion, which is five times as much as the Dutch state receives per year) falls, the Dutch national debt even doubles in one fell swoop, because the Netherlands guarantees EUR 200 billion for foreign savings at ING. In short: we are in huge trouble thanks to the banks. 

How does a stock exchange work?
On a stock exchange (besides of course things like options, bonds and the like) shares, pieces of company, are sold. The average investor does not have tens of millions in his pocket to buy a complete company. That is why companies with the legal forms NV or BV are divided into pieces, shares, each representing a miniscule part of the company. 

The more trust people have in a company, such as Philips, the more Philips shares become worth. If confidence collapses, the shares will be worth much less. In addition to shares, you can also buy pieces of debt: bonds. Think of government bonds: pieces of government debt and corporate bonds, debts that companies such as Philips take out.

Chinext, a stock exchange for ten million small Chinese companies. The latest Chinese secret weapon?

At the moment, only large companies and debts of large companies are traded on the stock exchange. Going to the fair is expensive. In the US, the IPO, the initial public offering, is a way to quickly get start-up capital even with a small company. As a result, the capital of savers and investors is sucked into the banks and the AEX stock exchange on the Stock Exchange (owned by Euronext). As an investor you can only invest in large companies. Small businesses have to go to the bank to borrow money and selling shares is very difficult. An expensive business broker has to be called in for this.

The stock exchange as a replacement for the bank
Wouldn't you want to buy stock from the baker around the corner, your furniture maker, or the travel agent you know well, instead of a low return on your savings? Or would you not rather have your mortgage paid by thousands of savers? Wouldn't you like to have the return on your savings that the bank makes on the overdraft?

Peer lending: lending directly to others
It could be if the function of a bank was taken over by local stock exchanges. Until recently, a peer lending system was active in the Netherlands: Boober. The English and American versions, Zopa.co.uk and Prosper.com, are still in existence. The banks were, of course, not happy with that.

This group of women from Paraguay is waiting for a social loan from internet users.

Micro Stock Exchanges
It took some searching, but one appears in Australia real micro stock exchange to exist. What probably makes a difference is that the banks in Australia do not have as much to crumble in the milk as here in the Netherlands. Hopefully there will be such an initiative here too soon. At least one is already coming from the charity corner micro credit system which allows you as a private individual to lend money to entrepreneurs from the third world.

Islam is overrated

Islam is grossly overestimated by the left, by critics of Islam and by the Islamists themselves. Let us rather focus on really important things.

Islam, according to Islam haters

According to critics of Islam such as Geert Wilders and previously Pim Fortuijn, Islam is the greatest geopolitical threat to the Netherlands. It is, they argue, a totalitarian faith that strives to subject the world to Islamic laws.

They point to the relatively high percentage of children with an Islamic background, approximately 15% of all newborns in 2003. Another argument: the compulsive way in which Islam is imposed by and on many Muslims. They assume that there is an almost perfect group coercion within the Islamic community and that this is sufficient to force Muslims to maintain themselves within the group. People who disagree with them see them as naive fools or traitors.

Islam, according to the 'progressives'

According to a second group, which roughly coincides with the voters who call themselves progressive parties, there is no question of Islamization. Because of their political commitment and often anti-Western orientation, they see the Muslims as valuable allies in the fight against Western imperialism and the narrow-minded conservatives, often referred to as 'fascists', in their own country. They also see the Muslims as the new Jews, as the canaries in the coal mine, the treatment of which shows whether fascism is re-emerging.

In their eyes, Islam is, in contrast to Christianity, a non-Western religion and thus an interesting ideological alternative to the neoconservatives. The rather conservative ideas that many Muslims hold about women and homosexuality are therefore usually condoned. They regard the Muslims as a vulnerable group that deserves extra protection.

There are many gradations between both points of view.

Islam, according to the Muslims themselves

Within the Islamic community there are some, often exaggerated, differences of opinion about the role that Islam and theological sources of Islam should play. Almost all Muslims consider their Islamic identity more important than, for example, their origin: they consider themselves above all as 'Muslim'. This is also reflected in the naming: almost all children of Muslim parents are given an Islamic name, often from a list of names from the country of origin.

Girl from Istanbul. Although she lives reasonably Western, she calls herself a Muslim.

We see this pattern in most Islamic communities. In practice, however, descent appears to play an important role: the reason why cooperation within Islamic organizations is extremely difficult. The degree of practice of religious precepts varies greatly, ranging from burqa-wearing women and long-bearded men who raise money for the holy war to Muslims who drink alcohol and eat pork.

In summary: 'Islam' is especially important as an identity-determining factor. The solidarity and identification with the own group is very great. Opinions about what 'Islam' is, or what a good Islamist is, also varies widely.

The solution: abolish 'Islam'

So there appears to be total confusion about what is meant by 'Islam'. Sunnis, Shiites and more enlightened Islamites, jihadists, seculars and Sufis radically disagree on many points and let me not even talk about the non-Muslims.

Also, the package that 'people' usually agree on is that it belongs to 'Islam', a collection of things that by far most Muslims find repugnant and ridiculous, think of the stoning of adulterers, the ban on music and the 'right' to sexually abuse captive women of an enemy nation, to things that even the most fanatical Islam-hater will agree with, such as the commandment in the Qur'an that everyone should compete in good deeds and that slaves should be released. 

In short: talking about 'Islam' creates unnecessary confusion. If a Muslim does not want to see himself identified with the bearded Taliban terrorists, he must not call himself a Muslim. If an Islam hater does not want 'decent' Islamites to suffer from Islam hatred, then he should not speak of 'Islam' either.

Abolish 'Islam' as an identity-determining construction and treat each other as human beings. Faith or religion should never be an excuse to do things that are otherwise unacceptable or to violate human rights. 'Islam' does not exist, 'Muslims' and 'unbelievers' do not exist. There are only people. Let's deal with the real problems.

More green solution aging

More greenery in the environment leads to less disease in people. Much of the additional costs of aging stem from the increased incidence of these diseases in older people.

Lifesaving? In any case, greenery in the area is very healthy, according to research.

It appears that the positive health effect of living in a greener area is just as great as the negative health effect of a higher age.

A large part of the problems associated with an aging population could therefore be solved by plant more greenery in cities and suburbs. So more allotments instead of the clearing that is now taking place. Guerilla farmers should be wholeheartedly encouraged rather than thwarted with rules.

Windows without walls. Windows are given a new lease of life in this Vancouver garden.

So more green, in and around the house. But this 'house' is very much of a good thing ...

Problems in education due to stupid demands on teachers

A teacher must be a centipede right now. Not many people have that special combination of characteristics, which makes heavy demands on scarce people.

About ten to thirty percent of teachers cannot teach properly. There is also a chronic shortage of teachers. The result: irregular schedules, a higher workload for the other teachers and also school dropout. The right-wing ruling party VVD wants, completely predictably, to get over it. The left-wing unions are just as predictably shouting murder and fire in response to these plans.

Heavy demands on teachers
A high school teacher doesn't just need to know a lot about the subject he or she is teaching about. He must also be able to keep order, check whether his students have done their homework, explain what he knows well and get students enthusiastic about his subject. This with a very mixed group of students.

Our education still has many features of the seventeenth century.

That is not all. He must also prepare tests and quizzes and drafts. He should prepare reports on students and consult regularly on their progress. He must also identify problems with students on time. Furthermore, he must be able to cope with change, because so-called educational reforms are commonplace, and be able to respond quickly to the behavior of students.

Requirements for teachers are contradictory
The problem is that these requirements are often contradictory. A communicatively strong and inspiring teacher is usually outgoing, for introverts communicating with a large group is more difficult. Extroverts are less good at devising and reviewing tests and drafting reports. Specialist professional knowledge is also more suitable for introverts than extroverts.

A drill sergeant is ideal for keeping order, but less suitable for helping students with problems.

A teacher who is open to students with problems and can empathize with them is usually a friendly and sensitive person. Unfortunately, it is precisely this type of person who has the most difficulty keeping order in the classroom. That again requires a more dominant, stable personality.
Keeping an eye on students and keeping an overview of the class requires great attention. Especially more abstract subjects such as mathematics, classical languages or economics require a certain degree of diving into the theory, which makes it difficult for practitioners.

The solution: replace teachers with collaborating subspecialists
The many, often contradictory things that a teacher must be able to do must be divided into groups that suit the competences of different personalities. For example, extroverts can best make students enthusiastic and explain what the material entails. Introverts can come up with tests and exam questions and mark them. They can also provide professional support to extroverted teachers.

Also in China there are teachers who can no longer cope.

It takes a dominant, stable personality to keep the wind down, to hand out punishments, and to confront students when they haven't done their homework. In the peaceful teaching climate that this creates, friendly, sensitive personal coaches can empathize with students who need it and intervene in time if problems are imminent.

The classroom of the future?
The groups that will be taught will be larger than now. Each group of students of around a hundred children is assigned a permanent personal coach and a law enforcement officer. Lessons are given by an extrovert subject teacher, who is supported by an introverted subject specialist. All teachers in the Netherlands and volunteers, such as retired scientists and subject specialists, develop open-source teaching materials through a kind of wiki, which replaces expensive textbooks. This can be done in collaboration with other Dutch-speaking regions: Flanders, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.

In an electronic student log, each teacher, coach and law enforcement officer keeps track of what is happening per student. Tests and exam questions are developed nationwide by subject specialists and checked by computers or, again, subject specialists. This immediately shows which schools are experiencing problems or which teachers can learn a lot from others. Secondary education in the Netherlands is thus turning into an enormous learning system.

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