I have struggled with the Alternative Income concept for over 7 years now, thinking I just wanted to give people information, but failing to find the spark to grow it into my passion. The goal of Alternative Income kept falling through the cracks and I couldn't find a way to hold onto it long enough to grow it into something bigger. Until this week. Until I remembered why it all began.
Alternative Income is about showing people the different ways they have of making extra money, but it is much more than that. It is about freedom. It is about choices. It is about taking responsibility for our lives and not having to be dependent on others to help us.
The activist side of me feels like a caged lion trying to get out and roar in frustration at the road we are heading down as a worldwide community. We are living in the modern world where we can stuff our faces with more poor quality food than ever before. We can buy dirt cheap clothes and electronics that fall apart so quickly but give us the illusion of abundance. Yet we are still so poor in so many ways.
- Poor in health.
- Poor in relationships.
- Poor in finance.
People are still starving, not just in the developing world, in our supposedly advanced society.
Everywhere I look I see the same pattern reoccurring over and over again in an updated version of history. The rich and the poor, and the millions in the middle comfortable enough not to make a fuss, but not wealthy enough to be abundant in every sense of the word.
Where have we come in the last century? Are we spending more quality time with our children? No, more households than ever before need to have both parents working to survive in our shiny new world of gadgets and overconsumption. Are we living a better quality of life? Hell no. Stress from our increased workloads and fast-paced lifestyles is killing us while we willingly speed up an early death with a diet overloaded with sugar, pesticides and plastic food.
The problem is not the rich. I welcome those who have the money and the initiative to start new ventures, innovate and create jobs and a better future in an ethical manner.
The problem is not the poor. When you are enslaved by a lack of money you enter a whirlpool of struggle that is extremely difficult to climb out of.
It is easy to blame the eternal seesaw of the rich vs the poor. The good versus the bad. However, it is exactly this polarisation which is used as an excuse to march everybody towards equality in the worst way.
It feels like we are getting fewer and fewer choices, while the opportunities for individuality are squeezed out because they don't fit into the easy to manage administrative tick boxes.
Europe is a perfect example of what is happening on a bigger scale. The original idea of cooperation between member states to create a bigger, stronger market, was great. Except that was happened appeared to be not just the benefits of a common market, we also got the dark side of 'unity'. An ever increasing number of rules, regulations and blanket policies applied to a very varied group of countries.
It feels like the world is being run by overbearing, narcissistic parents who are unwilling to let the 'kids' learn for themselves, try new things, and be independent as soon as they can. Instead, we are all made to have the same routine, learn the same things and follow the same rules and pay for the privilege.
Rules are guidelines and they are only valid when the person making them is not a power hungry nutjob.
Let's be realistic. There is not going to be a revolution on a worldwide scale. We are not going to break everything down and start again. Firstly, the millions in the middle are not uncomfortable enough to do that, and it takes numbers to make a huge change. Then there is the issue of who would run the new asylum? A different version of the previous lunatics, or someone who might start off with good intentions and then slowly go mad with the intricacies of trying to get any meaningful change created.
So the change must come from individuals and community groups having the financial freedom to make their own choices. To choose want they want to do and buy, not have to buy the cheapest things available. To choose to work from home so they can continue to spend more time as a family. Communities once again working together to buy local, produce locally and move the money within their community. We need to combine the old with the new. Take the good from the village or tribe mentality and combine it with access to the global marketplace.
We need to stop looking outward to blame others - the rich, the poor, the immigrants, the corporations and the governments - and start creating abundance despite whatever is going on in the world at large.
Note that I said abundance and not wealth. The pursuit of mountains of money only enhances the seesaw action as we scramble to go from penniless to powerful. What we really need is the majority of people comfortable right slap bang in the middle so we as a community, as a nation and as a planet can have some stability.
This majority can then extend a helping hand to those in need without resenting what it might be taking away from them. They are also a powerful voice against those making the rules, less restrained by the fear of losing their security.
Having at least one person in every household earning Alternative Income is essential for many reasons. They learn where to find new opportunities. They are not trapped by the job for life syndrome or limited to the jobs in their community. They are the flexibility you need to ride out the economic crisis that is always around the next corner.
There is an underground of people who are unemployed and struggling to do more than survive, not because of lack of motivation, but because their circumstances make it difficult to work. Mothers staying home to look after their children. Young people with no experience. Those over 50 dismissed by employers who want to hire younger, cheaper workers. Those unable to travel to where there is work. Pensioners struggling on their state pension.
Even workers are on shaky ground. According to the International Labour Organisation, only 1 in 4 workers had a stable job in 2015. So 75% of workers have to worry about their future on a regular basis when work is supposed to give stability and security!
Having more people earning more money is powerful in so many ways. Money equals freedom. Freedom to think. Freedom to question things you don't agree with. Freedom to enjoy life on your terms.
Alternative Income is about including all members of society and giving them a way to look after themselves. It is not about demonising employers or big corporations, but it is about making them an option rather than a necessity.