Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fundamental Human Rights, MOOCs Lesson for Asia University, Taiwan

Fundamental Human Rights
Main reading materials
Part 1: Warm Up Questions
  1. What are human rights and why is it important for us to understand our rights?
  2. What three human rights would you consider to be the most important? Why?
  3. Do you agree that human rights should belong equally to all humans? Why or why not?
Part 2: Conversation
Speaker 1
Every night, I check the news on the internet, just as my teacher tells me to, but all I feel is a sense of helplessness for the men, women and children that don’t have an opportunity to live as we do. They don’t even have an opportunity to live according to their most basic human rights. Why is it that some of us are afforded the opportunity to live according to our basic human rights, while others can’t even afford to survive?
Speaker 2
You answered your own question, with the words, buy and afford. Although most countries have signed the The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the problem of people not having the opportunity to exercise their human rights is due to the way the economy of the world system is set up.
Speaker 1
Who cares how the world system is set up. Aren’t human rights supposed to be legal entitlements, equally inherent to all human beings, without discrimination, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex and so on?
Speaker 2
Of course, they are supposed to be equally accessible to everybody and, in a legal sense, we are all equally entitled to our human rights. But...
Speaker 1
Then why are 21,000 people still dying every day  every day of starvation? Why are billions of people left with no choice but to exist in fear that wind and water may destroy their homes, leaving them out on the streets with no clothes on their bodies and nothing to eat? Where’s their human right to security; why are they forced to work in slavelike conditions in violation of their human rights?
Speaker 2
The problem lies in in what we value. Humans obviously value money more than we value life. And, as everything we do is tied to money, everything, including our human rights come with a price. Be it in Euros, Yuan or US dollars, it all comes down to what we value most, money or life.
Speaker 1
Are you saying that, human rights, as legal entitlements are nothing more than options that can be purchased based on the amount of money one has and is willing to spend?
Speaker 2
Effectively, that’s the way it works within the current world system of money. Even though human rights are supposed to be applied equally to everyone, private ownership and the inequitable distribution of wealth end up limiting people’s access the resources, goods and services needed to live according to their human rights. Here’s the problem: everyone is supposedly entitled equally to their human rights, but for some crazy reason, we are not entitled to the money needed to live according to those rights,
Speaker 1
Okay, if the problem with human rights has to do with people not having equal access to the resources, goods and services needed to live according to their human rights, perhaps we should solve the problem by establishing a bill of rights that includes an equal right to the resources, along with the goods and services needed to live according to our human rights.
Speaker 2
That’s exactly what global citizens around the world are now doing.

Part 3: Reading Passage
Section 1
The Problem
In spite of defining Fundamental Human Rights, as basic legal entitlements inherent to all human beings simply because we are human, the fact of the matter is that, the  inequitable distribution of resources, goods and services (as can be seen in the inequitable distribution of wealth) throughout humanity, prevents billions of people from living according to their human rights, simply because they do not have enough money to do so. The fundamental problem with human rights, called the unequal application of human rights, is that they are not equally accessible to all of humanity. Why? Because access to resources such as food, water and medicine costs money. Consequently,  people with more money have more opportunity to live according to their human rights; while those with less money have less opportunity to live according their human rights even though the unequal application of human rights is in itself a violation of human rights. Welcome to the contradiction of the “world-system of humanity,” a man-made system based on the hierarchy of money, wherein we have failed to realize that an equal right to life means nothing without an equal right to the resources necessary to live and stay alive.
Discussion questions:
  1. Why do some people have the opportunity to live according to their human rights, while others do not?
  2. Why do you think money is the determining factor when it comes to how much opportunity people have to live according to their human rights?

Section 2 - Investigating Problem
That not all humans have the opportunity to live equally live according to our human rights, is a consequence of humanity valuing money more than life. Have a look at the state of the world we live in; is there anything that humans will not do for money? Everything from ownership of the resources to the production and distribution of goods and services is valued in terms of money and controlled by whoever has the most money. As a result, extremely wealthy individuals (called the elite) are able to control the governments, which in turn write the laws that “legally” deny people their human rights by preventing them from accessing the resources, goods and services needed to live according to their human rights.
Discussion questions
  1. Do you agree that humans have come to value money more than life. Explain your thoughts on the subject.
  2. What are some resources that humans need in order to live? Should everyone have an equal right to access such resources?

Section 3: Defining the Problem
How has humanity arrived at such a conundrum in a  world of high technology and natural abundance? Because, even though human rights laws affirm the equal right to life, liberty and security for all of humanity, they do not go so far as to decree unto all of humanity, an equal ownership right to the resources as a way of ensuring equal access to everything we need to live according to our human rights. Instead, within the world system of money, as it is currently structured, most of earth’s resources (that are provided freely by earth) are considered commodities or property that can be owned and traded. Thus, in valuing money more than life, humanity has placed individual ownership rights above human rights, effectively limiting individual human rights to the amount of money each one has and is willing to spend in order to access the resources, goods and services needed to live according to such rights. In short, instead of using money as a tool in support of life, humanity uses and abuses life by transforming it into an idea of power represented by money.
Discussion questions
  1. Discuss the conundrum or problem associated with human rights and the world economy. How do you think we can solve this problem?
  2. Within humanity, what do you think money represents?

Section 5: Designing and Implementing a Solution
By identifying the unequal application of human rights as the problem caused in part by the inequitable distribution of earth’s resources, as reflected in the inequitable distribution of wealth throughout humanity,  we are now able to consider how to solve the problem. Specifically, how is humanity able  ensure that everyone have the opportunity to live equally according to our human rights  regardless of how much money we have? One global citizen’s initiative by led by the Equal Life Foundation has begun to address this problem  by writing a new bill of rights, based the principle of equality and  practical application, wherein from an equal right to life, flows an equal right to the resources, goods and services needed to live according to the equal right to life.
Discussion questions
  1. How is inequitable distribution of wealth, connected to the unequal application of human rights?

  1. What are some of the practical considerations of guaranteeing everyone an equal opportunity to live. Specifically, what would it take to guarantee everyone an equal opportunity to live a dignified life?

Section 6: An Equal Right to Life
The first Fundamental Human Right that the Equal Life Foundation recognizes, promotes and underwrites is that, every human being has an equal right to life. As the life of each individual is equal in each one of us at the point of birth, that which separates man from man must therefore be a consequence of what happens after birth. For example, through the influences of one’s education and  living environment, we start perceiving ourselves as separate individuals in competition with one another and are taught not to respect the first point that makes our existence possible, which is life. As life is the one thing that is the same within us all, that  makes our existence possible, no one can rightfully claim that his or her  life is worth anymore than the life of another or that he has more of a right to live a better life than anyone else for any reason whatsoever.
Discussion questions:
  1. In terms of the distribution of resources, goods and services throughout humanity, how are we able to ensure that everyone have access to the resources needed to  live equally according to our human rights.
  2. How does the education system sometimes encourage students  to view themselves in separation of one another, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding our interconnectedness?  

Section 7: An Equal Right to the Resources
The second fundamental human-right of the Bill of Rights acknowledges (as a matter of common sense) that all human beings are made up of substances provided freely by earth, which we all need in order to exist on earth. Therefore, as a fundamental human right (flowing from an equal right to life), all of earth’s resources  belong to naturally everyone and should therefore be shared equally by everyone. From this point of agreement, the question now becomes, how are we best able to manage the resources to care for earth, while also providing everyone with the opportunity to live a dignified and happy life?
Discussion questions:
  1. Currently, the  world system (of money) is designed to give ownership and control of earth’s resources to whomever has the most money. How do you think this setup causes some people not to have an opportunity to live equally according to their human rights?
  2. Consider the responsibilities involved in managing earth’s resources for the best benefit of all. How would you a new world system to benefit everyone?

Section 8: An Equal Right to Food
The third fundamental human right, an equal right to food, recognizes that humans need food to exist. Even though many have been indoctrinated to believe that food and water are commodities that must be bought and paid for by money earned in the servitude of others, the fact of the matter is that, such resources (except for the human labor involved) are resources of earth, provided freely by earth. Who was it that decided that the minority should rule over the majority, that the few would control the resources while the many spent their lives in servitude just to stay alive? Although humanity has a lot of problems, a lack of food abundance is in fact not one of them. Nevertheless, in some parts of the world, food is now being used as a weapon against populations, destabilizing human behavior by cutting off the supply of food and/or water, forcing people into servitude, thereby creating slave-master relationships where there  should be and could be relationships based on equality. It is a crime against humanity and a crime against life. We can close our ears and close our eyes for a time, but eventually the crimes we ignore over there will make their way over here. In other words, If we do not act to solve these problems, who will? Herein, access to the natural resources of food (as a matter of life or death) is a non negotiable human right.
Discussion questions:
  1. Do you agree that, access to the natural resources of food should be considered a non negotiable human right? Why or why not?
  2. Imagine what would happen if only a few extremely wealthy individuals owned and controlled all of the farmland in Taiwan. How might this condition affect the price of food in Taiwan?


Section 9: An Equal Right to the Water
Just as we all require food to exist, so too must we all have water, which is also provided obviously for free by earth. Unfortunately, this observation has not prevented multinational corporations in collaboration with corrupt governments, from buying up the rights to traditional water sources and then turning around and selling the water back to the people. What happens when people do not have enough money to pay these corporations for water? How far will mothers and fathers go to have water for themselves and their children? Is there any difference between pointing  a gun at people and telling them to work, and threatening to turn off their water if they do not work? Claiming ownership of the rainwater, rivers and lakes  that  people require to live is the same as claiming to have the right to decide who lives and who dies. Let us end the hierarchy of power and control. Let us all agree that, an equal right to water is a human right, one which also flows from the equal right to life. To charge for and/or deny people access to the water that we require to live is a violation of human rights and a crime against humanity.
Discussion questions:
  1. Do you agree that, it is a violation of human rights and a crime against humanity to deny people access to water? Why or why not?
  2. Should governments have the right to sell the nation’s rivers lakes and rainwater to corporations? Why or why not?

Section 10: An Equal Housing Right
Although  people are able to survive for a time, outside, exposed to the weather, the human body itself is clearly not designed to live without shelter. Therefore, just as the equal right to life requires equal access to food and water in order for us to stay alive, so too does the right to life necessitate an equal housing right as shelter, a place of security, a home to call your own. Of course, there are practical considerations involved in providing a home for everyone. However, these considerations are small compared to those associated with having to deal with homeless people. As global citizens, each one of us is an equal part of humanity; all we require to do is begin taking equal responsibility. The choice is ours.
Discussion questions:
  1. Do you think it is right that one person should be permitted to own one-hundred or even a thousand homes, while thousands or millions of people are left homeless and to live on the streets? Why or why not?
  2. How would societies ensure that everyone has a place to call, home.
Section 11: An Equal Education Right
An equal education right recognizes that the nature of humanity, as the aggregate/sum-total of all human relationships (how we stand in relation to one another and everything else) is a product of our education. Therefore, in order to change the nature of ourselves so to change the nature of humanity to coexist in relationships that are best for all,  requires that everyone have the opportunity to receive the best education possible, which amounts to an equal education right for all.  Technologically speaking, progress to an equal education right, as access to teaching and learning via the World Wide Web (www) is happening. However, in order to receive an equal educational opportunity as the opportunity to equally access information to teach and learn, humanity must eliminate secrecy and anonymity from the public domain, including government and of course the worldwide web, so to establish information equality as well as Information Accountability.
Discussion questions:
  1. What do we mean when we say the nature of humanity? In other words, how would you go about calculating the nature of humanity or the nature of yourself?
  2. Why does receiving an equal education right, require that we eliminate secrecy and anonymity from the world wide web?


Section 12) An Equal Right to Have a Job
Finally, an equal right to have a job addresses the right to participate in the economy  to access money beyond what needed to live according to our human rights. Based on the principle of give as you would like to receive, the best that humanity is able to be is the sum-total of the best that each person is able to be. An equal right to have a job is about each one of us having the  opportunity to live  to our utmost potential. What is each one’s potential? That is what we will discover when we stop competing against each other and start cooperating with one another from the starting point of creating what is best for all. For example, in terms of employment, while some people enjoy designing efficient buildings and have a natural talent for doing that, others prefer getting their hands dirty while working on a farm. The key to reaching our potential is not about learning to do something we do not enjoy doing, but about discovering each one’s inherent skills and cultivating them to everyone’s benefit, thereby giving of yourself the best that you are able to give, while also receiving from everyone else the best that they are able to give = the potential of humanity.
Discussion questions:
  1. Imagine you lived in a bubble world with 10 other people and you wanted that world to be as best it could be in relation to you; how would you want everyone in that bubble to be in relation to everything?
  2. Imagine you wanted to be the best that you could be, i.e., to reach your highest potential; how would you then choose to live in relation to everyone else within the bubble?

Conclusion
In an interconnected environment, such as the biosphere of earth, humanity’s utmost potential is dependent on and determined by our relationships to one another and everything else. Therefore, when we change the nature of ourselves to stand as best we are able in relation to everyone else, we change the nature of humanity to that which is best for all, which also happens to be what is best for each one of us.



Part 4: Vocabulary
persist v.
to continue on a course of action, regardless of difficulty, opposition of failure
Global citizens must persist in standing as the change we care to see in others.
inherent adj.
existing in something as a permanent or essential characteristic or attribute
Even though human rights are said to be legal entitlements, inherent to all humans, many humans still do not have an opportunity to live according to their human rights.
fact of the matter
“truth” or “in truth”
Even though slavery is illegal in most countries, the fact of the matter is that, the slave trade is big business even today.
inequitable adj.
unfair or unjust
The inequitable distribution of wealth is one of the main causes of human rights abuses.
conundrum
a confusing or difficult problem, question or situation
In order to solve the human rights conundrum, global citizens must begin taking responsibility in the decision-making processes of humanity.
abundance n
a very large amount or quantity of something
Even though the earth provides an abundance of food and water, many humans are prevented from accessing it because it’s privately owned.
affirm v
to assert strongly or state as a fact
Even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms an equal right to life for everybody, it does not affirm an equal right to the food and water needed by everybody to stay alive.
decree v
an official order or statement issued by a legal authority
As per the king’s decree, all the land now belongs to the king.
initiative n
an act or plan intended to resolve a problem or difficult situation
The Equal Life Foundation Bill of Rights initiative is intended to help solve the problem of human rights abuses.
underwrite v
to sign and accept responsibility - as is written
If you buy car insurance, the insurance company underwrites financial responsibility for damages depending on the amount of insurance you have purchased.
perceive v
a way of using one’s mind to think or imagine how something is - as opposed to looking and seeing in the physical reality
What he initially perceived to be danger behind the door, turned out to be his surprize birthday party.
commodities
raw materials or primary agricultural products that can be bought and sold
Pork commodities can be traded in mercantile and option exchanges.
substance n
a kind of matter with uniform properties
Humans are made up of the substances of earth.
artificial scarcity n
a state of being in short supply, even though the technology - production and sharing capacity exists to create abundance.
Artificial scarcity is used as a means to force people into servitude.
essential adj
absolutely necessary or extremely important
Access to water is a human right, as it is essential for humans to exist on earth.
indoctrinate v
to teach for purpose of getting a person or group to accept a set of beliefs without any critical consideration.
The education system has been indoctrinating people to accept the status quo, rather than assisting them to reach their utmost potential.
servitude
a state of being a slave or subject to the control of someone more powerful
The need for money in order to feed themselves and their families, forces many people to accept positions of servitude.
destabilize v
to upset the balance or stability of something
Scarcity of food and water, destabilizes the balance of human relationships, often forcing people into servitude.
exist v
a state of being
Humans need food and water to continue existing on earth.
potential n
the capacity to change and become something in the future
Everyone have the potential to be the best they are able to be.
(Dictionary.com, n.d.)
Part 5: Supplementary Materials
Questions and Activities
Part 1: Comprehension Questions
  1. How would you define Fundamental Human Rights?
  2. What aspect of the world system defines or limits how much opportunity people have to live according to their human rights? Why?
  3. What are the two most important resources that humans require to exercise our right to life?
  4. What do you think is the difference between  an “equal education right” and an “equal right to education”?
  5. What do you think is the quickest way to solve the problem of unequal application of human rights?

Part 2: Vocabulary Questions
Choose the most appropriate word from the list of vocabulary to complete the sentences.
12 conundrum
2 decree
9 perceive
1 essential
3 potential
11 abundance
8 initiative
5 exist
13 indoctrinated
14 artificial scarcity
15 underwriting
7affirms
10 substance
6 servitude
4 potential

  1. Access to water is a human right because water is ____________ for humans to survive.

  1. As per the king’s ____________, all the land now belongs to the royal family.

  1. If we apply human rights equally to all humans, each person will have the opportunity to live to their utmost ____________.


  1. Everyone should be entitled to live to his or her utmost ____________.

  1. Humans are not able to ____________ without food and water.

  1. Artificial scarcity leaves many people with no choice but to accept living in slavelike conditions, essentially forcing them into a life of ____________ just to earn enough money to survive.

  1. Although the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights ____________ the right to life, it fails to acknowledge that humans need shelter, food and water in order to stay alive.

  1. The Equal Life Foundation Bill of Rights ____________ is intended to help solve the problem of human rights abuses. of all of the children.

  1. Although each one may ____________ the world differently through his or her mind’s eye, we can at least all agree on some things, such as the need for more equality.

  1. As human beings are made up of substances provided freely by earth, it is common sense that humans should share Earth’s resources equally, while also sharing the responsibility for caring for all that is here.

  1. With so much natural ____________, it is inexcusable that billions of people still exist in conditions of poverty.   

  1. As the ____________ of human rights abuse is partly a consequence of the inequitable distribution of wealth through humanity, perhaps a solution would be to redistribute all of the wealth equally.

  1. Although, many humans have been ____________ to believe that food and water are  privileges that must be bought and paid for by money earned in the servitude of others, the fact of the matter is that, access to resources such as food and water (as a means to live) is a human right that flows from the right to life.

  1. By creating conditions of ____________, wealthy individuals in control of large corporations are violate people’s human rights by effectively forcing them into servitude.

  1. In recognising, promoting and ____________ a new Bill of Rights, global citizens from around the world are taking responsibility for  creating a new world system - one that is based on equal life, rather than the hierarchy of money.


Part 3: Draw a line to connect each word to its synonym, the word with a similar meaning.
  1. conundrum
self-motivation
  1. abundance
live
  1. exist
insure
  1. decree
think
  1. initiative
material
  1. underwrite
brainwash
  1. perceive
important
  1. substance
declare
  1. essential
plentiful
  1. indoctrinate
problem
Part 4: Activities on Global Citizens’ knowledge and Literacy (Group discussions questions)
  1. Discuss the conundrum of human rights in relation the the distribution of money throughout humanity. Explain why a lack of money prevents so many people from living according to our fundamental human rights. How are we able to solve this problem?
  2. Consider that about 10  corporations now control almost everything we buy. Now discuss how such corporations in search of higher profits, might create conditions of artificial scarcity, thereby forcing people to live in servitude just to earn enough money to survive. How is humanity able to eliminate conditions of artificial scarcity?
  3. Discuss human rights in relation to the resources that earth provides for free - except for the human labor involved in producing and distributing such resources. Do you agree or disagree that earth’s resources should belong equally to all of humanity? Why or why not?
  4. Discuss the possibility of implementing a new human rights bill as a new agreement within humanity: how are global citizens able to push such an initiative in order to create real change within humanity?  

Part 5: Online Reading/Exercises to choose from
  1. Write an essay of 3-5 paragraphs on human rights in relation to the distribution of wealth/money throughout humanity. Explain why redistributing money (more equally to everyone) would or would not improve people’s human rights. Post the essay to  your blog along with some relevant pictures.
  2. Upload a YouTube podcast (3-5 minutes) on human rights in relation to the distribution of wealth/money throughout humanity. Explain why redistributing money (more equally to everyone) would or would not improve people’s human rights.
  3. Write an essay of 3-5 paragraphs about the right to life. Explain why an “equal” right to life requires (or doesn’t require)  equal ownership of earth’s resources.  Post the essay to  your blog along with some relevant pictures.
  4. Upload a YouTube podcast (3-5 minutes) about the right to life.Explain why an “equal” right to life requires (or doesn’t require)  equal ownership of earth’s resources.
  5. Write a blog post (3-5 paragraphs) in favor of or against the global initiative aimed at establishing a new bill of (human) rights. Post the essay to  your blog along with some relevant pictures.
  6. Upload a YouTube podcast (3-5 minutes) of your views, in favor or against implementing a basic income plan where you live, wherein you speak in favor of or against the global initiative aimed at establishing a new bill of (human) rights. Explain your reasons.
  7. Watch the Equal Life presentation on Fundamental Human Rights and write a blog post on how global citizens are able to use  information communications technology (such as YouTube) to participate in changing the world for the better.
  8. Upload a YouTube podcast of 3-5 minutes, wherein you speak about how we are able to use the internet to work together to change the world for the better.
  9. Participate in a Google hangout with 3-5 people discussing basic human rights. Upload the hangout to each participant’s YouTube channel and share the link on social media.
  10. Work together with a group to create an online presentation or live presentation that explains the problem with human rights along with your proposed solution to the problem.

Additional discussion questions:
  1. Why do some people have the opportunity to live according to their human rights, while others do not?

  1. Why do you think money is the determining factor when it comes to how much opportunity people have to live according to their human rights?

  1. Do you agree that humans have come to value money more than life. Explain your thoughts on the subject.

  1. Discuss the conundrum or problem associated with human rights and the world economy. How do you think we can solve this problem?

  1. Within humanity, what do you think money represents?

  1. Why do you think billions of human beings still do not have the opportunity to live equally according to their human rights? What do you propose as a solution?

  1. How is inequitable distribution of wealth, connected to the unequal application of human rights?


  1. In terms of the distribution of resources, goods and services throughout humanity, how are we able to ensure that everyone have access to the resources needed to  live equally according to our human rights.

  1. How does the education system sometimes encourage students  to view themselves in separation of one another, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding our interconnectedness?

  1. Currently, the  world system is designed to give ownership and control of earth’s the resources to whomever has the most money. How do you think this setup causes some people not to have the  opportunity to live equally according to their human rights?

  1. Consider the responsibilities involved in equally owning earth’s resources. How do you think that earth’s resources could best be managed. How would you set up a new world system to do that?

  1. Do you agree that, access to the natural resources of food should be considered a non negotiable human right? Why or why not?

  1. Imagine what would happen if only a few extremely wealthy individuals owned and controlled all of the farmland in Taiwan. How might this condition affect the price of food in Taiwan?

  1. What are some of the practical considerations of guaranteeing everyone an equal opportunity to live. Specifically, what would it take to guarantee everyone an equal opportunity to live a dignified life?

  1. Currently, the  world system is designed to give ownership and control of earth’s the resources to whomever has the most money. How do you think this setup causes some people not to have the  opportunity to live equally according to their human rights?

  1. Consider the responsibilities involved in managing earth’s resources in the best way possible. How would you set up a new world system to do that?

  1. Do you agree that, it is a violation of human rights and a crime against humanity to deny people access to water? Why or why not?

  1. Should governments have the right to sell the nation’s rivers lakes and rainwater to corporations? Why or why not?

  1. How are we able to ensure that everyone have the opportunity to live equally according to his or her human rights?
  2. Do you know of any false states of scarcity within your society? If so, how is it caused and what is the consequence?
  3. Do you think it is right that one person should be permitted to own one-hundred or even a thousand homes, while thousands or millions of people are left homeless and to live on the streets? Why or why not?

  1. How would societies ensure that everyone has a place to call, home.

  1. What do we mean when we say the nature of humanity? In other words, how would you go about calculating the nature of humanity or the nature of yourself?

  1. Why does receiving an equal education right, require that we eliminate secrecy and anonymity from the world wide web?

  1. Imagine you lived in a bubble world with 10 other people and you wanted that world to be as best it could be in relation to you; how would you want everyone in that bubble to be in relation to everything?

  1. Imagine you wanted to be the best that you could be, i.e., to reach your highest potential; how would you then choose to live in relation to everyone else within the bubble?

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