9 Dec 2014, 12:59pm
economy living intentionally
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30 comments

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  • The case for a Universal Income

    Those clever fellows at Oxford University have identified a problem with social mobility – it’s increasingly downwards. I have to run with the Guardian’s description of this because it looks like the paper is published by Wiley and is therefore going to be £££££ to get.

    The Grauniad will bring to the party their own biases, and yet their summary of the problem seems pretty clear and gels well with Humans Need Not Apply  – a storm of globalisation, automation and the shift of power from labour to capital is stripping out premium jobs – to wit

    The UK’s boom in managerial and professional level public services and industrial jobs during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s saw an increase in the proportion of children born into professional and managerial families. The decline in these jobs meant that the number of individuals at risk of downward mobility were higher.

    Goldthorpe added: “Politicians are saying that a new generation of young people don’t have the same opportunities for social advancement as their parents, and these results seem to bear that out. The trend shows that, while social mobility has not stalled, more mobility is going in a downward direction than in the past.

    “ The emerging situation is one for which there is little historical precedent and that carries potentially far-reaching political and wider social implications.”

    I’m not totally sure there’s no historical precedent – the story of humanity is not a monotonic increase in wealth from generation to generation, but it is a problem. The issues boil down to that Britain’s GDP is being produced with fewer people. In itself that shouldn’t be a surprise – after all if you look at how many people it took to make anything a generation ago it’s obvious that you need far fewer people to make it now. There was a programme called The Secret Life of the National Grid that showed how the old CEGB used to erect pylons – basically about a hundred men and a lot of rope! According to the ONS, the real value of Britain’s manufacturing output is much higher now than in what we think of its heyday. When I entered the workforce over a quarter of the UK workforce was involved in making stuff, whereas now we make more stuff, but with  fewer than 1 in 10 of us compared to more than 1 in four. As the ONS succinctly says

    productivity in the manufacturing industry has risen by around 2.8% a year since 1948, compared with 1.5% in the service industry. While only 8% of UK jobs are now in manufacturing, compared with 25% in 1978, today’s workers are significantly better skilled and more experienced.

    We booted those humans out, and manufacturing does this quicker than services. Now whenever you say this might not be an unalloyed good loads of people come down on you like a ton of bricks and holler Lump Of Labour Fallacy until you can’t hear anything any more. The Economist gives a good summary too. The LoLF is predicated on the assumption that it is always possible to improve things for people in the world by putting more people to work, so Schumpeterian creative destruction is all to the good, as it can reallocate capital and work to where it can do most good.

    This assumes people are always as flexible as they were in their 20s. So they had better not get old, have children or otherwise tie themselves down to any one place or way of doing things. If you want to see the counterfactual, take a drive to some of the Welsh valleys – the Ermine started work and got to retire all in the space of time since these areas were nuked by Mrs T in the early 1980s and they still haven’t recovered by the looks of it.

    The other trouble is the modern economy produces great jobs and crap jobs, with nothing in between. And it’s producing fewer and fewer great jobs, though these seem to be higher and higher paid. At the moment we fight that – but the battle is being lost. At the moment we tell people work is the way out of poverty, which is bullshit.Let’s have a bit of fun with Google, shall we, on the theme of work is the way out of poverty. Let’s start with the dude who ought to know

    Bloomin' eck, I thought we've already done Halloween. Oh, wait. That was the other guy...

    Bloomin’ eck, I thought we’ve already done Halloween. Oh, wait. That was the other guy

    Iain Duncan Smith: ‘My mission is to lift people out of poverty and I will not give up’ there’s a hint of the Terminator in there, Iain. Always pays to investigate whether the thing you’re trying to do can actually be done, if only to find out which impediments to take on first…

    Sweatshops: A Way out of Poverty – Ludwig von Mises institute. Loosely paraphrased to  ‘get ’em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow’ 1

    For millions of people, work is no longer a way out of poverty – Archbishop of York/George Osborne

    Seven ways UK wages have changed over the past four decades – the proletariat has been losing this fight for the last 20 years

    Is Social Mobility Really Going into Reverse – only if you think about the money, according to the Telegraph

    We now have to subsidise crap jobs with tax credits for people to survive on them. I don’t think work is the way out of poverty unless you are unusually skilled. It’s time to strike a new bargain with the 1%. Along the general lines of

    Dear 1% – Britain provides opportunities for you to sell us stuff, move money around in complex ways and get rich on that, and hell, invest in London property. We the people of Britain are easy with that. In return, we require that you give us something in return, and that is a tax on economic activity in terms of corporation tax, CGT and income tax. And we also require that you obey the law of the land as far a polluting the environment etc. Let’s cut a deal. Make as much money as you want, within the rules. If you don’t like that, piss off to Monaco or wherever.

    The standard riposte to that is the wealth creators and owners of capital will up sticks and take their toys with them. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is the long-form version of that. In balance  there should also be a call to the rest of the 99%, along the general lines of a fantastic rant I overheard from someone describing why the 99% were moaning about the cost of living so much

    People go through life picking up unnecessary accessories like dogs and children without thinking how much it all costs. No wonder they get themselves into trouble.

    It’s hard to argue with her observation, and this is from one of the 99% 😉 Mr Squirrel takes a slightly softer line.

    It appears that that august organ, the OECD takes issue with the claim that all the wealth creators will cram into Monaco or a seastead with their capital leaving the remaining starving hordes to eat each other. Unlike  Wiley who act as Gollum to knowledge the OECD publishes their stuff – short form here and full monty to be had from here. It’s worth a read – basically in contrast to Ayn Rand they take the view that we are our brother’s keeper in terms of the maximum aggregate human societal benefits:

    The most direct policy tool to reduce inequality is redistribution through taxes and benefits. The analysis shows that redistribution per se does not lower economic growth. Of course, this does not mean that all redistribution measures are equally good for growth. Redistribution policies that are poorly targeted and do not focus on the most effective tools can lead to a waste of resources and generate inefficiencies.

    Now before we all become communists it is possible for this to be true and yet nevertheless some people’s end of the boat may end up going down, even if most of the boat and inhabitants rise. Somewhere the John Galt in me does and did object for paying for other people’s lifestyle choices, for most of my working life I was paying towards my colleagues’ child benefit, though I am very happy that this has been stopped now. They are/were rich enough to pay for their own choices in life 😉

    The OECD’s stats are also backward-looking, over a period where the assumption that it is always possible to improve things by putting more people to work probably held. I have a lot of time for the thinking that we are in the middle of a third industrial revolution, and I will probably not live to see the full effects of this one. It takes far longer than a human lifetime for the rubble to stop bouncing in an industrial revolution, and the transformational effect of the improvement in communications, data handling and processing on economic activity is probably not complete. Unlike Roger Bootle, however, I wouldn’t necessarily bet on human ingenuity this time.

    We have a lot more humans to draw on, and capital can be more picky about which humans it uses. When I graduated, I was bright enough to be able to work in research and development. The twenty-something me was 2 nowhere near bright enough to work for Google. So we could have a lot more economic activity and vast increases in GDP with fewer humans aided by machine ingenuity, but the spoils of war would increasingly accrete to those that own the means of production, otherwise known as Capital.

    As a result the idea that we can improve economic efficiency by educating people better is not a given for the future in my view. It may be a good thing for their quality of life – after all having reached the end of my working life the economic value of my education is now entirely spent. There is still some intangible value in terms of being able to read, write and have a basic grasp of how things work, infer conclusions from experimental data and have a cultural reference to the world around me – the value of education is not purely as a way to amplify earning power. It’s possible that the OECD’s narrative is accurate for the past – the historical economy had the capacity to employ more human capital and ran below full bore because it was starved of skills and boots on the ground. The global economy has got access to a hell of a lot more people now than it did when I started work, and this seems to be at the same time as it needs fewer people per unit economic activity as a result of the various issues in Humans Need Not Apply.

    Which then brings us to the point of what the hell is the economy for? Is it to make as much stuff as possible and get as many people to buy this as possible, even if they can’t add enough economic value to pay for their consumption? Is it to maximise the sum total of human experience? These are political issues, but we don’t really seem to be tackling those issues as to what all this economic activity means and whether it is serving us well, we just know that we want ‘growth’ because it sprinkles some fairy-dust and seems to have made people feel better over time. Charging around telling people work is the way out of poverty seems to be pissing more and more people off, because it’s just not true. Eighty years after Keynes observed

    The decadent international but individualistic capitalism in the hands of which we found ourselves after the war is not a success. It is not intelligent. It is not beautiful. It is not just. It is not virtuous. And it doesn’t deliver the goods. In short we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it. But when we wonder what to put in its place, we are extremely perplexed.

    he could still make the same observation.

    The Citizen’s Wage/ Universal Income – an alternative to the Occupy movement

    The Occupy movement is one response to the rise of the 1%, which is basically to try and tear them down. But it isn’t the only one. There’s another one. Let the 1% (and the 20% below) earn shedloads of money. After all, take a look at the Grauniad’s excellent analysis from Mona Chalabi  – people paying higher-rate tax and above make most of the running in tax revenue – about 2/3 of the tax take comes from them.

    Then set a flat rate of tax, at 40%. Abolish the personal allowance. But give everybody a universal income of about the National Minimum wage once they reach 18.  At the old higher rate tax threshold of ~ £40k you will have paid 32% of £30k which is about £10k in tax leaving you with £30k, under the new regime I guess you’re paying £24k in tax leaving you with £16k to which is added £13k resulting in ~ £30k in total

    Abolish all special interest pleading – nearly all of the Welfare state goes away, we presume that the NMW is enough to basically live on, be you pensioner or 19 year-old. No special case for having children – a couple on the NMW is a little under the average household income. Now, without the requirement to work, you can enjoy your children, see them grow up, walk them to school. You can now live anywhere in Britain we don’t all need to pack ourselves into the SE because that’s where all the jobs are – maybe even repopulate the North of the country – fabulous countryside.

    If you don’t have kids, well, you have a bit more money then, follow your interests. Have a better house or car, or go on holiday more. If you want more than the NMW, then by all means, if you are talented enough, go get a job. Your universal income won’t be taken away or taxed, but everything you earn would be taxed.

    The uber rich will now have to pay decently for their shit to be cleared, their houses to be cleaned and for fire service in London. But they can afford it, so the wages of shit-shovelling service industries will go up to whatever is needed that people will sell their time to do that sort of thing electively. But both parties will have a choice, and it’s up to the market to set the right price.

    This isn’t a fully formed idea – there’s no doubt endless problem with it. For starters until globalisation makes everybody in the world equally well off and we have ended war, entitlement needs to managed. Britain allocates citizenship/residency largely by jus soli as far as I can see, and some steps will need to be taken such as requiring you to be born in Britain by people here legally to get the entitlement. Before I get charged with being a card-carrying nut-job – immigration is no problem but the parents will have to be here legally and presumably work of be of independent means. And it seems fair enough that if you aren’t entitled to the citizen’s wage you at least get a personal allowance re your earnings of the same amount 🙂 The devil would be greatly in the details.

    The problem we have at the moment is that we seem to be trying to micromanage our way out of macro sociological changes. The disenfranchising of a large part of the human population of a First World country isn’t necessarily a problem if it is caused by improvements in productivity caused by technology 3, but the way we allocate resources is going to drift out of track with the assumptions that underlie our societies.

    With the industrial revolution we managed to dramatically reduce our use for human physical labour, but increased our capacity to use intellectual human labour. With the Information and computing revolution we are reducing our need for intellectual human labour, because we can solve many of these problems using IT (and outsource a lot that doesn’t). It’s not absolutely clear to me where we are going to put these now idle hands to work, though I don’t have the Protestant Work Ethic that always assumes the Devil is going to be the employer of last resort. There are many things that would be nice that more human effort could do, but in general we don’t seem to be prepared to pay hard cash for them.

    That which we can’t do automatically demands much more cognitively of the humans 4, and it is beyond what many can do, we are way beyond the central bump in The Bell Curve and out there in the tail. I’m not really sure I’m bright enough to get ahead in this economy if I were starting now, the leading edge is way out there. We aren’t doing less, but the fruits of the productivity enhancements are accruing to people with capital and to people with power. CEOs and the 1% are skimming off a fair amount of the capital, but it is interesting that they have streaked ahead particularly through the use of equity allocations as well as higher pay.

     

    Notes:

    1. Charles Colson, possibly
    2. I am making the slightly ageist common assumption that this fades with time – accumulated experience has much less value now in technical fields than it did when I started work
    3. if the improvements are caused by globalisation then it is a problem, because living standards must fall to equalisation otherwise there will be balance of payments problems with the countries doing the work
    4. Not all future work is cognitive. There will still be work for some other types of skills – being a footballer, or a Kardashian doesn’t require smarts, and artistic creativity requires a different type of smarts

    The green party has a very similar policy. Their logic is that people harm the environment because they can’t afford not to. Issue everyone with a basic income partly paid for by reducing administration cost and expect good behaviour.

    What is the effect on inflation of this sort of scheme?

    The effect on inflation depends on the productivity of the economy. In the limiting case, if we can make all the stuff we use now using automated means, we can have the same amount of money chasing the same amount of goods and services.

    Tim Harford observed that the idea of a universal income finds favour on the left and right of the political spectrum, with a massive great hole in the middle.

    Yes great idea and i have heard about this concept before. If we all had a minimum wage i wonder would we need the pension system ? As you mention the welfare bill would disappear and the expensive admin along with it.

    I am sure this system of having £13k to live on will help promote family living as it will be more cost effective to live together rather than on your own.

    Agree we need some macro thinking rather than micro managing of our economy. The current system will break down eventually if we do not do something drastic.

    Guy Sands the economist from Bath has written a book called the prelacariat. He also says we need a minimum wage and the rich 1% have to pay much more.

    Thought provoking. I think I’ll need to absorb it before I can come up with a sensible comment mind!

    Oh and this might be of interest:
    http://alpha.ons.gov.uk/#!/

    10 Dec 2014, 9:09am
    by Neverland

    reply

    The whole citizens income idea assumes that a country is sealed hermetic system no lnked to the world economy

    If there is one thing globalisation has taught us it is that no country is an island

    Citizens income = hordes of immigrants (legal and illegal)

    …and another thing…there are millions of higher managerial/skilled jobs being created on an unprecedented scale right across the world, just not in the west

    There’s another version of the Citizen’s Income, which gives everyone who turns 18 a starting sum of £XX,000 to spend on whatever they want – investments, a new car, down payment on a house, etc.

    Student Loans are currently edging towards £50,000+. Add in pensions, and we’re practically at the above form of a citizen’s income already – it’s just stipulated you have to spend your lump sum on education to start with.

    @Neverland and @Greg – I was riffing off Izabella Kaminska’s Beyond Scarcity series which is a fascinating insight into an alternative world view. I can’t bring myself to believe in the Pollyannish thesis, and yet I see the problems with return on capital, and to some extent I see very high levels of deflation in some technological areas – the price of electronic components for example is falling through the floor. So I thought the concept is worth playing with, and probably didn’t bring out that presumption we have enough Stuff.

    @John – agreed, we could drop the State pension system and/or subsume it in the citizen’s income

    @Brendan I guess we would have to have some way of handling unwise decisions, or be prepared to see people starve… A regular income circumvents that sort of issue. I personally would like to see fewer students but properly supported as they used to be, the trouble with the £50k is there is the push to repay it, which colours the graduate’s choices in some ways.

    There’s certainly more to it than providing a basic income. Society has to get over the perception that displaced workers are economic drones. One’s value has to be measured beyond one’s job or profession.
    As a retiree I accept this. But the workplace is still jammed with oldies who want to work until they are 80, lest they lose their status in society.

    10 Dec 2014, 2:28pm
    by Neverland

    reply

    @ Ermine

    In the 30s Keynes predicted we would all be working 2.5 days a week and living in plenty – it didn’t actually work out that way

    The price of other stuff (housing and financial assets spring to mind) is just artificially inflated to soak up the extra income…..and the richer get richer

    @Ray > oldies who want to work until they are 80, lest they lose their status in society

    That is a tragic reason to do it, because they become imprisoned in their own mind! In some ways even more tragic than if they really had no choice, because they are living life by other people’s values. So far experience has indicated this is not a route to internal peace…

    @Neverland I think the sad thing about how we do this is that Keynes was right in one way. There is a trend in clearly shown the PF community towards taking the shorter week all in one go at the end of people’s working life, and Philip Brewer had a good point about the developed world’s greatly increased lifestyle now compared to probably what you or I recall growing up. Many people want to raise children, and the 40-year working life but fewer hours as postulated by Keynes would be a far better match to that, because they get more time off earlier in life.

    I look at what makes up the JRF minimum income standard and a considerable amount of that I just don’t have and don’t spend money on – indeed their target needs to earn £35k p.a which is more than the median UK gross household income.

    The inflation of financial assets was cited as a way for capital to hold on its relative position despite improvements in technology devaluing it.

    I don’t really buy it at a gut level, but it’s fascinating to take the ideas for a spin. There is a lot less internal inconsistency (or I an as yet unable to detect it) than I’d have expected for something that’s total BS…

    Assuming the adult population of the UK is 49 million (2011 census approx) then the cost would be in the region of £637 billion per annum, yes?
    That’s over four times what it is at present. So do you have any ideas on how to get the 1% to pay up?
    Love it if it happened – I’d retire tomorrow!

    I think this is an idea worth seriously persuing, but as you say there are many many problems. A few additional ones that come to mind:

    1. What is stopping me going down to the casino and putting my free wages on black every time. Admittedly people who actually work for a living right now already do this, but I get the feeling that if people think they are getting “free money” this sort of thing is likely to increase?

    2. On a similar vein to the above, people sitting around bored all day = massive increase in drugs and alcohol use, along with sitting in front of the TV for those who want a more sober approach to the boredom issue. Just because you and I can think of better things to do with our time doesn’t mean that everyone is like us 🙁 – Surely this would mean a much bigger strain on the NHS?

    Sounding a bit pessimistic here admitedly but mainly just trying to think of potential pitfalls! I am sure there are some good ideas to get around them. For example we could we have a new (electronic?) currency whereby the citizens wage £ can only be spent on goods and services (counter to this, a black market for buying and selling citizen £s… Arrrgh!)

    Anyway the bottom line is it won’t be without it’s problems, but overall I agree, I think it is a really good idea.

    One other thing, not really sure I get your example:
    ” under the new regime I guess you’re paying £24k in tax leaving you with £16k to which is added £13k resulting in ~ £30k in total”

    The way I see it is to get to £40k they’d only have to be earning £27k above the citizens wage, which is say £13k as I think that was mentioned a few times in the post. So 40% of £27k is £10.8k in tax (as they are not taxed on the citizens income), and total “take home pay” would be £29.2k so ~£30k as you say, I just got there in a completely different way (or just misunderstood your explanation).

    Cheers!

    @Win the UK full-time NMW seems to be about £9k for a 40 hour week after knocking off holidays and other dead time, so I make that £450×10^9, maybe three times. But the trouble with both of our calculations is that we are only changing one variable, and assuming the extreme (1% in work). But I accept I did say 13k so it’s just as well I’m not in charge, eh?

    £9k or even £13k p.a. is a very basic income – it’s a fair way less that I as a retired Ermine will live on, indeed if you add the imputed rent of my house it’s probably less than I am living on now. Everybody who chooses to work will be paying 40% tax, but there won’t be any of the threshold effects you get now.

    I’d be surprised if 99% of adult Britons would be prepared to live on £13k p.a. If they are we’d be stuffed or the automation premium needs to get higher fast. The universal income is more move to a flat rate tax structure. Even Keynes’s 2 day working week would still give us a 40% participation relative to now.

    In the thought experiment humans are adding less and less value to the economy, as the demanded level of competence is scanning across the ability curve. Automation and technical progress is making up for that – it’s precisely because this is more productive than humans that the value of average human work is falling, showing up in wage stagnation.

    That FT Beyond Scarcity series is well worth reading – you only need register, you don’t have to pay. The implication for work seems to be along the lines of this article. The implications for the value of equity investments is absolutely horrific unless the owners of capital can seize control via things like patents, though in some ways it might not matter.

    And, of course, you have to accept the premise of ‘beyond scarcity’. I find that hard, so I may not have done it proper justice here 😉

    @TFS crikey, I’ve just got into a fight with TV Licensing ‘cos I don’t use the damn thing in the way they charge for!

    I don’t think you can hypothecate the spending, and you probably have to take some children into care if their parents are unfit or unwilling to behave. Maybe the NHS should be palliative for those who deliberately clobber their own health. At the moment we focus on spending in the economy/welfare rather than on shared values. It may be we don’t have enough shared values, but the question is worth asking IMO. Although the Guardian challenges economics from the left in some ways I challenge it from the right – if someone wants to do something not good for them fine as long as they don’t bugger up other people’s lives.

    > I just got there in a completely different way

    No, I think I’ve been more arithmetically illiterate in this post that usual. I’ll try and slide my way out of it in that it’s about playing with ideas so I don’t think it stands or falls on those details, but indeed, apologies to all I cocked up, and a tip of the Ermine hat and salutary swish of the black-tipped tail to you and Win 😉

    What I don’t think the minimum income movements address properly is population growth. When the masses figure out that they get an income boost by having more children in their household…

    Have you had a browse through The Book of Life: http://www.thebookoflife.org/ from The School of Life philosophy group. It has some quite good essays on capitalism (the only ‘chapter’ I’ve got through so far). On education, they propose that we need to *radically* rethink what we are teaching people, focusing much much more on how to live as people, and with people.

    re: citizens’ income, it’s a very intriguing notion but I just can’t see it flying in the current climate – can you imagine the screaming and wailing from the Daily Mail: it would take their ‘scrounger’ rhetoric up to notch 11!

    @George the universal income is a lot less pro-natal than the current regime. Your universal income is there for you and your lifestyle choices, of which having children is one, but you don’t get any more money for it.

    Fail to maintain them in a suitable way and the society may choose to take them into care – that’s up to the politics of the day, it may be we just accept that some will suffer because they are born to bad parents.

    @mistersquirrel – I’d agree with them education seems dysfunctional at the moment. Particularly if the tenets of the end of scarcity were true – schooling and education is currently largely to make productive cogs to slot into the production machine.

    The metrics and targets seem to make that much worse now – another example of us losing the way as we hone the how. My own primary and grammar school was much more open-ended than what’s described to me now by parents and teachers.

    The citizen’s income is an interesting thought experiment into how we could do things better. I’m horrified by what is doen to the unemployed in the name of the lie that work is the route out of poverty, the whole sanctions regime borders on cruel and unusual punishment to me. All because we can’t collectively face the fact that the economy is going to find it more and more difficult to provide useful work to an increasing number of the adult working-age population. It’s a macro change that needs strategy, not tactics IMO.

    […] tighter carbon, environmental and resource depletion policies, focus on a zero growth economy, new ideas to combat inequality in society, or more likely a combination of all of the above at varying levels, these are exciting […]

    A citizen’s income is inevitable I think. Or something similar but better.

    If we take automation to the max and assume that no humans are required for the supply of any goods and services, other than those which you specifically want a human to do (like a hand-made chair), then a baseline equal pay makes a lot of sense.

    Currently we use money for two reasons, 1) as a decentralised way to decide what goods and services the economy should be producing (as central planning doesn’t work very well) and 2) to motivate people to do things to produce those goods and services.

    If we don’t need people for reason 2 as the machines can do everything themselves, the only role left for money is reason 1, sending signals to the economic system so that it knows what to provide.

    We’re basically the Eloi from The Time Machine “the result of humanity conquering nature with technology”.

    So how should we hand out these tokens? Equally seems like a reasonable bet, which is pretty much the citizens/universal income.

    Hopefully we’ll start a gradual move in that direction sooner rather than later, and may have already if Duncan-Smith’s ideas gain traction.

    There are some further advantages of the universal income and the flat rate tax regime, which you have not commented on much.
    Firstly, the simplicity should make for relatively straightforward, and therefore efficient administration.
    Secondly, since tax ‘planning’ (as it seems to be called these days!) relies upon exploiting the loopholes and complications in the system, the virtue is that such a simple system removes pretty much any loopholes, resulting in a more efficient and more complete tax-take.
    As Neverland observes, the major practical problem is defining (and policing) who is in/out of the fiscal country. On the other hand, that is not really a new problem, though, is it?

    “it may be we just accept that some will suffer because they are born to bad parents.” – doubtful (hopefully? surely?) that this would ever be socially acceptable. Especially in the “civilised” society that would engender and tolerate a Universal Income system. Maybe a fairer education system and less of the pressures that generational poverty brings would gradually solve the “large, unsupportable family” syndrome but I wouldn’t think that this can be guaranteed. We will always need to look after some people who simply cannot do it themselves.

    Great article here:

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/01/alive-in-the-sunshine/

    Pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole subject! Really really worth a read!

    I like this idea. there is a movemnet in Germany that proposes this:

    http://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedingungsloses_Grundeinkommen

    But I think I prefer, no unemployment or housing or social security benefit, no state pension, no cost for health service for all those entitled by whatever rules we apply to avoid ‘economic immigration’ by those who only want to sponge.
    But why not go the whole hog? Abolish income, cap gains and inheritance taxes!
    Pay for everything by a heavy VAT.
    It’s hard to avoid, there need be no exceptions and if you prefer to hoard your money then you avoid tax so no need ti give more savings incentives.

    Just a short comment thanking you for your excellent posts on this blog and hope you could post a new one. I’m sort of addicted to your blog, though I seldom post here.

    Found this site a few months ago that has some really good in depth articles on this subject

    http://www.freemoneyforall.org/

    I thought it was a spam/scam site when I first came across it due to the name, but it is actually legit discussion on all things pertaining to a universal income (or similar). Check it out!

    […] ability. The quid pro quo for that is that taxation needs to be enough on the winners so that a universal income can be paid, and also that adult education in the Victorian sense of bettering oneself and general […]

    […] capital is winning the fight against labour, a little because of globalisation but more largely automation seems to be developing apace. There’s nothing wrong with humans doing less work – it’s a trend that has been […]

    […] world, we aren’t making factory units any more. Then there’s the whole automation and Humans Need Not Apply thing. Just like Dustin Hoffman was urged to get into plastics, Capital is your best hope now […]

    […] find the workless hours leaden and indeed I would regard humanity’s development of robots to do all the work leaving us to a life of leisure the pinnacle of engineering success, if only we could build a human […]

    […] under the DWP sanctions system don’t need Boox accounting services 😉 Roll on the universal income if only so that I will be able to find the odd real letter among the blizzard of multilevel […]

     

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