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Basic Income April 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

I’ve noted before that I’m not hugely fond of Freakonomics. But every once in a while I’ll listen to the podcast and every so often there’ll be something interesting. For example, in the course of a broadly positive overview of basic income schemes recently – and noting that many economists are coming around to it due to certain trends in employment and so on the following point was made that far from BI schemes weakening research and development ‘some of the great cultural break throughs (in the 19th century) were made by people who did not work’. Scions of the aristocracy, those who had their own guaranteed incomes from the ever expanding capitalism and whoever. And it’s worth noting that for certain sections in society – those just mentioned basic income, and indeed more than basic income, was a part and parcel of the social (and economic) existence.

Of course BI’s are far from being the concern of the left. Milton Friedman was a fan (though IIRC he also agreed with universal healthcare). And one entrepreneur was open that it was an almost libertarian approach (of sorts). But… the sort of pressures that are coming it is difficult not to think that some fairly radical ideas are going to get practical outings sooner rather than later.


1. dmoc - April 29, 2016

David Graeber (author of 5000 years of debt) makes a claim about working class creativity being unleashed by a generous welfare state:


QUOTE: Tony Blair’s New Labour policies, which, despite the Labour Party’s working-class funding base, basically represented the sensibilities of the professional classes, did attempt to forge an alternative vision. For the Blairites, the United Kingdom’s future lay in what they called the “creative industries.” Had not the United Kingdom, regularly since the sixties, produced waves of popular music and youth culture that had swept the world, bringing in billions in direct and indirect revenue? It must have seemed a plausible gambit in the nineties, but it failed because the Blairites were operating with a completely false understanding of where cultural creativity comes from.

They naively assumed creativity was basically a middle-class phenomenon, the product of people like themselves. In fact, almost everything worthwhile that has come out of British culture for the last century, from music hall, to street kebabs, to standup comedy, rock ‘n’ roll, and the rave scene, has been primarily a working-class phenomenon. Essentially, these were the things the working class created when they weren’t actually working. The sprouting of British popular culture in the sixties was entirely a product of the United Kingdom’s then very generous welfare state. There is a reason that in Cockney rhyming slang, the word for “dole” is “rock ‘n’ roll”(“he got the sack, he’s on the rock ‘n’ roll again”): a surprising proportion of major bands later to sweep the world spent at least some of their formative years on unemployment relief. Blairites were stupid enough to combine their promotion of “Cool Britannia” with massive welfare reforms, which effectively guaranteed the entire project would crash and burn, since they ensured that pretty much everyone with the potential to become the next John Lennon would instead spend the rest of their lives stacking boxes in their local Tesco as part of the new welfare conditionality.

In the end, all that the Blairites managed to produce was a world-class marketing sector (since that’s what middle-class people are actually good at); otherwise, they had nothing to show for themselves at all.


2. ewolc - April 29, 2016
3. benmadigan - April 29, 2016

here’s another view on the basic Income from a Scottish writer http://theleveller.org/2016/04/we-need-to-be-ready-for-the-next-revolution/


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