16 Responses to Free money!

  1. cushy glen April 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    This is an idea that is gaining support in many places.

    The Dutch, Swiss, New zealanders, Icelanders & French are considering the idea.

    At its most basic it is saying that as a citizen of the country you are entitled to an equal share in the nation’s wealth. So basic or citizens income is giving each citizen an income regardless of their status. This income could replace many (but not all) benefits. It would replace social security payments for example because if you were on the dole basic income would give enough to keep a roof over your head & food on the table. It would not pay for anything more than the basics. So people would still have to work for things like cars, TVs, foreign holidays etc.

    It would keep a lot of people out of the demeaning benefit system. The money they receive would be spent locally & therefore help stimulate the local economy.

    It is in effect a bail out for the people as opposed to the banks.

    Would it make people work shy?

    Well the notion that any benefits disincentivise people from seeking work is a myth. Research has shown that only 3% of those on unemployment benefit don’t actively seek work.

    Also it depends on your view of your fellow humans. If you feel that they are a bunch of work shy layabouts then no system will work except forced labour. If on the other hand you reason that like yourself most people want to do something useful with their lives, then with the safety net of a basic income these people will seek out the work they would want to do rather than work they are forced to do as with the current system.

    How would it be financed?

    Partly from a re-apportioning of the costs of the current wasteful benefit system & partly from the state creating additional money – much like the state creates money to bail out the banks. Except with Basic Income this money would come back into local economies & not disappear off to some tax haven.

    NICVA commissioned some research on this – http://www.nicva.org/article/basic-income-masterclass


    • Jude Collins April 30, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

      Thanks for that detailed response and the links, CG. Do you think it’s a good idea?

      • cushy glen April 30, 2016 at 3:41 pm #

        Basic Income is undoubtedly a good idea, Jude. Its a practical strategy offering an alternative to never-ending austerity & greater & greater pressure on the benefit system & those caught within it.

        People cab take back some control over their lives.

        • Jude Collins April 30, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

          Seems stunningly simple – there must be a catch somewhere…I think people like working, even apart from the money – if nothing else there’s the camaraderie. But then again, our society is built on consumerism, getting and spending; would this really liberate people to do what they REALLY want to do? Mightn’t what they really want to do be simply make more money to buy more stufffff?

          • E Moore April 30, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

            There’s going to be a big escalation in automation in the coming years. Jobs which were once done by people will be done by robots, mass redundancy will ensue with no jobs to replace the ones which were lost.

            I believe the governments already know this and are drip feeding the notion of a guaranteed income to the populace to gain acceptance for it when the inevitable happens.

          • Cushy Glen April 30, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

            Most people would still work because the basic income is just that, it provides for the basics. Anything else you’ll need a job.
            The difference is it can be work you prefer to do because basic income will allow you to have choices.
            The biggest opposition will come from governments who like the control the current system gives them over people’s lives.

    • Michael April 30, 2016 at 4:12 pm #

      There are people on the dole, and I know of some, who have the appearance of looking for work down to a fine art, simply to keep the authorities off their back. That 3% figure could very well be skewed.

      There are families who are into their second generation who have never been employed. They are happy to live on state handouts.
      I’m not gonna believe that 2 generations of the same family could not legitimately find work.

      Having said that, its definately an idea worth looking into…..only for those who are legitimately looking for work.

      • E Moore April 30, 2016 at 11:50 pm #

        But everyone will be paid the basic income regardless if they work or not. Besides the way automation is gathering pace there’s not going to be the need for pointless wage salve jobs in the future anyway.

  2. James McCumiskey April 30, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    Alaska has a basic income.
    Basic Income Ireland campaigning for it in Ireland.
    Basic Income gives people a secure basic income to feed themselves and heat their home, you can survive on it, but you pay tax on any income earned in the market economy.
    It replaces the demeaning social welfare system that we have, and permits individual citizens to have economic freedom. It would also boost the local economy in the poorer districts of the towns and cities

  3. ben madigan April 30, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    basic income is like to become a necessity as automation gathers pace in all sectors of the labour market. Today even supermarket cashiers are being made redundant by self-checkout machines.and you don’t need to go to the bank teller to get cash – just the nearest cash dispenser

    With fewer jobs becoming available, basic income will be needed if people are not to become destitute,

    here’s a Scotman’s view


  4. Iolar April 30, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

    Castles for the heir

    What was that about “work shy layabouts?” Check out the Deloitte Wealth Management Ranking 2015 which ranks Switzerland as the world’s largest wealth management centre. Switzerland does not do millions or billions, we are talking trillions in various currencies. A cheap Patek Philippe Swiss watch may be purchased for around, $20,000.

    The Sunday Times Rich list suggests that a few have more than one roof over their heads as taxpayers bail out bankers. People are obliged to live longer now, just to pay the mortgage.

  5. Eamon April 30, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

    It can be good and bad. If the average member of the public had more money they will have more disposable income. There will be more spending which will drives prices up. Inflation is bad for exports as it makes them more expensive and therefore demand falls. This causes unemployment in the long run. In the age of globalisation those that have money and will have to pay this tax will leave and go elsewhere. This idea sounds like too much like mass equality for the powers that be to let it happen.
    I personally think it is a good idea as it would stimulate aggregate demand which causes gdp to rise which is economic growth. The reality is most people who would be eligible for this payment would spend all the money in the economy therefore creating employment for others. This is very different to the big multinational campanies who send their profits to their board of directors in other countries which represents a leakage from the economic system.

  6. James McCumiskey April 30, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    I think the great thing about Basic Income is that it gives those people who work at minimum-wage jobs a cushion. Most will continue to work but if they lose their job — it is not catastrophic – they still have their Basic Income as a cushion. As another contributor reported — they will spend their money in the local economy thereby boosting it.
    From a right-wing viewpoint it gives people economic freedom to spend this money into circulation as they see fit — realistically mostly on heating and eating. From a left-wing viewpoint it creates a just society with every citizen guaranteed a decent basic income

  7. Belfastdan May 1, 2016 at 8:12 am #

    I have worked in the benefit system for over 30 years one has to say that I can see the attraction of the idea especially for governments.

    The financial saving for governments would be substantial if all benefits were rescinded and each individual received a fixed weekly income.

    The UK government in particular could get rid of thousands of pieces of legislation governing the eligibility for and the conditions for paying the multitude of benefits. All this legislation has to be maintained, updated and reviewed on a regular basis so it is quite an unwieldy system. Then of course they could shrink the civil service to a small core staff.

    Government would shed tens of thousands of jobs and welfare would be removed from the political agenda.

    Many of those who receive benefits would see a reduction in their income as many receive more money than those in work. Benefit recipients would also lose things like Housing benefit and freedom from the charges for eye and dental care, free school meals, uniform grant etc. that they currently receive.

    So definitely I can see the attraction for the libertarians but what would the out workings of such a policy be? No one knows, but some how I feel that it will do little to challenge inequality and will probably lead to a more uncaring and fragmented society.

    The Romans had a policy of bread and circuses for the masses; where are they now?

  8. Perkin Warbeck May 1, 2016 at 12:25 pm #

    Regrettably, Esteemed Blogmeister, one must pass on the topic under discussion today.

    As an inheritor of Old Money and an inhabitant of the cloud-capped Warbeck Towers one is precluded, being above all that fumbling in the greasy till: down there is territory, up here is turretory. A difference of a u and non u, an i and an e, i.e., a wealth of difference which can never be bridged by a loan. Or, even, a loan of a loan of a loan.

    It’s a Warbeckian thing.

    As an illustration of just how removed this grubby underworld of Unconditional Basic Income is from one’s normal privileged existence, as removed as , say UB 1 is from UB 40, one recently came across a relevant item in one’s favourite daily paper .

    To the effect that the 500 euro note has been withdrawn from circulation. Not from the banquet hall here in W.T. it isn’t. How could one possibly expect to light one’s Cohiba Esplendido, as one sips one’s glass of red, red Chablis unless one had one’s Purple as a conduit between the roaring logs and one’s stogie du jour.

    The Purple , of course, is what one we in W.T. continue to call the note formerly known as the Prince of the euros.

    Long may the Purple reign !

    Which of course does not mean we are above keeping a weather eye on the dark clouds of austerity and that sort of thingy, as reported in our favourite daily. Take this thundering leading a. the other day from The Unionist Times (for it is it !):

    -Gerry Adams alienated wavering votes, while his poor grasp of financial matters caused further damage.

    See what one is getting at? That G. Adams is certainly not one The Perkin will be, oops, would be seeking financial advice from (gulp) any. time. soon. ‘Would’ rather than ‘will’ as of course one is talking strictly hypothetics here.

    For, anything under its all-knowing nose The Unionist Times opts to thunder upon, is invariably on the, erm, money. Nowhere was this more obvious than during the boom years which preceded the gloomy valley of tears. . When TUT was our Geiger Counter of the Celtic Tiger.

    Especially the Property Section of the same Paper of Record. When the PoR morphed into the PRO for the hierarchy of New Money, the property developers and other mohair-suited Mohawks.

    House prices rocketed, fortunes small, fortunes windfall, were pocketed. The Property Section became a C-section as extra pages became all the rage and the number of new mortgages born at an early age, went through the r.o.o.f.

    Or, did the Paper of Record actually morph into a PRO ?

    Actually, it did. For Old Money types. Like Old Boys at an Old School Ties that Bind gathering they were given the nod, the wink and the unseen tap on the left elbow.

    Off-loading and off-shore accounts became off-ally close Allies.

    Including, say, for the Warbecks?

    Say no more, Seymour.

  9. Cushy Glen May 2, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    The notion about ‘free money’ is misleading.

    ‘Free money’ implies that there is something inherently wrong or impractical involved. The old adage: there are no free lunches & money must be earned by the sweat of honest toil etc.

    Where does money come from? We are fed more cliches here. “It doesn’t grow on trees, you know.” But does anyone go on to say where it comes from? Rarely. If they did we would not be so confused about “free money”.

    Money is not a natural resource like the wind or even oil. Money only comes into existence in the modern world if someone duly authorized sits at a computer terminal & keys numbers onto a screen. Money is created by humans mostly bankers. When banks create these numbers on screen it costs nothing. It’s free!

    Banks do not allow this money to be issued into circulation free because they seek to make money out of money.

    What we are proposing with basic income is to bypass the banks strangle hold on our economy & give the power to create money back to democratically elected governments.