A decent life without anxiety

I have just looked at a ‘Basic Income’ Conversation‘ film and discussion. This is organised by the ‘Basic Income Conversation’.

I confess I was rather disappointed by the narrative – lots of alleged problems with ‘too good to be true’, too much money spending and so on…

I tried to suggest that there was not a problem with ‘money spending’ but neither my question – or in the end any others! were called.

I did learn that there was a Basic Income project in South Korea where one province (around Seoul) issues a basic income to young people in a local currency. That certainly needs further research…

But mid pandemic in the UK we really need to be aware of Professor Daniel Nettle’s idea that a simple Basic Income can work and be non inflationary – even in terms of tax and spend.

And in the current circumstances with the ‘three million’ excluded from similar help to those on furlough the goal for a Basic Income is wide open – inflation anywhere, except for that specifically caused by Brexit, is a remote possibility.

There is much fuss about how ‘lockdown’ is responsible for poor mental health. But this is certainly no more serious than poor mental health caused by financial insecurity.

We cannot currently avoid lockdown but we could so easily change, instantly, the financial insecurity.

Basic Income would enable a much more decent life without anxiety. Isn’t that what money is for?

Comments

  1. B. Gray -

    High unemployment and financial insecurity are considered features, not flaws, of neoliberalism by the wealthy elite. Creating and maintaining broad-based financial insecurity is a way to exploit labor and keep wages low, thus increasing profits. Any measures by the government to alleviate financial insecurity among middle and lower income groups tends increase the fear of upward pressure on wages.

    There is concept called gap psychology (coined by Rodger Malcolm Mitchell), which is the natural tendency for people to want to narrow economic gaps to those above them and widen economic gaps to those below. Power derives not from absolute wealth but by the gap. If everyone had a $1000 then no one would be considered wealthy, but if one person had $1000 and everyone else had $1, then the person with $1000 would be considered wealthy and have power and influence of over the others.

    Gap psychology is the main driving force in neoliberal economics, and is why there is so much resistance to increasing government benefits that reduce income/wealth inequality. It is also explains why many in the middle class resent government benefits going to the poor, as well as their fear of “socialism”. Even charitable donations can be seen as somewhat pernicious through this lens, as the amounts are enough to dissuade governments from increased social spending, but not enough to actually alleviate poverty, thus assuring the continued widening of the gap.

    1. Peter May -

      I understand but if your ‘gap psychology’ gains too much hold then it augurs very badly for the future of society.

      In order for everyone to flourish in society insecurity and anxiety needs to be reduced.

      Otherwise the psychopaths rule!

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