Non inflationary Basic Income

By putting a price on everything in terms of monetary value, we devalue the things that cannot effectively be priced.

This is a rough quote from Professor Guy Standing, he of Universal Income fame, from a recent ‘Renegade Inc’ interview.

So happiness is both priceless and worthless.

Anyway Professor Guy Standing has produced a report for shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell on Basic Income and the interesting part is that he still thinks it needs to be ‘paid for’.

This is important because the usual criticsm from the Job Guarantee supporters is that a Basic Income is too inflationary to be feasable. I’ve already pointed out that Professor Daniel Nettle doesn’t agree (in that even though he agrees that government creates money when it spends) he thought it through on tax and spend principles precisely to see whether it was inflationary. When properly organised, it wasn’t.

Guy Standing has effectively done the same. He suggests it can be paid for by eliminating most of corporate tax ‘allowances’ – ie non payment of taxes that would usually be required by non corporates.

Now, one can suggest, as I’m sure many will, that these corporate ‘allowances’ often find their way to tax havens and thus are basically non inflationary.

Two conclusions:

This shows how the corporate allowances actually work – which is for private enrichment and for tax haven secretion – these tax allowances are not actually spent into the economy.

By disallowing them, in order to prevent high inflation, which itself, let us not forget, benefits principally those, such as corporations, who already have money, we might have to tweak other corporate taxes. But as they will, if they complain unduly, have blown the gaff by establishing that they usually secrete these allowances away….

I suggest they will have little room for complaint.

So I still conclude that a properly instituted Basic Income is most unlikely to be inflationary.




  1. Paul Wright -

    John Lanchester in the LRB has a very good article on the issue.


  2. Pingback: Basic Income as a Common Dividend – Progressive Pulse

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