Is Basic Income a good step in a stage of revolutionary socialism?

Submitted by LovingCommie on May 12, 2014

It's gaining a lot of traction across the world now, and I know most of you will look at it as another reformist, social democratic measure, but I think it's something that would be very important once a DOTP has been established. Any thoughts on this?

ajjohnstone

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Left Unity voted to exclude it from their platform of demands, whereas the Green Party has accepted it as part of their policies.

Seems the reformists can't agree amongst themselves to its benefits.

RedEd

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wouldn't complain about it! I don't think it's some stepping stone to socialism or whatever, but if we've got to have capitalism I'd rather have a capitalism with a guaranteed minimum income than one without it. I'm not hopeful about though, despite its chic in certain circles.

As for post DOTP (or whatever term anyone wants to use) I would think as much free access as possible with rationing dealing with scarcity would be the way to go, not guaranteed purchasing power, cos, like who are you going to be purchasing from? Capitalists? The state?

Spikymike

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

LC, Suggest you look up/search at least three other threads under the 'guaranteed universal basic minimum income' etc headings on two of which I have commented on previously alongside others.Tired of dealing with this idea/reform which has been around almost as long as I have!

Agent of the I…

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A 'guaranteed universal basic minimum income' program is a reform within capitalism. Its not in any way a step towards socialism, any more or less than other reforms. What's important to recognize though is that these reforms should be seen as concessions to our class, won through mass struggle by the working class against capital and the state. So we should definitely welcome these reforms, as they can definitely alleviate our living conditions under capitalism in here and now. But supporting these reforms as ends, and the politicians who promise to provide them would be reformist.

The process towards socialism is the development of working class' self-activity, and nothing else.

cresspot

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

THE DOTP WILL ONLY B SUBVERTED BY A PATERNALISTIC MEASURE (WHICH IS IMPPSSIBBLE UNDER THE LAWS OF CAPITAL WHICH SYSTEMATICALLY REDUCES THE PROLETARIAN TO BEASTHOOD) LIKE THIS, DEPENDENT ONCE AGAIN UPON THE STATE-FORM FOR SOCIAL
THE DOTP WILL NOT ALLOW THS TO HAPPEN . THE DOTP REFUSES TO ALLOW ANY COOPTATION BY THE BOURGEOIS STATE APPARATUS. THE DOTP DOES NOT TRANSMORPH FROM A CAPITALIST CACCOON, IT ANNIHILATES CAPITALISM

Khawaga

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

DOPT?

Agent of the I…

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

DOPT?

Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

Khawaga

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ah. Makes sense. But since when did ATR go out of fashion?

Agent of the I…

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

Ah. Makes sense. But since when did ATR go out of fashion?

ATR?

ocelot

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Perhaps one of the quickest routes to understanding the problematic aspects of basic income is to look at why the neo-liberal right are in favour of it. [Hint - it's to do with eliminating the principle of "to each according to their needs" (see also higher support costs for disability, etc).]

Secondly, the biggest attack on income* in Ireland at the moment (at least in the big cities) is the rise and rise of rent. Basic income would simply be swallowed by rent increases. Want to add rent controls? Ah, but then you have to find some way of controlling property prices, which means controlling the rise in value of rental assets generally, which means controlling the financial system, which means radical change in how capitalism works, which means... you get the idea.

Basic income is a Mencken solution: "there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong"

From a Marxian or value-critical perspective, all distributive "solutions" are Mencken solutions, in fact.

* well, of the non-mortgaged w/c, anyway. The mortgagees have slightly different, but not entirely unrelated problems

welshboy

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Agent of the Fifth International

Khawaga

Ah. Makes sense. But since when did ATR go out of fashion?

ATR?

Atari Teenage Riot?
[youtube]kb3r9filcM[/youtube]

bastarx

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

After the Revolution.

Steven.

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

LovingCommie

It's gaining a lot of traction across the world now, and I know most of you will look at it as another reformist, social democratic measure, but I think it's something that would be very important once a DOTP has been established. Any thoughts on this?

yeah, as others have pointed out, within capitalism it is a reform which wouldn't really work (capitalism as a whole relies on us needing to work, wage. If we had a decent standard of living without working, hardly anyone would do any work!).

In terms of something to be implemented post revolution, it has absolutely no place. As the urgent priority would be replacing production for profit and money with production and distribution according to need.

fingers malone

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't know all the details but some of the proposals (I think the Green Party in the UK though not sure) are talking about a Citizen's income which potentially means excluding non citizens. Our benefit system excludes many working class people because of their status but there are benefits available to some "non citizens" so the language of citizen in this context is worrying.

Also, as people have said, for many reasons it won't work under capitalism anyway and under communism we won't need it. Also when the safety net we do have is being ripped away, with benefit cuts and people are dying right now because of it, it worries me that people are talking so much about universal income, instead of talking about how we fight benefit cuts that are happening right now. Resistance to them is usually not winning and we need to urgently work out how we can make that resistance more effective, not talk about universal income.

ocelot

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

LovingCommie

It's gaining a lot of traction across the world now, and I know most of you will look at it as another reformist, social democratic measure, but I think it's something that would be very important once a DOTP has been established. Any thoughts on this?

yeah, as others have pointed out, within capitalism it is a reform which wouldn't really work (capitalism as a whole relies on us needing to work, wage. If we had a decent standard of living without working, hardly anyone would do any work!).

Agreed - but with the proviso that we distinguish between work in the capitalist sense - i.e. of labour power valorising capital, via commodity production - and productive activity. Graeber makes the reasonable argument that most people get bored and depressed by being completely inactive, therefore people find creative/productive things to do with their time. The problem is not that people won't do productive things with their time, the problem - from capital's perspective - is that this won't necessarily be creating commodities or valorising capital.

Imagine you're a musician on guaranteed minimum income (GMI). You write a few songs, you put them out on t'interwebz under creative commons licence. Amongst all the other millions of people doing likewise, you succeed in gaining an audience and a certain popularity for your stuff. A promotor contacts you asks you to do a gig in their area in return for travel and accommodation costs, plus a cut of the door takings. Gig attracts enough audience to cover costs with maybe a bit on top - takings are redistributed between artists, PA, venue hire, sound crew, door crew, promotor, etc. Grand. But that's all just revenue to them. Where's the valorisation of investors capital? If all the parties involved are on GMI and self-employed, without shareholders, major bank loans, or other interface to investment capital and profit-taking channels - where's the capital accumulation? The advocates of BI/GMI say that it will give people the chance to engage in the productive activities of their choice and produce the things they want for each other. Bur from a capital point of view - that's the whole problem. Even without a ruptural break with market relations, how could BI/GMI not lead to a partial de-commodification of social production and thereby a reduction in the overall profit rate?

greenjuice

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

But since when did ATR go out of fashion?

Also, what about the "Program of Anarcho-Syndicalism", with it's interesting proposals for the transitional period.

boomerang

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If the basic income was actually high enough to provide a decent standard of living, wouldn't this cause inflation? Then after the inflation, the basic income would be devalued, and would no longer provide a decent standard of living.

ocelot

Perhaps one of the quickest routes to understanding the problematic aspects of basic income is to look at why the neo-liberal right are in favour of it. [Hint - it's to do with eliminating the principle of "to each according to their needs" (see also higher support costs for disability, etc).]

Wow, the neoliberal right in favor of basic income? Is this true? (Never heard of that)

Pennoid

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Basic income would be sort of like credit with less bubbles, right? And cause inflation? It would aid in the turnover of capital through consumer consumption, much the same way that personal credit does, right?

Shut me up if I've raised this concern before, but wouldn't it coincide with a massive bureaucratic apparatus for determining and policing eligibility? Concretely speaking, the state is not going to just start shooting off money to workers like a lawn sprinkler. Does anyone else think the citizenship/immigrant divide might be exacerbated?

Also, it might be a slight boon to small-time capital. Graeber says that people would pool funds to buy roads (mutualist, market-socialist nightmare) but I'm not convinced. They will buy roads from the cheapest private capitalist firm that can offer.

Joseph Kay

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

boomerang

Wow, the neoliberal right in favor of basic income? Is this true? (Never heard of that)

Yup...

Angela Mitropoulos

When tracking the history of calls for a ‘new social contract’ for Contract & Contagion, the first instance of this I came across was in the mid-1940s, written by a Tory: Lady Rhys Williams in the UK. Her report, Something To Look Forward To, included a call for (her phrase) a basic income. It’s the earliest version of that I’ve seen.

http://s0metim3s.com/2013/08/16/basic-income/

boomerang

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pennoid

Basic income would be sort of like credit with less bubbles, right? And cause inflation? It would aid in the turnover of capital through consumer consumption, much the same way that personal credit does, right?

That's true... but the money for the basic income would have to come from taxes, right? So that leaves capital with less money to invest. That lowers supply at the same time demand from consumers is rising because of the basic income, which creates inflation.

Or I could be wrong, economics is confusing.

ocelot

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

boomerang

Wow, the neoliberal right in favor of basic income? Is this true? (Never heard of that)

Totally, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income#Right-wing. Friedman, Hayek, and the rest. The aim is the elimination of the welfare state, basically. A number of right-wing advocates put it forward as a proposal for a negative income tax - which means they get to roll in the whole flat tax thing as well. Naturally, it's only for citizens of the state, not immigrant workers, in the right-wing version. (and, afaics in the centre-left version, albeit on an EU citizenship level, rather than individual member state - same bullshit on a slightly larger scale)

Joseph Kay

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

boomerang

That's true... but the money for the basic income would have to come from taxes, right?

I think the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) types would argue that state spending isn't constrained by taxes, taxes simply function to create demand for currency. Therefore if the state nationalised the money supply (as Martin Wolf has mooted in the FT), and instead created fiat money via direct payments to all citizens, a basic income could work. There's various problems with this (not least, one of the MMT caveats is that inflation is a constraint on the money supply - as you say).

Also, in its left wing versions, a basic income is meant to give people enough to get by on. Some rough calculations here: UK living wage £7.65 x 40 hrs x 52 weeks ~ £16,000/year. UK GDP per capita is $39,941, ~£24,000. So we're talking about (16/24) x 100, 67% - two thirds of GDP [assuming that everyone keeps working, which seems unlikely]. I just can't see it.

What is more likely is a much more modest payment as a replacement for complex means-tested benefits systems (as Universal Credit is meant to be), almost certainly linked to job-seeking, 'volunteering', or 'work-related activity' (as Universal Credit is meant to be). Which is why the right advocated it in the first place - slash the welfare bureaucracy and compel work. The latter being the opposite of the stated goal of the left wing versions to free people from the economic compulsion to do shit jobs.

syndicalistcat

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

an example of the liberal use of a basic income is van Parisj's book "Real Freedom for All." He argues that a universal basic income is necessary to beef up capitalism's failing legitimacy.

plasmatelly

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My mother earned less than the going minimum rate all her working life. I know if she heard people here explain that it would have been a bad thing to pay her more she would have been more sympathetic to the idea of being skint. But that's people on the bottom for you; always think they know better than the boffins.

dmb85

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Some of those proposing a basic income (Kathi Weeks, at least) are doing so precisely to show that such a demand is not acceptable to capital: it's a sort of lever with which to prise open 'capitalist realism' and open the way to 'post-capitalist economics' (I don't think Weeks uses this formula, but I don't think she uses 'communism' either - I may be wrong). She frames this in light of wages for /against housework, which she argues was made with the knowledge that it couldn't be fulfilled by capital. I'm not sure whether Plan C (who seem to be moving towards demanding a basic income) see it in this way or whether they're a little more reformist, though I suspect the latter.

dmb85

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

But that's people on the bottom for you; always think they know better than the boffins.

I've been instinctively in favour of UBI for a while - for the reasons you outline - but then I am prepared to listen to leftists who have better knowledge of the working of the economy than me. And if they warn that UBI could lead to massive inflation and/or increased profits for landlords then I don't give over my authority to them, but I respect their superior understanding and take it into account. There are plenty of things we might think are good for us from our individual positions but which wouldn't actually be.

plasmatelly

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry but what is wrong with demanding a bottom line of pay, a rent cap, lower fuel/food prices? Just where does this communism thing kick in? Half way up?
No one is going to say it is a steppy stone to revolution, but it is a marked statement of our inability to address revolution if we can't even make realistic demands that improve the welfare of millions of people. FFS, surely most of us are on crummy wages or worse? Maybe not, but how far removed are people if they think the fight doesn't start at the bottom first?

cresspot

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's liberal sentiments like those that THE DOTP WILL DROWN IN

Auld-bod

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

cresspot #30

Sorry, you've lost me!

dmb85

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

plasmatelly - aye, I agree. My concerns were about a standalone UBI. I think Agent of the Fl... got it nailed on above, really.

Steven.

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

plasmatelly

My mother earned less than the going minimum rate all her working life. I know if she heard people here explain that it would have been a bad thing to pay her more she would have been more sympathetic to the idea of being skint.

who do you think has done that, and where?

But that's people on the bottom for you; always think they know better than the boffins.

ignoring your sarcasm, is this really your impression? That the demand for a "universal basic income" is a real demand on the lips of the working class as a whole? Because TBH I have only ever heard it from the lefty "boffins" you seem to be slagging off…

Sorry but what is wrong with demanding a bottom line of pay, a rent cap, lower fuel/food prices? Just where does this communism thing kick in? Half way up?

no one said any of those things are wrong. Just speaking for myself, all I said was that it's not going to be possible under capitalism (at anything better than an appallingly low subsistence level) and not necessary under communism.

No one is going to say it is a steppy stone to revolution, but it is a marked statement of our inability to address revolution if we can't even make realistic demands that improve the welfare of millions of people.

do you seriously think it is a "realistic" demand in the UK at present? We can't even defend the level of wages, conditions and benefits we have at the moment, so how is it realistic to think we can easily get massive improvements?

FFS, surely most of us are on crummy wages or worse? Maybe not, but how far removed are people if they think the fight doesn't start at the bottom first?

again, who has suggested that this isn't the case? Personally, I don't think that "the fight from the bottom" is demanding that a government implement and unworkable reform. I think "the fight from the bottom" is organising with our coworkers and those around us where we can in our everyday lives. And from my reading of your blog etc I would have thought that would have been your position as well, so I'm a bit confused as to your views here…

Joseph Kay

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just to be clear, I have no problem with unemployed people fighting against benefits conditionality and demanding more money. That would be brilliant. If employed people joined in and demanded the same to relieve the insecurity of and pressure to work, even better. And if these are unaffordable, fine, it opens up a revolutionary situation.

That's not what universal basic income is though. It's not a demand emerging from a combative movement forcing concessions from the state. it's coming from some right-wing economists, some centrist oddballs, and some leftist intellectuals. And for the leftists the point seems to be that it's not possible.

I think Kathi Weeks says something like the demand creates the movement. I quite liked her book, but I didn't get this at all. I can't think of an example where it's been this way round. And it's a second leap to then think when everyone rallies to the demand, then finds it's not viable, they say 'oh, better make a revolution then' (rather than say, seeing the UBI huxters as another bunch of politicos promising things they can't deliver).

It does have a transitional demand feel to it*; proles don't know what they want, so we'll tease them in with the prospect of free money, then when that doesn't materialise, a quick bait and switch for revolution. Maybe I'm just a traditional syndicalist at heart, but I don't think you can create movements that way. People need to win stuff, feel their own collective power, and develop their own more ambitious demands out of that process. If there was a shortcut in 'demands create movements' we'd have had a revolution by now.

* Weeks calls it a utopian demand iirc, though i think it's simultaneously too utopian (not rooted in present movement) and not utopian enough (just a modified capitalism leaving key institutions like private property and the state intact).

Steven.

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

^ Excellent post, this is exactly what I think

plasmatelly

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

cresspot

It's liberal sentiments like those that THE DOTP WILL DROWN IN

There is nothing liberal about transferring struggle from internet discussion forums and into the here and now. Far from assuming that upper case tub-thumping will lead the way, history shows that revolutions are built on fighting for and winning improvements to the conditions of ordinary peoples lives. It may be that previous posters have said is true; in truth, I tend to believe them, but this doesn't mean one urgent fight should be shelved because it vaguely tramples on the toes of another. Joined-up class struggle means we recognise these divide and conquer tricks that capitalists play for what they are, and come up with our own terms as how best to improve our lives.

ocelot

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

plasmatelly

Sorry but what is wrong with demanding a bottom line of pay, a rent cap, lower fuel/food prices? Just where does this communism thing kick in? Half way up?
No one is going to say it is a steppy stone to revolution, but it is a marked statement of our inability to address revolution if we can't even make realistic demands that improve the welfare of millions of people. FFS, surely most of us are on crummy wages or worse? Maybe not, but how far removed are people if they think the fight doesn't start at the bottom first?

Grand. Except gigantic strawman. You're alleging that anyone who answers the question "what's the problem with basic income as a demand" in an open and honest fashion is therefore against increasing income for workers. Which is rampantly dishonest. Which you then try to cover up with anti-intellectual, prolier-than-thou hand-waving. This is Owen Jones, Labour party level argumentation.

Meanwhile you still need to explain why you find yourself arguing for the same thing as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and various contemporary right-libertarians. Which you can't do with your basic frame of "everybody who supports basic income really cares about the welfare of the poor", because it's obvious nonsense.

If you actually care about the issues as much as you say you do, you need to stop with the dishonesty, the bad-jacketing and bad faith blather, and start engaging with the difficult questions rationally.

plasmatelly

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That's a bit heavy Ocelot, don't you think? Dishonest? Bad faith? And what the fucks wrong with me jacket?

ocelot

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It is absolutely dishonest. People have been explaining how basic income could potentially be used by its right wing supporters to undermine existing welfare entitlements, force people on the boundary between joblessness and precarious employment into even worse paid (or unpaid) work and generally undermine income levels and living standards of the class as a whole and you open with:

people here explain that it would have been a bad thing to pay her more

In other words, all the comments here critical of basic income as a demand are motivated by the complete opposite - i.e. a lack of sympathy for people on the dole/low income. That's dishonest.

Also when you have clocked up more than the 10+ years I spent on the dole, then feel free to lecture me about poverty, you patronising admin: no flaming . Stop making assumptions about who you're talking to.

plasmatelly

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hang on mate! You're going a bit too far now.

Steven.

8 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

plasmatelly

Hang on mate! You're going a bit too far now.

yeah, ocelot no flaming please.

But plasma, would you care to respond? As ocelot, like myself, is not happy about your strawman. I'm not accusing you of deliberately misrepresenting our views in bad faith, but you still think your dismissive comments were valid?

boomerang

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

plasmatelly

Sorry but what is wrong with demanding a bottom line of pay, a rent cap, lower fuel/food prices?

When I was younger, I was a left-liberal who wanted to reform capitalism. One of the reasons I changed my views and became thoroughly anti-capitalist was by learning about how many popular ideas for reforming capitalism come with backlashes when implemented. You solve one problem and create another. Or you try to solve one problem, and then side-effects occur that cancel out any gains.

That's why I mentioned that if there was a universal basic income that was actually high enough to provide a decent standard of living, it would probably create inflation, raising the cost of living, and next thing you know that basic income would only provide poverty.

Price controls create shortages, because the capitalists have less incentive to produce these things if they have to sell them at a below market price. If shortages get bad enough it creates a black market where things are sold at high prices - higher than if there were no controls. I believe this is what's happening in Venezuela right now. That's what happens when you try to fix capitalism - it refuses to cooperate.

Rent control is of course a price control so it's the same thing, there's less incentive for the capitalists to build new housing. Or landlords decide to sell housing instead of rent it. Or, like what's happening in my city, the landlords will refuse to repair anything hoping to push tenants out, then once they leave they can raise the rents for the next tenants.

I'd love to have lower rent, cheaper food, basic income. I'm living on a below the poverty line budget. But if the government did implement these things, it would create new problems for me.

Like I said in an earlier post, I realize the limitations of my understanding of economics, so maybe I'm wrong about this.

syndicalistcat

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It does have a transitional demand feel to it*; proles don't know what they want, so we'll tease them in with the prospect of free money, then when that doesn't materialise, a quick bait and switch for revolution. Maybe I'm just a traditional syndicalist at heart, but I don't think you can create movements that way.

yes, my sentiments exactly. revolution has to arise organically from a development in the working class of an aspiration to be in control of their lives & work, and thus to change to a system they control.

Usually actual struggles around the social wage have arisen either due to rising unemployment, and people demand jobs or income (as in '30s), or around particular forms of social provision, such as for free schooling.

ocelot

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalistcat

[...[revolution has to arise organically from a development in the working class of an aspiration to be in control of their lives & work, and thus to change to a system they control.

Really like that summation. Could I suggest a slight tweak -

"the development within the working class of a consciously shared aspiration to be in control of our lives and work, and thus to transition to a system we collectively control."

...which would get my vote for a one-liner summary of the aims of political recomposition, both locally and globally.

JimJams

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm in favour of basic income but i agree with a lot of what has been said about it being a reform within capitalism, movements etc. On the right wing support, this is usually due to an ideological bias against bureaucratic state processes/waste. But i don't believe right wing support necessitates "eliminating the principle of to each according to their needs" as was previously stated. Firstly in every scheme I've seen disabled people get a larger amount. Also higher rate tax payers are often taxed to either partially or fully recoup the payment, dependent on band.

I also believe (although admittedly have no evidence) that much of the right/center even left support UBI as way of saving capitalism from it's self. Which obviously isn't a great thing but the alternative of an increasingly precarious working class without a basic floor will be worse for workers.Also there are definitely knock on effects like increased rent. But i would point out that rent controls would affect the cost of property so further reforms wouldn't be needed. In a world where UBI would be possible, rent controls certainly would be.

On movements and Weeks I'd mention that Weeks was very much linking the utopian campaigns for "Wages for Housework" with UBI to demonstrate that the wage system doesn't, and can't, give an income to those who provide necessary or useful work (often the old, disabled, or women). For Weeks this goes well beyond mere mere utopianism, a UBI campaign would question the nature of the wage relationship and notions of what constitutes work it's self in the here and now even if the demand isn't realised. Which implicitly property rights and explicitly questions the work ethic. As well as new possible organisational fronts generated from the campaign. So for Weeks a campaign for a UBI is worth it even if a UBI isn't achieved.

I agree about movements starting from below but i would say UBI is maybe a bit of a special case where the demand does need to come first. From informal conversations i've had there is a lot of support for it amongst those with disabilities and mental health issues. But an effective movement of those on benefits is pretty hard to organise. I thought about trying myself but the shame felt from claiming benefits, even with medical certification etc, is so all encompassing i couldn't bring myself to do it. I'm definitely not saying the long term unemployed, disabled etc need people to come to their rescue. I'd liken it to the boycott workfare campaign, largely carried out by those who aren't affected by it but the solidarity from these groups is essential for the campaign to be effective but also for the participation of those whoa are affected.

For myself, i had to leave two jobs due to MH issues but could only claim ESA. Going back on ESA then interviewed and bounced off in-between jobs, each time being signed back on by my doctor. I was too ashamed to appeal (even though i knew i had a good case and there were high success rates). The stress this caused me was immense, even going to the doctor, which could have been avoided with a UBI. I'm sure most who've claimed JSA as well will agree with the misery of the whole situation. UBI would also allow me to try and keep down part time work but not be punished for my inability to do full time work as well as provide a stress free safety net when i'm incapable of either. Also there's the large amount of benefits which aren't claimed every year, all of which would go to help people.

Finally someone mentioned a UBI is unrealistic/impossible because people wouldn't want to work. This hasn't been observed in any large way in any UBI study anywhere. Admittedly most of these have been done in developing countries. However there was an experiment with Mincome in Manitoba Canada. This was a negative income tax which topped up income/benefits to above the poverty level. While this isn't identical to UBI it's pretty similar. The only two groups which worked significantly less were teenagers (who stayed in full time education for longer) and new mothers. They saw 8% drops in hospital admittance compared to control groups. http://basicincome.org.uk/interview/2013/08/health-forget-mincome-poverty/

I'm in favour of any reform which could give working people and benefit claimants more control over their lives and make them less reliant on work to reproduce themselves. When this is combined with the questioning of work etc as outlined by weeks I'm very much in favour of it. But i do think many support it as a truly utopian panacea which it definitely isn't. And i also wouldn't expect communists or anarchists to support it as a matter of course.

One last thing, can anyone remember Hardt/Negri's reasoning for supporting UBI in Commonwealth? I imagine it would be about social reproduction, enabling radicalism and questioning work wage etc but can't remember. haven't read it in ages (pretty sure it was commonwealth).

(sorry for the long post)

Croy

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

^ all of that. demand the impossible

Chilli Sauce

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So I've been meaning to read this thread forever and, now that I have, there's a ton of good posts on it - although the second page seems to have gotten a bit sidetracked, shall we say. Anyway, I want comment on some of Ocelot's stuff 'cause I think it summarizes really well a lot of the points made by others. I apologize in advance for the length of this post.

ocelot

Perhaps one of the quickest routes to understanding the problematic aspects of basic income is to look at why the neo-liberal right are in favour of it.

At least in America, it seems like the last time UBI was seriously mooted by the political establishment it was by Nixon of all people!

Now, I think what interesting here is that UBI in that instance seemed to be both a response to the social unrest and class struggles of the 60s and an attempt to restructure the welfare system.

So, for me, I view UBI like I view most reformist demands: I'm not opposed to it if it's achieved through the self-organisation and direct action of the masses. And if that's legitimately the case, I actually think a lot of the knock-on problems created by winning one demand can also be counter-balanced by by those same movements. So...

Ocelot

Basic income would simply be swallowed by rent increases. Want to add rent controls? Ah, but then you have to find some way of controlling property prices, which means controlling the rise in value of rental assets generally, which means controlling the financial system, which means radical change in how capitalism works, which means... you get the idea.

If we had the sort of mass organisation to demand UBI, I think we could also fight back against any rent rises that landlords introduce to compensate. You're right that this may lead to capital's contradictions popping up elsewhere, but I think that's going to be an inevitable part of the development of any revolutionary movement - people, on a mass scale, will have to materially experience the boundaries of capital if we hope to develop a widespread revolutionary consciousness.

Ocelot

The advocates of BI/GMI say that it will give people the chance to engage in the productive activities of their choice and produce the things they want for each other. Bur from a capital point of view - that's the whole problem. Even without a ruptural break with market relations, how could BI/GMI not lead to a partial de-commodification of social production and thereby a reduction in the overall profit rate?

Again, though, I return here to that point about Nixon - I think when faced with widespread social unrest, the ruling class would probably put up with some degree of de-commodification. They may try to balance it by restructuring the welfare system or implementing a flat tax, but I do think capitalism could survive UBI, much like it survived a whole other host of social democratic reforms.

There's a larger problem that I have with the idea that capitalism can no longer offer social democracy. I think it's unlikely that we'll see a return to social democracy without the massive levels of social unrest that occurred in Europe and North America between the 1930s and 1960s, but I don't think capitalism is so fundamentally transformed (of the rate of return so much lower) that recuperative reforms are off the table entirely.

Jacob Richter

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ajjohnstone

Left Unity voted to exclude it from their platform of demands, whereas the Green Party has accepted it as part of their policies.

Seems the reformists can't agree amongst themselves to its benefits.

dmb85

I've been instinctively in favour of UBI for a while - for the reasons you outline - but then I am prepared to listen to leftists who have better knowledge of the working of the economy than me. And if they warn that UBI could lead to massive inflation and/or increased profits for landlords then I don't give over my authority to them, but I respect their superior understanding and take it into account. There are plenty of things we might think are good for us from our individual positions but which wouldn't actually be.

By itself, universal basic income fails to address:

1) Structural and cyclical unemployment
2) Desire to work and avoid the stigma of not doing something
3) Inevitable downward pressure on wages as a result of implementation
4) Privatization of the social wage (welfare being substituted)
5) Class origins of political advocacy and beneficiaries (working-class vs. lumpen)

Points 1 and 2 are already addressed by MMT-based critique (i.e., favouring job guarantees instead). Point 4 has been discussed here already. Point 5 is obvious.

Point 3 cannot be underemphasized, as pointed out by the likes of Paul Cockshott and Francine Mestrum:

http://www.globalsocialjustice.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=491:the-unconditional-basic-income-a-solution&catid=10:research&Itemid=13

The first one relates to citizenship, this is the idea that all human beings are equal and have equal rights.

[...]

The BI is unconditional, which means that huge targeting and management costs can indeed be avoided.

[...]

The BI also makes an end to ‘the precariat’, people who today have no rights and therefore no interest in defending the rights of social security. Migrants and refugees can now participate in the labour market precisely because they do not respect the social rules and can offer their labour force at a much lower price. By eliminating labour costs above the net paid wages, the BI can make an end to the ‘black’ or ‘informal’ labour market which is based on competition.

By also eliminating the pressure to look for a job or to create jobs, it would no longer be necessary to subsidize companies.

With a BI system, people would be free to participate or not in the labour market. Labour would become much cheaper, not only because non wage labour costs would disappear but also because employers would not be willing to continue to pay the same net wage above the BI.

[...]

A first doubt emerges because neoliberals are among the advocates of the BI.

[...]

It is within this liberal framework that many countries already have a ‘negative income tax’: when your income falls below a certain level, the state will pay you the missing amount. Of course, this is different from what the advocates of the BI defend today, but one should never forget that a minimum income is perfectly acceptable in a neoliberal context, whereas a minimum wage is refused for distorting markets.

[...]

From working in mines to picking fruit or garbage collection, there are some tasks that no one will be prepared to do willingly, out of conviction and with enthusiasm.

[...]

But the responsibility of the State stops when the minimum floor of BI is reached. Social progress through higher incomes stops to be a task of governments and income inequalities can rise.

Questions can also be put concerning the feasibility and the desirability of unconditionality. The freedom given to people is very important, but what if the BI is used for gambling or drinking? Is the State responsible for people who fall off the wayside of minimal protection?

[...]

By eliminating non wage labour costs, labour will become far more cheaper for employers. The advantage for them is much more important than for workers who still will have to fight for decent labour conditions. In whatever way the BI is being financed, it will always be some kind of tax to be paid by everyone. And that means that labour costs which are now paid by workers and employers as part of the wage cost, will have to be paid by the whole of society, possibly through a higher VAT rate. It thus comes down to a shift from labour costs to costs for society. It is obvious that trade unions are not very keen on such a system. It will become much more difficult to negotiate good labour conditions, certainly when the BI is not high enough to live on. If workers do not only want to survive, but also want a car or a holiday abroad, it will become difficult to put pressure on employers. It is clear that trade unions will lose much of their power. The freedom not to work is very relative and is only valid when one is satisfied with a life in relative poverty. Chances are real that wages above the BI will remain very limited. An unconditional income outside of the labour market cannot influence that labour market. Contrary to the thesis that capitalism is being eroded, it is possible that one ends up with a capitalism without a labour market and that employers pass on as many costs as possible to the whole of society.

[...]

The system that will emerge from neoliberal reforms implies a lowering of social assistance and unemployment benefits, in such a way that people will at any rate be obliged to accept a ‘mini job’, even after they are pensioned. This system does not benefit anyone, except employers.

The BI is a system conceptualized by liberals that want to make labour more cheap, without allowing to eradicate poverty. It is conceptualized by the enemies of trade unions. It is also conceptualized by progressive people who think social protection is too complicated and who want to seriously simplify it. There are good arguments to defend such an idea, but the current proposals are highly unsatisfactory.

Chilli Sauce

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't know though, couldn't this sort of criticisms (at least the first 3) be leveled against the implementation of most types of social democratic measures?

I mean, food stamps, subsidized rent, employment benefits, and even the minimum wage do insulate individuals from the labor market to some extent. It seems to me that capital and the state have offered far higher levels of social support than what's proposed by advocates of BI and capitalism and labour markets have survived just fine.

Contrary to the thesis that capitalism is being eroded, it is possible that one ends up with a capitalism without a labour market and that employers pass on as many costs as possible to the whole of society.

This is an interesting point. Even now, though, welfare often ends up subsidizing the low wages of employers like Wal-Mart by passing a large part of the cost of social reproduction from large corporations to the state.

The thing is though, if we're going to consider this in a social democratic context, funding is important. It may come from VAT, it may also come from increased rates of corporate taxation.

I guess for, me, I could see how BI could be used to strengthen workers' negotiating conditions - after all, if you know you'll always have basic level of subsistence to fall back on, it seems folks might be more likely to stick their neck out.

But maybe, maybe not - I'm no economist and the class struggle is never that simple. That said, I know in America folks are very reticent to organise because they're afraid of losing what little medical coverage they may have with their job. In the UK, knowing the NHS is there does provide perhaps a bit more incentive to stir up trouble at work.

5)Class origins of political advocacy and beneficiaries (working-class vs. lumpen)
...Point 5 is obvious.

Also, this is far from obvious to me.

ocelot

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

5)Class origins of political advocacy and beneficiaries (working-class vs. lumpen)
...Point 5 is obvious.

Also, this is far from obvious to me.

Me also. Especially as "working class vs. lumpen" is usually an opener to some pretty serious disagreements, to put it mildly.

Spikymike

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As an indulgence to myself I have cross referenced this discussion here:

http://libcom.org/library/capitalist-realism-renewed

Stalinski

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Basic income - depends what the level of it is, compared to general wages - if it were nearly the same then it would be the old 'welfare' problem yet again, ie: why bother to work?

But if it were much lower , then sure why not

redsdisease

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Stalinski

if it were nearly the same then it would be the old 'welfare' problem yet again, ie: why bother to work?

I'm failing to see the problem in this problem.

Stalinski

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The problem would be that gradually more and more people would stop working at the least desirable jobs, or go part time only.

This would then decrease the tax base - who would pay then for the basic income? And of course, the economy would suffer.

IMO, it could kind of work if the basic income were low, say around 200US/month and min wage jobs paid around 1000.

Agent of the I…

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Stalinski

The problem would be that gradually more and more people would stop working at the least desirable jobs, or go part time only.

This would then decrease the tax base - who would pay then for the basic income? And of course, the economy would suffer.

IMO, it could kind of work if the basic income were low, say around 200US/month and min wage jobs paid around 1000.

Oh, I get it. Your a state-capitalist (Stalinist) who plans on taking state power some time in the future. And you need to know how to manage capitalism. And so your here on this site seeking advice. This is wrong place for that.

Joseph Kay

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've seen this piece doing the rounds on UBI: http://piecefit.com/index.php/en/system-failure-all/a-rigged-economy/item/520-debunking-the-myths-around-the-universal-basic-income

boomerang

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Stalinski

Basic income - depends what the level of it is, compared to general wages - if it were nearly the same then it would be the old 'welfare' problem yet again, ie: why bother to work?

But if it were much lower , then sure why not

Oh, I'd most definitely not work (as in have a job) if there was a universal basic income high enough to allow me to get by. But I'd be working full-time hours to take down capitalism and the state. :)

It's likely true that people would be less likely to work shitty low paying jobs if there was a decent UBI. Some of those shitty jobs would raise their wage to entice people to work. Others wouldn't be able to afford the wage hike and would go out of business, increasing unemployment. (Though at least the unemployed would have a UBI, so that's a step up.)

This just once again proves to me that capitalism can't be reformed. Try to fix it in one way, and it breaks somewhere else. I'd be happy with a UBI, but my expectations of the degree to which it could improve society would be low. Anarchists aren't interested in fixing capitalism because we know it can't be fixed.

Stalinski

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ok , I agree there, but if you want no capitalism or Stalinism then it still leaves the question of 'where is the money for the Basic Income going to come from' - seemingly no-one can answer this.

Answers please.

boomerang

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We want no capitalism, no stalinism, and no "money".

Stalinski

8 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

and in the meantime - what will you do - or will you just magically puff communism/anarchism into a capitalist country - that's very unlikely

So, in the transition, how will this guaranteed income be paid for? - no way I'm gonna work if I can get my bucks for free, no sir!

boomerang

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Stalinski

and in the meantime - what will you do - or will you just magically puff communism/anarchism into a capitalist country - that's very unlikely

Step 1: Find a leader named Stalin(ski) to man the vanguard.

For real though, I don't have all the answers, but studying the history of revolutions, and learning from their successes and mistakes, is a good place to piece together a rough outline, and then attempt to apply those lessons to the present, taking into account all the contemporary and local conditions. Of course this will be a collective project.

Agent of the I…

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Stalinski

and in the meantime - what will you do - or will you just magically puff communism/anarchism into a capitalist country - that's very unlikely

So, in the transition, how will this guaranteed income be paid for? - no way I'm gonna work if I can get my bucks for free, no sir!

A rough outline of social revolution. It doesn't really address the second question. But you'll get something out of it.

Ablokeimet

ultraviolet

this leads me into a (non-rhetorical) question[/b], something i've always been unsure about without even quite realizing i'm unsure because it seems like it should be obvious. [b]what exactly does it mean to "smash the state"?

A very good question, since it raises an issue that illuminates the difference between a couple of different currents within Anarchism. My answer to it starts with a quote from Gustav Landauer:

"The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of human behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently."

To smash the State is to build a set of counter-institutions which allow society to function, but without a coercive power from above, thus allowing the working class to withdraw from the coercive institutions of capitalism. Class struggle Anarchists believe that this will occur through the building of soviets or some similar organs of mass revolutionary workers' direct democracy and the these soviets deciding that they will move beyond being merely oppositional bodies to becoming the means by which workers will control social life, including "the economy" directly.

At this point, if not before, we can expect that the capitalists will attempt to use their State to crush us with violence*. And, at that point, we need to be clear about our right to use reasonable force in self defence. We need to defend ourselves from the violence of the State in its death throes. If the capitalists attack us, we mobilise to defeat them - with arms, if necessary (as is likely to be the case at some stage).

This brings us to Ultraviolet's next question:

ultraviolet

in a revolution, how will we know when the state is defeated?

OK. Let's imagine President Sarah Palin is in the White House and doesn't want to give up, now that the North American Congress of Soviets has declared itself the sovereign power and that the United States have been abolished. Now, if the Congress of Soviets hasn't gone off half-cocked, it will mean:

(a) That the vast majority of the working class in North America has delegates at the Congress;

(b) A majority at the Congress of Soviets has decided for the Revolution; and

(c) A reasonable proportion of the minority at the Congress can be expected to go along with the declaration, since their objections are based on timing or procedures.

Now, it's obvious that the State hasn't yet been defeated if President Palin is still sending the 82nd Airborne Division against us, so let's assume that they've mutinied and come across to our side. The first condition of knowing that Palin has been defeated is, therefore, that she's run out of soldiers to attack us or pilots to bomb us. In keeping the loss of life down, it would be important to take out her ability to communicate with the military and other coercive organs of the State. Taking down their communication network would therefore be the first thing. The second thing would be cutting off supplies of fuel, electricity, water and food for the White House and all military bases that haven't come across. This would be important in putting them under pressure and preventing them just waiting events out. In these circumstances, they'd have the choice of coming out and attacking, or surrendering. Attacking without the advantage of communication with their other forces, however, would mean a lack of strategic perspective and often not knowing what to do once they were out of the base. In the meantime, we could pick them off one by one.

OK. Suppose we'd dealt with all the military. What then? We don't set up a Red Army, as the Bolsheviks did. Instead, we rely on the people armed. This means:

(a) Army units which have surrendered are disbanded, as are most of those which have come across.

(b) A minority of the military units which have come across to the Revolution are re-organised into a training corps, training up the workers' militia with elected and recallable officers that has already formed (see above for defending ourselves during the process of revolution), before becoming individual advisors to units of the militia as the training spreads.

(c) Cops and demobbed soldiers have to be swiftly absorbed into the working class. Give them honest jobs to do as soon as possible. The last thing you want is for them to go looking for a modern Wrangel because they're now unemployed. This would also have the advantage of cutting the working week and/or increasing production after the dislocation of the period leading up to the Revolution.

(d) As the economic transformation (i.e. the abolition of wage labour and the communisation of economic life) occurs, the workers' militia will transform, through the same process, into the armed people, since all classes will dissolve into the working class and the working class will, therefore, disappear as well.

The question remains of what to do with President Palin and her Administration, with the politicians and with the top of the officer corps. I think that the answer there would be exile. Let them go to any country that will have them.

There would also be a further question (and this is why I chose the US as the site of the Revolution breaking out) of the vast store of nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons, and other armaments like bombers, aircraft carriers, etc. The answer to this is simple. We destroy them.

This would be challenging to implement, because it requires confidence in the reaction of the working class in the rest of the world, but it is also the course which would lead most swiftly to the Revolution spreading. We would give the world clear evidence that the most dangerous imperialist power on Earth is no more and demolish, at a stroke, all the paranoia about "ravening Anarchists laying waste to the world with the weapons they have stolen from the United States". We would deal with the global network of US bases by inviting all US military personnel serving overseas to come home and be demobbed, or to join the society in which they are stationed if that is their preference (Now, take a moment to consider the difficult choices before the base commanders once their home power is destroyed and they are isolated in a society in which they are unwelcome in the eyes of the masses and now useless in the eyes of the local government).

Finally, there is the possibility of invasion from outside. This is a real threat to consider, because many imperialist nations intervened in the Russian Civil War. This is less of a danger than might be imagined, however, and certainly not a reason to maintain a State and a Red Army. This is because:

(a) The soldiers of the invading armies will be very vulnerable to revolutionary propaganda. The real danger would be that their armies would dissolve in the face of fraternisation. Intervention would also expose the invading State(s) to the danger of the contagion spreading through returning soldiers.

(b) Although the destruction of the major military hardware of Uncle Sam would mean the workers' militia would be at a disadvantage in terms of armaments, that wouldn't affect the difficulty in the establishing an occupation. We could keep things like fighter jets and anti-aircraft defences until the danger period is over, but the real advantage we would have would be that it would take a vaster number of forces than they would be able to raise, let alone maintain, to keep the revolutionary workers' movement down.

Therefore, in answer to the choices put up by Ultraviolet, my choice would be to err on the side of generosity. We should remember that, through the organs of mass workers' democracy, and through rehearsed reaction plans, we will be able to deny economic resources to those who rise in revolt against the Soviets. Tanks aren't a lot of use if they have no fuel to run on, drones are useless if their communication with base is jammed and soldiers need food as well as guns. Staging a revolt against the Soviets would be lot harder than people might imagine.

In summary, therefore, my proposals stem from the realisation that the "physical force vs moral force" debate has been superseded. With the rise of capitalism, the major force which the working class has to wield is economic force. And it is this force which will win us the Revolution and do the most important part in defending it. Physical force will only be necessary for a supplementary role.

* This will be the case until the Revolution has spread across more than half the world. At some stage after that point, provided we have been successful in preventing the Revolution degenerating into dictatorship, the rest of the transition would be resisted with progressively less vigour.

factvalue

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Stalinski wrote:

So, in the transition, how will this guaranteed income be paid for? - no way I'm gonna work if I can get my bucks for free, no sir!

Presumably within capitalism the 'money' would come from the same place most of it comes from now, created ('puffed') out of nothing by fiat in just the way Stalinski (mass murdering psychopathski?) suggests, through fractional reserve banking, outlandish leveraging etc.. But anarchist communists aren't really into capitalism of any kind, so I guess I have to admit to not really understanding Stalinski's/delusional-paranoid-Sadistski's point.

Yours sincerely,

Die Hitlermaschineski

Entdinglichung

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

factvalue

.. But anarchist communists aren't really into capitalism of any kind

that's a relief ;-)

factvalue

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Entdinglichung wrote

that's a relieve

..big daftski

Croy

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't really get why Stalinski hasn't been told where to go now by honest? Admins? The username should have rung alarm bells from the start. He/she is clearly mistaken as to what sort of site this is.

Stalinski

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I believe we have much in common, ie: I believe in Socialism with the end aim of Communism, quite similar really, although tlhe means for getting there differ slightly.

Spikymike

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In my post no4 at the beginning of this I said that this reform proposal had been around ''..almost as long as I have..'' (referring to it's discussion amongst radicals in the early 70's) and then having eventually got round to reading Rowbotham's interesting biography of Edward Carpenter, I noticed that in fact the same idea of a 'Citizen's Income' had been suggested by Bob Muirhead in the 1920's as a 'good half-way house to communism' except of course that at that time (as still it seems for many of to-days leftists) the 'communism' referred to was still dependent on several other 'half-way houses' such as nationalisation, municipalisation and worker/consumer co-operatives. Whatever other benefits such measures when they materialised may have provided for workers none of them have of course brought communism any nearer, having in the end been more useful as means of stabilising and modernising capitalism in an earlier era.

jura

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, wasn't the Speenhamland system at the end of the 18th century basically it?

ajjohnstone

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Pro-case

"Imagine a world in which not one more child dies of starvation or preventable diseases. Imagine a world in which no child is forced to work instead of going to school. Imagine a world in which no one has to worry about being homeless or going to bed hungry. Imagine a world where no one has to work in conditions they don’t want to work in. Imagine a world where if you don’t like your boss, you can quit your job. Imagine a world free of largely free crime because no one is poor. Imagine a world without poverty.
The amazing thing is that, that world is actually possible. It is not only possible but it wouldn’t even be that difficult to achieve. One law could make it all possible.
No, this is not some sort of communist utopia. We don’t even have to change anything about the way we govern, any of the other laws we have, or the basic structure of the economy. We just need to add one law. And in many countries it is just a matter of expanding a program that already exists.
A universal basic income would be an amount of money given to each citizen enough to cover their basic needs for food, housing, and shelter. Many other social welfare programs could be eliminated because a universal basic income would make them unnecessary. The money from these other programs would go into funding a universal basic income. Taxes would need to be raised a bit but not tremendously.
It is absolutely possible to enact a universal basic income. Imagine that world without poverty. Now let’s stop imagining and let’s make it happen!"

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/society/the-economics-of-global-poverty-1.1356081

Spikymike

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ajj,
You are just winding us up with this nonense and taking your commitment to open discussion a tad too far given you don't believe a word of it!!

ajjohnstone

8 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just relaying what its proponents are saying and how extensive their reach...published in GULF NEWS.

Perhaps i detect that it is meant to undermine the idea that revolution is a required option for the betterment of people , much like christian communists/liberation theology does. All we need is one act of legislation and we have heaven on earth!! ...(cue to move on from humming Lennon's Imagine and break into Beatles song ..."All we need is love")

I really don't know if the author comes from the Libertarian Right ("Many other social welfare programs could be eliminated") or if Left-wing ("Taxes would need to be raised a bit but not tremendously.")

It may well be the sort of reforms that the capitalist class will throw at us to save themselves if we seem to be getting to much support for anarcho-communism, and hope no-one reads all the small-print that will come along with it.

JimJams

8 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Scottish Greens have detailed CI policy after independence.

Main bits:

£50 a week for kids,
£100 for 16+
£150 for pensioners
70 per cent of households would be better off than presently.
Those in the lowest income bracket would benefit the most.
Measures of inequality would be brought in line with some of the most equal countries in the world.
Income earned in addition to the citizen’s income would continue to be taxed progressively.
Benefits for disability, carers, housing benefit etc stay.
Would cost £1bn

Pretty decent amounts. Effect on poor households and inequality nothing to sniff at either.

Is it revolutionary? No. Is it the best reformism has to offer? Yes. Will the greens get in? Probably not.

Article here:
http://www.scottishgreens.org.uk/news/greens-publish-citizens-income-plan-for-fairer-scotland/

Report here: http://www.scottishgreens.org.uk/downloads/Green+Yes+briefing+-+Citizens+Income+

ajjohnstone

8 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Today's Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/aug/10/tax-benefits-citizens-income-self-employment

So far support for a citizen’s income is limited to the Green party, although the government’s switch to a flat-rate state pension is a step in that direction.

Scottish left Commonweal think-tank argues for it
http://scottishcommonweal.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/citizen-s-income-booklet-2013.pdf

Milton Friedman was an advocate of the scheme, too.

I think this sums up the futility of the fantasy

Poverty is that state and condition in society where the individual has no surplus labour in store, or, in other words, no property or means of subsistence but what is derived from the constant exercise of industry in the various occupations of life. Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society, without which nations and communities could not exist in a state of civilization. It is the lot of man. It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/04/yasha-levine-recovered-economic-history-everyone-but-an-idiot-knows-that-the-lower-classes-must-be-kept-poor-or-they-will-never-be-industrious.html

Steven.

7 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thought this was worth a bump as the Dutch city of Utrecht is working with the University to test out the idea of an unconditional basic income:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/dutch-city-of-utrecht-to-experiment-with-a-universal-unconditional-income-10345595.html

Klaus

7 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

FWIW here's a new Kittens piece on basic income:

The problem with a demand for a Universal Basic Income is not that it is not going far enough or that it is not radical enough. This criticism presupposes a unity of purpose and accuses this reformist demand of being limited in its seriousness of pursuing it. But if people put forward demand A – a Universal Basis Income – instead of demand B – the end of the capitalist mode of production, say – they have their reasons. To hit its mark a critique must take seriously that the proponents of a Universal Basic Income take the capitalist relation of technology and poverty as a self-evident starting point, that they claim the wage is a reward, that they consider the capitalist state as a neutral arbitrator encountering the capitalist economy as an a priori fact, that they share the state's worry about its economy and its budget, and that they believe the welfare state to be a means to end poverty. These wide-spread but incorrect verdicts lie behind the appeal of demands for a Universal Basic Income and that is why everything is wrong with free money.

http://antinational.org/en/what-wrong-free-money

Croy

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just based on that extract that article looks like a fucking joke. It basically just said 'the problem isn't that its not radical enough, the problem is that its underlying assumptions are all Wrong (i.e non radical)'.

RC

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Its easy to say: wouldn't it be nice if everybody had a basic income? Yes, that would be nice. But the next question is: so who is going to pay for it? That takes the steam out of the whole idea. If you say 75,000 a year, then everybody knows that’s not affordable. If you say 125 a week, then that’s just a new name for the already-existing welfare assistance. If you want a real income, it has to be said: capitalist society does not have the money for it. Because that’s not what money is for in capitalism. Not only that: a real basic income would be completely counter-productive for capitalism because capitalism is based on forcing people to work by the creation of poverty; that’s what drives people to the employment line. It can’t be said that a basic income could be financed from the already-existing wealth – that’s not the purpose of capitalist wealth. If you say: ok, we’ll expropriate the stock exchange in order to make a basic income affordable, then there will no longer be a stock exchange. Unless the supporters of guaranteed basic income want to do that, then it’s really not affordable or just the same old welfare assistance as now. This system needs poverty so that workers serve the growth of capital. If people refuse to serve capital and think that they can milk capitalism like a cow that provides their sustenance, the cow will just run away. You either have to abolish capital or serve it, but you can’t do both. Basic income is just leftist wishful thinking.

Joseph Kay

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the croydonian anarchist

Just based on that extract that article looks like a fucking joke. It basically just said 'the problem isn't that its not radical enough, the problem is that its underlying assumptions are all Wrong (i.e non radical)'.

I think the argument is that starting from common but wrong assumptions about how society works, you end up barking up the wrong tree. The problem with barking up the wrong tree isn't that you haven't barked far enough up it, but that you're barking in the wrong direction altogether (kinda stretching the metaphor there).

I think the piece makes a pretty good case for the different things meant by different advocates of UBI, and the basic incompatibility of the more radical left versions with capitalist relations. But for many of the left advocates that's precisely the point, it's sort of a transitional measure to demand/impose on capital, which reduces the imperative to work, undermines capitalism, and acts as a lever to an automated post-work society (I'm thinking of Paul Mason, or Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams). So for some, the medium-term incompatibility with capitalism is the point.

Twenty Seven

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Implementing a guaranteed minimum income as well as full employment would be useful. Obviously they don't replace capitalism, but they could open up the space for workers to organise ourselves and our workplaces without having to fear discipline from the bosses. This carries great potential for the radical worker's movement, but is also the sort of reform package that even social democrats and left-liberals could get behind. It's the sort of movement which benefits the working class in the short term while also furthering our ultimate goal - something I'm not sure that wage struggles (for example) accomplish.

ajjohnstone

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

One of the most effective criticisms i have read on the UBI has surprisingly been from Left Unity. The proposal to include the UBI in their manifesto actually came from an ex-SPGBer and it got shot down

The debate is here
http://leftunity.org/whats-the-alternative/
http://leftunity.org/economics-policy-commission-draft/

Pennoid

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

UBI will necessarily be a part of any communist revolution but that is a qualitatively different thing than a reform past by such and such labor party.

Pennoid

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm not sure it would take the form of money income ( would have to eventually get rid of that preoccupation) but it would be the general social gurantee to fundamental necessities.

ajjohnstone

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Latest sceptical article on the UBI here

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/32875-guaranteed-basic-income-is-not-a-panacea

Chilli Sauce

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pennoid

I'm not sure it would take the form of money income ( would have to eventually get rid of that preoccupation) but it would be the general social gurantee to fundamental necessities.

That's quite a different thing though, no?

Pennoid

6 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli, yes which is why I said as much in my first post. Communists however have to grapple with the same basic problem; how will we all get fed? And they will always have to grapple with that problem, and it will always be a concrete one.

For reformers in capitalism it is mostly a slogan, and even if it became a policy it would take the form of a stimulus to the demand for the population either by "helicopter money" or in their bank accounts, or by EBT cards etc. Which would have with it all the problems of citizenship, and picking out who is qualified for the income etc.

For communists it is an issue of working class power and social planning. For reformers it is an issue of compromise with class relations as they are.

Spikymike

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well having been 'wound up' again by yet another liberal/lefty article in the UK Guardian promoting this and a particularly annoying presentation by some reformists at the recent Dublin Anarchist bookfair with no real understanding of how the capitalist economy or state operates in the real world (and only a half reasonable rebuttal from the WSM speaker) thought I would add this 'back to basics' critical text to the list:
https://gegen-kapital-und-nation.org/en/what-wrong-free-money/

Zeronowhere

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

An income guarantee would not fit in with a capitalist economy, being a measure which acts at the expense of profits to establish wages, and would hence merely tend to destabilise it and lead to impoverishment sooner or later. In that sense, it's a fairly indifferent measure, especially when this lack of stability is viewed as a bad thing. Such income issues were a fairly iffy issue for socialists regardless - if they go along with either view or are ambiguous by default, then they might get along fine, but as soon as they are somewhat indifferent or seriously interrogate things they ended up with a gun to their heads, in a personal manner. It was if anything a case where dissent from such movements could also have gained traction, because of course there will be a socialist tendency in wishing to discuss and plan the overall society freely, while capitalism did pretty much just work via unconscious exile or execution.

As far as the 'dictatorship of the proletariat,' specific demands involving wages or other such things would have to be by nature temporary, transient and of little account, if such a hypothetical scenario were to occur, because the proletariat is like all parts of the capitalist production process something which must pass away and cannot escape this qua proletariat. In that sense, this 'basic income' might actually fit, having all of these characteristics. It doesn't generally seem that relevant to capitalism - if people disliked how capitalism distributed wealth, they could have helped change it then, but apparently that was not the issue - but in general it might have seemed more relevant to those forms of socialism which tended to shift focus away from the social dynamic and so on towards portrayals of poverty, suffering, etc., in which case such things might come up. Of course, people were either satisfied with the social form, and hence harmonious with it, or weren't, and then opposed it and showed it no needless graces, but in any case could hardly determine their views within the atomisation of measures such as 'basic income,' etc., which were hence by nature strictly marginal - as such, movements in such directions would have to be judged ambiguous and hence limited. Proclaiming human control of the social organism was, of course, a socialist thing, and hence such things would merely help us if they were not strictly marginalised.

timthelion

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Very enlightening discussion. I want to leave three remarks:

1. Basic income is as almost as old as Lockian property law.

Nothing could be more unjust than agrarian law in a country improved by cultivation; for though every man, as an inhabitant of the earth, is a joint proprietor of it in its natural state, it does not follow that he is a joint proprietor of cultivated earth. The additional value made by cultivation, after the system was admitted, became the property of those who did it, or who inherited it from them, or who purchased it. It had originally no owner. While, therefore, I advocate the right, and interest myself in the hard case of all those who have been thrown out of their natural inheritance by the introduction of the system of landed property, I equally defend the right of the possessor to the part which is his.

Cultivation is at least one of the greatest natural improvements ever made by human invention. It has given to created earth a tenfold value. But the landed monopoly that began with it has produced the greatest evil. It has dispossessed more than half the inhabitants of every nation of their natural inheritance, without providing for them, as ought to have been done, an indemnification for that loss, and has thereby created a species of poverty and wretchedness that did not exist before.

In advocating the case of the persons thus dispossessed, it is a right, and not a charity, that I am pleading for. But it is that kind of right which, being neglected at first, could not be brought forward afterwards till heaven had opened the way by a revolution in the system of government. Let us then do honor to revolutions by justice, and give currency to their principles by blessings.

Having thus in a few words, opened the merits of the case, I shall now proceed to the plan I have to propose, which is,

To create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property:

And also, the sum of ten pounds per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age.

From Agrarian Justice by Thomas Paine http://www.constitution.org/tp/agjustice.htm - PS: I found that article here http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/capital_distribution.htm

2. Some free market libertarians support basic income, as it is seen as solving the problem of minimum wage and coersion. They see the minimum wage as being an interference with the free market but the lack there of as being impossible due to the problem of starvation. Take UBER or Mechanical Turk as examples. These are labor markets, which decide on a price which is far bellow minimum wage, and the problem is, that the workers than starve. This "failiure of the market" can be solved by abolishing the minimum wage and creating a basic income instead. I think that this idea is rather disturbing. Wal-mart has already experimented with the concept, by keeping workers bellow poverty. Those workers don't starve due to food stamps and medicade. Most people see this as a way for Wal-mart to steal from the state. I agree, that when we create basic-income and abolish the minimum wage, we are basically financing the extreme exploitation of labor. But this argument should explain why some on the extreme right of neoliberalism are proponents of it.

3. Right now, in the US, there are people with severe dissabilites which currently are denied payments due to the fact that the dissability courts have determined that they are capable of working. Most people who have affective dissorders are denied payments, even though it is cheeper to keep a bi-polar person on dissability than to stress them out with work and risk having to institutionalize them. There are people who are unable to digest their food, and thus throw it up. But since the dissability court only meets with the person once, than if the person doesn't throw up during the meeting, they can get denied payments due to having no evident dissability. People who work with such patients are also proponents of basic income.

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The problem with basic income is two fold.

1. It increase statepower and
2. It increase people ability to get dependent on the state

When statepower increases it also increases a person high up in the system to have power and abuse this power to his own advantage. Thus raising his own income generated from taxes and people can do nothing about it

And so when they day comes to go on strike to smash the state and make it go bankrupt there will be no one out in the streets.

What we need is to raise peoples ability to take care of themselves and make them be independent from the state. Make organisations that exclude state intervention so that they can act freely when it is necessary.

There is also a 3rd problem but no one really knows much about it before it can be tested.

3. There is a risk people will stop working.

If people can get enough money to get by without working it will reduce the amount of products in the supermarket and then what had good intentions about getting rid of poverty instead will increase poverty. What does it matter that you have 100 bucks in your pocket but there is nothing to buy?

Chilli Sauce

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It increase people ability to get dependent on the state.

...If people can get enough money to get by without working...instead will increase poverty.

That's some right-wing nonsense.

Not to mention, quite patronizing. I mean, most of us rely on private companies for our income, does that mean we're incapable of seeing our individual exploitation or wider systematic exploitation. Why is that any less like for unemployed workers who are on benefits?

And, quite ahistorical, Hungary 56, Paris 68, the UK miner's strike - these all occurred in the midst of some of some of the most comprehensive state welfare systems ever devised. And yet, those "dependent" workers still managed to rebel, go on strike, and directly challenge the legitimacy of the state.

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The UK strike:
"The coal industry in the UK, nationalised by Clement Attlee's Labour government in 1947, was encouraged to gear itself toward reduced subsidies in the early 1980s under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
...
The strike ended on 3 March 1985 following an NUM vote to return to work. It was a defining moment in British industrial relations, and the union's defeat significantly weakened the British trade union movement."

The coal industry got nationalised (you know it can only go down hill from here), and also here we see the working class fail to become independent from the state and what happens is that Margaret Thatcher becomes a big winner.
(the link doesnt work but go to wiki and look for "UK miners' strike (1984–85)"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_miners'_strike_%281984%E2%80%9385%29

The Hungarian revolution was political and not economical as it was directed against USSR and for political freedom
They didnt want to get rid of the state, rather they wanted to have their own independent state

The French working class was so deep into the state that when De Gaulle who had fled to Germany asked for a vote everything collapsed.
"De Gaulle went to a French military base in Germany, and after returning dissolved the National Assembly, and called for new parliamentary elections for 23 June 1968. Violence evaporated almost as quickly as it arose. Workers went back to their jobs, and when the elections were finally held in June, the Gaullist party emerged even stronger than before."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1968_events_in_France

Thats how dependent the working class was of the state. The state calls for a vote the working class follows like sheep and votes and the state survives because the working class is so deeply dependent on the state.

Chilli Sauce

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ah "sheep", was waiting for that one to come out.

Anyway, you missed the point of the post.

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

Ah "sheep", was waiting for that one to come out.

Perhaps u dont know what sheep means
2.
a. A person regarded as timid, weak, or submissive.
b. One who is easily swayed or led.
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/sheep

So there you go..

Anyway, you missed the point of the post.

No i didnt miss the point. I just didnt reply to it. I mean i dont dictate the terms i just know what it takes

Spikymike

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Have recent posters prior to Chilli on this thread actually gone back and read it before launching in to express an opinion as I fear it might go off on a tangent now?

Auld-bod

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gulai Polye #92
‘The coal industry got nationalised (you know it can only go down hill from here), and also here we see the working class fail to become independent from the state and what happens is that Margaret Thatcher becomes a big winner.’

Rather depends on what you consider ‘downhill’. For the thousands of miners who for the next forty years gained wages and conditions their fathers could only dream about, they would not agree with this assessment. Was private ownership so wonderful that the miners longed for the pits to be de-nationalised? I think not.

Rather than simple minded rhetoric, examine the experiences of the working class. The role of nationalisation in the UK was to take ailing industries, refurbish them as far as possible, and return them to private ownership. This is the present strategy with the gradual privitisation of the NHS.

The working class in the last hundred years won concessions from the capitalist class, the mistake was for them to believe the state would protect their gains. Nationalization is no substitute for workers control. Simply to attack nationalization is to sing from the Thatcherite song book.

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Auld-bod
It depends, if you wanna live the smooth life but still under a capitalist dictatorship and with near zero influence on the politics, then please just go ahead and continue to appeal for authority.

On the contrary if you wanna fight for a system that offers the utmost freedom for the individual a fair system can offer then there lies a fight ahead of us, a transition as Marx said it, a fight where sacrifices has to be made.

For the thousands of miners who for the next forty years gained wages and conditions their fathers could only dream about ...
The working class in the last hundred years won concessions from the capitalist class,

Are you referring to that part where the capitalist class trembled at the fear of a USSR supported revolt throughout Europe, so in order to prevent that they raised the living conditions of the workers?

Fleur

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My great grandfather and great uncles were miners back in the halcyon days before the pits were nationalized. They were paid a pittance and when they were injured they got no sick pay. But they thoroughly enjoyed the freedom they experienced under the private coal owners.

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fleur

But they thoroughly enjoyed the freedom they experienced under the private coal owners.

Do you know how their freedom got reduced after the nationalisation? (If thats what your saying)

ajjohnstone

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gulai Polye #92
‘The coal industry got nationalised (you know it can only go down hill from here), and also here we see the working class fail to become independent from the state and what happens is that Margaret Thatcher becomes a big winner.’

Rather depends on what you consider ‘downhill’. For the thousands of miners who for the next forty years gained wages and conditions their fathers could only dream about, they would not agree with this assessment. Was private ownership so wonderful that the miners longed for the pits to be de-nationalised? I think not.

I recall Dave Douglass once conducted a spirited defence of coal-mine nationalisation by relating the before and after figures for health and safety. He also related the statistics of the NCB safety record to many other nations mine safety.

As an ex-postal worker, perhaps i too would hold reservations about being privatised fully. At one time we had the privileges of the civil service Whitley System, nothing too much to go over-board with but better i think than when we became a government public sector corporation and now a private business.

Chilli Sauce

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

State capitalism is still capitalism and any revolutionary movement - both in theory and practice, through education and lived experience - will need to come to terms with this fact. It's absurd to think that public sector workers are any less capable of making this realization than those in the private sector

Are you referring to that part where the capitalist class trembled at the fear of a USSR supported revolt throughout Europe, so in order to prevent that they raised the living conditions of the workers?

And, for all your talk of "freedom", way to deny the working class any agency in challenging their own exploitation.

Fleur

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I was being sarcastic.

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

Are you referring to that part where the capitalist class trembled at the fear of a USSR supported revolt throughout Europe, so in order to prevent that they raised the living conditions of the workers?

And, for all your talk of "freedom", way to deny the working class any agency in challenging their own exploitation.

You really have no idea. The capitalists chipped in to safe capitalism. Its evident if you just do a minimum of research.

The cold war was a war that was fought not to conquer land but to conquer the workers and capitalism won because they applied the most cost effective strategy. Making sure the workers had a decent life. While the authority driven leaders over in USSR had absolutely no idea what they were doing.

Chilli Sauce

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

First, what does the graph have to do with anything?

Second, dude, can you make an effort to actually respond to the points raised?

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

First, what does the graph have to do with anything?

This is where your brain steps in and goes into thinking mode

Second, dude, can you make an effort to actually respond to the points raised?

No i only wanna reply to that which i wanna reply to

Chilli Sauce

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's the thing - I get what point you're trying to make with the graph and I agree that capital and the state will offer concessions to the working class when they fear rebellion or unrest. Although, for your sake, it might make you look a bit less ill-informed if you attempted to add some small degree of explanation to your style of argument by internet graphic.

In any case, correlation does not equal causation, and it's on you to prove that
(a) tax rates are the best way to understand the bourgeoisie's thinking
(b) those changes in tax rates reflects what you say it does and
(c) that pacification of the working class was the sole thing driving those changes - which, given your view of the working class as "sheep" seems pretty illogical on your own terms.

No i only wanna reply to that which i wanna reply to

In other ones, you'll not respond to the ones that challenge or disprove your points. Got it.

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

In any case, correlation does not equal causation, and it's on you to prove that
(a) tax rates are the best way to understand the bourgeoisie's thinking
(b) those changes in tax rates reflects what you say it does and
(c) that pacification of the working class was the sole thing driving those changes - which, given your view of the working class as "sheep" seems pretty illogical on your own terms.

I would, if only the capitalist are not our enemies. You see what does enemies do to each other? They hide information. But they cant hide everything. Sometimes here and there they leave an obscurity due to their decision making. Some call these "dots". The more dots you are aware of the more easier it is to guess their decision making. Basically what you need to do is connect the dots.

Im not gonna force some "knowledge" down your throat. Im just gonna present you a guess, and if you wanna accept this guess as reasonable or not is up to you.

Khawaga

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gulai Poyle, I suggest that you do try to explain what you mean. I've read lots of your posts in several threads and I often struggle to figure out what you are trying to convey. Having people guessing is a weird way to communicate.

Chilli Sauce

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You see what does enemies do to each other? They hide information. But they cant hide everything. Sometimes here and there they leave an obscurity due to their decision making. Some call these "dots". The more dots you are aware of the more easier it is to guess their decision making. Basically what you need to do is connect the dots.

Gulai Poyle: Modern day Socrates.

Im not gonna force some "knowledge" down your throat

I love how this only applies when someone challenges your logic or consistency. Other than that, you're more than happy to make broad, sweeping - even patronizing - statements dropping your obviously superior knowledge on us.

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

Gulai Poyle, I suggest that you do try to explain what you mean. I've read lots of your posts in several threads and I often struggle to figure out what you are trying to convey. Having people guessing is a weird way to communicate.

Like what?

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

Gulai Poyle: Modern day Socrates.

No because Socrates said suffering an injustice is better than to commit an injustice. If you just let yourself suffer an injustice the injustice will just continue and you will help to perpetuate the injustice. If you want the injustice to end you will have to fight back
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvY3VWe4O4k

He is like Jesus with the "turn the other cheek" thing. Bullshit

I love how this only applies when someone challenges your logic or consistency. Other than that, you're more than happy to make broad, sweeping - even patronizing - statements dropping your obviously superior knowledge on us.

Did you change your opinion because you wanted to or because you were forced to? If you didnt change your opinion then who cares?

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

timthelion

I agree, that when we create basic-income and abolish the minimum wage.

You dont abolish the minimum wage with basic-income, because then the basic income will become the minimum wage because no one will want to work for less than what they can get from the system.

Example:
Basic income = 10.000
Wage = 9000

Worker: I demand a wage of 10.000 or i will not work
Boss: ok a wage of 10.000 is decided

radicalgraffiti

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gulai Polye

timthelion

I agree, that when we create basic-income and abolish the minimum wage.

You dont abolish the minimum wage with basic-income, because then the basic income will become the minimum wage because no one will want to work for less than what they can get from the system.

Example:
Basic income = 10.000
Wage = 9000

Worker: I demand a wage of 10.000 or i will not work
Boss: ok a wage of 10.000 is decided

basic income would mean everyone got a fixed income from the state regardless of if they were in work or not

Chilli Sauce

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gulai Polye

Chilli Sauce

Gulai Poyle: Modern day Socrates.

No because Socrates said suffering an injustice is better than to commit an injustice. If you just let yourself suffer an injustice the injustice will just continue and you will help to perpetuate the injustice. If you want the injustice to end you will have to fight back
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvY3VWe4O4k

He is like Jesus with the "turn the other cheek" thing. Bullshit

Yeah, you misunderstood the reason I made the Socrates reference.

I love how this only applies when someone challenges your logic or consistency. Other than that, you're more than happy to make broad, sweeping - even patronizing - statements dropping your obviously superior knowledge on us.

Did you change your opinion because you wanted to or because you were forced to? If you didnt change your opinion then who cares?

As often seems to be the case, I really don't see how your response here has anything to do with what I posted....

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

Gulai Polye

Example:
Basic income = 10.000
Wage = 9000

Worker: I demand a wage of 10.000 or i will not work
Boss: ok a wage of 10.000 is decided

basic income would mean everyone got a fixed income from the state regardless of if they were in work or not

So what if the basic income would be reduced from 10.000 to 9.000 then the worker would still have 10.000 since thats his wage right?

radicalgraffiti

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gulai Polye

radicalgraffiti

Gulai Polye

Example:
Basic income = 10.000
Wage = 9000

Worker: I demand a wage of 10.000 or i will not work
Boss: ok a wage of 10.000 is decided

basic income would mean everyone got a fixed income from the state regardless of if they were in work or not

So what if the basic income would be reduced from 10.000 to 9.000 then the worker would still have 10.000 since thats his wage right?

what?
with basic income the idea is everyone revives the basic income as well as what ever other income they can acquire

this makes it different from, from for example jobseekers allowance, where the benefit is removed or reduced if you get a job

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

Gulai Polye

radicalgraffiti

Gulai Polye

Example:
Basic income = 10.000
Wage = 9000

Worker: I demand a wage of 10.000 or i will not work
Boss: ok a wage of 10.000 is decided

basic income would mean everyone got a fixed income from the state regardless of if they were in work or not

So what if the basic income would be reduced from 10.000 to 9.000 then the worker would still have 10.000 since thats his wage right?

what?

Like this

So in the beginning a person is having a normal wage. Then basic income is introduced at time A, then the wage is increased to the level of the basic income (because the other option for the worker is to not work and recieve more money that way than to work). Then at point B the revolutionary basic income is lowered but the wage stays the same until otherwise agreed.

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Now i get it. You get money from the state even when you are working and hired by capitalists. Wow... It should be called counter-revolutionary because all the power goes to the state and not to the working class...

Misovlogos

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gulai Polye

Now i get it. You get money from the state even when you are working and hired by capitalists. Wow... It should be called counter-revolutionary because all the power goes to the state and not to the working class...

In what possible sense is that true?

Those absent ownership of the means of production would no longer be objectively compelled to sell themselves into wage-labour. Instead, they would able to autonomously organise their life, family and labour outside of the logic of profitability. At the same time, the absolute worst-off would have a real escape from poverty. This materially helps people, changes economic relations in a significant way, and creates a space for struggle. How is that counter-revolutionary, and how does it help the state more than it does the prospects of socialism? Obviously it's not a panacea, but it's one, highly achievable step in the short- to medium-term. Do you think there is anything worth doing short of the immediate implementation of anarcho-communism (or whatever you hope for)? You can only work within the limits of history.

Misovlogos

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

Also, in its left wing versions, a basic income is meant to give people enough to get by on. Some rough calculations here: UK living wage £7.65 x 40 hrs x 52 weeks ~ £16,000/year. UK GDP per capita is $39,941, ~£24,000. So we're talking about (16/24) x 100, 67% - two thirds of GDP [assuming that everyone keeps working, which seems unlikely]. I just can't see it.

These are rather uncharitable figures. Most advocates of a UBI support an unconditional sum well below £16,000 p/a. The current welfare spend in the UK is £250bn. Let us suppose that over-65's are covered by pension schemes, that parents are given a modest sum to spend on behalf of their children, and that the UBI is recaptured from high-earners (i.e. those earning over £30,000). Given existing UK demographics, that leaves about £250bn to distribute among 28 million adults: which comes out just below £9,0000 per person. Also, public spending as a proportion of GDP in the UK could simply be increased. At the moment, it's about 40%. In Scandinavian countries, which are typically the models for UBI, it's about 50%. If that difference was funnelled directly into UBI, then that would be a further £200bn. If the advocates of UBI are to be believed, then creativity, labour flexibility, education, and poverty reduction should all increase - it will be net positive for growth.

I'm not saying all of this because I sincerely believe it, but just to illustrate that on non-absurd assumptions a UBI is perfectly feasible (it simply depends on the sum that we are talking about).

Most defenders of a UBI appear to believe that it's the next capitalist regime in the global core: the direction of technology, labour markets and culture all point in the direction of a UBI. That it will sublate neoliberalism, as neoliberalism did post-war Fordism.

Joseph Kay

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fair enough, but once you go below an amount it's possible to live on, and completely remove child/sickness/disability support, you're surely condeming millions to poverty? Removing means-tests without providing enough to live on seems a backwards step (increasing the freedom of younger, healthier, childless people at the expense of the rest).

Now maybe you could raise top-rate income tax to provide a means-tested top-up for some, on top of the existing £250bn, or rent caps, or some similar policy package. But if the sums worked out, I'm sure the Greens (for example) would have a costed policy, rather than their embarassing retreat from UBI last election.

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Misovlogos

[
Those absent ownership of the means of production would no longer be objectively compelled to sell themselves into wage-labour.

Yes they would. Wage labour where the state pays the wage

Instead, they would able to autonomously organise their life, family and labour outside of the logic of profitability.

No they would have to conform to the demands of the state. The state would become too powerful when both the power of violence and the power of supplier becomes unified and would easily be able to submit the working-class to slave labour.

At the same time, the absolute worst-off would have a real escape from poverty.

The real escape from poverty lies in the workplace and in the organisational force of the working class. Not in the appeal to authority.

]
This materially helps people, changes economic relations in a significant way, and creates a space for struggle.

The question is should all the power which isnt in the hands of the working class be divided between the state and the capitalist, or should it all be unified in the hands of the most oppressive state?
Only when the power is divided will there be space for a struggle.

How is that counter-revolutionary, and how does it help the state more than it does the prospects of socialism?

There is power in being the supplier. If the state becomes a supplier while also having the power of violence, the working class will lose its ability to organise for socialism which is a stateless society. Thus it would be counter-revolutionary.

Obviously it's not a panacea, but it's one, highly achievable step in the short- to medium-term. Do you think there is anything worth doing short of the immediate implementation of anarcho-communism (or whatever you hope for)?

Yes there is one aspect where the working class has the supreme upper hand. That is in philosophy. Philosophy is a battlefield where the working class should be able to win all day long over the capitalists and over the state. By spreading the idea of socialism, from worker to worker socialism will prevail. The other thing that can be done is to increase the power of the working class through organisation and solidarity. This gives the working class a fighting chance in the world of realism where the capitalists are strong.
A 3rd thing that is also possible in the here and now is to cleanse out the corrupted elements of the working class. The part of the working class that is working in favour of the state.

You can only work within the limits of history.

It is actually with history in mind that i see the state as the enemy of the working class. I see the state as a dead end. It might leave in the right direction and so it might be tempting. But its a dead end, a deadly dead end.

Misovlogos

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

Fair enough, but once you go below an amount it's possible to live on, and completely remove child/sickness/disability support, you're surely condeming millions to poverty? Removing means-tests without providing enough to live on seems a backwards step (increasing the freedom of younger, healthier, childless people at the expense of the rest).

Now maybe you could raise top-rate income tax to provide a means-tested top-up for some, on top of the existing £250bn, or rent caps, or some similar policy package. But if the sums worked out, I'm sure the Greens (for example) would have a costed policy, rather than their embarassing retreat from UBI last election.

I agree that it's infinitely more complicated than my back of the envelope figures. You need to work-out the extent to which an unconditional sum would need to be topped-up and where, and figure out a tax structure to meet that demand on public expenditure. There are plenty of eminently plausible, modest proposals that could do that, however. The crux is exactly how big of a sum is feasible.

I'm not sure if you can infer all that much from the Green Party retreat, which seemed to me to be a result of their abject incompetence. The RSA released a fully-costed proposal for a UBI towards the end of last year. It's not especially ambitious or radical, but it's effectively the same as the Green's proposal. See: https://www.thersa.org/action-and-research/rsa-projects/public-services-and-communities-folder/basic-income

Serge Forward

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Gulai Polye, I'm enjoying your graphs immensely. Please can we have some more of these? Especially if you have one to illustrate how 75.5% of statistics are made up, then I'd be really grateful.

Misovlogos

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I have to disagree. An unconditional income which goes some way to meeting your basic needs is not just a transmuted form of wage labour. You are no longer compelled to sell your labour into the circuit of capital to secure your life. The bargaining terms between classes shift.

Do you have any evidence in support of your apocalyptic prognosis of a state under the UBI? Why would liberal democracies suddenly enslave and slaughter their own populations? This seems mightily far-fetched.

Why would people have to conform to the demands of the state any more than they do now? Surely economic security would increase the space for organised struggle?

When I talk of working within the limits of history, I mean that political strategy is inescapably a matter of differential evaluation: one has a finite set of choices among which one must choose. Obviously figuring out what is and is not possible is a complex issue, and one has to carefully winnow illusion from viable hope. If you think UBI a bad thing, you need to argue what possible collective strategy is preferable. The most elementary baseline of comparison is the present. And as far as I can see, a UBI would be - in weakening the link between wages and labour, in increasing the position of the worst-off, in creating a space for struggle - be far better than the neoliberal order that we endure in the present. I think it highly possible because it aligns with some of the major trends of the oncoming epoch in the global core: technological automation, high-skilled, decentralised, digital, and precarious labour, and general cultural attitudes. Your alternative is two things. First, the idea that a socialism is a self-realising project. This is the perennial failure of abstract utopianism: ideas are not independent of history itself, and cannot become a concrete reality without a far wider set of material, cultural and political conditions. Second, you argue that we ought to increase the power of the working class. In broad outline, I agree. But how is that possible? The traditional organisational strategies of the Left have failed. The male, industrial working-class of post-war Europe is over. Labour is highly precarious, highly atomised, and highly flexible. And we generally recognise the intersectional basis of oppression, not just its economic dimensions. UBI is one proposal for creating a space for struggle against exactly these neoliberal pressures; for re-balancing class forces.

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

Gulai Polye, I'm enjoying your graphs immensely. Please can we have some more of these? Especially if you have one to illustrate how 75.5% of statistics are made up, then I'd be really grateful.

Ok what about this map?
http://therealdeal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/turf_wars.jpg
Notice the the dead rabbits having no leaders :D

Gulai Polye

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Misovlogos

I have to disagree. An unconditional income which goes some way to meeting your basic needs is not just a transmuted form of wage labour. You are no longer compelled to sell your labour into the circuit of capital to secure your life. The bargaining terms between classes shift.

yes but without a revolution it will become class collaboration. Class collaboration is an important element of fascism.

Do you have any evidence in support of your apocalyptic prognosis of a state under the UBI? Why would liberal democracies suddenly enslave and slaughter their own populations? This seems mightily far-fetched.

No, but there are examples where the power of supply was in the hands of the state, however the wages where unevenly distributed.

Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically. In doing all this, fascism denatured the marketplace.

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Fascism.html

Of course once the state has all the power it needs there would no longer be any reason left for the state to adhere to liberal democracy.

Why would people have to conform to the demands of the state any more than they do now? Surely economic security would increase the space for organised struggle?

Well people would have to obey the laws just as much as we have to today. Its just that these laws would encroach the liberties that we enjoy today. Because those liberties exists because capitalism is safeguarding them.
What economic security? The one guaranteed by the state? Well how are you gonna contest the state if the economic security is guaranteed by the state? You are going to make the possible impossible...

When I talk of working within the limits of history, I mean that political strategy is inescapably a matter of differential evaluation: one has a finite set of choices among which one must choose. Obviously figuring out what is and is not possible is a complex issue, and one has to carefully winnow illusion from viable hope. If you think UBI a bad thing, you need to argue what possible collective strategy is preferable.

An old Soviet movie from 1925 about strike action:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89xFy1H0UbA
The take (of factories) from Argentina:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOCsfEYqsYs

Your alternative is two things. First, the idea that a socialism is a self-realising project. This is the perennial failure of abstract utopianism: ideas are not independent of history itself

Of course they are thats why they are called idea. Idealism. The ideal. And yeah socialism is a self-realising project. You get that or you dont get socialism but something else.

, and cannot become a concrete reality without a far wider set of material, cultural and political conditions.

Well we are workers. The material conditions are not gonna hold us back.

Second, you argue that we ought to increase the power of the working class. In broad outline, I agree. But how is that possible? The traditional organisational strategies of the Left have failed.

I think one reason, in the post USSR world, why the left has failed is because workers got scared of the ideological left. So they forget about the ideology and just tried to get the best out of it without contesting anything (which resulted in almost nothing).
But the good thing is that the old books are still here and easy accessible on the internet. So all we need to do is just rediscover the ideology and get it out, and make sure people understand that this time we are taking an anti statist approach from the get go.

The male, industrial working-class of post-war Europe is over. Labour is highly precarious, highly atomised, and highly flexible. And we generally recognise the intersectional basis of oppression, not just its economic dimensions. UBI is one proposal for creating a space for struggle against exactly these neoliberal pressures; for re-balancing class forces.

Yes there are a lot of things to clean up due to our past generations ideological negligence...
Well i guess we can say that you wanna re-balancing class forces the material way while i wanna re-balancing class forces in the ideological way.

Spikymike

6 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Seems this discussion has gone backwards since it started.The 'Basic or Citizen Income' reform proposal can only be considered as a potentially practical one if it saves the state costs without undermining the wages system and capitalist profits ie essentially as a replacement for other welfare payments and set at that kind of level. The campaigners I listened to at the Dublin bookfair were honest enough to admit that this had to be the case initially so that the reform could get sufficient support across the left/right political spectrum to stand any chance of success. Of course the Leftist supporters hope to extend it further after that by yet more campaigning, so back to square one at that stage. It's main effect if implemented at that low level would of course be to act as a subsidy to employers through downward pressure on wages whilst the different capitalist sectors argued with each other as to who should cough up the bigger share of taxation to fund it. Any simplified basic citizens income would potentially save money for the state which is why it gets right-wing support - leftist supporters are obliged to admit that such would be unfair to so many people that it would have to be supplemented by retention of various other state benefit payments to the disabled, children, pensioners, carers etc etc making it a less practical reform though even that would be a long way from people getting what their individual needs would justify in any rational system.