Basic Income

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In this issue we take a look at the History of Basic Income, charting its development into its current form, as investigated in More Than One Model, before turning our attention towards specific attempts at its implementation, in A Canadian Experiment, and presenting a recent Case for Basic Income.

Despite the fact that the recent Swiss referendum on the basic income proposition was defeated, and by a significant margin (23% in favour, 77% opposed), for many “it doesn’t mean we can’t move forward from this, but it does mean that we have to take stock of this defeat and think about how we can get a different result next time around… Basic Income broke into the mainstream political discourse and a very solid stepping stone on the road to success has been laid by this campaign.” (1)

The case for a basic income is framed in Beyond Wage Slavery as the method by which one can release one’s creative potential, helping to collectively reshape our society through the emergence of transient social sculptures and Beuysian actions. However, one wonders if this is in fact the correct solution to develop latent capacities.

In A Socialist Fairytale, the idea of basic income is put to the test, questioning if it is financially and economically feasible, a cure for inequality or a reliable social contract.

This theme is expanded upon by Fionn Meier, in his piece Solidarity and Freedom. “And therein lies its danger. Instead of developing the impetus for an economy based on division of labour, in order to expand solidarity, based on active individual concern for the needs of fellow citizens, a mechanism is put in place. Everyone has their bread, regardless of the conduct of others. Furthermore, a basic income degrades the idea of freedom to a matter of income. But without the corresponding free disposal of capital, the presupposed freedom is barely more than a game.”

In his article, Christopher Houghton Budd makes the case for this being A Matter for Individuals, offering a solution without the need for a state-based unconditional basic income, instead being based on a triple rethink of pension funds, wages and the retirement age.

The final feature presents the case made by Marc Desaules for True Pricing, stating that “experienced inwardly, rights life can give egoism an orientation, revealing labour as something that one does not undertake for oneself, but as the field in which one finds one’s place and sense in life, economically speaking through meeting the needs of the world and other human beings.”

The AEX Page contrasts the ideas of Karl Marx and Rudolf Steiner, in the context of meeting the needs of others through one’s own abilities, and the role income pooling or self-employment can play in its actualisation.

Finally Awakening Accounts presents Thinking Through the Logic of Accounting, asking whether the technique of double-entry bookkeeping can provide clarity as to the validity of basic income or the preference for a different perspective.


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