Illustrated by Mike Dicks
Universal or Guaranteed Basic Income is not a new concept, many countries around the world have trialled it and variations of it actually already exist in different guises.
Even the arch capitalist and kids’ dinner snatcher, Ian Duncan Smith, was the architect for a watered down form of UBI now well known as the infamous Universal Credit. As usual though, those with a very limited grasp of macro-economics and instead rely on failing capitalist dogma have completely missed the point. UBI would solve much more than basic access to food, which is all Universal Credit achieves, it would redefine society and the health and wellbeing of a nation at a stroke.
Just as with the arguments to exit the European Union, where the abilities of
very low intellect politicians to grasp the resultant benefits of EU membership are now becoming manifest, so now the same non-visionaries fail to see the bigger picture of the very real benefits of UBI.
In all the tests around the world, the effectiveness of the various schemes was limited by the parameters set, for example, in Finland the scheme was open to unemployed only; subsequently this was reported as the participants didn’t find a job but were happier! The obvious conclusions were then drawn that of course individuals were happier given free money but it didn’t get them back to work. This analysis is ridiculous and damaging; there would need to be conditions in place which provided a route to employment not expect UBI
to miraculously create them like some benevolent Fairy Godmother.
UBI or a variation of it would have the ability to do so much more than one dimensional, self-serving politicians could ever imagine; it’s not a socialist’s wet dream, it makes sound economic, financial and societal sense and here how;
Lets start with who and why; By definition the income would be available to all, from graduation from secondary school at 16, if you choose to continue in further education that would be paid for by UBI as would retirement, administrating student loans, student debt, state pension and means testing applicable benefit payments would actually reduce the current fiscal burden on the state, and
when I say state make no mistake, that’s us, you and me.
So we’ve established the start and finish of UBI so now how much and that’s not a very difficult one, forget minimum wage and survival rations, lets use the Governments own calculation of what’s deemed as tax free income, our personal tax allowance, currently around £12,500. That produces a weekly income of £240 for each individual from 16 upwards; or in monetary terms an eye watering £664.35 billion.
Now we’ve got the cost what are the benefits and how does this add up?, how do we counter the dim witted, fiscal sheep who conveniently ignore the real costs of capitalism; the simple table below does exactly that in a way that
even politicians can understand. Various sources have been used to collate the figures but wherever possible we have used Governments own data or that accepted by Government agencies.
Imagine for one moment that students weren’t carrying huge debt burden well into their 30’s and beyond, imagine young people not worrying about how they can keep a roof over their head so they are forced into low pay, zero hours contracts, imagine pensioners who have worked all their lives not trying to exist on the lowest pension payment in Europe with one of the highest costs of living. Imagine also the potential of young entrepreneurs let loose to develop and deliver new and exciting green processes and carbon reduction measures instead of being directed to yet another dead
end job by a ‘career advisor’. With a basic income guaranteed, more people would be willing to volunteer and care for loved ones and those with better paying jobs could opt repay their UBI into the NHS, Social Care or Environmental Charitable Trusts.
Unburdened of debt and worry, happier people are more productive, more imaginative and more able to retrain as the economy changes to keep up with technological advances, online marketplace and global events such as the recent pandemic. Imagine a workforce flexible enough to react to the stupidity of our elected officials who throw away trade deals with our most important partners for short term political traction and personal gain.
UBI is not some utopian nonsense dreamt up on the back page of the Morning Star, it makes complete economic, fiscal sense and societal sense, that’s why it will gain zero traction from the current crop of self- serving, corrupt puppets who inhabit the hallowed halls of Westminster; instead it will take people with vision, drive and imagination, people like you, individuals who care about the wellbeing of the environment and its inhabitants to group together and force Governments to listen and effect real systemic change.
If you like what you hear and want to help us to build this collective and apply pressure by highlighting the bloody obvious to ‘career politicians’ who blindly follow a party doctrine like demented automatons then sign up to collaborate. We are determined to point to a different, more sustainable and healthier path than the current gaslighted and greenwashed trajectory and need more people to join us on this journey. See our social media and website for opportunities connect, collaborate and contribute.