Greetings & salutations from across the pond, O' majority of ATS readership!
It's great to be here for once not writing about the weird & wonderful world of Woo... Today I'm opening a discussion regarding the relatively normal
(if remarkably atypical) economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, based on observations from the UK regarding our conservative government's decision
to support private income to the tune of a whopping 80% of salaries for almost all privately employed citizens, as well as providing various grants &
loans to help keep small to medium enterprises afloat & in essence, to ensure that their employees will have somewhere to return to, once the present
near-total lockdown situation (which may get worse before it gets better) eventually returns to normal..
What immediately struck me on hearing of the scope of these measures, was that in essence, we have a conservative government taking the unprecedented
step of artificially providing a form of universal basic income (UBI) to almost all citizens in the private sector/segments of the economy. Now I
recognise that the entire situation is unprecedented, but it seems remarkably ironic that the greatest ever provision of welfare for the citizens of
the United Kingdom has come from a staunchly conservative government which was voted in with an overwhelming mandate from the British people, who were
resolute on keeping one man in particular out of Downing Street - he who shall not be named, a certain Mr Jeremy Corbyn. And we shall not name him
hereafter, for he is a classic buffoon of the order maximus. He's toxic to members of his own party, let alone the vast majority of the British
public. The last time he was interviewed on BBC television a few days ago, he was chewing on lemons & wasps complaining about something entirely
irrelevant, basically wasting his airtime. Good riddance to a terrorist sponsor communist pillock.
Returning to the topic at hand, what are your thoughts on UBI, and can you recognise the overwhelming evidence of a de facto UBI state existing in the
form of the United Kingdom's response to the Coronavirus outbreak? It seems to me that the nation, and perhaps the Western world at large, may be
ready for a discussion on the matter, if nothing else..
To my mind, I think this situation demonstrates that at least in times of crisis, a plan based around some sort of unifying basic income provision
would be extremely practical, worthwhile & sensible. Perhaps we are moving inexorably towards a nation state which will one day issue basic income to
all citizens, to defend those whom the advance of technology has caused to become derelict & without means of providing an income to their family.
The weight of so many people being edged out of their traditional routes to employment, along with this need to have some sort of structure in place
for times of national emergency (to ensure that all people have a means to obtain the basics such as food, shelter & cash to spend in order to keep
the economy ticking over) - it seems bound to lead to a pragmatic acceptance of a UBI principle which eliminates the costly assessment procedures for
individual 'benefit' provision, by which I mean individual welfare payments on a regular basis.
We have a massive benefit system in the UK, which has helped millions to climb out of poverty, but also has a negative reactionary effects on the
national awareness of that benefit system, due to millions more becoming trapped in poverty, particularly in areas where powerful companies would
employ tens of thousands in industrial activity such as shipbuilding, car manufacture, and harking back a few decades, coal mining too. It's not
exactly class warfare, but there is a great deal of prejudice on both sides of the line, looking down at claimants with no local opportunity for
personal development; and equally looking up & presuming the worst about those who are gainfully employed, professionals, etc.
I can see UBI replacing the complex existing benefit system, but we need a total revision of the shameful & shoddy so-called 'Universal Credit', which
has been developed cynically by heartless & grossly inept, total #wit social engineers, as a means for the state to claw back income from people who
need or deserve it (due to long-term illness, for example).
Universal Basic Income
would need to be launched with a real emphasis on making a clean break from the past #wittery of 'Universal
, which doesn't even function. The government would need to confess that UC was inept & poorly thought out, with no moral compass leading
its way. UBI needs to replace UC cleanly, it needs to be socially responsible, providing sufficient funds to rent private accommodation (with state
mandates on the maximum amounts which can be charged by landlords, to avoid profiteering). It would provide sufficient funds to cover the bills which
come with the accommodation, including WiFi internet access. It would need to provide for local transport. It would need to provide for general
spending levels weighted locally where necessary (eg London). It would need to include a modest amount for normal leisure activities - not much, but
enough for the cinema once a month, or a night out, or a meal in a reasonable establishment. Or, it might cover entertainment packages for TV
streaming, and a takeaway once a month, for those who are disabled & can't get out & about. These measures help keep the economy afloat!
Next comes a discussion of how different career paths will open different salaried top-up amounts to be provided over & above the UBI level of funds a
person would already possess. I guess this means that the employer would pay a percentage of a normal salary to the government (a sort of tax to
provide for UBI) & thereafter they provide a top-up amount as a salary for the employee. So for a family doctor with a UBI of 20,000 tax free (the
amount everyone would get), their top-up salary would provide an amount of £40,000 - taking that tax-free amount up to £60,000. There would
therefore remain plenty of imperative to study, earn qualifications, and top up the UBI amount to excellent levels of income. I suppose there would
be lending arrangements between banks & government, concerning how to charge for mortgages & so forth - beyond my ken, I have no idea exactly how this
would be done, I know only that it technically could
And so there I leave it hanging for you to dissect & debate - how would UBI work? Is the UK demonstrating the characteristics of a UBI economy at
this time of national crisis? What, if any, are the alternatives to a longer-term program of UBI provision, in a technologically advanced society
which still possesses a huge number of workers who have been edged out by technology & carried over into a society where they don't fit? Where they
have no alternatives to welfare or excruciatingly low paid, crappy dead-end jobs? Is UBI a measure that would tide us over until we could figure out
ways to re-employ those people in alternative work arrangements? (I believe it is - it will tide us over until we figure out ways to divert our
economy in interesting & productive ways...) And so, what type of work would the averagely-educated person carry out, in such alternative work
arrangements for the technologically advanced society? Could it involve helping to plan the future economy?
edit on MarchSunday2013CDT03America/Chicago-050046 by FlyInTheOintment because: clarification