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Thoughts on Basic Income from Guy Standings recent writing

The Precariat Facebook Page posts recent writing by Guy Standing who is a cofounder of BIEN, Basic Income Earth Network. In two recent articles Guy elucidates three different aspects of Basic Income-a new distribution system, a new understanding of the distinctions between labour and work and equal basic security.

The first article is Basic Income: A progressive road out of austerity (18 September 2018) - see link.

In many discussions people recognise that a new distribution system is essential. Our present society has morphed into a system where there is a huge gap between those few who are wealthy and the many who experience poverty. Guy Standing writes: “Sooner or later it will be seen that the only sensible way of reducing the widespread economic insecurity is by gradually building up a basic income as an anchor of a new distribution system. It is no panacea, and must be built alongside better public services and supplementary benefits for those with special needs.”

The second article is How the Precariat - and UBI - can stop neoliberalism from destroying the planet (31 October 2018) - See link

Up until now ‘jobs’ have been given a priority as it was seen that putting more people into jobs was a progressive strategy, as this offered people the best route out of poverty. The ancient Greeks saw ‘jobs’ or labour as being unworthy of the citizen. Greek society was hierarchical and sexist, but their distinctions between labour and work, and between leisure (schole) and recreation, are vital for defining the good life to which we aspire. A new economy and political system should promote work that is not resource-depleting and encourage leisure in the ancient Greek sense of schole, the pursuit of knowledge and meaning, rather than endless consumption. Society must reconceptualise work, to develop a new politics of time, and to decommodify education so that it revives its original purpose of preparing young adults for citizenship.

Thirdly both articles emphasis how important it is for everyone to have basic security. In Guy;’s words: “A Good Society would be one in which everybody, regardless of gender, age, race, religion, disability, and work status, has equal basic security. Basic security is a human need and a natural public good, since, unlike a typical commodity, one person’s having it does not deprive others of it”.

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