A no-strings basic income? If it works for the royal family, it can work for us all

Published on The Guardian, by John O’Farrell, Jan 7, 2015.

A living wage for all of us, whether we’re in work or not, could rebalance the economy and create a generation of entrepreneurs.

y first response to the notion of a universal basic income (UBI) was: “Well, really. That is never going to happen! I mean, it’s completely unaffordable. I mean, it would be political suicide for any progressive party suggesting it.” And then I may have started to froth at the mouth slightly and ask if it would be paid to refugees … //

… Vitally, it would begin to redress the chronic imbalance in today’s labour market. There’s a reason why call centre workers sound so miserable when they claim to be sharing really exciting news about your phone tariff. Since the decline of the unions, workers have been increasingly powerless to refuse longer hours and less money, with only the food bank to fall back on if they walk away from an exploitative job. With a guaranteed state income to keep the wolf (or Wonga) from the door, employees would regain the bargaining power to demand civilised working conditions and reasonable rates of pay. In a flexible labour market with millions of short-term contracts, this might be a more effective lever than attempting to unionise Uber drivers (whose membership subs would only be undercut by a new union startup operating online).

Meanwhile the rest of us could feel confident that beggars had no reason to approach us on public transport. We wouldn’t have to do that thing where we shake our heads and pretend we haven’t see them at the same time. Overnight, our labyrinthine system of benefits and tax credits would disappear along with an army of benefits snoopers and all the stigma of signing on, with its degrading culture of blame and humiliation for those at the bottom of the pile.

For all the apparent expense of the UBI, we would save the small fortune that the state currently spends mopping up the mess of social problems caused overwhelmingly by chronic poverty.

Of course, there are complex reasons for increasing homelessness, for bulging prisons, for growing mental health problems – but desperate financial pressure is a major factor in all of them. Every decade sees us spending increasing billions trying to tighten the lid of the boiling cauldron. It might be so much cheaper just to turn down the temperature a bit.

(full text).


Male-dominant migrant wave threatens Europe’s gender equality, on RT, Jan 8, 2016: as European nations continue to accept thousands of refugees, officials are failing to consider that most young adults entering are males, a fact that could have a huge impact on gender equality, says Valerie Hudson, professor at Texas A&M University; (my comment: may be this is the latest moment to learn women a spirit of self-defence, instead of this childish victimhood we all are asked to learn … sustaining a male imagined feminity. Any real change has to begin in our head … what about this: all attacked women (and their eventual companions) fight TOGETHER against a crowd of attackers … at least they would pay also their due – Heidi);

Why Do the Left and Right Love Putin? on ZNet (first on teleSUR english), by Vincent Emanuele, Jan 8, 2016; (my comment: WHY? the answer is easy, dear Vincent Emanuele: not all of us Europeans are USA-brainwashed, we want live with other Europeans and Asians on our big continent in a way which is not war. Love is not necessary, but respect, yes. The US-war against Putin serves only the interests of US elites, not at all European ones – Heidi);

Mobs and Counter-Mobs: Pitfalls, Prejudice and the Cologne Sexual Assaults, on Spiegel Online International, a commentary by Sascha Lobo, Jan 8, 2016:
the events in Cologne were perpetrated by a sexist criminal mob – and have triggered the rise of racist digital mob in response. The incident has shown that much of the public doesn’t care much about sexual violence, unless it comes from foreigners;

Chapo Guzman’s Capture Distracts from Mexico’s Economic Crisis, on teleSUR english, Jan 8, 2016;

What if the rapture of the nerds brings Marx’ revolution? on Ozy, by SANJENA SATHIAN, Jan 06, 2016;

Boardroom Quotas: The Slow Pace of Gender Equality in Corporate Germany, on Spiegel Online International, by Susanne Amann, Dinah Deckstein and Ann-Katrin Müller, Jan 6, 2016:
Germany’s statutory gender quota for supervisory boards took effect at the beginning of the year, yet the ratio of women to men is still alarmingly low. Many companies don’t even seem to realize that the new law applies to them;

Cuba’s Revolution Enters New Phase, on teleSUR english, Dec 31, 2015: as Cuba’s Revolution celebrates 57 years since rebels forced out the U.S.-backed regime of Fulgencio Batista, the country is deep into a process of normalizing relations with the United States. Cubans are hopeful that the changes on the island will improve upon the country’s important gains, while also reducing the impacts of U.S. hostility and interference;

The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence, a path to personal, social and global coherence, 7.19 min, uploaded by HeartMathInstitute, The Spiritual Heart – is in a way a little like a smart phone, invisibly connecting us to a large network of information. It is through an unseen energy that the heart emits that humans are profoundly connected to all living things. The energy of the heart literally links us to each other. Every person’s heart contributes to a ‘collective field environment.’ This short video explains the importance of this connection and how we each add to this collective energy field. The energetic field of the heart even connects us with the earth itself;

Wie beeinflusst das Internet die Gesellschaft – Aussage eines Wissenschaftlers, 3.32 min, von 7777Funki am 28. Juli 2014 hochgeladen. Kerngedanke dahinter: es gibt eine grundlegende Machtverschiebung vom Anbieter zum Nachfrager, in allen Bereichen der Gesellschaft. Das liegt an der Systemarchitektur: hohe Netzwerk-Verdichtung, hohe Spontanaktivität, hohe kreisende Erregungen im Netzwerk = alle 3 zusammen haben die Tendenz, sich selber hochzuschaukeln. Die Menschen haben das für sich entdeckt. Lineare Vorhersagen für Resonanzmuster im System sind nicht mehr möglich, oder nur mit Empathie = Macht liegt beim Nachfrager / beim Bürger = das heisst: bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich Geduld.

… and this:

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