In the video below, Rutger Bregman as part of a TEDx Maastricht talk, informs us of the validity of a single idea that links Thomas Paine and Milton Friedman.
Bregman argues for the universal dispersion of the basic income, as a human right. His opening argument is based upon the notion of standing on the shoulders of giants. ‘Our forefathers have worked so hard to achieve our level of propserity, we should now be able to give everyone a share of that prosperity…’
He argues that in communities where basic income experiments have been attempted, the outcome can be measured in better educational achievement, lower truancy rates, and higher economic growth. Developing an active, participatory counter to inequality.
In a disenfranchised community, he argues, a basic income frees human capacity…it does not diminish it or whither it out of laziness or lack of engagement in societal progress.
Nixon, in the 1970’s nearly passed legislation that engendered the basic income in the US, arguably at the cost of only 25 per cent of the US Defense Budget. A development now long forgotten in US economic thinking.
The London charitable experiment, cited in the film, to give long term homeless men free money, as an alternative to counselling, police monitoring and other forms of ‘traditional’ support also resulted in a variety of sustainable self help outcomes that was, by conventional critiques of ‘the benefit society’, surprising and enduring.
Bregman argues against the three most often made arguments for a universal ‘citizen wage’. It’s too expensive, all people will stop working and it will never happen, politically. The film highlights both optimism, human nature and the individuals need to make a contribution to society as counters to these narrow objections.
- The Green Party have argued for the universal wage in their UK manifesto at the last election. Is this an idea that can stand a return to wider national focus?
- Might this economic reform be the very bedrock of enduring and effective educational reform too?
- Might the introduction of a universal, non-means tested income prevent the collapse of the middle -class through the unending pressure of inequality?
You can visit the web site http://basic-income.org/ and cast a vote for the universal basic income.