A reader pointed out the other day that a good idea remains a good idea even if bad people advocate it. This was in relation to my blog – Why are CEOs now supporting basic income guarantees?. It reprised an issue that has a long history in culture and the arts. Should we hate Wagner because it was symbolic for the Nazis? What about the work of Budd Schulberg who produced the screenplay for ‘On the Waterfront’ but was simultaneously dobbing people into the House Un-American Activities Committee? There are countless examples of this sort of quandary, or not, depending on your viewpoint. As I wrote in the earlier blog (cited abive), I am always suspicious when the elites advocate something. It is not just a taste for Wagner they are articulating. Generally, they are advocating further pathways that they can shore up their control and power. Which means bad things for the rest of us! The BIG is one of those pathways and it leads to impoverishment and an on-going capitalist domination. A basic income guarantee is not a path to nirvana – I see it as just a neo-liberal strategy for serfdom without the work....Ccapitalism is not as much about private ownership of the means of production as it is about favoring capital, that is, ownership of real and financial assets, over the other factors of production — labor, that is, workers, and land, that is, the environment.
Capitalism is about capital accumulation and this occurs through expropriation and exploitation of workers and the environment by means of the application of power and control.
In democratic republics, the people have the opportunity to confront this through the electoral process. But they have to know what the alternatives are and how to proceed. Presently, they are being kept in the dark and misled.
MMT shows what some of the economic options are and how they would work to produce an economic system in which the factors of production are integrated harmoniously, with the top priority being people and the planet.
I know that BIG-toting progressives will respond and say their intent is different to Friedman’s. Sure enough. But structures are structures.
The BIG is very susceptible to neo-liberal manipulation. Once you abandon the narrative that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure full employment and agree that all the government is required to do is guarantee a bare existence then the slippery slope has been erected.
A moment’s reflection tells us that the CEOs and their lobbying organisations typically oppose any form of social assistance being provided by governments, in the same way, they tend to oppose wage rises.
Capital-labour conflict remains a central dynamic in our societies and only naivety would lead one to conclude it will go away, or rather, be ‘outside’ this dynamic by giving the unemployed a bare minimum BIG.
Once those who were formerly workers – in direct opposition to capital – become meagre consumption units, then the balance of power is tilted further towards capital....Bill Mitchell – billy blog
A basic income guarantee is a neo-liberal strategy for serfdom without the work
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia