Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tyler Prochazka — Professor argues for job guarantee over basic income


Universal Basic Income (UBI) is gaining more traction in mainstream discourse, but the academic debate has been heating up for years. One scholar with a sympathetic but critical eye towards basic income still believes it is not the best priority for activists.
Philip Harvey, a professor of law at Rutgers, wrote that a job guarantee could eliminate poverty for a fraction of the cost of UBI — $1.5 trillion less.
Harvey argued in 2006 that the focus on UBI may be crowding out more realistic policies that could achieve the same ends.
“[Basic Income Guarantee] advocates who argue that a society should provide its members the largest sustainable BIG it can afford – whether or not that guarantee would be large enough to eliminate poverty – are on shaky moral ground if the opportunity cost of providing such a BIG would be the exhaustion of society’s redistributive capacity without eliminating poverty when other foregone social welfare strategies could have been funded at far less cost that would have succeeded in achieving that goal.”
When I interviewed Harvey this month, he said his views have largely stayed the same and he still sees a fundamental difference between the advocates of UBI and job guarantee.
“The most important driver of that difference is the inherent attractiveness of the UBI idea. It really is an idea that captures the imagination and admiration of all kinds of interested parties with different kinds of agendas. The job guarantee idea, on the other hand, attracts people who are more into the weeds of policy analysis.”....
Bien
Professor argues for job guarantee over basic income
Tyler Prochazka

43 comments:

Ralph Musgrave said...

Prochazka’s basic argument, i.e. that BIG would crowd out other methods of supporting the unemployed, like JG, is nonsense. Obviously if BIG is too generous, that would be the effect. But for any given total amount spent on BIG and JG, any combination of BIG and JG is possible. I.e. it would be easy to have BIG, which gave those concerned a relatively low income, combined with JG, which gave those doing JG jobs a higher income.

You want to have as many people on BIG as on JG? I can arrange that for you. You want a relatively large number of people on BIG compared to JG with the same TOTAL expenditure. I can arrange that too.

Kaivey said...

That's interesting, Ralph.

Neil Wilson said...

"But for any given total amount spent on BIG and JG, any combination of BIG and JG is possible."

It isn't really possible at all. It's socially unsustainable. Income guarantees are tax side stabilisers - you have to tax away the entire spend impact of the Income Guarantee and that tax has to ultimately fall on workers producing stuff to force them to work longer than they otherwise would need to. So the first thing you have to get rid of is the Income Guarantee from producing workers - either by taxing them, or by making sure your production workers are a slave class outside the Income Guarantee (a pegged currency, 'qualification period', or simply taxing 'talent' which then drives a cascade rise in prices).

Income Guarantees are pure redistribution. But to stop inflation it has to be redistribution of consumption, not recirculation of savings. Ultimately you can't tax the rich enough, because they don't buy that much relatively speaking. (That's actually the problem).

JG on the other hand is a spend side auto stabiliser that is targeted solely at those without a wage. Nobody else is affected by it.

The JG works by transferring the output gap to the currently unwaged. Income guarantees work by transferring the output gap to those who attend Glastonbury so they can buy new wellies, but forgetting to tax sufficiently to free up enough stuff.

Matt Franko said...

“attend Glastonbury so they can buy new wellies, ”

Technical question: what is a ‘wellie’?

andy blatchford said...

Wellies https://www.wellywarehouse.co.uk/mens-wellies I think you call them gum boots?

The Glastonbury festival is notoriously muddy, I can personally attest to that.

Matt Franko said...

Looks like you can get a pair for under 10 pounds?

Not exactly haute couture....

Matt Franko said...

It wouldn’t bother me if those kids got a free 10 pounds for a new pair of rubber boots as needed...

Matt Franko said...

Neil what do you do for a person like this dumped out of a mental ward:

https://mikenormaneconomics.blogspot.com/2018/01/jake-johnson-viral-video-of-hospital.html

She doesnt need "Medicare" she needs more than that she needs basic provision at least... more than wellies for sure...

These people are basically unemployable... also the substance abuse people are often not employable due to safety requirements...

I dont see how a JG is going to help these people directly at all...

Noah Way said...

There aren't enough jobs for a job guarantee to work. And if there were what are people going to do at work? Productive citizens do a lot more than punch a clock somewhere. JG is just another form of control and slave labor.

Matt Franko said...

I think a lot of the current “unemployed’ are actually disabled...

Neil Wilson said...

"I dont see how a JG is going to help these people directly at all..."

Try being more imaginative then.

Does society bother helping disabled people through school? If it does (and it certainly does over here), then why won't society help disabled people with work?

The Job Guarantee is about providing people with a way to commit their X hours a day to the service of others - however much or little they can do.

Neil Wilson said...

"There aren't enough jobs for a job guarantee to work. "

Of course there are.

Work is leisure you get paid to do. Leisure is work you pay to do.

If you have a different conception of work, then perhaps it is time to widen your viewpoint.

Unless you commit your X hours per day to the service of others, others won't commit any time to providing things for you. It's that simple.

The rules of Adam Smith still apply. If you want the specialist farming in the field all week, you have to give them a reason to stay there. Or they'll just use the advanced machinery to finish work on Tuesday.

Neil Wilson said...

"Looks like you can get a pair for under 10 pounds?"

At Glastonbury they are fashion items. If you turned up in £10 wellies, you'd get laughed out of the field.

£200 more likely.

Noah Way said...

"If you want the specialist farming in the field all week, you have to give them a reason to stay there. Or they'll just use the advanced machinery to finish work on Tuesday."

So labor isn't really required. My point exactly.

Does a mother caring for children fall under the JG?

The Puritan work ethic mentality doesn't work any more.

Kaivey said...

Hey, Neil, I can see one way the JG could help the mentality ill, people could be paid to help them. Of course they would have to be supervised by skilled people, and they would probably need to have some training.

Kaivey said...

'Does a mother caring for children fall under the JG?'

According to Steve Grumbine of The Real Progressives, or at least he was discussing it with an MMT academic, yes. Any carer could get it. And artists who work at home if their work doesn't pay enough. It's flexible and it wouldn't be tough.

But I like Ralph's idea as some people are too ill to work.

Calgacus said...

"There aren't enough jobs for a job guarantee to work. "

Stark
Raving
Mad

Really, have JG detractors ever had a job? Or ever employed anyone? Or ever done any task with somebody else? (Psst, that means "division of labor", which means credit debt relations which are cancelled against each other.)

Where did the "job", the agreement come from? Somewhere else than two people or sides agreeing to work toward some goal? That's all a JG is - society deciding to stop behaving in a psychotic manner, stop asking people for something - "money", without giving them a chance to get it when they want it, get it by working for themselves by working for society. The JG = society stopping making logically impossible demands of its members.

In the real world, of course, job guarantees and their logic work very well. The JG is just giving people a real chance, a real choice, real freedom - and history shows that this always works very well. All societies except modern national capitalist ones have always had some kind of JG. The JG is just the return to the norm, a return to common sense & logic.

Magic purses = UBI - don't. Never worked anywhere, never will. All they mean is enslaving some poor bastards to UBI recipients, or more likely just economic destruction through inflation. The best case is that the UBI amount becomes a fee for entering the monetary economy, that it is just one big exercise in playacting - here's a zillion, which the gov just takes right back. Why bother?

Neil Wilson said...

"So labor isn't really required. My point exactly."

I don't think you really got that.

The farmer stops work on Tuesday because by then they have made enough for themselves and their machine makers. They then assert their 'freedom'. You can go to hell and starve.

They aren't going to give up their free time making a surplus so you can have more free time - because there is nothing of value in it for them.

*All* UBI systems rely upon keeping a set of workers in thrall for an entire week. The entire system relies upon a slave class to operate.

Noah Way said...

The slave class is being replaced by machines. We don't need a bazillion farm laborers or stock brokers because of automation. So exactly what jobs are you going to dole out? And at what rate? Are they meaningful jobs, subsidized jobs that someone else profits from, no-show jobs? What if you are self-employed? Sounds like Clinton's workfare to me. You want a benefit? Get to work. At minimum wage.

The problem is the value system. The only thing that matters is money, and *everything* is measured by it. Everyone isn't just going to sit home and eat bonbons in front of the tube on BIG. Most will find productive ways to engage themselves, and they will do it freely, without fear of economic destitution.

Idle hands do the devil's work. I'd argue that the idle hands are those who are concerned with producing wealth via any possible means and cost.

Tom Hickey said...

A lot of physically and mentally disabled people want to work, but it is not cost-efficient for most business to do so, although many firms do so in a token way as "social contribution." A JG would be perfect for the residual. Technically, many of these people are not actually able to work and are therefore exempted. But many would rather be doing something. The JG could be fitted to this as an option for them.

Tom Hickey said...

Does a mother caring for children fall under the JG?

Now that the push is on to capitalize everything, why not?

It would automatically expand GDP, which is based on $ transactions.

Kaivey said...

I hate the puritan work ethic. I put a post out here once on Sharon Beder's book, Selling the Protestant Work Ethic, from Puritan Pulpit to Corporate PR. I can't find it now, but I found this.

Excerpt -

The compulsion to work has clearly become pathological in modern industrial societies. Millions of people are working long hours, devoting their lives to making or doing things that will not enrich their lives or make them happier but will add to the garbage and pollution that the earth is finding difficult to accommodate. They are so busy doing this that they have little time to spend with their family and friends, to develop other aspects of themselves, to participate in their communities as full citizens.
Unless the work/consume treadmill is overcome there is little hope for the planet. The work ethic, and the corresponding respect accorded to those who accumulate wealth, are socially constructed but rapidly becoming dysfunctional for social and environmental welfare. Much has been written about the role of Protestant preachers in the rise of the work ethic but the continued reinforcement of a secular work ethic owes much to literature, particularly self-help books and children's literature of the nineteenth century, which promoted work as a route route to success and a sign of good character.

https://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/secular.html

Detroit Dan said...

Well said Neil, Calcagus, and Tom. Job Guarantee makes much more sense to me.

Calgacus said...

The slave class is being replaced by machines. Not how it's been working out, especially since full employment was abandoned. Slavery to bullshit jobs, working for rich morons has greatly increased since 1970 say.

The fantasy about machines was most clearly refuted in essence by Hilferding a century ago. If the Basic Income is going to "machines", magic robots - and not going to a poor sap who has to work for it, who is thereby being enslaved by the Basic Income recipient and the Omniscient Basic Income Planner - well if it's going to a machine that spits out the desired good at no cost or trouble- then we are charging money for it - why?

So exactly what jobs are you going to dole out?
The question is insane. It is like asking, what should 2 people who I don't know do tomorrow? Any answer but - "anything they ***ing want to do" is ridiculous. JGers don't think they're God. Unlike massah leaving scraps for slave = a UBI or BIG, a JG is not doled out. Two grownups agree on what they will do together, and they each get rewarded for their work, by the product of this work. Of course, what the JGs of the past have done are a good, ample but not "exact" guide.

The problem is the value system. The only thing that matters is money, and *everything* is measured by it. Everyone isn't just going to sit home and eat bonbons in front of the tube on BIG. Most will find productive ways to engage themselves, and they will do it freely, without fear of economic destitution.

Will not happen. Because BIGs, UBIs, magic purses cannot work, have not worked, will not work as advertised. The problem is the value system. BIG social planners and recipients value their idiotic, destructive plan or their time far more than that of the lesser people who are wiping their rear ends while they "productively engage themselves".

Yup, "productive" ways that they can find nobody to pay for, nobody to exchange their labor for in return for their "production". While they expect and demand the other (lesser) people to cater to their whims, to do what they could do themselves, while they "produce".

People who want to take or distribute public money for nothing, AND want to make other people work for it according to their omniscient Plan are the ones who value things correctly, who are not obsessed by money. People who want to be allowed to participate in society, basically being allowed to "employ themselves" in a JG, to do stuff for other people and have other people do stuff for them - are ones who measure everything by money? The BIG UBI has everything backwards, are the tyrannical and unworkable ideas, not the JG.

Idle hands do the devil's work. I'd argue that the idle hands are those who are concerned with producing wealth via any possible means and cost.

The devil's work seems to be people productively contributing to society when they want to and therefore sharing in society's wealth which is thereby increased. A stable system that can, has and will make everyone better off. The "means" and "costs" and the "work" and the "wealth" are all Good Things that people want to have and happen.
Well if that's the devil's work, then "Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name!"

Matt Franko said...

Probably need a bit of both imo...

Calgacus said...

Kaivey - the JG is not about a "protestant work ethic". It is about throwing a rope to someone who is overboard & letting him do the work of getting back. What society does nowadays is to dangle a life preserver on the rope - and then snatch it out of his grasp or kick him back in again, for kicks. And convince itself that this is necessary, natural, beneficial in any way or morally right. What the protestant work ethic and MMT share I guess, and the UBI / BIG doesn't is the idea that things don't magically happen just because you wish for them. This is not a flaw of the PWE or MMT.

Matt Franko said...

“£200 more likely.“

For a pair of rubber boots?!?!?

Subsidy rate shouldn’t support purchase of Veblen goods...

jrbarch said...

The question that springs from reality is: ’what is a human being?’.

Is a human a social construct, or natural? Or both?

If a social construct only, then our goals are whatever we (or any idiot) make them. Long ago that was called illusion, glamour, maya; child’s play. It would be obvious that a human being would tire of materialism, social prestige and influence, job position, ideology, entertainment and needless war.

If a natural construct only, then our goals are within us. Our ‘job’ is within us. The reason why we do seventy laps around the sun is within us.

It’s always and forever a matter of consciousness, a matter of prioritising; then focus, concentration, contemplation, realisation - until we get so in tune with Life, with being alive, with our existence and its beautiful essence, it’s a matter of living. The ‘good’ within drives the personality; not the other way around. The mind is the ‘slayer of the real’.

Within each human being there is a good wolf and a bad wolf. Which one do we go to work and feed? For seventy laps, around the sun .....

Kaivey said...

I'm sure it wouldn't be hard work, and people would enjoy doing it. You would get out and about and meet new people. Recently near me they had a voluntary pick up the litter day. I saw it advertised in a lamp post. I've never seen that before, but I missed it. I bet it was fun.

Tom Hickey said...

According to MMT economists, there is no discontent between the JG and some kind of basic income. The opposition is to UBI to "sell" it. We already have a sort of basic income guarantee. It's called "welfare."

The objective is including the common good and general welfare in the scope of public purpose. There is never a question of including "defense" in the public purpose and there is no limit on defense spending, apparently.

There is no reason not to provision a society is resources are available to do so and there are many ways to do it effectively and efficiently.

I prefer making most welfare distribution of real resources, e.g., health care, education, child care for parents that both chose to work, adequate pensions for seniors, etc. Some cash transfers can also be included but the vital resources that all people require should be provided directly so that all are above the poverty line, at a minimum.

It's also more effective and efficient to have a health society and an educated one than not.

The point is to start at the right place and that is not with money but real resources. Having a job offer is a real resource rather than a money offer, for instance, even though a compensation is involved in it. With a well-designed JG many people would chose to work that don't have to because it benefits themselves and others in non-monetary ways.

Really, it is not all that difficult to formulate multiple design solutions once one defines the design problem correctly.

At present, that is not happening and the debate is off target out of the gate.

Let's back up and consider the common good and general welfare as within the scope of public purpose and start from there.

Tom Hickey said...

Weber makes the point contra Marx that the foundation of capitalism is not the means of production that influence the relations of production, but rather it is the Protestant work ethic.

I would say that both have a point, and a foundation of a gigantic superstructure is built on more than the cornerstone. So, I would say that both are partially correct and also that there is more to it than those two foundational factors.

Tom Hickey said...

The question that springs from reality is: ’what is a human being?’.

This is a foundational questions in philosophy, psychology, sociology, and related disciplines, including a proper approach to economics.

It is as yet undecided based on reasoning and evidence.

But some answers to the question seem to be much too arbitrary, simplistic, or facile to be be taken seriously. Homo economicus and the stimulus-response model of behaviorism come to mind, for example, and they are dominant in some forms of utilitarianism that are influential.

Noah Way said...

" the JG is not about a "protestant work ethic". It is about throwing a rope to someone who is overboard & letting him do the work of getting back"

There it is, Clinton's workfare.

What is overboard? Apparently the JG is only temporary until you get your shitty Walmart job back.

If you have a job at WalMart do you even qualify for the JG? Or does that job get subsidized, making WalMart even fatter? What about a stay-at-home mother raising children - does she "qualify" for JG, and would she have to leave her children in daycare to go do some shit job at low pay? Are those civil service jobs? If they are, won't the existing civil servants (on oxymoron intended) by displaced?

You pompous asses think your imaginary "system" is better than some (any) other yet you provide only pathetically broad platitudes (A chicken in every pot!) without describing how any such system would operate, who would qualify, who would benefit, to what extent, etc., etc., etc.

"BIG social planners and recipients value their idiotic, destructive plan" Nice detailed analysis. It's impossible to take you seriously. Either put up or shut up.

Matt Franko said...

"It is about throwing a rope to someone who is overboard & letting him do the work of getting back"

Well how did the person get 'overboard' in the first place?

Today, they are thrown overboard which is how they get there..

so it doesnt make much sense to throw someone overboard and then create a program to bring them back on board ... instead of not throwing them overboard in the first place...

Matt Franko said...

Ive volunteered at shelters/soup kitchens thru church (dont ask...) and many of the people are suffering some physical or mental hardships and are not very employable...

these people need a BIG.... maybe they could supplement it with some JG work too from time to time as they are able ... but their basic means of subsistence and shelter and healthcare etc is going to have to just be provided... no one should have a problem with that (unless they are libertarian...)


Calgacus said...

Matt Franko: so it doesnt make much sense to throw someone overboard and then create a program to bring them back on board ... instead of not throwing them overboard in the first place...

The "throwing overboard" (it is just a metaphor) is (a) putting someone in a monetary economy (saying "You need Money to live") and (b) not providing then with a job ("Sorry, Charlie, No Money for You!") This doesn't happen in a society with a JG, because it is and always was obviously insane and destructive. (But people forgot that.) But basically, it will happen in any society without a JG.

What I think you are saying is that the state should just ensure that everyone gets a job either through "usual" fiscal spending, that is without a JG program, or through the private sector. This is 60s era fine-tuning. Been there, done that. Doesn't work and can't work because nobody, no authority is or can be that smart. It is like engineering or experimentation without tolerances for error, margins of safety or pretending you have determined some physical constant with infinite accuracy. It is like scheduling your day or your work with no time left over. In a word: Im Possible. The right thing to do is to run a society like everything else is run or engineered: Stop imagining you're God. Spend enough to employ most, say 90%, 95% which will prevent the rat race of inflation. But since it is obviously insane and unjust to disemploy one single person, employ everyone else at what they are good at and want to do. That's a JG.

What people might need is (targeted) "welfare" which every society has always had. A BIG is at best a lousy form of welfare. Societies with full employment have less welfare needs - many with hardships turn out to be able to fend for themselves - if they are only given a half a chance. And they tend to be rather more generous than sick societies that mindlessly disemploy millions.

Everybody's, not just some hardship cases', basic means of subsistence and shelter and healthcare are provided by somebody else. That's what living in a society means. Part of the work of JGs, of full employment is provision of these things free or at a reasonable cost - providing a non-monetary universal basic income. It's monetary UBI BIGs that are insanely stupid and evil.

Calgacus said...

1

Calgacus:" the JG is not about a "protestant work ethic". It is about throwing a rope to someone who is overboard & letting him do the work of getting back"

Noah Way:There it is, Clinton's workfare.

Really? Throwing a rope to people, doing things that take trivial effort to save a person's life = not being sadistic. You may need that guy to throw a rope to you some day. Systems without a JG are sadistic. It may be news to some, but the good things that the human race enjoys - come from the work of the human race. No work, no good things. If that is "workfare" - well, welcome to real life. That's the way it is for everybody else, the way it is for humanity (& animality, and the biosphere etc) as a whole. Mommy won't and can't provide Baby with nice things forever, as BIG dreamers dream. Baby can't get something for nothing his whole life, or at least all Babies together can't. Mommies are human beans too.

The JG just stops randomly selected people from being scapegoats who are thrown overboard, who sadists and lunatics then prevent from getting back in the boat. The JG just lets people who want to, join in the work of the world. What on earth is not to like about that? What reason is there against that, other than (a) sadism or (b) incorrect and illogical "economic reasons"?

What is overboard? Apparently the JG is only temporary until you get your shitty Walmart job back.

Non sequitur. JG jobs are not shitty and are NOT TEMPORARY. With a JG, with full employment, shitty jobs, say those involving shit, will probably pay more than the JG wage.

If you have a job at WalMart do you even qualify for the JG?

Yes, for the umpteenth time, everyone qualifies for the JG. The Walton heirs qualify for the JG, like everyone else. Why on earth would there be qualifications for the JG? I think that one thing that the MMT economists could do to clarify their proposal is to say that yes, they would sign up for JG work. I certainly would.

Or does that job get subsidized, making WalMart even fatter?
Avoiding this kind of thing is one of the many reasons for the JG. A JG gives a floor of how bad a job is, and does not funnel public money to the wealthy as to give a pretend pittance to the poor. By the way, thinking of the JG as "subsidized work" indicates misunderstanding of even the mechanics of MMT. Thinking about things exactly backwards in the mainstream way. The JG workers are subsidizing the public by their work, not vice versa

Calgacus said...

2

What about a stay-at-home mother raising children - does she "qualify" for JG, and would she have to leave her children in daycare to go do some shit job at low pay? Are those civil service jobs? If they are, won't the existing civil servants (on oxymoron intended) by displaced?
Such things are political decisions for each society, dependent on conditions and on other social systems. Yes, stay-at-home mothers might qualify for JG work. After the Second World War, such things were very widespread in Europe, called Children's Allowances or the like. Of course classic US welfare AFDC is similar. Theda Skocpol has pointed out that the USA had a major welfare state system based on mother's and veteran's pensions, before Bismarck's Germany, usually taken as the beginning. On the civil service point, the JG wage will be lower, and the skill mix different. They aren't intended to replace what is already being done, but to add to it. Yes it might take some central control to avoid some displacement. It is not an impossible job, and the New Dealers who confronted such problems did a creditable one. The main problem IIRC was local politicians wanting to keep their locales under their thumb. Again, the point of the JG is to not do the perfect thing, as that could be defined, done or understood. It is to get stuff done by doing things. It is to stop doing insane things - have unemployment, have poorly paid shitty jobs or to degrade and humiliate people who want to share in the work of the world by giving them table scraps - the BIG. And subjecting them to anal probes to show they deserve the Basic Income table scraps, which is what welfare without full employment always does and must turn into.

You pompous asses think your imaginary "system" is better than some (any) other yet you provide only pathetically broad platitudes (A chicken in every pot!) without describing how any such system would operate, who would qualify, who would benefit, to what extent, etc., etc., etc.

Again, everyone qualifies. The system is not imaginary, but something seen in almost every human society. Just as the UBI - has never been seen anywhere as an organizing principle of any society. MMT & the JG just amount to understanding modern monetary societies as well as premodern societies understood themselves. In the USA, the New Deal work programs were an enormous test of MMT JG ideas and systems. The postwar full employment era was an even bigger one. Both were resounding successes. Who would and did benefit: everyone. In particular, the worst off workers and their dependents, because the most basic idea was that the last should be first. If you're talking about the wage - it doesn't really matter all that much, because a JG puts a society on a labor standard - which all societies always have been, but this fact wasn't so clearly understood, so irrational policies were instituted. Just as incorrect medical theories led to bleeding and purging. A JG hour of labor will always be equal to one hour of labor. If you try to pay more, say if the initial JG wage is set at 1 million per hour, then there would be initial inflation etc and then the stabilization properties would kick in. And it would work out that the low paid or JG worker would end up getting something like an hour of labor in return for his hour of labor, which is a lot better than people get now, and buys a lot of good stuff in a modern society.

Noah Way said...

So-called "full" employment (as low as 3% unemployment in the 1950's) corresponded with high poverty rates (over 20%). So it's a bit disingenuous to use this as an example of some kind of success.

Not that it really matters, as Trump has a better chance of becoming the next Pope than either UBI or JG does of happening in the US.

jrbarch said...

For me (besides keeping this body alive and healthy) the ‘job’ of a human being is to become more conscious. It has been that way since according to some, we dropped out of the foliage. When we are learning, growing, expanding as human beings, becoming more aware - it feels good. It feels absolutely perfect. It doesn’t matter how many sheep stations you own or control; or how many trips you have made to the Moon. Money too, has got nothing to do with it. There is a part of you that is forever detached from all of that, including the societal positions and ambitions of the Age in which you find yourself. You are you. Our job, as human beings, is to grow. Just like a plant puts down roots, nourishes itself, blossoms, fruits, and sends out its absolutely unique aroma into the pure air. Find me someone who understands that - and I don’t care if they are a politician, economist, or child on the street. They will do ‘good’. From one simple understanding …..

Based on experience. Not theory.

In the self is stored up every treasure a human being can discover. It already exists. It is there waiting to unfold. Let the heart rule and you will find all of the problems that mind creates, just vapourise. They always were vapour; mist until the sun comes out. Let the theorists theorise that.

Mind is a fire; both servant and foe. In the mind is the ‘I’ – wishing to have its selfish way. With the last breath mind discovers that it is impotent, and the ‘I’ (a wave in the mindstuff) is broken like a pencil. It can write its story no more. Besides, there are billions and billions of such stories come and gone on this earth, and they all fade into the mist. All conflict begins in mind. ‘I’ fights ‘I’ – and yet they too are vapour. No one is your enemy and no one your friend (Kabir). Kabir says we should wake up from our conflicts and enjoy being alive. Only the heart persists – taking all of its treasures with it on its way back home. >Cue the story of the monkey walking down the road, picks up a diamond, chews on it, scratches his monkey head, and throws it far away<.

And so the world goes around …. The ‘I’ seeks revenge and we like good little robots allow that to happen.

Noah Way said...

Right. So what's your program for a JG? Broad strokes, not platitudes.

Tom Hickey said...

There are many ways that a JG could be structured and if the debate turned in that direction, some of them would be on the table. Now we are still in the denial phase.

One set of options could by a JG where the baseline is unskilled labor, with different scales that address different levels of skills in order to get all real resources in use all the time. This would also prevent skill deterioration.

Calgacus said...

Right. So what's your program for a JG? Broad strokes, not platitudes.

If this is meant for me, I honestly do not understand what you are calling platitudes, nor what is wrong with repeating platitudes. What matters to me is truth or falsity, not platitudinosity. So many economic ideas are so wrong that "platitudes" and plenty of them are what is needed to counter them. It is equally unclear to me what kind of "broad strokes" you want. I started answering more specific questions "how any such system would operate, who would qualify, who would benefit, to what extent, etc., etc., etc." above.

My point is that "my" program, nor anybody else's doesn't matter all that much. What matters is that there be a JG program that deserves the name. The New Deal programs were close enough that one can use them as a model, to imitate and as a demonstration of the social and economic effects. And I strongly disagree that bringing up the New Deal or postwar full employment era experience is in any way disingenuous. As they become more distant, the lies and distortions of their history have become more bold and absurd and more important to counter.

Often people suggest "improvements" to the basic JG idea - a fixed wage job offer to anyone - that at best focus on unimportant details but just as often actually detract from the purposes and effectiveness of the JG. Thus another occasion to repeat some simple platitudes (and to provide evidence why the detail is unimportant, why KISS is best). That a JG program is necessary for a decent society should be an accepted platitude -- but it is not yet.