Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Bill Mitchell — UBI–the hopeful not the surrender

I have long disagreed with Guy Standing about the solutions to unemployment. 20 years ago we crossed paths on panels and in the literature where he would argue that UBI was the way forward and I would argue that it was a neoliberal plot and that, instead, we needed to push for job creation. My view has always been that to surrender to the neoliberals on their claim that governments cannot generate sufficient jobs to satisfy the desires for work of the unemployed was a slippery slope. Standing continues to publish his fiction. In his latest Social Europe article (January 15, 2020) – Building a progressive alliance in Britain – he seeks to integrate UBI proposals with a recovery plan for British Labour. My view is that would not help Labour recover from the shots they fired into their own feet in the period before the December election by listening to the likes of Standing and those who advocated the Fiscal Credibility Rule and the reneging on the Brexit commitment. Standing’s aversion to job creation is in contradistinction with a recommendation from the Wetenschappelijke Raad Voor Het Regeringsbeleid (WRR or in English, The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy) to the Dutch government to deal with the challenges of achieving “good work”, in part, by introducing a ‘basic job’ which in my parlance means by introducing a Job Guarantee. They are motivated by a deep vein of social science and medical research that extols the virtues of work beyond its obvious income generation qualities. Pushing a UBI in the light of that research is just a pitiful bailout...
Bill Mitchell – billy blog
UBI – the hopeful not the surrender
Bill Mitchell | Professor in Economics and Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), at University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia

7 comments:

Ralph Musgrave said...

Contrary to Bill Mitchell's claim in his opening sentence, UBI is not advocated as a “solution to unemployment”. It’s advocated on the basis (rightly or wrongly) that everyone has a right to abstain from work and get paid a very modest income for doing that.

Given the excessive consumption of the World's natural resources by those who insist on working long hours and earning a lot of money, UBI strikes me as very reasonable.

Andrew Anderson said...

They are motivated by a deep vein of social science and medical research that extols the virtues of work beyond its obvious income generation qualities. Bill Mitchell

Of course work is good!

Mitchell's error is to assume that work requires wage-slavery - it doesn't.

Not only that but wage-slavery often produces negative work - as in wasting people's time producing frivolous items people would not desire to begin with if they were not desperate wage slaves.

Matt Franko said...

“wage-slavery “ is an oxymoron...

Bob said...

"income dependency" is freeeeeeeeeeedom!

Andrew Anderson said...

Someone who depends on wages to live decently is a slave.

Matt Franko said...

Slaves are provided provision by their owners...

Bob said...

If you live in a company town, and they pay you script that can only be redeemed at various company-owned stores, is that slavery?