With all this talk of millions turning to food banks and the real employment problem that remains behind the superficially rosy picture, why aren’t the dots being joined
With all this talk of millions turning to food banks and the real employment problem that remains behind the superficially rosy picture, why aren’t the dots being joined? Why, in other words, aren’t people coming up with the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income all on their own?
Here’s my summation of what I take to be the current state of affairs:
1) People are hungry, parents often forgoing food for themselves in order to feed their kids;
2) There is not enough work to go around (three to five of new jobs that have been created are classed as ‘self-employed’). This lack of employment opportunities is especially pronounced in places where the current need for food is highest and people are hungriest.
3) As a consequence of there not being enough work, sufficient income is not going to be gained by work (therefore, wages out-stripping inflation isn’t going to have much positive effect on the prospects of the unemployed).*
4) Sanctions and limitations on welfare payments are only going to exacerbate this issue – when all money is cut off, people will have no choice but to be even more reliant on food-banks and other emergency, non-governmental support.
5) If we find people having to queue for food-banks and emergency handouts a disgrace, unbecoming for the sixth richest nation in the world,
6) People still need an income that isn’t going to come thru work that is not there,
Then we have to introduce
7) An Unconditional Basic income.
By giving a certain amount of money to every eligible adult in the UK, regardless of whether they can find work or not, people can buy their own food, be freed from the terrible anxiety of wondering where their next meal is coming from and take control of their life again.
The truth is this: there shouldn’t be a single article in newspapers or on websites about poverty that don’t also advertise basic income as the way out of this situation. Once the dots are joined – and the refutations against the naysayers deployed – the push for basic income will soon look like the common sense and basic humanity that it is.
* Note also that the CPI (Consumer Priced Index) which is used to measure changes in the price level of a market basket of consumer goods and services purchased by household, does NOT include housing – a massive chunk of most household costs.
Photo Courtesy of Andreas Andrews