Citizens’ Income: the Blog

This is the launch of my blog on the Citizens’ Income. The original post on 4th October was meant to be a draft, but apparently I hit ‘publish’ by mistake. From now on I intend to post  weekly, normally on a Friday night, starting on the 2nd November. I shall discuss various aspects of the Citizens’ Income as covered in my book, but including further ideas – these always evolve. But an important purpose is that instead of railing impotently at the TV or radio, as some news item to which the CI is relevant crops up without any mention of it, you will find it here.

The most urgent point now is to give advance notice of two events. On Saturday 3rd November I have been invited to speak at a conference organized by the Socialist Party

Initially I warned the organizers that a) I was not speaking on behalf of the Green Party, and b) They would not like everything I said. That is true, but the main feature of my talk will be the graph shown above, from page 88 of Dynamic Benefits: towards Welfare that works (2009) Economic Dependency Working group, Centre for Social Justice

This graph, incredibly in a publication commissioned by Ian Duncan Smith, shows clearly what I have been saying for 40 years – that the withdrawal of benefits through means testing is a disguised, but very real tax on low incomes. Having made a compelling case for a Citizens’ Income (no mention of it of course), the report’s recommendations are weak, and the government’s proposals bear little relation, despite the phrase ‘Universal Credit’. Among my wildest dreams is a vision of ‘scroungers’, in their thousands, marching through central London carrying placards quoting Dynamic Benefits:

“Those who avoid entering the labour market due to the withdrawal of benefits are not scroungers, they are making a rational decision”

Too much to hope for after all these years?

The other event is a launch of my book by the Green Economics Institute. Final details to follow, but it will be in Reading on 14th December

4 responses to “Citizens’ Income: the Blog

  1. There seems to be a current debate about employers paying a living wage, with some companies in London signing up for it, I would be interested on your views about it…

    • Per se, the Citizens’ Income is drastically redistributive, but it allows some ideas to make sense which are quite rightly condemned as oppressive without it. In a steady state economy employers should be given as much help as possible to create as many jobs as possible. The minimum wage is unnecessary with a CI because no one has to take a job which is not worth their while. What matters to a nemployee is how much s/he gets, not who pays it.

    • On re-reading Toby’s question on the living wage, I think my reply was incomplete. Long term I stand by my reply, but until the Citizens’ Income is a realistic possiblity, then the living wage approach is the only feasible option, even though in a recession it must risk reducing the number of jobs available. I used to think that the CI could be introduced a lot sooner than most people thought. I now accept that the ‘thought experiment’ period may take some time.

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