The title is a misnomer really, but Elizabeth Kolbert’s article does clarlify indirectly why my ‘basic income’ solution never caught on. The search for technological solutions is dangerous, as Ms Kolbert explains in ‘Looking for the next Fix’. But she also gives clues as to why my ideas were just too difficult to popularize..
Most of Elizabeth Kolbert’s artcile is a reiteration of just how dire is the threat of ecological damage.
But I still claim that my original logic still holds good, but how to make them acceptable to whole populations is still an issue.
The logic all along has been, and still is simple
In my ‘Page’ entitled Core Phiposophy. I refer to a strategy which I found in Poverty and Progress, by Richard Wilkinson. A so-called ‘primitive tribe, with only stone age technology, had found a way of giving all members of the tribe
an identity of interest in dealing with ecological limits.
This could be achieved in a modern state by a range of taxes based on the ecological footprint of current resource use.
But the difficulty is that in a modern state, such taxes would be frightening, especially so in a society used to relying on economic growth. Therefore such taxes could only be introduced at the same time as an assurance of basic needs.
This logic made sense when growth was first identified as a ‘future‘ problem. but we now have a whole series of warnings, indeed actual occurrences that ecological damage has already started. But an aggravating factor is that no individual, or society can afford to be at a disadvantage. There must be a world-wide reliable treaty.
One consequence of this strategy which is not immediately obvious is that it would allow individuals to downsize individually, without putting themselves at a disadvantage.: This should – logically – lead to Kate Raworth’s ‘soft landing’ as per her Doughnut. But this will not work as long as growth continues to be the norm.
I suggested such a strategy when I joined the newly-formed Green Party, but then it was premature – psychologically. But now, with the threat being imminent?
The Green Party remains the most natural home for such a manifesto promise. If only..