Goin’ where the weather suits my clothes

On the 9th December, 2016, the Green Institute published the paper Can Less Work be More Fair: a discussion paper on Universal Basic Income and Shorter Working Week. As part of this release Green Agenda will be republishing a number of essay from the paper.

The third paper we are publishing is from Louise Tarrant, “Goin’ where the weather suits my clothes.

How might a Universal Basic Income (UBI) and shorter working hours interact with challenges facing democracy, civil society and community engagement?

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Not Just a Basic Income

On the 9th December, 2016, the Green Institute published the paper Can Less Work be More Fair: a discussion paper on Universal Basic Income and Shorter Working Week. As part of this release Green Agenda will be republishing a number of essay from the paper.

The second paper we are publishing is from Ben Spies-Butcher, “Not Just a Basic Income.

One of the great attractions of Universal Basic Income (UBI) is the breadth of its support. Not only are progressives like Martin Luther King and Eric Olin-Wright strong supporters, but so too are free market advocates like Milton Friedman and tech-savvy entrepreneurs. The libertarian impulse behind a basic income—allowing people to spend money as they see fit and without judgment—creates interesting alliances, but it also potentially conceals important points of difference. Depending on both the level of payment, and the other policies it complements or replaces, a UBI can have radically different implications. A basic income can potentially help break down the stigma and conditionality of many government payments, and improve work incentives and equity. However, where it is used to replace other components of social policy—whether through ‘buying out’ public services or reducing the ‘need’ for fair labour laws and job creation, it may instead serve to entrench the inequalities of a neoliberal world. Continue reading →

Towards an Historical Account of Universal Basic Income

On the 9th December, 2016, the Green Institute published the paper Can Less Work be More Fair: a discussion paper on Universal Basic Income and Shorter Working Week. As part of this release Green Agenda will be republishing a number of essay from the paper.

We start today with Elise Klein’s paper, “Towards an Historical Account of Universal Basic Income.

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a simple idea which has been supported over the centuries by scholars and intellectuals including Thomas More, Thomas Paine, Abraham Lincoln, Henry George, Bertrand Russell, Franklin Roosevelt and Tony Atkinson. Universal Basic Income unconditionally provides every resident (children and adults) of a particular geographic location, a regular and unconditional subsistence wage.

Scholars, activists, and politicians have argued that UBI has radical potential for societies around the world. Reviewing the contemporary literature, there are three main ways UBI has been talked about:

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Building Momentum for Change

Does strategic community organising create and lead sweeping social change? Or does social change momentum arrive from disruptive actions and sweep individuals and organisations along with it? This is the question tackled by US labour, civil rights and immigration rights activist brothers Paul and Mark Engler in This is an Uprising; the answer, of course, is ‘both’. Continue reading →