Continuing our series on UBI: In this essay, republished from the Green Institute’s ‘Can Less Work Be More Fair?’ discussion paper on Universal Basic Income and a shorter working week, Professor Greg Marston argues that a UBI and shorter working week could play an important role in creating the conditions for a sustainable and equitable ‘good life’.
In this essay, republished from the Green Institute’s ‘Can Less Work Be More Fair?’ discussion paper on Universal Basic Income and a shorter working week, Professor Jon Altman argues that a new Basic Income scheme has the potential to deliver remote living Indigenous people forms of alternative economy.
The employment situation in remote Indigenous Australia is a disaster. Even the optimistic spin peddled by the Turnbull government’s latest annual Closing the Gap report delivered in early 2016 (1) notes that only three in ten Indigenous adults in remote Australia are in work resulting in high welfare dependence, poverty and in some situations social dysfunction associated with inactivity. For many young people who experience even higher levels of unemployment, there is a deep sense of anomie and hopelessness about future prospects.
Reclaiming social value, not just material pricing
Arguments for a Universal Basic Income in Australia face particular local cultural, economic and social pitfalls. Unlike many other western style democracies, the Australian welfare system of payments is noncontributory
(i.e. paid out of general tax revenue), and we have no tradition of public equity entitlements.
Responding to Tim Hollo’s article Towards Ecological Democracy Steven Liaros suggests cities as a space in which we can achieve ecological democracy. But doing so will require significant changes to the way we live in urban settlements.
In Towards Ecological Democracy, Tim Hollo calls for the re-framing of the Greens political project around the principle that ‘everything is connected’. He argues that:
“We urgently need to articulate and build “ecological democracy” as something distinct [from social democracy and liberal democracy] – a radical political vision of deep interconnection and interdependence and of resilience in diversity. It is an enabling and nurturing politics for people and the planet, supporting people and communities to find their own way together.”
This article supports the call to reframe green politics and seeks to expand on Hollo’s suggestion that the concept of The Commons could be a guiding principle for an ecological democracy. Hollo draws on David Bollier and describes ‘The Commons’ as much more than a pasture open to all as suggested by Garrett Hardin in The Tragedy of the Commons. Instead, it is the combination of a resource, plus a community that shares that resource, plus the set of social protocols for managing the resource.
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: