Sunday, April 17, 2016

Against the universal basic income

I am not in favor of the universal basic income as advocated by Philippe van Parijs in Basic Income And Social Democracy. Within a couple of years, a universal basic income will just be sucked up in land rent and profit, and, since it will be offset by taxes on middle-income workers, it will result in a net upwards redistribution of real spending power, as rents and profits will come from the middle deciles to the top 10 percent of landlords, stockholders, and CEOs. (Much is true also of the $15 minimum wage.)

To have any lasting effect, a universal basic income must be complemented by public ownership of most housing (with some owner-occupied housing) as well as public ownership of basic necessities: electricity generation, water distribution, food, and education.

More importantly, as charity (and charity it will be) from the bourgeoisie, a universal basic income should be morally repugnant to the working class: it is the working class, those who make what money buys, who should be in a position to be charitable (or uncharitable) to the parasitic bourgeoisie.

The only way we're going to have a reasonable standard of living for the working class is to take political and economic power. The bourgeoisie will not, and indeed because of the structure of capitalism, cannot do otherwise than to exploit the working class to the maximum extent politically possible, and to always try to make as politically possible as much exploitation as is materially possible. There is no middle ground.

I'm pleased, however, that bourgeois intellectuals are starting to talk about things like universal basic income and a higher minimum wage. This means they're scared, and the bourgeoisie is nothing if not cowardly. If the bourgeoisie offers a universal basic income, a $15 minimum wage, the working people should take it and demand more. And when the bourgeoisie offers more, take it and demand yet more. And more again, until the working class has it all.

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't thought about that: The true lasting effect of Trump and Sanders in the Presidential race could be an increasingly scared bourgeoisie. "If we don't change something, guys like that are going to win next time!"


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