Working on transition

People going to work“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The things that have gotten many people anxious about our current paradigm of economics is that we don’t know where we’re going in the future. The world economy is still extremely slow and countries such as France are falling back into recession. Husky City has more or less laid out the main goal of a resource based economy… but how do we get there? Every little thing helps to make the transition. Such as being aware of planned obsolescence, buying only what you need, growing your own food, producing your own electric, become independent from oil, etc. But what we need are huge steps to work towards. Perhaps if we looked at achieving those goals, then we may be able to achieve a full resource based economy.

Two things come to mind. Perhaps we can drastically reduce unemployment and very well may eradicate poverty in developed countries. The two are, and they could work well together, is adopting a universal basic income and reducing work hours per week.

Universal Basic Income (UBI)/Guaranteed Minimum Income(GMI):       “I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.” Martin Luther King, Jr. was definitely on to something here.  But could it be that simple to eradicate poverty? It sounds like such an expensive program. How is the government able to afford that? Argh! Well, depending on the amount of money needed, for a family of four that could be at least $23,000/yr (based on the US poverty guidelines  2011). Based on the US population of 300million and assuming everyone was part of a 4 member family, that could work out at $172.5 billion!! Now that is expensive. However, it’s actually quite small compared to the annual budget for social security which is a staggering $736.1 billion. So why isn’t this idea being tried? It will easily make people on the left happy by getting rid of poverty and we’d have a more equal society. It will make libertarians happy as it will give individuals more freedom with their money and it will make people on the right happy as it will dismantle some of the other social programs such as food stamps, welfare, social security, and unemployment benefits. Speaking of unemployment, there is a way of drastically lowering that rate.

The case for a 21 hour work week:  “The conventional wisdom says that in periods of hard times, such as what we’re going through, what we need to do is double down and work harder because we’re poorer. That’s the standard view, but it’s a fallacy,” says Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology at Boston College. She continues, “One thing about working hours is that is one of the most powerful levers for making transformational change in the system and one of the most, I think, under-appreciated ones.” Having a 21 hour work week alongside having a UBI would be a great thing for society. Jobs that are needed for at least 40 hours a week can be split by two people and that would automatically bring down unemployment. Everyone will have money at their disposal and actually have some purchasing power. We will have much more free time to work on our hobbies, spend time with our families and most important is to relax and de-stress. But of course there are always kinks in any system and this is why we need a healthy debate about the issues.

For more information on the initiatives for a basic income and a 21hr work week, follow the links below:

Washington Post – How about a universal basic income?

Wikipedia – Basic Income Guarantee

Business Insider – Universal Basic Income

New Economics Foundation – 21 Hours

About Time – 21 hours

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2 responses to “Working on transition”

  1. michael e. v. knight says :

    Our goal at Hybrid ($/No $) Co-op Communities is to have a 20 hour work week: https://www.facebook.com/groups/224148967647327/

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