RE: Universal Basic Income and the Threefold Society
Fantastic Frank - I have been studying UBI for some time and wondered how it sat with social threefolding: "He [Rudolf Steiner] meant that human labor is not an economic factor, but a rights one. That is, that every person has a right to a decent income. So he/she should receive emolument corresponding to their needs rather than the amount or kind of work performed. That was in 1918."
some comments on the UBI article (from a “Libertarian") :
A kind of UBI has already been proposed in the 60ties by the RAND group and also by Milton Friedman: advocated policies such as a negative income tax and school vouchers and opposed the war on drugs and school choice .
A esential issue is how to finance a UBI; in my opinion the most fair would be by taxing the land, Henry George made the argument that a sizeable portion of the wealth created by social and technological advances in a free market economy is possessed by land owners and monopolists via economic rents, and that this concentration of unearned wealth is the main cause of poverty. George considered it a great injustice that private profit was being earned from restricting access to natural resources while productive activity was burdened with heavy taxes, and indicated that such a system was equivalent to slavery—a concept somewhat similar to wage slavery. This is also the work in which he made the case for a land value tax in which governments would tax the value of the land itself, thus preventing private interests from profiting upon its mere possession, but allowing the value of all improvements made to that land to remain with investors.
Steiner on wages: labor is not a commodity nor cost factor but wages should be a contractual distribution between management and workers of common earnings.
With kind regards,
Christoph F. Meier
Horizontes Organicos, srl
Car. Sanchez km 8.5 Sabana Yegua
71000 Azua de Compostela
Though I was especially drawn to this article, I can say that I plan to return to more thorough review of all of the engaging content in this recent issue, Nr. 120.
The history of the question merits a full exposition in response. But, for now, I'll respond briefly with, first, applause and encouragement for your consideration and even unashamed advocacy of the good sense of UBI.
I encountered an examination of this issue in the writings of futurists and social theorists as far back as forty years ago. Since then, it has become increasingly clear that technology could have permitted there to be more leisure time for all and less labor time.
I've always been skeptical of the romantic notions of the dignity of labor, especially as presented in the U.S., where I was born and live. Though, it was clear that the day was coming, there's been very little in the way of vision from the political class in dealing with technology and the fact that we just don't need human beings to do as much of that work.
This lack of vision in the political class has been made worse by a fundamental misunderstanding of the science of political economy found in Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith and in Political Economy, by Smith's contemporary and peer, Jean Baptiste Say. Importantly, they both remarked on the importance of a strong middle class as the source of culture and scholarship, and had concerns about the concentration of wealth.
If we add social Darwinism to a perversion of the science of political economy, we get what we have now: A brainwashed populace and a brainwashed political class with romantic notions of the dignity of labor and gladiator capitalism. The result is the alarming concentration of wealth and income inequality.
So, I say raise the banner of UBI very high indeed. I say it is a concept based on sound and humane science in true political economy.
Dystopian visions. A well implemented universal basic income, brings us one step closer to a vision of the future where our children and the bulk of the human population find themselves moderately comfortable enjoying the fruits and burdens of technological progress. While the children of the very rich are quite literally reaching for the stars.
Of course the underclass and the lumpenproletariats this created will leave those cities, urban sprawls and rural ghost towns, far removed from any semblance of utopia. YOUR children and grandchildren’s children,will be left to blame themselves or each other, as the distance between the rich and poor is widened to that of earth and sky. Man was made mortal , lest we think ourselves gods.
RE: The Forgotten Profit
Thank you for this fine article. Although I have studied history for decades, I never heard of the remarkable Benjamin Lay and I am so appreciative of his courage and tenacity. And thanks again for publishing Southern Cross Review. I enjoy each issue.
For two years I read daily to an old gentleman who had a large anthroposophical library but whose memory had lapsed. We dedicated our reading to the dead. It was a remarkable experience in my life. He often sat on the edge of his seat to listen. His son eventually put him into a home for Alzheimer's care. He died soon after. A great love of my life. I trust we will meet again. Reading this review I felt him close again.
RE: SouthernCrossReview.org Nr. 120
The industrious and indefatigable Frank Thomas Smith in Argentina has produced yet another blockbuster issue of the best anthroposophically oriented cultural web-publication on the planet – Southern Cross Review. Here is his intro/summary/synopsis:
The September-October 2018 issue of SouthernCrossReview.org is now folded neatly on your cyber-doorstep. The “Editor's page” contains two items: an article about the only hope for at least reducing poverty in the world: Universal Basic Income. The other is the play “HeyZeus – A Second Coming in Brooklyn”, or, rather, about it and how to get it.