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The Forum > Article Comments > Precarious, unsafe and socially inadequate > Comments

Precarious, unsafe and socially inadequate : Comments

By John Tomlinson, published 23/2/2017

What do we want, precarious, unsafe and socially inadequate employment, poverty, categorical- means-tested welfare and downward envy or a universal basic income?

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A universal basic income to replace medicare, social security and education is a fabulous idea. It just needs to be gauged around housing and land area, so if a man is unemployed he has enough land to provide his own food and water, etc.
Posted by progressive pat, Thursday, 23 February 2017 9:47:47 AM
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Hi Pat,

Yes, if the only people who worked were those with some sort of pathological craving, some obsession, with doing something, then the rest of us could live off the taxes they would be required to pay. Sweet ! So how much would you like fortnightly for the rest of your life ?

But you raise the spectre of effort, when you write that '...... if a man is unemployed he has enough land to provide his own food and water, etc.'

You need to realise that such a proviso sort of defeats the purpose of a workless life, don't you think ?

Seriously, contra Tomlinson, ways have to be found for every able-bodied person to be gainfully employed, or generating their own income from utilising their skills some other way. One section of society having to carry another, has never really worked equitably anywhere, and it usually is disastrous for the non-workers if they had to fill in another eight or ten hours every day with some sort of activity.

It would be great if someone with courage did some extensive research comparing the experiences of, say, a hundred workers, and a hundred non-workers, in germs of their role-modelling effect on the education of their kids, on their health, levels of domestic violence, use of grog and drugs, level of involvement with petty crime, etc. Perhaps also, in the long-term, on their life-expectancy, morbidity and hospitalisation, dependence on pharmaceuticals, etc. Do you reckon their would be measurable differences, and in which direction - would workers suffer the negative effects of work, if there were any, OR would the non-workers suffer more from the effects of idleness ? But of course for a shorter time, since their life expectancy would be so much shorter ?

But of course, we don't need to take valuable time doing some longitudinal research - we have a real-life human experiment before our eyes: remote Aboriginal communities, versus, say, urban, working Aboriginal populations in, let's say, Sydney. That would control for much of the 'Aboriginal' factor. What do you reckon you might find ?
Posted by Loudmouth, Thursday, 23 February 2017 10:15:54 AM
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A UBI is a bit like cutting company tax rates: it is an extremely expensive way of meeting an objective that could more easily be met by much cheaper means.

It also runs the risk of encouraging more people to give up finding work, so reducing the number of people who are paying for it and thus increasing the burden on the rest.

You acknowledge it's "one of many alternatives" so why are you so obsessed with that one rather than the others?
Posted by Aidan, Thursday, 23 February 2017 10:20:11 AM
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Ho hum, more economic illiteracy from the infantile squalling retards of the left.

Why not just make everything "free", John? Think how socially adequate that would be!
Posted by Jardine K. Jardine, Thursday, 23 February 2017 11:10:47 AM
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I see several problems with UBI, because the author wants it to be administered by the state. Yet if as Pat suggests, it will replace Medicare, social-security, education and may I also add IR-laws, then it can be quite good on balance. Still, I rather see the UBI administered by a charity, so that we are allowed to open our hearts and express our goodwill to our fellow-humans, this while compulsory taxes only tend to close down our hearts.

Dear Aidan,

A UBI is... an extremely expensive way of meeting an objective that could more easily be met by much cheaper means.

Yes and it will be great to hear from you about the alternative ways, but shouldn't we first agree on the objective?

My objectives for UBI are:
* Eliminate the stress of having to look for jobs under fear of indignity and starvation.
* Eliminate the stress of pretending to look for a job and all the bad energy around it.
* Eliminate the horrors of Centerlink.
* Eliminate the tyranny of bad bosses.
* Eliminate the moral compromises that people have to make when working on jobs or assigned tasks which they find useless or even harmful.
* Eliminate crimes committed out of hunger.

It also runs the risk of encouraging more people to give up finding work

I don't consider this a risk, but rather a good thing. Most people would still be sufficiently encouraged to find a job because they like to have comforts and luxuries rather than just subsist. Reducing the number of job-seekers will encourage employers to try harder to entice people with jobs that are more useful, meaningful and ethical. It will be excellent to see many useless and harmful jobs go!
Posted by Yuyutsu, Thursday, 23 February 2017 11:33:43 AM
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While some of us may agree with some of that defeatist attitude analysis. Not necessarily most of the conclusions nor remedies.

The third poorest in the world, Philippines is a classic example of how not to run an economy, where for example, social welfare is almost non existent and where you need a degree to flip burgers at McDonalds!

Social justice/equity must be afforded and paid for! And only available in the 21st century through a social compact! And wealth creation no longer dependant on endless population growth!

They tried that in the Philippines and just created need and mouths to feed! And where we are headed, with the greed is good dummies at the helm.

Instead we need an inclusive model that makes the economy our slave, rather than as at present, visa versa!

We need to end unearned privilege, in the knowlege and understanding, that too many blodsucking parasites and you recreate a Philippine style economy right here, with the extremely rich or moderately wealthy, underlined by the great unwashed poor and a crime wave of unimaginable proportions!

And where any display of wealth or bling makes you a target! And where extended families are all too often the only social welfare! And where some things are more expensive there than in the west, to reduce importation demand?

Somebody needs to make and share the wealth first, before we can have affordable social equity! I'll elaborate shortly. TBC.
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Thursday, 23 February 2017 12:16:25 PM
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