Universal social wage and choose to work?

This is not an uncommon view on the left and I’ve also heard similar wishes expressed from Green quarters – Bill at The Standard:

Bigger picture. Those jobs aren’t coming back and many more are going to disappear. Double dip and triple dip ‘recessions’ appear to be the order of day. (Can’t possibly have a depression on the menu afterall)

High time to stop fucking around and introduce a universal social wage that people can freely choose to live on.  An income we can augment by taking up worthwhile work if we want to.

There really isn’t anything wrong with joblessness beyond the negative acculturation we’ve subjected ourselves to.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot wrong with soul destroying, disempowering, bullshit jobs. There’s a lot wrong with necessary but shit jobs attracting low pay. And there’s a whole lot wrong with the fact that the integrity and cohesion of our communities was destroyed as a mere aside to the general and enforced pursuit of beads and baubles and ‘getting ahead’.

Unemployment isn’t a curse. The coercive economic environment and the pressure to do stuff – often utterly meaningless or destructive stuff that essentially only allows others to make money off our time and energy – that’s the curse.

And curses rely on belief…

If ‘the pressure to do stuff’ is removed by having a universal social wage then there will be many people who see no point in working for their money. And many of those that choose to work will be cursing if they believe that the doubling of their tax  pays for those who volunteer to live at leisure.

And if all the not so nice jobs no longer have anyone prepared to do them there will be a lot essential things left undone.

The universal social wage concept is a different description for pure socialism – something that has never worked in practice.


And coincidentally Redlogix explains socialism:

The fundamental premise of socialism is that all human endeavour is built upon collective effort. No man or woman will thrive in isolation. And while all people are naturally and rightly different, nonetheless however brilliant, talented, skilled or hard-working a person is …. all of that would count for nothing unless they are living in a functioning society.

It is a subtle paradox that in order for the individual to be truly free to achieve the best they can; they must submit a portion of their liberty to the collective norms and needs of the society around them. The two are mutually interdependent on each other.

Once upon a time liberals and conservatives more or less agreed on this; they just differed on the details. But over the last 30 years we have seen a corrosive neo-liberal agenda breakdown this moral social contract, enabling a very tiny minority accumulate immense wealth and privilege at the expense of everyone else. We maintain this is degenerate, immoral and ultimately unstable.

The solutions we offer essentially look to establish a more even balance between the three main actors in any society; the state, the community and the individual. Get that right and most other problems become much easier to solve.

But who knows what the best balance is? On the left they want to tip the balance towards the state, some more than others. And the right wants to tip the balance more to the individual.