Monthly Archives: March 2015

Why we need Citizen’s Income

This was offered to the Citizen’s Income Trust  for their newsletter – but ironically, was withdrawn because they wanted to take the copyright without fee for unpaid reproduction.  One of my greatest bugbears – and manifesto points – is that too many are asked to work for free. We have work we value and expect to pay for, and things that are “lifestyle choices”, “for the love of it”, “community spirited”. Often the latter are creative, spiritual, helping endeavours – values we ought to want to endorse in our society of money exchange.

Here’s the article in support of Citizen’s Income (CI):

I’ve found that means tested government support doesn’t understand the unconventional – the ad hoc, the artists, the writers who have to work at long projects but don’t make money constantly. They don’t understand lack of contracts, time sheets, wageslips. They expect work to be all profit focussed and very tangible and narrowly defined. They know many self employed people can’t prove their hour-to-hour activities. They don’t understand the importance of networking. They don’t understand the sense of averaging changing income for assessment purposes.

I can illustrate that last point with shocking outcomes, though it is more about housing benefit than CI – evictions, suspensions – suffered by people I know.

It often feels as if they hope we’ll conform or die on the streets. None of us should do either. I shan’t.

I believe that working tax credits and benefits and ombudsmen to be in collusion, and not a just accountable open system.

I believe passionately that our worth is not measured by the taxable income we generate or our compliance and conventionality. I detest the anti benefits mindset that despises those who cannot support themselves in this expensive oligarchy.

CI is the Green Party’s best policy and I was dismayed by the Guardian’s recent attack – strategically stupid when Green Party supporters make up many of its readers. They could have used that space for CI profile raising in a positive way. CI needs to not be a pipe dream sometime but something that comes into force very soon, instead of Universal Credit. It would mean that no-one falls out of the bottom – I know that the circs I’ve heard about where people are left without income are common and that appeals are overwhelmed by complaints. A CI type system gives people choice. It recognises diversity. And it supports, not badgers the people – Citizens’ Income recognises our worth and part in this country.

However…the Citizen Income Trust’s website contains ideas that I am not happy with, about the Beveridge report and the ethos behind welfare. Labour is well named and it’s why I don’t support that party. It seems much of welfare is about socialisation into a particular work ethic, making sure we need and want to work.

No spiritual catechism or tenet would agree with the presumption that we are here to work – especially in the tax-generating, conformist (to government) manner that has become approved in Western society. It is not the point of human life and what really matters. I’d like my epitaph to be far more than ‘worked hard, claimed little, owned lots, owed nothing’. I think CI can help support people to live more freely than our current welfare.

Life is about living abundantly. That was a Jesus paraphrase, not a politician.

 

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