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155

The Implications for Work and Labour

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Standing, G. (2017). The Implications for Work and Labour. In Standing, G. Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen. Pelican, pp. 155-184

158

Meanwhile, the amount of other, very real but unpaid work is extensive and rising. In the UK--and it is similar in other countries--the unrenumerated economy (caring for the children and the elderly, housework, voluntary work in the community and so on) is estimated to be worth well over half the size of the money economy.

Even these estimates do not count the 'work' we all do in our dealings with government (filing tax returns scarcely counts as 'leisure'), as consumers (self-service checkouts) and in what I have called 'work-for-labour', unpaid work around jobs or job seeking, which has expanded with 'always on' connectivity. The precariat in particular must do a lot of work (in their eyes) that is not counted or renumerated--hunting for jobs, enduring complex time-consuming recruitment processes, waiting for on-call labour, queueing and form-filling for meagre benefits of some kind.

—p.158 by Guy Standing 3 years, 1 month ago

Meanwhile, the amount of other, very real but unpaid work is extensive and rising. In the UK--and it is similar in other countries--the unrenumerated economy (caring for the children and the elderly, housework, voluntary work in the community and so on) is estimated to be worth well over half the size of the money economy.

Even these estimates do not count the 'work' we all do in our dealings with government (filing tax returns scarcely counts as 'leisure'), as consumers (self-service checkouts) and in what I have called 'work-for-labour', unpaid work around jobs or job seeking, which has expanded with 'always on' connectivity. The precariat in particular must do a lot of work (in their eyes) that is not counted or renumerated--hunting for jobs, enduring complex time-consuming recruitment processes, waiting for on-call labour, queueing and form-filling for meagre benefits of some kind.

—p.158 by Guy Standing 3 years, 1 month ago
163

At best, they showed small cuts in paid labour for some groups, notably mothers with young children and teenagers still at school. In the Canadian Mincome experiment, 'mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren't under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating'.

Similarly, the US experiments found that people took the opportunity to better their lives, including studying or a degree and setting themselves up in business. There were double-digit increases in high-school graduation rates in New Jersey, Seattle and Denver. [...]

[...]

Opinion polls in a number of countries have found that when people are asked if they would reduce work and labour if they had a basic income, the overwhelming majority say they would not. However, when asked if other people would reduce work and labour, they tend to say others would. Other people are lazy, but not me! There is also a presumption on the part of critics that people on low incomes will reduce labour and work in response to a basic income, whereas they presume no such thing for richer people. After all, billionaires such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg still work, though they certainly do not need the income!

the billionaire argument is pretty specious cus that sort of billionaire (i.e., the sort that gets rich through work) is already known for wanting to work--they've already proven that they plan to keep working--so his objection doesn't really make sense, though I do see his larger point (Other vs Self etc)

—p.163 by Guy Standing 3 years, 1 month ago

At best, they showed small cuts in paid labour for some groups, notably mothers with young children and teenagers still at school. In the Canadian Mincome experiment, 'mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren't under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating'.

Similarly, the US experiments found that people took the opportunity to better their lives, including studying or a degree and setting themselves up in business. There were double-digit increases in high-school graduation rates in New Jersey, Seattle and Denver. [...]

[...]

Opinion polls in a number of countries have found that when people are asked if they would reduce work and labour if they had a basic income, the overwhelming majority say they would not. However, when asked if other people would reduce work and labour, they tend to say others would. Other people are lazy, but not me! There is also a presumption on the part of critics that people on low incomes will reduce labour and work in response to a basic income, whereas they presume no such thing for richer people. After all, billionaires such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg still work, though they certainly do not need the income!

the billionaire argument is pretty specious cus that sort of billionaire (i.e., the sort that gets rich through work) is already known for wanting to work--they've already proven that they plan to keep working--so his objection doesn't really make sense, though I do see his larger point (Other vs Self etc)

—p.163 by Guy Standing 3 years, 1 month ago
169

A basic income paid to everybody would enable caregivers, mostly women, to replace their own work with paid labour if they wished, and would enable 'care-recipients' relying on the gift work of relatives to purchase care labour services. [...]

I take issue with this line of reasoning - it really only works if either

  1. the paid labour that replaces their carework is robots; or,
  2. there just happen to be enough other people on basic income (women or not) who are happy to spend their time taking care of other people's families even though they don't need the money to survive;
  3. the people who are relied on for care work don't qualify for basic income for some reason (e.g., immigrants), in which case you're relying on this reserve army of subalterns to clean up your kids diapers for you while you're out fulfilling your dreams

  4. would be great but we're not there yet; i'll be damned if 2. is true; and 3. is probably what he's thinking (it mirrors what occurs already).

so what's the solution? well, basically, you have to accept that sharing DNA with someone who can't take care of their self doesn't entitle you to the devoted services of a stranger. either you take care of them or you suffer the consequences. ideally you have people who are willing to volunteer to do this, but if not, idk if i believe that forcing them to do so (via financial penalties) is in everyone's best interests

—p.169 by Guy Standing 3 years, 1 month ago

A basic income paid to everybody would enable caregivers, mostly women, to replace their own work with paid labour if they wished, and would enable 'care-recipients' relying on the gift work of relatives to purchase care labour services. [...]

I take issue with this line of reasoning - it really only works if either

  1. the paid labour that replaces their carework is robots; or,
  2. there just happen to be enough other people on basic income (women or not) who are happy to spend their time taking care of other people's families even though they don't need the money to survive;
  3. the people who are relied on for care work don't qualify for basic income for some reason (e.g., immigrants), in which case you're relying on this reserve army of subalterns to clean up your kids diapers for you while you're out fulfilling your dreams

  4. would be great but we're not there yet; i'll be damned if 2. is true; and 3. is probably what he's thinking (it mirrors what occurs already).

so what's the solution? well, basically, you have to accept that sharing DNA with someone who can't take care of their self doesn't entitle you to the devoted services of a stranger. either you take care of them or you suffer the consequences. ideally you have people who are willing to volunteer to do this, but if not, idk if i believe that forcing them to do so (via financial penalties) is in everyone's best interests

—p.169 by Guy Standing 3 years, 1 month ago
175

Ever since debates on poverty and basic income began, some have argued that income support should be conditional on 'making a contribution to society'. The late Tony Atkinson was a longstanding proponent of a 'participation income', while something similar was proposed earlier by Andre Gorz. In his recent writings, Atkinson proposed that everybody should receive a basic income, but that in return they should do at least thirty-five hours of 'recognized' work activity per week.

The obligation might look fair, but in practice would not be. The condition would not affect those already in full-time jobs and earning a good income, whereas for others who could only do or obtain jobs involving hard manual labour or paying very low wages, the obligation would be arduous, costly and difficult to maintain. The condition would also distort the labour market, pushing wages down at the lower end by increasing the supply of labour, and so impoverishing others who have done nothing to 'deserve' it. That too would be unfair.

The administrative costs of monitoring such a scheme would be enormous, unless it were treated as merely a gesture to gain popular approval and not enforced. And it would leave awkward questions about what activities would count and how they would be counted. Would caring for a frail grandmother count as recognized work? If so, how would the bureaucratic official determine whether someone was caring for her or watching a football match on TV? Would a report from the person receiving the care be required to vouch for it?

he continues by explaining the scope for gaming the system, plus problems with an alternative of community enforcement (basically: no due process for arbitration, and no real point)

—p.175 by Guy Standing 3 years, 1 month ago

Ever since debates on poverty and basic income began, some have argued that income support should be conditional on 'making a contribution to society'. The late Tony Atkinson was a longstanding proponent of a 'participation income', while something similar was proposed earlier by Andre Gorz. In his recent writings, Atkinson proposed that everybody should receive a basic income, but that in return they should do at least thirty-five hours of 'recognized' work activity per week.

The obligation might look fair, but in practice would not be. The condition would not affect those already in full-time jobs and earning a good income, whereas for others who could only do or obtain jobs involving hard manual labour or paying very low wages, the obligation would be arduous, costly and difficult to maintain. The condition would also distort the labour market, pushing wages down at the lower end by increasing the supply of labour, and so impoverishing others who have done nothing to 'deserve' it. That too would be unfair.

The administrative costs of monitoring such a scheme would be enormous, unless it were treated as merely a gesture to gain popular approval and not enforced. And it would leave awkward questions about what activities would count and how they would be counted. Would caring for a frail grandmother count as recognized work? If so, how would the bureaucratic official determine whether someone was caring for her or watching a football match on TV? Would a report from the person receiving the care be required to vouch for it?

he continues by explaining the scope for gaming the system, plus problems with an alternative of community enforcement (basically: no due process for arbitration, and no real point)

—p.175 by Guy Standing 3 years, 1 month ago