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185

The Alternatives

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terms
5
notes

Standing, G. (2017). The Alternatives. In Standing, G. Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen. Pelican, pp. 185-216

194

First, measuring income is complicated and involves arbitrary cut-off rules. Taking and 'wealth' into account encourages dis-saving, which reduces resilience at times of financial stress.

Second, applying means tests entails high costs, both for the administration and for claimants who must travel to benefit offices, wait, queue, fill in lengthy forms, produce supporting documents and so on, all of which take time and often hard cash.

Third, means testing involves intrusive questions, including about claimants' intimate personal relationships, that may be followed up by home visits, for example, to check that there is no live-in partner earning an income. It is a regime of prying, invasion of privacy, and presumption of guilt rather than innocence, which demeans the staff running it as well as claimants.

Fourth, as a result, the process and the prospect of it are stigmatizing. This is often deliberate, to reduce the cost of welfare by deterring claimants. [...]

This leads to the fifth failing, low-take-up. [...]

[...]

Sixth, means testing undermines social solidarity, separating 'us' from 'them'. We, who support ourselves, pay taxes to support them, the scroungers. [...]

The seventh and most well-known failing is the notorious poverty trap [...] people on benefits who take a minimum wage job would lose money [...]

This leads to the eighth failing, the inevitable drift to workfare [...] the state is left with little choice but to force people to take low-paid labour.

A ninth failure is that means-tested social assistance deters stable household formation. [...]

A tenth failing relates to income-tested Jobseeker's Allowance, which is determined on the basis of family income. If one of a couple is unemployed, the couple loses financially if the other is doing a small amount of paid labour. [...]

—p.194 by Guy Standing 2 years, 2 months ago

First, measuring income is complicated and involves arbitrary cut-off rules. Taking and 'wealth' into account encourages dis-saving, which reduces resilience at times of financial stress.

Second, applying means tests entails high costs, both for the administration and for claimants who must travel to benefit offices, wait, queue, fill in lengthy forms, produce supporting documents and so on, all of which take time and often hard cash.

Third, means testing involves intrusive questions, including about claimants' intimate personal relationships, that may be followed up by home visits, for example, to check that there is no live-in partner earning an income. It is a regime of prying, invasion of privacy, and presumption of guilt rather than innocence, which demeans the staff running it as well as claimants.

Fourth, as a result, the process and the prospect of it are stigmatizing. This is often deliberate, to reduce the cost of welfare by deterring claimants. [...]

This leads to the fifth failing, low-take-up. [...]

[...]

Sixth, means testing undermines social solidarity, separating 'us' from 'them'. We, who support ourselves, pay taxes to support them, the scroungers. [...]

The seventh and most well-known failing is the notorious poverty trap [...] people on benefits who take a minimum wage job would lose money [...]

This leads to the eighth failing, the inevitable drift to workfare [...] the state is left with little choice but to force people to take low-paid labour.

A ninth failure is that means-tested social assistance deters stable household formation. [...]

A tenth failing relates to income-tested Jobseeker's Allowance, which is determined on the basis of family income. If one of a couple is unemployed, the couple loses financially if the other is doing a small amount of paid labour. [...]

—p.194 by Guy Standing 2 years, 2 months ago
201

[...] A job guarantee would be a deception. What sort of jobs would be guaranteed? At what rate of pay would they be provided? What would be the consequence for declining the specific job being 'guaranteed'? Since it is completely unrealistic to guarantee everyone a job that suits them, makes use of their skills and pays well, in practice the job would be low-level, low-paid, short-term and 'make-work', or at best low-productivity labour. Cleaning the streets, filling shelves in supermarkets and similar menial activities are an unlikely road to happiness. Those arguing for a job guarantee would certainly not want those jobs for themselves or their children.

on the guaranteed job proposal as an alternative to BI

there was someone at Left Forum who proposed jobs related to environmental costs, like building renewal energy and stuff, need to look into that some more (but it's still not necessarily work that could be done by anyone)

the big question is: would we want GJ because there is actually work that absolutely needs to be done? or is it more to "punish" people and make them suffer before they earn the right to live?

—p.201 by Guy Standing 2 years, 2 months ago

[...] A job guarantee would be a deception. What sort of jobs would be guaranteed? At what rate of pay would they be provided? What would be the consequence for declining the specific job being 'guaranteed'? Since it is completely unrealistic to guarantee everyone a job that suits them, makes use of their skills and pays well, in practice the job would be low-level, low-paid, short-term and 'make-work', or at best low-productivity labour. Cleaning the streets, filling shelves in supermarkets and similar menial activities are an unlikely road to happiness. Those arguing for a job guarantee would certainly not want those jobs for themselves or their children.

on the guaranteed job proposal as an alternative to BI

there was someone at Left Forum who proposed jobs related to environmental costs, like building renewal energy and stuff, need to look into that some more (but it's still not necessarily work that could be done by anyone)

the big question is: would we want GJ because there is actually work that absolutely needs to be done? or is it more to "punish" people and make them suffer before they earn the right to live?

—p.201 by Guy Standing 2 years, 2 months ago
208

Tax credits are a subsidy to capital, whatever impact they have on poverty and the incomes of wage workers. One US estimate suggests that for every dollar spent on the EITC the low-wage worker gains 73 cents while the employer gains 27 cents by paying lower wages. In the similar finding for the UK, researchers have concluded that about three-quarters of the value of tax credits goes to workers, the rest to employees.

I mean everything is a subsidy to capital in some way unless it improves the collective bargaining power of labour (and they carry through)

—p.208 by Guy Standing 2 years, 2 months ago

Tax credits are a subsidy to capital, whatever impact they have on poverty and the incomes of wage workers. One US estimate suggests that for every dollar spent on the EITC the low-wage worker gains 73 cents while the employer gains 27 cents by paying lower wages. In the similar finding for the UK, researchers have concluded that about three-quarters of the value of tax credits goes to workers, the rest to employees.

I mean everything is a subsidy to capital in some way unless it improves the collective bargaining power of labour (and they carry through)

—p.208 by Guy Standing 2 years, 2 months ago
212

Although an NIT would be a useful anti-poverty device, it would do little to advance republican freedom or provide assured economic security, nor would it be a vehicle for social justice. It would not apply to people without jobs or with incomes too low to pay tax. [...]

Milton Friedman's idea; similar to BI but would be based on household earnings (like regular tax credits) and would be paid (if at all) after the fiscal year (basically tax refund) and it would be hard to estimate the amount in advance. so just a regular means-tested scheme

—p.212 by Guy Standing 2 years, 2 months ago

Although an NIT would be a useful anti-poverty device, it would do little to advance republican freedom or provide assured economic security, nor would it be a vehicle for social justice. It would not apply to people without jobs or with incomes too low to pay tax. [...]

Milton Friedman's idea; similar to BI but would be based on household earnings (like regular tax credits) and would be paid (if at all) after the fiscal year (basically tax refund) and it would be hard to estimate the amount in advance. so just a regular means-tested scheme

—p.212 by Guy Standing 2 years, 2 months ago
213

Charity is based on the sentiment of 'pity' and, as the philosopher David Hume noted, pity is akin to contempt. Private charity as a central feature of social policy may satisfy libertarians, but it profoundly offends the central idea of republican freedom, that of non-domination. Being dependent on the good will of offers is not consistent with full freedom On the contrary, it compromises the freedom of the giver as well as the supplicant.

[....]

The fact that so many people in modern society are going to food banks and shelters demonstrates social policy failure. Private philanthropy should be marginalize again; it is an undemocratic way of shaping society and the selective well-being of individuals, groups and communities.

thought: private charity does intersect (or at least approximate) democracy in the case where capital allocation is proportionate and remains that way (i.e., there is full capital distributional equality), but then it's indistinguishable from regular democracy and provision of social services and it's also quite different from what we think of as charity so yeah burn it down

—p.213 by Guy Standing 2 years, 2 months ago

Charity is based on the sentiment of 'pity' and, as the philosopher David Hume noted, pity is akin to contempt. Private charity as a central feature of social policy may satisfy libertarians, but it profoundly offends the central idea of republican freedom, that of non-domination. Being dependent on the good will of offers is not consistent with full freedom On the contrary, it compromises the freedom of the giver as well as the supplicant.

[....]

The fact that so many people in modern society are going to food banks and shelters demonstrates social policy failure. Private philanthropy should be marginalize again; it is an undemocratic way of shaping society and the selective well-being of individuals, groups and communities.

thought: private charity does intersect (or at least approximate) democracy in the case where capital allocation is proportionate and remains that way (i.e., there is full capital distributional equality), but then it's indistinguishable from regular democracy and provision of social services and it's also quite different from what we think of as charity so yeah burn it down

—p.213 by Guy Standing 2 years, 2 months ago