The Basic Income Guarantee – and why it would destroy 40 years of Conservative policy

160519 basic income
The whole point of Tory employment policy has been to create insecurity in the workforce.

With few jobs available – or only low-quality, low-pay jobs as in the current UK employment market – people are constantly competing for places. This means employers can keep wages low in the hope that profits will be high.

It’s a false premise – low-paid workers tend to become demoralised very quickly, produce work of a lower standard and become sick very easily, pushing their employers’ profits down – but neoliberal thinkers happily ignore such facts.

The Basic Income Guarantee would smash this philosophy, for reasons outlined below.

Yes, company profits might drop temporarily – but a well-paid, well-motivated workforce would create higher-quality products, pushing profits up in the long term.

The arguments are compelling; please read:

It seems that the idea of basic income is gaining support. Reform Scotland, an independent non-party think tank, propose in their recent report – The Basic Income Guarantee – that the current work-related benefits system is replaced with a new Basic Income Guarantee (BIG).

one of the strongest arguments for basic income is that people would no longer be compelled to work in order to meet their basic needs.

This means that employers would find it difficult to exploit workers, and would be pushed to offer decent wages, good terms and employment conditions in order to attract workers. People would have greater freedom to pursue meaningful, suitable and appropriate employment rather than having to take any job to avoid poverty and destitution.

De-commodifying labor by decoupling work from income liberates people from the “tyranny of wage slavery” and leaves a space for innovation, creativitity and rebalances power relationships between wealthy, profit-motivated employers and employees.

Read more: Basic Income Guarantee Gains Popularity Across The Political Spectrum – Scisco Media


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9 thoughts on “The Basic Income Guarantee – and why it would destroy 40 years of Conservative policy

  1. John

    I am not arguing against the idea of a basic income guarantee but it has to asked if EU migrants would also be entitled to receive the UK basic income in the event of a “Remain” vote on June 23rd?
    If they were entitled to receive it, might this not see even more than the currently reported 2.2 million EU workers who have already come to Britain, especially as they would be eligible to receive the basic income – possibly 4 times higher than the average wage in some Eastern EU member-states?
    Right now, the UK economy has a workforce which is way over-qualified and trained while simultaneously achieving one of the lowest rates of productivity in Europe.
    This suggests that employers are allocating highly-skilled workers into relatively low-skill and low-pay jobs as a result of much higher unemployment rates elsewhere across Europe. Typically, employers are acting in their usual short-termist fashion.
    They have no thoughts as to where they will get their workers from in the event of a general EU-wide improvement in the Europe-wide economy and industry.
    Even now, conventional thinking sees labour-strikes as a problem whereas the real problem is one of a capital-strike by capitalists in the UK.
    Their failure to invest in new technologies and enhanced workers’ skills training to heighten and increase productivity will spell disaster for Britain in the long run.
    Maybe a Corbyn-led Government will have to set up a new government department directly to oversee capital investment and appropriate vocational training in Britain?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Why would foreign nationals qualify to benefit from a policy for UK citizens?

  2. Bill Kruse

    If fewer people were involved in making food, preferring instead to engage in other activities, wouldn’t there be less of it and and correspondingly more expensive? If fewer people were engaged in building houses, etc etc? With fewer people engaged in production, wouldn’t commodities just rise in price to a level which would negate the effects of the basic income? All the examples I’ve seen of BI have worked, but they’ve worked in isolation, they’ve had people round them still forced into working for the man so there was always product to buy. If no-one’s forced to make stuff, won’t stuff become scarce, and expensive? Perhaps the only way to afford stuff will be to – gulp – get a job 🙁 I haven’t looked properly into basic income yet but I can’t see it’s been properly thought through. How would people live without off the grid independence, which takes a lot of time, room and effort?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      A basic income isn’t a fortune – as the title quite clearly states.
      The idea is that employers will have to make jobs attractive, rather than just offering pathetic working conditions and a pittance above unemployment rates in pay.
      And the fact is that, as stated in the article, workers do better work if they’re happy in their job.
      Don’t forget also that mechanisation is making employment less and less accessible.

  3. mrmarcpc

    All the conservatives know and what they enjoy doing is ripping off and oppressing the workers, always have, always will, they take great pleasure out of it, especially this bunch since 2010 and will continue to do so with great delight for they will never change!

  4. Loth

    Coming from not a well off background, I’m only just getting into proper further education as I’m approaching 30. I had to step away and pursue work before in order to make sure household bills were paid. Between myself, my brother and my mother, we could just about afford rent and bills plus a few small luxuries.

    I hated working in a job that did nothing but demoralise me and made sure I was aware I was expendable. BIG would see many others in similar situations freed to pursue their education or vocational training, and be met by employers as something closer to an equal who can fill a suitable role rather than someone afraid of destitution for themselves and thier family and only accepting the position out of desperation and fear.

  5. Brian

    As far as motivation goes, you only have to try and conduct business with the majority of employees. They have no interest in being efficient, polite, helpful or in many cases, even simply doing their job. Only when you understand the reasons, as above, does this become explainable. No one cares anymore, because there is no reason to.

Comments are closed.