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  1. #1
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    Default UBI answer to broken system - economist

    The time has come for a universal basic income, says British economist Guy Standing.
    The steady drift of money toward capital and away from labour (in the form of wages) has made the current model of income distribution through work untenable, he says.
    "The income distribution system constructed in the 20th century has broken down and it will not come back.


    "What I mean by that is all over the world the share of national income going to capital and forms of rent have been going up and up and up and the share going to those people who rely on labour is going down and down and down."
    Wages for people in insecure, poorly-paid work - for whom Standing coined the phrase 'precariat' - have been at best stagnant and at worst falling, he says.
    "So we either accept that millions of millions of people are going to continue to face a life of economic insecurity and the consequences that brings, or you're going to have to build an alternative economic distribution system."
    A universal basic income would go a long way to solve growing inequality, he says.
    Pilot programmes have had positive societal outcomes.
    In a recent programme, all adult residents of a number of Indian villages were given a wage pegged at 40 percent of subsistence.
    "Not a large amount, but a significant amount."
    Four years later, people's physical health had improved, children were better nourished, school attendance and performance were up and the adults productivity increased.
    Dynamism increased and inequality decreased as people felt emboldened to take modest risks and embark on small-scale businesses, he says.
    Pilot programmes in the United States and Canada have had similar results.
    A pilot in North Carolina found that Cherokee children from families receiving a basic income were a year more advanced in school than those who were not. The basic income meant home life for those children was calmer and less stressed Standing says.
    Our existing welfare system is "ridiculously labourist", while the universal basic income would allow for more variables, he says.
    "What it does is say 'You only get some benefits if you do labour'. It completely ignores all the forms of work that everybody does regularly - particularly women - all the work we have to do to function as human beings. All of those thing are completely ignored."


    Some critics dismiss social dividend systems such as UBI as 'utopian' (the concept crops up in Thomas Moore's Utopia after all) and suggest they devalue work and encourage people to laze around.
    That argument is reductive and ignorant of the human condition, he says.
    "It assumes we don't want to work, to improve our lives. People want to work, but they don't want to necessarily want to do labour."
    Last year at a conference on the future of work in Auckland, Standing spoke on UBI.
    It was an idea then-prime minister John Key had little time for, calling it "barking mad".
    This was a typical "unthinking reaction", Standing says.
    "A rich man's perspective, which I found really objectionable. He didn't look at the evidence, he didn't want to. That's not the sort of thing someone like him does."
    Historically, progressive ideas are at first always dismissed as unfeasible, he says.
    "Every progressive idea, including the original welfare system - New Zealand really was among one of the foremost leading countries at the end of the 19th century in developing a welfare system - every time a new social policy has come up it's had the same sort of reaction that John Key gave to [Universal Basic Income].
    "The evidence shows if you give people security they become better people, they develop their talents, they become better citizens."
    Professor Guy Standing is a professor of economics at the University of Bath and the University of London and the author of the recently released book Basic Income: And How We Can Make it Happen. He's also a co-founder of BIEN (Basic Income Earth Network)

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/pr...stem-economist

  2. #2
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    Default

    UBI is a wonderful idea. But who pays for it? In all the pilot examples, the money is being introduced to the system from outside. And what do you know, more money in the system produces better outcomes? What a surprise. But at a national level, this isn't possible. Taxes as a whole (most likely weighted towards those who own assets) must be raised to support increased payouts to the entire society.

    In much the way that we have trouble taxing the international software juggernauts, we'll have trouble taxing the richest in society who own the most assets and by definition have the most ability to move their income, assets, or selves to a non-taxable jurisdiction.
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthonyacat View Post
    UBI is a wonderful idea. But who pays for it? In all the pilot examples, the money is being introduced to the system from outside. And what do you know, more money in the system produces better outcomes? What a surprise. But at a national level, this isn't possible. Taxes as a whole (most likely weighted towards those who own assets) must be raised to support increased payouts to the entire society.
    What makes you think the money you guys buy rental properties with is any less "funny"?

    Why would it be any different from the increased payouts in accommodation supplement and other taxpayer funded payments you and your cohorts benefit from?

    Are you claimed ideologies and actions compatible?

  4. #4
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    Sorry, I didn't realise who started the thread. I'm out.
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  5. #5

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    It would be nice if you could stop reading too much into well intended questions please, Michael. Do you want to have a conversation or are you setting people up to rant at them?

    Does a UBI replace other forms of welfare? It must. How is it more superior in NZ?

    I've heard of UBI as a way to level the playing field on international manufacturing price wars. If everybody at least made $x per hour then consumerqbles would have a natural floor price and we would be back to competing on pre-globalization market principles to a degree.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Nice reasoned comment there Nick G.

    Michael I agree with you that a UBI should be brought in, but it will be very tricky to do without breaking the country.

    And yes, try not to attack people who have a different opinion to you.

  7. #7

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    Theories are great until they are put into practice. Pilot programs are a joke for assessing this type of initiative as the outcomes will not necessarily scale up if the program is widely adopted. Second order effects and untended consequences are the rule and not the exception in the real economy.

    John Kay is one of the few economists who is worth listening to.

    https://www.johnkay.com/2017/04/05/basics-basic-income/

  8. #8
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    Default

    I first heard of UBI about 30 years ago and it seemed a good idea.
    I figured it would be hard to convince a lot of people to try it.
    UBI would replace all benefits and virtually close down MSD/WINZ and all their expensive systems.
    Those deserving people who need more than the UBI could apply and still get more.
    All working people would have it taxed back off them so no change to them.
    Most beneficiaries would get the same benefit so no change to them.
    Just a huge army of public servants won't be needed so a big change to them.
    Like I said, probably too advanced for most people.

  9. #9

    Default

    Sounds like one step away from Communism. Works well enough on Star Trek.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Learning View Post
    Sounds like one step away from Communism. Works well enough on Star Trek.
    star treks not real, just like communism


 

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