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Saturday, July 18, 2015


Is there an already available and accepted nomenclature distinguishing basic income advocacy which is treated as part of a bundle of democratizing entitlements as against basic income advocacy as part of a libertopian deregulatory/privatizing wrecking ball? As I have written here the difference between the two conceptions is politically crucial.

1 comment:

Lorraine said...

I must confess it was probably I who started this mess by sharing the link to your stated concerns about basic income on /r/basicincome on Reddit. My sense of there being an emerging basic income movement comes mostly from following that subreddit. I'm not sure about the movement as a whole, but the Reddit group seems to be committed to avoiding factionalization, which ordinarily I would see as a good thing, but I was a bit taken aback by the largely hostile response to your point that it makes a big difference which set of motivations would become the basis of basic income in practice. It seems obvious to me that it makes a difference, just as there's a huge difference between, say, isolationists and doves (let alone pacifists), even though short term goals may align almost perfectly, in a single-issue sort of way.

I try to point out the paradox, the way that Obamacare has illustrated that is the pragmatic, not the perfect, that is really the enemy of the good, try to illustrate the effect of poison pills and Faustian bargains "Faustian bargains" is the term I have adopted for proposals that basic income be offered as a replacement for, instead of supplement to, existing or previously existing safety net programs.

As for your original question, I don't think there is an already available and accepted nomenclature distinguishing basic income advocacy because it appears to be a community that refuses to be factionalized. Before I saw such a phenomenon with my own ideas, I'd have thought of that as quite a strength, but now I have mixed feelings. Part of me would rather see a movement that refuses to swallow poison pills.

My own views have shifted from lukewarm support for basic income to adamant support for frank socialism instead. The recently started and rapidly growing disconnect between productivity and wages, I'm quite sure, is a direct result of the death (at least in the private sector) of the labor movement, and would not even be possible if the means of production were under working class control. In other words, if socialism had been realized by now, we wouldn't even be having the basic income discussion.