Jack Saturday

Monday, April 21, 2014

Anti Wage-Slavery Pro-Freedom Quotations Of The Week 1129-1131

Mr. Piketty calculates that today the richest 1 percent owns about half the planet’s wealth.
According to Mr. Piketty’s calculations, the immutable dynamic of returns on capital being greater than the rate of economic growth will concentrate half the planet’s wealth in the hands of the richest 0.1 percent within 30 years, impoverishing not only the middle, but also the upper-middle classes.
Scott Reyburn
New York Times
APRIL 20, 2014
[emphasis JS]

America’s social welfare system has denuded the civic culture that immigrants to America helped shape. That’s according to libertarian economist Charles Murray, who thinks the guaranteed basic income can restore that culture.

Editor’s Note: Switzerland is considering a ballot referendum on an unconditional income of 30,000 Francs for all Swiss citizens. As the leader of the Swiss movement for a basic income, artist Enno Schmidt, told us, a guaranteed basic income would deconstruct the link between work and income. An economy under this system, he said, would be more about working with and helping each other. That may be easy to dismiss as a Swiss, if not European, way of thinking. But even though the guaranteed basic income hasn’t generated the same mainstream buzz in the United States, it has plenty of American proponents on both sides of the political aisle.

Perhaps most outspoken among them is libertarian economist Charles Murray, who argues that a guaranteed income administered by the government would take the government out of people’s lives, and consequently, restore the fabric of American culture — a culture where people are responsible for each other. Murray, a longtime friend of Making Sen$e, spoke to us about his last book, “Coming Apart,” in 2012 and is the architect of our popular “Bubble Quiz.”

The following transcript of Paul Solman’s extended conversation with Murray about the guaranteed income has been edited and condensed for length and clarity. Murray also appears in our Making Sen$e segment about the basic income [...]

– Simone Pathe, Making Sen$e Editor

Paul Solman: What’s the case for a minimum income?

Charles Murray: From a libertarian’s point of view, we’re going to be spending a lot of money on income transfers, no matter what.

Paul Solman: Why?

Charles Murray: The society is too rich to stand aside and say, “We aren’t going to do anything for people in need.” I understand that; I accept that; I sympathize with it.

What I want is a grand compromise between the left and the right. We on the right say, “We will give you huge government, in terms of the amount of money we spend. You give us small government, in terms of the ability of government to mess around with people’s lives.”

So you have a system whereby every month, a check goes into an electronic bank account for everybody over the age of 21, which they can use as they see fit. They can get together with other people and then combine their resources. But they live their own lives. We put their lives back in their hands.

Paul Solman: So this has similarities with the voucher movement; that is, give the money to people because they will know better how to spend it.

Charles Murray: In that sense, it’s similar to a voucher program, but my real goal with all of this is to revive civil society. Here’s what I mean by that: You have a guy who gets a check every month, alright. He is dissolute; he drinks it up and he’s got 10 days to go before the next check comes in and he’s destitute. He now has to go to friends, relatives, neighbors or the Salvation Army, and say, “I really need to survive.” He will get help.

But under a guaranteed basic income, he can no longer portray himself as a victim who’s helpless to do anything about it. And you’ve got to set up feedback loops where people say, “Okay, we’re not going to let you starve on the streets, but it’s time for you to get your act together. And don’t tell us that you can’t do it because we know you’ve got another check coming in in a couple of days.”

A guaranteed basic income has the potential for making civic organizations, families and neighborhoods much more vital, helpful and responsive than they have been in decades.
Libertarian CharlesMurray: The welfare state has denuded our civic culture
April 10, 2014

[emphasis JS]

Whereas before the problem of identity had been one of meagreness and poverty, it has now become the problem of abundance and superfluity. We are individually overwhelmed by corporate  consciousness and by the inclusive experience of mankind both past and present.  It would be a cosmic irony if men [sic] proved unable to cope with abundance and riches in both the economic and psychic order.  It is not likely to happen.  The most persistent habits of penury are bound to yield before the onslaught of largesse and abundant life.
Marshall McLuhan,
Contemplating Me 
[emphasis JS]


  • Saw this video from The Onion and thought of your blog:
    "Small Business Still Manages To Mistreat Workers Like Large Corporate Chain"

    By Anonymous Markus, at 5:38 PM  

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