June 01, 2016

“With a basic income, the numbers just do not add up” Do not add up for whom, for the redistribution profiteers?

Sir, John Kay writes: “With a basic income, the numbers just do not add up” June 1, and the first question that pops into my mind is, does not add up for whom?

For instance if in my country Venezuela, all net oil revenues were shared out using a “variable” Universal Basic Income scheme, it would definitely not add up to Maduro and friends, but it would sure add up a lot to most other citizens, especially to those poor who have only received a very small fraction of what should have been their per capita share of those revenues.

If we go the Universal Basic Income route, then we can also better separate the redistribution function from all government functions, bringing heightened transparency, and which clearly would add up to a chance for better governments.

I favor paying that Universal Basic Income to all citizens, with no question asked, as a Societal Dividend. It should be a citizen-to-citizen affair so that there is no need to thank any bureaucrat or politician for special favors.

And a UBI could signify a decent and worthy partial solution to that future structural life term unemployment of millions that we can already begin to detect.

How much should the amount be? Let each country explore what it can, and lets take it from there. There are better times and there are worse times; and you sure do not want to de-capitalize that society paying you dividends, much less put it in debt in order for those now to collect income from the future generations.

And let us not forget that the Universal Basic Income is in much re-injected into the real economy, which could help it to grow and generate jobs.  

And you could fund Universal Basic Income from different sources in ways that help to solve problems… like with carbon taxes, so as to align the incentives of the fight against climate change with the fight against inequality.

Kay ends writing: “Social welfare systems everywhere make use of both types of information — contingent and income-related — to balance cost and effectiveness. That is why they are, inevitably, complex” The truth is they are much more complex than need be, precisely because that’s the business of the redistribution profiteers.

@PerKurowski ©