Yesterday, I introduced Yanis Varoufakis’ proposal of work compensation via shared assets as a means to end the division between an owner class and a working class. These assets would provide an earned residual income combining perfectly with an inherited Universal Basic Income (UBI) and a Federal Job Guarantee, to create a virtually Utopian society of prosperity for all, a society in which everybody would be financially secure and, if they so wished, could earn a desired raise of their income in a fair and reliable fashion.
In this combination of a quasi-holy trinity, the UBI — which is a citizen’s dividend based on our national economic resources that we all, not just a few plutocrats, deserve to inherit upon our birth — would provide a safe minimum income for everybody, gainfully employed or not, while the asset-based work compensation would provide a raise for those who want more money, and the federal job guarantee would provide paid work opportunities often missing in a purely profit-driven “free” market — as the millions of un- and under-employed wannabe-workers who are desperately looking for properly paid jobs these days clearly show.
Since the article was getting a bit long, I decided to perform further elaborations in a second article, which is the one on hand. Basically, in this article, I want to flesh things out a little more, both the current system and the one we can aim for, and also what we must do to get there. Continue reading “The Shared Assets Economy – Part 2”
Something that Yanis Varoufakis proposed in a speech I previously shared on a Video Weekend got stuck in my mind, making me want to dedicate an entire article to it. An article I have announced and promised a view times. Today, I finally fulfill that promise to me and you.
Besides explaining the mechanisms of democracy’s decline, in his speech, Varoufakis also proposed an amazingly fair economic system, one that would end the division between an owner class (from which arise the robber billionaires who ruin this world for the rest of us) and a working class. In this model, we would all become owners. If you want to skip to this part of Varoufakis’ recorded speech, it stretches from 10:00–11:49 minutes:
(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Capitalism will eat democracy – unless we speak up | Yanis Varoufakis”)
Varoufakis lays out an ingenious alternative to – or variant of – capitalism, a kind of fairly shared capitalism or universal ownership society, a fairly shared assets society — a Star-Trek-like utopia instead of the Matrix-like dystopia where we are currently headed. It is an intriguing economic system where there is no more disparity between wage-based and asset-based income, a system where we all become asset holders and will no longer be ordered around by a few ownership lords who condemn us to live out our lives as their oppressed serfs and puppets. Continue reading “What if We Were Paid for Work in Assets rather than Ephemeral Wages?”
A major mental hurdle that average or low income people have to overcome is the panicky idea that they would be taxed to finance a universal basic income. It’s the fear of: “Oh, no, I – a hard worker – will have to pay for lazy welfare queens.” However, a properly done UBI would do the exact opposite, unlike our welfare system. Properly done it would confiscate the obscene wealth in assets kept at the top of our country’s wealth pyramid (where the bottom 80% of people own less than 7% of the nation) and distribute the dividends to us all — as citizen dividends instead of privileged billionaire dividends. It’s our country. Our economy. The dividends of our prosperous economy should be our dividends (not the exclusive privilege of the rich) and create financial security for us all.
The following interview video talks about this:
(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Matt Bruenig Talks about His Viral Article on Universal Basic Income”)
Note: A UBI is not exclusive to a federal job guarantee or other helpful measures that will be discussed here tomorrow (don’t miss it!). It’s not either or. Just like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, FDR’s job creation, the G.I. Bill, and other programs worked best together, so will new measures we can take.
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Out of a rather winding and over-philosophizing public talk, I have extracted an answer of why we don’t already have that wonderful world of prosperity and leisure for everyone promised to us a generation or two ago and made possible by our technology. (By over-philosophizing I mean that David Graeber looses track of who the decision-makers are, which is as bad as not following the money.)
It is clear that we could build this great society right now and could have been well underway 40 to50 years ago. I grew up at a time when everybody I knew believed that we were on the verge of it, but it didn’t happen. The world has actually gone in the opposite direction, gone down the drain, gone to the dogs, slid towards a precipice throughout my entire adult life. What a horror this has been to watch!
Furthermore, I did realize years ago that the ancient Greeks could have created the modern industrial age some two millennia before our time (they were experimenting with steam engines and robots back then). They didn’t because the decision-makers had slaves. So what would they have needed robots for, other than mere toys? Their robots and steam engines therefore were just toys, not labor-saving machines; and so it never became a serious development. So, had it not been for ancient slavery, the industrial revolution could have happened 2000 years ago. It’s stunning to try to imagine where we would be by today.
In his winding talk, David Graeber eventually gets around to state that the same thing happened back in the sixties and seventies when we seemed on the verge of creating Paradise on Earth. Continue reading “Why we Don’t Have the Promised Utopia Today”
One can tell the time has come for a Universal Basic Income, which I prefer to call a National Citizen Dividend or Shared National Ownership Dividend (SNOD?), when people from all parts of the political spectrum agree on the necessity and potential for such a solution. A solution to the misery created by large sections of the citizenry being pushed into poverty by micro-employment, insufficient wages and benefit cuts, soaring medical and housing costs, or when they are even entirely ejected from the workforce by our inequality machine of a modern economy that offshores jobs or replaces us with machines and focuses exclusively on profit (for the already well-to-do and rich) while dismissing all human values and ethical concerns.
(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot”)
Now, I know a UBI by itself is not enough and that there exist other important fixes, some even better, and many of them best applied in combination, including a really amazing one that I already wrote an article about whose publication I have, however, been postponing since I can write and publish only so much all by myself and without getting paid for it. So please be patient (or help). Just so you know, I have started to write a visionary book on the whole big picture. If you can promote this site, get me paid writing gigs, connect me with influencers or a like-minded community, or help financing my book, please do. Following this blog is good a first step.
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There is a meme-pic on mematic.net, picturing America’s 34th president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, during whose term our corporate tax rate was the highest ever (90%!). It explains that tax rate quite logically as follows:
Corporate Tax Rate: 90%
Why? Because high corporate tax rates create incentive for big business to spend earnings and expand (i.e. new locations, new hires, new equipment, and product R&D) which are deducted from taxable earnings, thus driving reported wealth into a lower tax bracket. Better to spend a majority of earnings on expansion than to horde it and pay Uncle Sam 90% of it. It’s not Communism, it’s responsible economics.
Continue reading “Why a High Corporate Tax Rate is Actually Good”
Our current economic organizing force is a system which creates a great imbalance in power. It does this by funneling much of what working people produce into the hands of a small power-elite. This power-elite is both motivated and enabled by this enormous wealth to maintain and exacerbate this imbalance-creating system from which they perceive themselves to be profiting (which in many ways they do). This system is the source of Money in Politics. Continue reading “Quickypinion: Why Our Economic System is Stupid”
Finally, an honestly speaking capitalist tells it like it is: CEOs and business owners only hire people when the demand for their goods or services rises to make hiring more staff necessary. And from whom comes the demand? From you and me, when (or if!) we can afford to buy. And for this we need a fair economy with fair pay, fair taxes, and good income security. Continue reading “The True Job Creators Are Not Who You May Think”