THE NETHERLANDS: Party for the Animals wants Universal Basic Income to be investigated
“The Earth offers enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed” is the opening sentence of the election-program of the Party for the Animals (“Partij voor de Dieren”, PvdD). This document has been released in advance of the Dutch parliamentary elections, which will be held on March 15th, 2017.
One would expect huge attention to be paid to environmental issues in the election-program of the PvdD, but economic issues also receive extensive attention. In fact, its first chapter is titled “Economy and Labour, Your Money or Your Life?”
According to the PvdD, the economic crisis was not caused by scarcity, but by flaws in the economic system. They argue that we are capable of producing all we need very efficiently – with ever decreasing demands on labour – which offers great opportunity to spend more time on caring for each other, our environment and ourselves. However, we have organized our economy in such a way that spending time on these latter goods is in fact increasingly difficult. People are forced to work more rather than less. Many people are excluded and production and consumption are forced to grow, regardless of the demands of the people. Labour is very expensive due to taxes which employers as well as employees have to pay, while at the same time being abundantly available. In contrast, raw materials are scarce but cheap and their mining causes imbalances in nature.
“The current economic system causes growth-and-debt slavery, on account of which everything will jam. We will have to organize this differently,” PvdD states in its program.
PvdD proposes making labour cheaper and non-sustainable goods more expensive. Shorter working hours should be available for everyone, they argue, which will help to tackle unemployment and create possibilities to combine paid labour with other activities, such as care work, parenting or voluntary work. PvdD strives for “a society in which paid labour is no longer seen as the only or most important goal in life”.
Party for the Animals sees an unconditional basic income as a possible solution:
“A basic income for everyone will have to be seriously investigated. With such an income we can perform work and activities that today remain untouched because we don’t have time for them or because they are too expensive. […] A basic income could allow a lot more activities that are beneficial to society to be developed.”
According to the PvdD, polls say 19% of Dutch voters are considering voting for the party in the upcoming elections.
Info and links
The election program of PvdD can be found here (in Dutch)
Photo: topheader international website Party for the Animals
Special thanks to Josh Martin and Genevieve Shanahan for reviewing this article