UNITED KINGDOM: Channel 4 News’s economics editor refers BI in his new book
Paul Mason, the award-winning economics editor of Channel 4 News, argues in favour of a basic income in his new book entitled PostCapitalism: A guide to our future, published in 30th July 2015 by Allen Lane, London.
Neoliberalism is broken, Mason argues, and we have the chance to create a new global economy which he calls ‘Postcapitalism’. He gives three reasons why this is possible: information technology is reducing the need for work; the abundance of information goods is undermining the market-based pricing mechanism which relies on scarcity; collaborative production is rising.
A basic income play a key role in Mason’s argument for the transition from capitalism to post-capitalism. Implementing it could ‘socialize the costs of automation’ by formalizing ‘the separation of work and wages’, while subsidizing ‘the transition to a shorter working week, or day, or life’.
What makes Mason’s argument unique among the many other existing arguments for a basic income, is that a basic income will be possible only during the process of transition and will disappear when the transition to post-capitalism is completed.
‘The ultimate aim is to reduce to a minimum the hours it takes to produce what humanity needs. Once this happens, the tax base in the market sector of the economy would be too small to pay for the basic income. Wages themselves would increasingly be either social – in the form of collectively provided – or disappear. So as a postcapitalist measure, the basic income is the first benefit in history whose success measure is that it shrinks to zero.’
Although Mason referred to a basic income in his contribution to the Guardian several months ago, this book locates a basic income in his wider perspective on history and the current state of capitalism as well as his design for future.