Category Archives: Opinion

OPINION: Why Austerity is the Wrong Answer to Debt: A Call for a New Paradigm

The delinkage of productivity and real wages is the underlying cause of the economic crisis. As a result of this delinking, consumer income has lagged output GDP, and the gap has been funded by consumer credit and increased debt-financed welfare payments. This proved unsustainable, and so led to the coalition’s current austerity policy and GDP cuts. An alternative paradigm is needed in which the financial sector is re-engineered and financial instruments redefined to serve the real economy.

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Marion Ellison (ed.), Reinventing Social Solidarity across Europe

Marion Ellison (ed.), Reinventing Social Solidarity across Europe, Policy Press, 2011, xv + 270 pp, hbk, 1 847 42727 4, £70 Social solidarity is ‘a contested, fluid, multilevel and multifaceted concept within the European polity, civil society and the public realm.’ This volume treats this solidarity as ‘a lived experience, a shared learning experience and a normative construct,’ (p.11) at

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Emma Carmel, Alfio Cerami and Theodoros Papadopoulos (eds), Migration and Welfare in the New Europe: Social protection and the challenges of integration

Emma Carmel, Alfio Cerami and Theodoros Papadopoulos (eds), Migration and Welfare in the New Europe: Social protection and the challenges of integration, Policy Press, 2011, xiv + 261 pp, hbk, 1 847 42644 4, £70 The introductory chapter of this timely edited collection outlines the issues to be discussed throughout: policy combinations, institutions and political structures, and the resulting integration

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OPINION: Funding Citizen’s Income by Seigniorage: The message of Future Money from James Robertson

The ‘sensible’ view of Citizen’s Income (CI) is that it would pool income tax allowances and welfare benefits, as far as possible, into a single uniform payment, varying only with age paid to every citizen, without conditions, funded in the main by income tax. This model has been studied extensively, and can be discussed with policy makers and advisors who understand the mechanisms and procedures involved. But politically this is a complete non-starter: In his latest book Future Money, James Robertson comments “The conventional assumption has been that there is no way of funding a Citizen’s Income except by taxing people’s other incomes highly, and it might have to be at a rate as high as 70%. For many years that has been seen as ruling out a Citizen’s Income. Like many objections to otherwise desirable proposals, the assumption is due to inability or unwillingness to think outside a narrow box

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Personal reflections on the 14th congress of the Basic Income Earth Network

What did I learn from this splendidly organized gathering of academic and activists from over thirty countries? As usual, many things. About people and about things. About facts and about dreams. I discovered, for example, that Götz Werner was perhaps even better at reciting Goethe than Eduardo Suplicy at singing Dylan. I also admired how much progress had been made

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OPINION: Conservative website finds USBIG behind vast government conspiracy

You reach a milestone the first time you or your organization is named the mastermind behind a vast government conspiracy that goes all the way up to the President of the United States. This happened to the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee (USBIG) on July 23, 2012, when an opinion piece by J. D. Longstreet on The Right Side News website

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OPINION: Turn the Fed on its Head

I have watched with quiet fascination the evolution/resurgence of alternative politics since the financial meltdown of 2008. In my opinion, we have (at least) two broad camps developing: a Ron Paul brand of libertarianism that seeks to return to a prior vision of capitalism lost, and a new brand of Economic Democrat (often reflected in the Occupy Movement and/or Green Party or the ‘New Economy’ movement) that seeks a balance between capitalism as we know it and the people at large, who are more often than not suffering the brunt of capitalism run amok.

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OPINION: The persistence of poverty and a negative income tax

At the North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress in Toronto, which I attended in May 2012, Charles Karelis, author of The Persistence of Poverty, demonstrated what is wrong with much thinking about poverty, using a simple analogy. Suppose you are stung by a bee, and you are offered enough salve to relieve the pain of that sting. Most people would

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OPINION: Report from the NA-BIG Conference

The Eleventh North American Basic Income Guarantee (NA-BIG) Congress took place at the University of Toronto on May 3-5, 2012. I had the privilege of attending this conference. It provided an unusual opportunity for me to go to a NA-BIG Congress purely as a participant, because I had almost nothing to do with the organization of it this year.

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