Have you ever dared to question why poverty exists?
‘In a country well-governed poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed wealth is something to be ashamed of.’ – Confucius (Chinese Philosopher)
In a world as advanced as ours, which has placed men on the moon, discovered particles beyond the realm of humanity, and with a greater understanding of economics and philosophy than any creature before us. Why is it that our way of life, condemns an entire demographic of people to a life of pure subsistence and suffering. Condemned to a life where homelessness, mental illness and sexual exploitation is normality. Condemned to a life of servitude to the powers that reign over us all. Well this grievous injustice is a scam, lauded as a necessary prerequisite of civilization. Poverty is a side-effect of our neoliberal economic system. An optional creation that must, can and will be destroyed by the institution of the drastic new policy. The Unconditional Basic Income! (UBI).
‘The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man.’ – Napoleon Bonaparte. French general.
Poverty is the inability to get basic necessities, wants and justice. Yet it is something that we have grown to accept as a people. But why??!! The often provided justification for poverty is that it is a necessity of the capitalist system; the notorious imperialist Winston Churchill (who sent troops to murder striking miners protesting their inadequate wages and safety), proclaimed that ‘the inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries’, meaning that for free enterprise and the continuance of the capitalist system, poverty must exist as a bulwark against collapse. Indeed, imagine capitalism without poverty! Imagine, a world (or state) in which employers looking for desperate, willing, gullible poor laborers couldn’t find any of the sort, due to a fair distribution of wealth with minimized inequalities between the ultra-rich and the poor. This brings to light, a major Marxist criticism of capitalism. His idea was that under capitalism, employers like to impose their own ‘culture of dependency’ on workers. They do this, by engineering and manipulating the society so that there would always be an available class of people desperate for the terrible work being given to them by money-scrounging businesses eager to maximize their profits and exploit their labour for as cheap as possible.
‘We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifices. Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad.’ – Martin Luther King, Jr.
The recent ‘Workfare’ issues that have been so ignored and under-reported by the corporate media, echo the situation. It is forced, unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage. Large businesses and corporations are conniving with the Tories for increased oppression of us, the working classes, who already suffer hardships in the vicissitudes of the recession’s aftermath. Workfare is effectively slave-labour, punishing those unable to get jobs or employment through regular means, with free, manual labour for large businesses,which in a way, makes fake pretenses as to benefiting the worker by teaching skills (which is blatant bullshit) and increasing employability. Companies and charities, including Poundland, the Salvation Army, Subway, Peacocks and many unnamed others are using this system of slavery. To those who say otherwise, that workfare is a necessity for the country. What is it then? What, if not forced, is work that one is compelled to take on pain of sanctions, including starvation? Poverty in the U.K is simply a creation of the thatcherite legacy.
‘When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.’ – Jean Satre
Even the state desires poverty, the governments, we elect, to protect us and defend our interests, forsake us when it is expedient. When there are global wars and interventions in foreign countries, often the unemployed, mentally ill and working class youth are the immediate applicants for the job, a culmination of financial pressures and the lies of military propaganda aimed at them. Many army posters intentionally omit references to the danger, trauma and risks involved with joining the military, instead painting it as an exaggerated adventure course with a salary. A blatant lie which unfortunately sucks in the poor into the mechanics of its system. There is almost no solace from the state’s malevolence towards the working class. The ruling classes of the state regularly collude with large corporations, through this they are able to slash benefits for the poor while exempting tax avoiding companies from any substantial punishment, as well as, increasing the ready availability of uncontrolled immigration which undermines any effective resistance by workers against the dwindling of their wages even in the face of inflation. Poverty is weaponised by the state and wealthy as a means of enslaving and disempowering resistance from us, the people.
‘A basic income is an income unconditionally granted to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement.’
With the institution of the Unconditional Basic Income , the destruction of poverty of all shapes and forms is sped up significantly. The UBI would prescribe to every individual of a society, a minimum set amount of money able to cover the costs of food, rent/mortgage, as well as, money enough to offer a life worth living for everyone. The UBI, would be given to everyone, regardless, of wealth or circumstance, erasing any feelings that this is a gift to the poor but rather a universal right for all people. The unconditional basic income is necessary for the reduction of bureaucratic excesses and due to the simplification of the entire process, the tax-payers money shall be saved significantly. It will even diminish claims of benefit fraud as why would anyone need to con and deceive to acquire benefits when the basic income is provided anyway. The basic income was actually created and implemented, to some extent, in Alaska, as the Alaska Permanent Fund. With this, 25% of the oil revenue from the state was secured and utilised for the benefit of ‘current and future generations’. It was remarkable in its effects; decreasing significantly the number of mothers engaged in jobs and providing them with more time to spend with their children. It allowed more adults to take the time to re-train or enter higher education enabling them to better themselves and follow their own aspirations instead of a life of drudgery It was a lifeline for small business and general provided a boost for the society. Even though this fund was created in 1976, it remains in place in Alaska and the public is still fiercely in support of it. A similar initiative was pursued in India, in parts of Delhi; 1000 rupees were allocated (the equivalent of $22 dollars) whilst ,in rural areas, 200 rupees were allocated. the results were also great, Guy Standing, a major organiser of the project stated “Child school attendance went up dramatically, use of medical clinics went up. Those with HIV/ AIDS started to take ARTs (Antiretroviral Therapy drugs) because they’d been able to buy the right sort of food with the cash. Women’s economic status improved, and the economic crime rate went down. Income distribution improved.” You may be surprised, but the first nation ever to implement the basic income was Iran. Yes, the theocratic dictatorship realised in 2010, that the only way to minimise the suffering inflicted by American sanctions was by instituted the basic income; to that extent it was successful, especially in alleviating suffering.
“Society as a whole benefits from a risk-positive environment, and if you can provide a mechanism where anybody can try any stupid commercial idea without risking becoming homeless and indebted, more people will innovate and take risks – and the society using this mechanism will get a competitive edge.” – Rick Falkvinge, Founder of the Swedish Pirate Party
The benefits of a Unconditional Basic Income would be vast and innumerable yet its main impact is that, it would enable every citizen to be free from the struggle to buy food, water, shelter and ponderous, prosaic jobs. There is no need for jejune menial tasks in a society, such as ours, with advanced technology, the need for clerks and secretaries and other such monotonous jobs is optional and only maintained because a lack of ambition in eradicating poverty. Efficiency can be matched if not exceeded using technological advancements to supersede the inefficiency of humans. In industries such as the motor industry, this change has served to minimise the risk to health and safety for workers with robots doing the majority of tasks,, and requiring only minimal human supervision. The UBI would serve to empower the working class and raise our living standards and the quality of life exponentially. In a new world, where corporations must fight to attract workers with far better working conditions and wages, the improvement in our situation will be extensive. The environmental implications are also very positive as in a society where the cheaper fossil fuel guzzling devices, we normally use, become optional and not necessitated by lack of money, consequentially, the rise of renewable energy shall be unprecedented. The elimination of the majority of crime (property crime) would also take place, as people with fundamental comforts of life are unlikely to steal. The society will also maximise creativity and ingenuity by freeing the intellect of people from simple monotonous work based lives to lives, in which, play and innovation are encouraged by more free time.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
– Confucius (Same guy as earlier)
Surely, the ultimate goal of any civilization is full-time unemployment in a post-scarcity world, where every minute of every-day is leisure time Surely, the end goal of our civilization is an absence of work and its supplication by limitless play and the wholeness of the human spirit is free to engage in whatever pleasures it so desires. And surely, our world will be all the greater when the most intense, most profound and most arcane sentiments of humanity can be released and the golden age of our planet finally realised.
^_^ Thanks for reading. For more information about workfare, please check out… boycottworkfare.org, for more about the UBI, please check out basicincome.org.uk. And lastly, I’ll leave you with this very relevant song about the ‘Bear Necessities’