Basic Income – a wonderful idea that LVT leads to…

Welcome interested in LVT individuals to this blog today.  The inspiration for today's piece comes from the LVT group on facebook and I firstly wish to thank that community for their inspiration and interest in the movement, and inspirational group.

Many who come to this blog are funders of the film The Taxing Question of Land Value that is currently in production.  As an update, we are half way through the production process and the film will enjoy its official release at an event hosted by the Royal Society of Arts in London on the 3rd September followed by a lively panel debate and Q & A.   Should you be interested in hearing more please do get in touch with us at thetaxingquestionofland@gmail.com.

We will also be filming at the upcoming IU conference hosted by The School of Economic Science in London later this month and encourage any interested individuals to join the conference to hear from international experts in the field of Land Value Tax.

Now to today's blog,

Basic Income - a wonderful idea that LVT leads to...

 

Sign the petition:

http://www.basicincome2013.eu

historic overview including Henry George, founder of LVT.

Interestingly Youtube places this incredible video on the same page as basic income.  This is truly a beautiful emotive wonderful television piece. 

I can’t help but me moved towards tears, listening to the singer, and I see how the judges are moved to want to help him.  I am left with the thoughts:

Do we not want to help all like him?

and,

What sacrifices would we be willing to make to achieve universal support?

 

This lovely lecture explores some of the important questions that are asked when confronted with Universal Basic Income: non-means tested benefit to all individuals with no pre-conditions including no requirement to work.

Is this:

Stupid?

Individual status – not families?

Why give money to the rich, they don’t need it?

Without work?

Would this not damage the economy – does this not reward anti-social behaviour?

These questions are answered and also the idea that true freedom is not only to support human rights but also to grant individual power to live as one should be able to in a truly free society.

The Universal Basic Income prospect is a most worthy consideration of what to do with surplus revenues generated from LVT.  In the video and in large elements of the UBI movement, the answer of how to achieve this Basic Income is argued as a VAT system – This is not a solution the LVT movement can agree with. This is because VAT harms the flow of economy.  LVT on the other hand is a great way of encouraging economic activity, supporting a healthy and sustainable economy, creating a surplus instead of a deficit, stopping the creation of further UK debt and generating the revenues to be able to support a UBI.

Some supporters of Land Value Tax believe that it would not in itself be able to raise sufficient revenues to create a surplus for government, which would in turn, as well as funding government expenditure and paying off government debt, be able to support a Basic Income.  The figures their research has generated considers our current economy and this view, whilst useful is limited as there is

yet to be consideration, modelling or accounting for what would happen to land value and to the economy as a result of Land Value Tax.

If we are able to achieve true Tax Shift; shifting the tax base away from taxes that damage our economy and towards a tax that encourages healthy and sustainable economy we would find that more wealth would be captured in land value, which in turn would generate the desired level of surplus to fund, not only our own government expenditure, but also that surplus which could finally begin to pay back debt and support Basic Income.

The idea of Basic Income is a beautiful one that I am compelled to agree with and believe in.  As explained above, many individuals in the Basic Income movement see VAT as the solution to raise the necessary funds.  I disagree.  LVT for me is the only ethical way of generating revenues for government expenditure.  What I propose is a marriage between BI and LVT.  I am not alone in this thinking.  The Coalition for Economic Justice first introduced me to the ideas and consider it as a reasonable follow up to LVT.

The last element of these discussions always seems to be something along the lines of, “but what a difference can I make” / “change of that magnitude will never happen” “its an impossible dream”

I believe that fundamental change, whilst hard, is possible. – Largely because of my growing knowledge of history, abolishing slavery in the west, granting the rights for women to vote, granting the rights for non landowners to vote,  - (interesting aside, when non landowners were granted the first right to vote in 1918, landowners were given an extra vote – how awful is that for democracy?  Imagine women were allowed to vote but men had two votes…!  IN 1948 when women were granted the right to vote, also landowners had their extra vote taken away from them. )

Civil rights, rights for minorities, the world society is ever evolving, advances are made and they are worthy, but we have more change to come.  We have to start with changing ourselves and questioning our own beliefs and how we want to shape a world that is inspiring and free for all.  Many don’t want a free for all, and I believe and find a calling challenging this in others and in challenging myself to find inspiration and motivation.

I would ask that people engage with their leaders, find out who might be best able to represent them in the political sphere, if no one will, let them know and why, meet your local MP and ask if they agree with your ideas, tell them you would vote for them if they agreed with you.  If we could all engage in political process more, I believe we would have a far better democracy, an engaged democracy that would stand for values that we have discussed together and can collectively aim for.

The world can change, and does daily, we can change and change is good, change is evolutionary.

Special thanks to Ricardo Salta and Warren Chamberlain from the LVT facebook group for the links that inspired this blog and to Jacob Shwartz-Lucas for adding me to the LVT Facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/landvaluetax/

 

 

 

For a follow up of a wonderful but long film on UBI, check out this and the starting notes from the film:

 

http://dotsub.com/view/26520150-1acc-4fd0-9acd-169d95c9abe1?

This incredible film is wonderfully put together. I am only half way through but am compelled to finish this blog post.

Here I have some notes from the film to give you a taster of its worth:

When comparing this idea and the response it receives to the idea that we could not abolish slavery for the chaos it would cause or from the belief that the world was a flat disc or the centre of the universe.

We are reminded that:

“Every system asserts its own coherence and cannot shift into another out of its own accord.”

The systems we have make a lot of sense and we can argue the validity of the systems we have in place without them being the most valid option, we do it today and we have always done so.

There is a false idea that only those who work have rights in our societies – this idea has to be done away with. 

In Germany, where the video was made, 59 % of society does not earn income from work, they are likely children or individuals supported by families and relatives, gaining income via family / guardian assisted support.  They are pensioners, gaining income via state or private savings.  They are part of the state benefit system, gaining income through benefits. 

SO this idea is not entirely new.

Much of our progress can put people out of work; a more efficient automated system for example may put people out of work.  To be pro-progress and to be pro human rights we need to appreciate that progress may lead to unemployment and should be a way to make society easier and better, if we rely on work for income we start to be in conflict with these forms of progress.

The right to work should be the right for an individual to work at what they really want to do, - to achieve this we have to be operating within a system of basic income.

Would you still go to work if you had a basic income?

60% yes, nothing would change

30% yes but no longer full time / but id do something different

10% first I’d have a lay in and then I’d see / maybe look after someone else than travel

Would other people to go to work?

80% no it would probably be impossible to make other people go back to work.

We used to have child working here, but now we don’t, instead we buy these same products from child workers in foreign countries or immigrants here.

So who would do the dirty work? 

You would improve conditions and pay of the dirty work or do it yourself.

Most people would go to work because they don’t want to sit at home doing nothing.  Most people want to earn more than the minimum.

A till worker says she likes meeting people which she gets to do every day.

“I have an income in order that I am able to work. Not I work in order to have an income”

“The power of the individual is what it will depend on”

We’ve heard some of the arguments before and each time we advance with economic equality of opportunity we find these arguments exposed as the fallacy they are, for example; At some point women were considered unable to work – who would do house work if you paid them?

The reason we would work would be out of a sense of duty and not because of our need to earn a living.  The phrase itself is off-putting when considered in this context, why should I earn my living?  Have I not a human right to be alive?  I have responsibilities to my whole society and am indebted to them for the progress that I am provided with to live in, but to earn it?  Who decides who has earned the living? What are the values and ethics of the society based on?

 

End of Notes.