Citizen's Wage. National Work Force.

5 Oct

From the mid-1980s, I agreed with the old communist idea that every Citizen should be accorded a Wage. The Citizens Wage would be paid to them regardless of: their age, whether they had a job, were between jobs, were disabled, were too old to work, or were unwanted by the job market.

Obviously, the various benefits would be replaced by Citizens Wage.

Since the Inland Revenue Service would run Citizens Wage, costs would be cut.

As people earned work wages, their Citizens Wage would of course be unaffected. They would pay Income Tax, rising along with their earnings, but at a rate carefully designed so that work was always rewarding. For people earning HIGH wages, Citizens Wage would be lost in the noise.

But for people earning NO wages, Citizens Wage would enable them to stay alive and fit, ready for any war with its sudden (surprise-surprise) bonanza of new jobs.

With IRS effectively operating the above “positive-and-negative tax system”, people who are routinely least attractive to employers would be able to accept casual work for a day, a week, a month, or whatever, and not have all the nightmare of signing off and signing back on.

These casual workers would benefit if all “places of worship” had the seats and paraphernalia ripped out to make hostel-type sleeping accommodation, at appropriately rock bottom rent.  

The “refusal to take available jobs” which Daily Mail and Daily Express harp on about is a function of this nightmare. With employers reporting casual work done to IRS, there would be NO nightmare, just a nice bit of extra money and self-respect.

Jay sends me a BBC report about Con-Lib Coalition finally dithering on the edge of new thinking:

Universal allowances, such as child benefit, could be curbed to help fund a major shake-up of the welfare system, David Cameron has indicated. The prime minister wants to wrap all existing out-of-work benefits into a single payment that encourages work.

Speaking as the Tory conference got under way in Birmingham, he said the plan would get substantial numbers of people off benefit and into work. Labour accused the government of planning a massive assault on families.

This half-assed approach addresses one aspect of the issue. Work, as a basic building block of the market economy, is an ever-dwindling phenomenon. There is no mystery about Unemployment.

Western manufacturing and service industries have automated and computerised, in order to shed jobs and cut costs, ever since China accepted the need for a part-capitalist economy around 1985.

Yet the fatuous blather from Cameron, Clegg, Milliband, and the news media, is about wanting to get people back into jobs. They mean old-style jobs that no longer exist. It will not work. It will not happen.

Children and housewives do not have to work. The country keeps them. The people surplus to the job market can be kept also. But they cannot be paid vast sums. So either recruit us all into a national work force (at low pay) or cut benefits.

A national work force is the natural, organic role into which surplus people have gravitated (if governments will recognise it) in this hi-tech age, to do work that has no immediate-term market value, but which is an investment in, principally, the Tourism market of the not-too-distant future.

Those of us who, whether through middle-age or pacific-nature, are dysfunctional in the business of competing for the creepy cyber jobs of today, are ideally suited to non-frenetic, careful work in preparing England for the not-too-distant future when our Chinese masters will come sight-see-ing in far larger numbers.

London is fun but is done after a few days. Out there in the sticks, is the remainder of quaint England…

In redirecting the energy of surplus people into a (Community Action style) national work force, we would be:

…restoring, and consolidating into bounds, our ancient pathways and Roman roads
…rebuilding ruins and remains, from robbed-out trenches upwards
…making cliffs safe
…cleaning beaches…

But Mr Cameron told the BBC the coalition’s planned welfare reforms were “refreshingly radical” and would mean people would always be better off in work. Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show…

“…we have got to ask, are there some areas of universal benefits that are no longer affordable? …on the other hand let us look at the issue of dependency where we have trapped people in poverty through the extent of welfare that they have…”

most welfare claimants would not be transferred on to the new universal benefit system until after the next election… …in 2015.

…single welfare payments system would save “huge amounts of money” because there would be less error, fraud and waste.

…the proposed changes, to bring welfare benefits for the unemployed and low-paid together under a new “universal credit” system, were the most far-reaching for more than 60 years.

What were these alleged dependents-trapped-in-poverty (whose motivations politicians claim to know) doing BEFORE lean-mean cost-cuts left them surplus to job market requirement? They were getting their ass out of the house in the morning, and clocking in, doing work that machines are now doing. Now they are suddenly supposed to be lazy.

They do NOT have any interest in competing against immigrants for the tiny number of Kitchen Porter, Cleaner, or Cold-Selling (mostly seasonal) so-called “jobs”.

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One Response to “Citizen's Wage. National Work Force.”

  1. Vincent October 7, 2010 at 12:26 am #

    All of the above is something vaguely like what I’ve been saying for about twenty years, now. But it has to be done PROPERLY – which is not easy.

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