Monday, February 23, 2015

A series of five (well, probably six) weekly essays explaining, I hope, the plan for Co-operative Socialism. Issue set 4) - Income distribution and, thus, security, issues (inequality/inequity/pensions/student debt, etc)

Last week, I offered to write a series of five weekly essays explaining, I hope, the plan for Co-operative Socialism.

John Courtneidge
So, here's the first one

23 February 2015

 The plan for Co-operative Socialism and graphic are 1995-ish - 'The Spirit Level cover is that for the second paperback edition (note the Blue Star - signifying the extra chapter of rebuttal of The Spirit Level Myth' book -  and the wholosophy diagram (below) from the late 1990's/early 2000s

Hope they help!

First an overview:


The reason for five essays is that my experience, over the past twenty years - backed up by my experience of running two businesses (a small farm and a co-owned Garden Centre and Nursery) - is that the life issues that people are (rightly!) concerned over are:

1) Morality/ethics/philosophy/theology/spiritual issues

2) Work-place/health/wealth creation issues, intellectual property, etc

3) Land issues (land generally: 'land, sea and air'/ frozen land (buildings, roads, ports, land-use generally - including housing, agriculture etc - and 'virtual land ('the air wave electromagnetic spectrum', e-space etc)

4) Income distribution and, thus, security, issues (inequality/inequity/pensions/student debt, etc)

- which is the one I'll deal with this week - it's the place that, for many 'the shoe pinches' today

5) International affairs (Third World Debt, Fair Trade, etc)
6) Money/banking/finance issues: essentially two: how money is created, how money is used - and 'should we have money anyway?'

So, that means we need six essays!

And, more-over, they won't come in 1, 2, 3, etc, order - since they are all interlinked - and I've got to start somewhere!

(It's a wholosophy thing! - see right!)


But, before I start, one overarching point.

The evidence in The Spirit Level (see for on-line videos, etc) is summarized in the cover graphic to the paper-back edition (as in the photo attached).

It says (to me) that, you can spend a lifetime grappling with an infinity of problems (the 'many fish' in the left-hand bowl) or you can achieve one - (greater) income equality - and that (from the epidemiological evidence - evidence not assertion!), *as a result*, all the other problems (money worries, war, the ecocide, ill-health generally) get solved.


So, the first: essay,

Issue set 4) - Income distribution and, thus, security, issues (inequality/inequity/pensions/student debt, etc)

 In this world you need a money income.

People rightly say that we all need a minimum income on which to live.

I prefer to call that 'A Living Income' - because minimum is too much like 'Basic', No-frills, Austerity, Meanness.

I prefer people to thrive and be free, as a consequence, to have a decent-enough income so that they are free to be responsible (rather than capitalism's 'freedom' - the 'freedom to be irresponsible' - ughh!)

Now, from the Spirit Level evidence, therefore, we need a maximum income so that there is a much narrower income range than at present.

I consider this to be the most important calculation that a society does: so, I consider that there should be a truly democratic way of doing this, annually.

So, for example:

- suppose that society decides that a maximum income should be, say three times the Living Income,

- then everyone would receive, from the community, a Living Income (a LIFE : A Living Income for Everyone)

- plus, if they choose to do paid work, up to a maximum of two more dollops of money

ie a Living Income of, say, £1000 per fortnight and up to £2000 more from paid work per fortnight

- the sums and multiplier that I'm using here are only for illustration

- I *strongly* think that a randomly-selected, 'Citizens Jury'/''Community Fairness Commission'/what-ever name you like, body should annually do this - something a re-formatted 'House of Lords/Senate of the people/what-ever name you prefer could do this - not *elected* but Selected at random - just as the Jury system has served for justice for several thousand years.

So, enough on Essay 4)
Income and distribution issues (inequality/inequity/pensions/student debt, etc)
for now.

Hope this helps!



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