Universal Basic Income Experiment

Written By: - Date published: 10:52 am, June 26th, 2015 - 97 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, Economy, Environment, global warming, International, welfare - Tags: , ,

As reported in The Independent, Utrecht, a city with a population of some 300 000 people, is to launch a universal basic income experiment. Recently, a court order issued to the Dutch government demanded that it cut CO2 emissions by 25% over the next 5 years. This, according to mainstream economists, sits at the very edge of economic viability, which is why no climate model incorporates CO2 reductions above around 5% in spite of the science informing us we need to cut at around 10%. My thoughts are that a UBI may well become a necessary measure for governments seeking to salvage current economic configurations in an environment demanding de-growth strategies.

97 comments on “Universal Basic Income Experiment ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Ah, I thought this would be about the two Canadian cities that are considering a UBI: http://www.vox.com/2014/9/8/6003359/basic-income-negative-income-tax-questions-explain

    Looks like it’s gaining traction. Finally.

  2. RedLogix 2

    Bill,

    Much appreciate the post. I’m still as convinced as ever that the UBI is the social and economic tool that will make the most difference. These days I don’t see it as a silver bullet, but certainly as a central plank.

    PencilSwords latest captures something very plain and honest here:

    http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/the-pencilsword-walk-this-way

    Along with many kiwis, I too learnt this lesson the exact same way. Tramping is a peculiar ‘sport’. It’s a stripped back version of our ordinary lives. It removes the pretensions, the delusions and smokescreens of ‘civilised’ life. Now it’s pretty much just the terrain, the weather and the strictly limited resources you bring with you.

    Your first trips are like the one depicted, the young and stupid treat it like a race. Then you have the over-organised, regimented trips were everyone gets treated like an idiot. (I’ve done a few of both types – they’re no fun at all.) With time you find a balance between these extremes – that the whole trip is only going to achieve what the weakest member can – while each person is also responsible for their own safety, enjoyment and behaviour.

    Most clubs have learned from hard experience and have strict rules against the group breaking up, or getting spread out. A strong member is usually at the back, because that’s where the problems will occur. The leader pays attention to what is going on, consults and navigates. Even on a simple, easy daytrip – it’s surprising how much is going on.

    Yet the idea that the group will somehow magically organise itself is wrong as well. One of the most bizarre tramps I ever did was full of highly experienced, super capable people – who all assumed ‘someone else’ was in charge. It ended in a farce-like shambles.

    Oh and in case anyone here thinks tramping is some sort of soft, waffly pastime – I’d like to point out that in the past two years about a dozen people have died in the NZ mountains. Superficially it looks easy enough, until suddenly it isn’t.

    • Bill 2.1

      With CO2 cuts having to be around 10% or more per year, unnecessary economic activity (ie, anything that makes no overt social contribution) is going to have to stop. We then give everyone the means to access goods and services, or we exclude swathes of society. At the moment, it appears governments are content to pursue the latter course through, for example, policies of austerity.

      So I guess I’m looking at either UBI and 10% cuts, or business as usual ushering in mayhem as climate change destroys our infrastructure and economy.

      I’m expecting wholly inadequate responses from governments and a really bloody hard time for anyone around in 2040 – 2050.

      • dukeofurl 2.1.1

        Interesting point: When it suits them governments are fairly happy to reduce economic activity for some sections of society.

        Situation in Greece would be prime example.

        Even more interesting is that the private corporations that encouraged and lent the money to Greece previously – even though they knew they were cooking the books- have been able to bail out over the last few years as the EU itself has taken up the outstanding loans.

        “Wall Street tactics akin to the ones that fostered subprime mortgages in America have worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece and undermining the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts.”- NY times
        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/business/global/14debt.html?pagewanted=all

        You could write a book on that sort of stuff but only a glimpse is needed here. Bill English and Key are putting their toes into water on similar deals here. Social Bonds anyone ?

        NZ Government could halt all dairy conversions by cutting renewable forests tomorrow. That would reduce economic activity for a tiny group but in the broad sense improve climate outcomes for all?

      • RedLogix 2.1.2

        Yes. “Unnecessary economic activity” hits the parallel I was drawing above exactly.
        The core distinguishing factor of tramping is the pack.

        It has a limited volume. The more you put in it, the more comfortable your will be, but the slower you will be. So you do not take anything ‘unnecessary’.

        That mostly eliminates the luxuries and fripperies of modern life. Sure you can lug some in – but most experienced people in the hut will quietly consider you an idiot. Gone are the status symbols, snobberies and privileges so corrosive to authentic human contact. Great trampers work hard to see how little they can safely carry. It’s a lesson you never stop learning.

        I’ve contributed to this site for years while rarely making reference to why tramping is so important to me. I’m conscious that on one hand it’s a bit of a luxury in itself these days. Yet back in the 20’s and 30’s when the unique kiwi tramping culture was born, it evolved as a response to hard-times. It was for many the only accessible social activity outside of church, pub and maybe work. The NZFS bushmen were a remarkable breed whom I was privileged to meet a few of.

        And if I’m candid about it – it’s the environment in which as a young man I picked up most of my values. It’s the underlying subtext to the RedLogix who has so much to say here over the years. (Probably too much.) As I said above – it’s a pared down, raw version of real life. And the people you meet, regardless of how they might vote, are almost always people you want to spend more time with. For a few days you get real communities in action, however temporary they are. And that has always been my first and most passionate love.

        • Scintilla 2.1.2.1

          Great posts on tramping, Red, think you get to the heart of it. Long time since I’ve been tramping and really never got beyond occasional overnighters, but i get what you mean about the stripped down to essential self stuff. Gets the batteries recharged. I wonder if tramping clubs/groups are in good heart these days??

          We run Outdoor Education at school but it is somewhat limited: one of the things that annoys me is that everything has to be assessed these days so just going out for a simple experience is becoming unlikely. I have had an idea on the back burner for a while about combining ‘land art’ with a camp/tramp experience. get students to make giant spirals out of stones, for instance, on a riverbank or beach, create environmental artworks that are ephemeral by nature. I really like the idea of creating artworks in groups out of non-precious, or available materials, that incorporate a sense of ritual and deep connection to nature. The benefits of freaking teamwork without the competitive must-win ethos driving it.

        • Ad 2.1.2.2

          tramping is a rapidly declining sport. Except for tourists, who usually take the fully catered option, with non-egalitarian staff working for you.

          Nice try at a metaphor.

          Regrettably few do it anymore.

  3. Save NZ 3

    Sounds a lot better than ‘social bonds’….

  4. Colonial Rawshark 4

    Our politicians need to change the way they think about money. Money is not a resource, it is created out of thin air; it is useless when hoarded and worse than useless when used to make our society more fragile and disconnected; money must be tied to reality as a unit of positive social account.

    Today we have too many injurious/useless activities which make too much money, and too many caring/creative activities which make too little.

    In other words, it is an inhuman economy which deforms and compromises the human spirit.

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      If its created out of thin air , why do banks, for the most instances borrow from others.
      On call deposits, term deposits, money market bank bills etc.

      How silly of them to just make a living by borrowing short and lending long when there is untold riches by creating it out of ‘thin air’.

      Set up your own bank and go for broke with the obvious.

      I even have a name Bank of Andersons Bay & Zimbabwe

      • Colonial Rawshark 4.1.1

        dukeofurl – are you aware that there is a hierarchy of banks, and that retail banks have the least powers of all to ‘create money’ (although they can easily create credit and create deposits ‘out of thin air’, according to certain regulations).

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2

        There are restrictions but not very many and the normal operation of the banks actually gets around them:

        In this video we’ll see that the type of reserve ratio that’s discussed in the textbooks has never even existed in the UK. We’ll see that the liquidity ratios that did exist have been reduced and eventually abolished, and that even when they did exist, they only limited the speed that the money supply could increase, but put no limit on the total size that it could grow to.

        So, yeah, bank create ex nihilo with, essentially, no restrictions. It’s where all that house price inflation throughout the world is coming from. You didn’t really think that economic growth of 1% could provide enough money for 15% house price increases did you?

    • Nessalt 4.2

      you keep parroting this delusion as if you are the only one who knows the truth and everyone around is stupid for not seeing what you are seeing. There is a psychologists term for that

  5. McFlock 5

    I’ll be interested to see what happens.

  6. Macro 6

    A UBI would solve the housing crisis in Auckland overnight, and without the need to build thousands of more homes. Many people are in Auckland solely in the vain hope of finding employment. Without this constraint of having to live in an area where there is the remote possibility of finding a job, they could move to an area where housing is available and less expensive and enjoy a more enriched life.
    There are literally thousands of unoccupied houses around our country side and beaches that sit empty for months. Our economy is upside down, and obviously not working as an efficient distribution system for resources when people live in cars and on the streets while so many houses are empty.

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.1

      Yep, a UBI is a structural game changer, which is why in the Andersons Bay Peninsula Branch of the Labour Party we are pushing for a UBI set at 25% of the average wage, which is income tax free.

      • Lanthanide 6.1.1

        Why even pretend to come up with your own model for what a UBI should be?

        Just getting the foot in the door is a monumental achievement. Keep it simple – just promote the Big Kahuna. There’s plenty of time (and paid policy development) to tweak the details, once the way forward has been agreed.

        • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1.1

          there’s merit in your approach Lanth; I’ll just say that the Big Kahuna levels of UBI do need to be upped if it is not to cause widespread poverty amongst the bottom 10% of NZers.

          • Craig H 6.1.1.1.1

            We approved policy remits for UBI at the region 5 conference, and I suspect it will be a big plank of the Future of Work commission findings.

    • dukeofurl 6.2

      Does living in an area to be close to friends family come into it.

      The idea that there is 50,000 unoccupied houses in remote areas is absurd. Remote areas dont have public transport either, even the water supply isnt up to scratch. healthcare access is poor.
      Enriched life ?

      • Macro 6.2.1

        Does living in an area to be close to friends family come into it.

        Of course it does! But are you seriously suggesting that there are not 22,000 people living in Auckland who given half a chance would move out tomorrow? I lived in Auckland for 25+ years and having left have never regretted it. I have more friends now – and have also discovered long lost relatives. What public transport are you talking about that they would seriously miss with the odd bus once or twice a day if your lucky? In the town I live in with 7000 residents there is no public transport – but there is no need. Everything is 5 mins walk away. As for the water supply – good grief are you suggesting that the Waikato river is drinkable? I prefer mine off the roof and filtered thank you very much. At least I don’t gag when I drink it offended by the stench from treated “water”.

      • weka 6.2.2

        “The idea that there is 50,000 unoccupied houses in remote areas is absurd. Remote areas dont have public transport either, even the water supply isnt up to scratch. healthcare access is poor.
        Enriched life ?”

        Lolz, try telling that the many ex-Aucklanders who have moved south for the cheaper housing costs and lifestyle and love it.

        • Colonial Rawshark 6.2.2.1

          Indeed. I lived in Auckland for about 5 years. Am never going back.

  7. Michael 7

    I am very interested to see the results of this. I believe some politicians have been pestering for the newly elected left-leaning government in Alberta, Canada to look into a UBI, too.

  8. Scintilla 8

    If I’m reading the situation correctly, I think the UB is already functioning as a kind of UBI. My work life is precarious – unpredictable, unreliable and also unavailable for some months of the year. I can get full UB in the weeks I get no or little work, no matter how much I earned the week before. In other words I don’t get penalised for earning $1k last week beyond not getting UB for that week. This is a distinct change of attitude from a couple of years ago.

    UBI would dovetail nicely for the govt working hand in glove with business who want to retain casualised work – an admission there never will be full employment again.

    • weka 8.1

      Weekly reporting of earnings doesn’t work so well for others.

      There are substantial differences between UB and a UBI. With a UBI you don’t have to declare extra earnings. Unlike UB there are no barriers to getting the UBI. Social stigma, crazy levels of bureaucracy etc would largely be resolved.

      • Scintilla 8.1.1

        Yes, i appreciate that, I’m thinking the bureaucrats are getting their ducks in rows. Certainly the removal of the bene stigma & endless hoop jumping will be welcome and you can bet the whole thing will be sold as some wondrous manna from the godkey.

        • Colonial Rawshark 8.1.1.1

          NZ Super is a better example of a limited NZ UBI. Another reason Labour wanting to fuck with it is utterly asinine.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2

          Certainly the removal of the bene stigma & endless hoop jumping will be welcome and you can bet the whole thing will be sold as some wondrous manna from the godkey.

          That entire sentence reads as a contradiction.

          Presently National are increasing the stigma and hoop jumping to push people off of benefits so as to increase poverty. They’re most likely doing this because they can then a) cut taxes on the rich and b) force people to work for even less lowering wages and thus pushing up profits for the rich.

          From this we can see that a UBI would never be brought in by National.

          • Scintilla 8.1.1.2.1

            Mmm …. I’m mulling over whether they would go for it as a matter of efficiency, they can sell it to business as giving them their casualised, flexible workforce without the public angst, thus maintaining competitive impetus in the global market, cut the bureaucratic admin costs etc. I don’t think it would be a contradiction for Key at all – the prince of pragmatism. If anyone can spin it he can.

            Do you really think there is any more juice to be squeezed out of the strugglers? The govt are well into disemboweling the middle class – bit more squealing to come there, methinks.

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.2.1.1

              Do you really think there is any more juice to be squeezed out of the strugglers?

              I don’t but that doesn’t mean that National won’t try to squeeze more out. And, yes, what more they’ll get will probably be coming from the middle classes.

  9. Clean_power 9

    Serious? Utopia and Heaven on Earth will come first. Those are fancy dreams that will never become reality. Not in 1,000 years.

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      Why be in politics if you’re only interested in protecting the status quo hierarchy.

  10. Tom Gould 10

    Not being familiar with the detail, how is a UBI abated, assuming it is? And how wide is it, that is, what falls within the scope of “income”? Anyone?

  11. b waghorn 12

    For a ubi to be worth doing it would have to be big enough that all other benefit and pensions can be done away with ,at that level all those shitty jobs out there that people are being under paid to do now will find no takers.

    • Colonial Rawshark 12.1

      A base UBI of $240 to $250 per week in hand, with top ups for specific situations, will be sufficient to change the entire economy.

    • McFlock 12.2

      So if those jobs really need to be done, employers will pay more or automate and the workers will still do ok.

      For me, the real question is where to come up with the $60B CR’s plan will require every year – even nuking all current benefits and pensions will still leave a shortfall of tens of billions.

      But that’s when you get into debates about money generation, which involves magic and belief as much as it does actual reality – the same plan might work wonderfully or turn NZ into Zimbabwe, the only difference being whether or not people believe it. Because economics is bunk.

      • Tracey 12.2.1

        Given that banks, apparently don’t have all the money to match the lending they have done, so lend partially on a manufactured paper transaction, how does it not create the rampant inflation that a government printing does? Is it because it is on a close circuit… bank creates money to lend… person buys house… pays interest to bank… vendor, if not mortgage free pays back banks and borrows again on next purchase? Meaning they can create paper transactions cos the money,, or majority of it is not required to actually enter circulation in the broader economy whereas govt created money does go directly into the economy?

        • Colonial Rawshark 12.2.1.1

          how does it not create the rampant inflation that a government printing does?

          What do you think the housing bubble is, if it isn’t rampant asset price inflation?

          • McFlock 12.2.1.1.1

            well, it’s localised, involves a possibly significant proportion of foreign investors, and given that the number of mortgages is static or decreasing, I’m not sure the OCR has much of an impact on auckland speculators.

            • Colonial Rawshark 12.2.1.1.1.1

              who cares about the “number of mortgages”, look at the overall level of household debt

              a single AKL house may only ever have one mortgage on it at a time, but the size of that mortgage is going up and up and up as the market “value” of that house keeps climbing and climbing

              • McFlock

                Falling market participation.

                So if demand is static, why are the prices increasing?
                Answer: demand isn’t static, it just means less people in the market are borrowing. Because they already have the cash.

                Which means OCR credit changes are having less impact on the local housing bubble. Rich barstards are blowing on that baloon, hoping they’re not the ones covered in rubber when it pops.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  So if demand is static, why are the prices increasing?
                  Answer: demand isn’t static, it just means less people in the market are borrowing. Because they already have the cash.

                  House prices continue increasing due to accelerating debt levels. Steve Keen did all the work on this vis a vis the Australian property market a few years ago.

                  And yes, there people might be a lot of people in the market who “already have the cash” – but almost every dollar of that cash would have been originated by a dollar of debt.

                  • McFlock

                    So static or fewer people are borrowing more?

                    And auck/nz is nothing like australia “a few years ago”. Different economy entirely.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      the same monetary and banking system as is standardised throughout the western central bank led world

                    • McFlock

                      🙄
                      the frequencies, growth figures, industries, income distributions and everything else are different though.

        • McFlock 12.2.1.2

          Well, my theory is that the bank money creation is still limited by the fractional reserve, even if it’s not a 1:1 ratio but a 1:2 ratio or whatever. So when the banks borrow money from the government, the extent to which they multiply that through further lending is limited. All that happens is that rather than adjusting the OCR by 2%, the RB might tweak it by 0.5% because the impact will be magnified.

          I do actually think that there’s some leeway to the government creating money to finance public works (to a limited degree) without being inflationary, especially if those works are in depressed areas rather than corporate injections which seem to be the result of aggregate OCR variations.

          But the real obstacle to the UBI in my mind is the sheer proportion: $15k/yr*4million people = $60B/yr, basically a quarter of GDP.

          Even if it’s a good idea in the long term, that sort of short term change will fuck people up. So I’d prefer to hedge bets with a transitional period of a few parliamentary terms.

          • Tracey 12.2.1.2.1

            I am no good at this stuff. I understood that they are not really borrowing all the money from the government they are creating some paper transactions on the basis that the return will take account of the supposed shortfall created by their paper creation? I have probably misunderstood.

          • Colonial Rawshark 12.2.1.2.2

            So when the banks borrow money from the government, the extent to which they multiply that through further lending is limited.

            There is no limit a bank can borrow from the RBNZ if the bank requires it; therefore there is no real limit to the credit that bank can extend into the market place.

            But the real obstacle to the UBI in my mind is the sheer proportion: $15k/yr*4million people = $60B/yr, basically a quarter of GDP.

            yep, and even if a UBI was set at half that it’s still $30B pa which is huge. One of the keys is that for approx 60% of those people, those monies are being paid out through wages anyways, so there is an offset there.

            • KJT 12.2.1.2.2.1

              Add the money that is already paid as a BI including super, unemployment benefit(Government unemployment insurance), sickness benefit, ACC etc.

            • McFlock 12.2.1.2.2.2

              There is no limit a bank can borrow from the RBNZ if the bank requires it; therefore there is no real limit to the credit that bank can extend into the market place.

              But if the RBNZ feels it’s lending too much money to keep the economy warm not hot, it increases the cost of borrowing that money so the banks borrow less.

              yep, and even if a UBI was set at half that it’s still $30B pa which is huge. One of the keys is that for approx 60% of those people, those monies are being paid out through wages anyways, so there is an offset there.

              With a counter-offset that the government doesn’t pay those wages, and another offset that your zero-tax policy on less than $15k would hit tax revenue to the tune of $44Billion.

              Now, the economic effects might well improve the figures, and I reckon increasing the top-end taxes needs to be done, but if our workers and managers and policy makers aren’t equipped to operate in the new environment… well, when elephants fight the grass gets trampled.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Of course you are right about the huge amount of money taxes taken from low wage earners. It is massive. In the olden days land and assets were taxed more heavily, not the income produced by labour.

                The capitalists saw that system off, of course.

                • McFlock

                  That observation is somewhat beside the point, though.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Actually, it’s the main point. The rich have spent decades training us to see the monetary system the wrong way around.

                    • McFlock

                      Actually, the point “where we should be” is beside the point “we need a plan to address this significant possible hazard between where we are and where we should be”.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I agree with the need for a plan but part of that plan will be reversing the BS that we’ve been trained in.

                    • McFlock

                      Which goes hand in hand with a UBI.

                      But a rapid transition to the good can involve squishing as many people as a rapid transition to the bad, as people and businesses fail to adapt and fall by the wayside. The ony difference is whether people continue to be squished after the transition is done, and how sustainable the transition is.

      • b waghorn 12.2.2

        “employers will pay more or automate and the workers will still do ok.”
        And the land lords will up there prices , the super markets will up there margins etc the whole system is set up to take as much of people as it can without the whole outfit collapsing.

        • McFlock 12.2.2.1

          Yeah, but they’ll all do that anyway.

          Although there’d be a lag effect between ubi and inflation, and a transitional period would up the benefits and tax-free zone while offsetting CPI with tax increases on corporates and the rich.

          The thing is that all the income support things lefties support, like benefit increases and tax-free threshholds, are intermediate steps towards a UBI anyway.

        • Draco T Bastard 12.2.2.2

          Government builds enough housing to produce 1 to 2% over supply. This will be rented out to anyone at standard social housing rates on an as needed basis. If necessary they’ll buy up homes to rent out. Eventually, there’ll be no privately housing and the rentiers will be gone as well.

          Do the same for food and other essentials which will all be paid for from the UBI plus any other income that the household has.

      • weka 12.2.3

        “For me, the real question is where to come up with the $60B CR’s plan will require every year – even nuking all current benefits and pensions will still leave a shortfall of tens of billions.”

        The various proposals discussed on ts use income and other taxation to pay. Here’s Red’s simple model,

        http://thestandard.org.nz/universal-income-revisited/

        • McFlock 12.2.3.1

          yeah, mostly based around a level of UBI (10k) which basically has none of the administrative efficiencies that would offset the costs (i.e. anyone needing a living unemployment benefit will still need to visit work and income offices regularly).

          Heck, maybe a financial transaction tax will cover up the shortfall. But the problem is that the costs are simple math and the benefits that offset those costs are largely hope and envelope-math.

          • weka 12.2.3.1.1

            “i.e. anyone needing a living unemployment benefit will still need to visit work and income offices regularly).”

            why?

            • McFlock 12.2.3.1.1.1

              because $10k is insufficient.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                this is where a jobs guarantee system comes in.

                Ideally a UBI would be set at around $12K pa or $13K pa.

                • McFlock

                  ah.
                  Hand waving and changing the math.

                  • weka

                    yes $10K is insufficient for living off, but the UBI isn’t supposed to be the entire income. I don’t think someone without work would have to be going to WINZ all the time though, the topup system should be way easier than that. Or are you thinking the sticks will still need to be there to get people to work? I thought that would all be done away with.

                    Wouldn’t there be more jobs if people get their first $10K without having to work?

                    • McFlock

                      From the Independent article linked in the post: “Basic income is a universal, unconditional form of payment to individuals, which covers their living costs. “.
                      So at least in that experiment, it is supposed to be sufficient to live off.

                      No sticks needed, but still a requirement for needs assessments, audits, income declarations, etc.

                      Although it would be a breath of fresh air for work and income offices to actually become resource centres and career offices again.

                    • weka

                      Yeah I noticed that article didn’t say what the amount was (and I couldn’t find anything else online about the proposal other than that article).

                      “No sticks needed, but still a requirement for needs assessments, audits, income declarations, etc.”

                      true but that shouldn’t mean the person has to engage with the department all the time. The system we have now is largely driven by the idea that people should be on a benefit short term, so there are crazy rules in place that create insane levels of bureaucracy.

                      I actually think breaking that culture will be the biggest challenge for a UBI, and thus understand why some people advocate the complete disbanding of WINZ. There will need to be some kind of administration and ideally it should start from scratch, but it’s hard to see any government doing that.

                      “Although it would be a breath of fresh air for work and income offices to actually become resource centres and career offices again.”

                      Social welfare (income support) should be separated out from job seeking. Too much conflict of interest.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.4

        For me, the real question is where to come up with the $60B CR’s plan will require every year – even nuking all current benefits and pensions will still leave a shortfall of tens of billions.

        Easy:

        1. Create the money directly into everyone’s government bank account
        2. Tax all other income and especially high incomes
        3. Tax capital including money sitting in the bank
        4. Ensure that proper amounts are paid for the use of NZs’ resources

        The reality is that our entire tax structure needs to be reworked from the ground up. That pretty much means throwing out everything that has gone before. Use the lessons from it but don’t use it’s actual practical implementation.

        We also need to rework money and how it comes into the economy. We need to stop the private banks from creating money and having the final say on what that money is used for as this is really fucking up our society.

        Instead of asking how we’re going to pay for the UBI we need to realise that the UBI and other government spending is actually the driving force of the economy. The government spends money into the economy through the UBI and paying people to do essential things such as produce food, hospitals, power generation, resource extraction, etc. People will want more than the basics though and that’s where the private sector comes in. That money floating about gives incentive for the private sector to provide that more.

        The multiplier effect of money circulating ensures that there’s enough money circulating to keep the economy active and taxes will be set high enough to ensure that inflation stays down.

        We’ve been looking at our monetary system the wrong way for far too long and doing so is what’s preventing us from having a prosperous society. Helps keep the few rich though.

        • Colonial Rawshark 12.2.4.1

          Yep. The whole idea that the UBI is “unaffordable” is bogus. The majority of Kiwis today (50% plus) already get sufficient income to live on. So most of the money required by a UBI is merely a redistribution of existing income – if that’s the way we wanted to structure it. Or as you suggest, a large share of it could be brand new income, allowing Kiwis to spend and save more.

  12. Colonial Rawshark 13

    I’m very grateful that so many of you, amongst the best thinkers and analytical minds on The Standard, have turned your attention and energies to drawing out the issues and stumbling blocks around the creation of an economic game-changing UBI for Kiwis.

    This is the kind of collaborative effort which will help NZ get through the coming global climate/resource/energy/financial/corporate security state crunch.

    • weka 13.1

      there’s still the thorny issue of topups and how they should be administered 😉

      • Craig H 13.1.1

        Most living expenses are similar from region to region – the big difference is accommodation. Gareth Morgan’s suggestion was to keep the Accommodation Supplement, but more State Houses would help, too.

        • weka 13.1.1.1

          Poverty activists say AS should be removed as it goes directly to landlords.

          Other topups, that are more problematic, are for people will disabilities and illnesses that prevent them from working. There’s been some suggestion that these should be administered by the MoH or DHBs (thus doing away with WINZ completely), but that’s just taking beneficiaries out of the frying pan and putting them in the fire.

          Single parent topups are an issue too.

  13. Kevin 14

    As soon as an UBI is introduced the government will start making exceptions until it is nothing more than then welfare system we have now. Just like ACC.

    • weka 14.1

      start making exceptions to what?

      • Kevin 14.1.1

        UBI

        For example let’s say the UBI is set at $200 per week (a figure I just made up and not based on reality).

        The first exception a government may make is anyone earning over $500K a year doesn’t get it.

        Next could be if you’re over 70 you get an extra $50 per week.

        Then could be unless you’re old, invalid, or employed, you have to be actively looking for work to get the UBI which means a bureaucracy to hassle people to make “sure” they’re looking for work (WINZ anyone?)

        And so on.

        • weka 14.1.1.1

          You get what the U stands for right? edit, have a look at Red’s link that I posted elsewhere in the thread. You don’t need to exclude high income earners because under that model they end up paying more tax.

          I agree there are issues about future proofing against govts that want to mess with a UBI, but a UBI shouldn’t be seen as a stand alone policy, it needs to be on the context of other progressive policies (eg job creation).

          “Then could be unless you’re old, invalid, or employed, you have to be actively looking for work to get the UBI which means a bureaucracy to hassle people to make “sure” they’re looking for work (WINZ anyone?)”

          Why? If someone can live on $10,000 a year and not work, what’s the problem?

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      Possibly but we should make sure that they don’t. Democracy is a full participation sport.

      • Kevin 14.2.1

        Then it would have to be implemented using legislation that takes a 75% majority to amend.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.1

          Democracy isn’t about what the politicians want but what we want. If they’re not voting the way that we want then we need to a) get rid of them and b) find ways to ensure that they implement what we want.

          BTW, our parliament can over turn even entrenched legislation with a simple majority. It’s not supposed to be done but that’s a matter of tradition and not legal standing. In fact, a lot of the processes about our parliament have more to do with tradition than legalities. It’s why we hear a lot from National when they over turn those traditions that it’s all legal – because it is.

  14. One advantage of bringing a lower level UBI in at first would be that it may well trigger collective approaches. – economies of scale at the small collective level (communal living options, creative options, etc.).

    Another advantage of a UBI is that it returns to people their autonomy which is very basic to human wellbeing. That’s one of the main reasons I think it is a reasonable assumption that a UBI would lead to more creative, innovative and sustainable economic practices. People in material control of their own lives – because of basic material security – can be very motivated, not to mention compassionate (as Adam Smith noted).

    In contrast, the employment relation is, by definition, one in which one trades one’s autonomy (and often, therefore, security) for wages (with the possible exception of a labour market that is so weighted towards demand rather than supply that people have a sense of complete freedom to leave their current employment whenever they feel remotely stressed, inconvenienced, under-appreciated, used, abused or whatever).

    Relying on employment as the staple means to survive is a recipe for low motivation, high levels of depression, etc. at the population level – trends that have happened in most developed economies in the 20th century.

    All in all, a UBI is certainly something positive to work towards.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      Another advantage of a UBI is that it returns to people their autonomy which is very basic to human wellbeing.

      And that is why National will oppose it. The majority of people having their autonomy rather than being dependent upon the capitalists removes the capitalists ability to exploit them.

      That’s one of the main reasons I think it is a reasonable assumption that a UBI would lead to more creative, innovative and sustainable economic practices.

      That’s the way I figure it. Remove the stress of being poor and provide support for people and the entrepreneurship will take off.

      • weka 15.1.1

        I expect the non-paid work sectors to flourish again too. At the moment too many people are chasing their tails financially and jobwise. Of course NACT won’t like that because it will also increase democracy and activism.

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  • The Great Splintering: Thoughts on the British Election
    I can remember 1997. Even living on the other side of the world, having a Scottish father and Welsh grandfather meant I acquired a childhood knowledge of British politics via family connections (and general geekery). And yes, I inherited the dark legends of that evil folk-devil, Margaret Thatcher. So when ...
    6 days ago
  • 2% royalties for mining? Deal!
    Snapshot postToday, Shane Jones was courageous enough to front Q&A with Jack Tame. Thanks for reading Mountain Tui ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.Jack Tame is a bit of a legend. And that’s only because he strikes me as a good journalist i.e. well ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Aotearoa Says – No Diggity.
    Strictly biz, don't play aroundCover much ground, got game by the poundGetting paid is a forteEach and every day, true player wayOne month ago tens of thousands of Kiwis took to the streets to protest against the coalition’s Fast Track legislation. Concerned that it would prioritise some people making a ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Strangers and others
    For a moment yesterday I thought I might have been trailing my old friend Simon Wilson across the Danube, over cobbled stones, and into the old town square of Linz. Same comfortable riding style, same jacket, same full head of hair, but no, different friend of cycling.There is a kindred ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Killing the Golden Goose of New Zealand's economy
    IntroductionIn New Zealand, the National party generally retains a reputation of being pro-business and pro-economy.Thanks for reading Mountain Tui ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.The underlying assumption is National are more competent economic managers, and by all accounts Luxon and his team have talked ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Newshub Signs Off
    Wait for the night, for the light at the end of an era'Cause it's love at the end of an eraThe last episode of Newshub, the final instalment of TV3 News, aired last night. Many of us who took the time to watch felt sad and nostalgic looking back over ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago

  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • District Court judges appointed
    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins
    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended
    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance
    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones
    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress
    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week.    “New Zealand enjoys warm and enduring relationships with both Korea and Japan. Our relationships with these crucial partners is important for New Zealand’s ongoing prosperity and security,” says Mr Peters.    While in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Huge opportunity for educators and students as charter school applications open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says today is another important step towards establishing charter schools, with the application process officially opening.  “There has already been significant interest from groups and individuals interested in opening new charter schools or converting existing state schools to charter schools,” says Mr Seymour. “There is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Decreasing gas reserves data highlights need to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    MBIE’s annual Petroleum Reserves report detailing a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas reserves shows the need to reverse the oil and gas exploration ban, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.“Figures released by MBIE show that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Providers of military assistance to Russia targeted in new sanctions
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further sanctions as part of the Government’s ongoing response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.    “Russia’s continued illegal war of aggression against Ukraine is a direct and shocking assault on the rules-based order. Our latest round of sanctions targets Russians involved in that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • OECD report shows New Zealand is a red tape state
    Minister for Regulation David Seymour says that the OECD Product Market Regulation Indicators (PMRI) released this morning shows why New Zealanders sorely need regulatory reform. “This shocker result should end any and all doubt that the Government must go to war on red tape and regulation,” says Mr Seymour.  “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government unveils five-point climate strategy
    The coalition Government is proud to announce the launch of its Climate Strategy, a comprehensive and ambitious plan aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change and preparing for its future effects, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “The Strategy is built on five core pillars and underscores the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • National Bowel Screening Programme reaches 2 million life-saving screening kits
    The National Bowel Screening Programme has reached a significant milestone, with two million home bowel screening kits distributed across the country, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.   “This programme, which began in 2017, has detected 2,495 cancers as of June 2024. A third of these were at an early ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Granny flats popular with all ages
    More than 1,300 people have submitted on the recent proposal to make it easier to build granny flats, RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk say. “The strong response shows how popular the proposal is and how hungry the public is for common sense changes to make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $25 million boost for conservation
    Toitū te taiao – our environment endures!  New Zealanders will get to enjoy more of our country’s natural beauty including at Cathedral Cove – Mautohe thanks to a $25 million boost for conservation, Conservation Minister Tama Potaka announced today.  “Te taiao (our environment) is critical for the country’s present and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand increases support for Ukraine
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced a further $16 million of support for Ukraine, as it defends itself against Russia’s illegal invasion. The announcement of further support for Ukraine comes as Prime Minister Luxon attends the NATO Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC. “New Zealand will provide an additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Country Kindy to remain open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says that Country Kindy in Manawatu will be able to remain open, after being granted a stay from the Ministry of Education for 12 weeks. “When I heard of the decision made last week to shut down Country Kindy I was immediately concerned and asked ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government lifts Indonesian trade cooperation
    New export arrangements signed today by New Zealand and Indonesia will boost two-way trade, Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. Mr McClay and Dr Sahat Manaor Panggabean, Chairman of the Indonesia Quarantine Authority (IQA), signed an updated cooperation arrangement between New Zealand and Indonesia in Auckland today. “The cooperation arrangement paves the way for New Zealand and Indonesia to boost our $3 billion two-way trade and further ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Carbon capture framework to reduce emissions
    A Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) framework has been released by the Coalition Government for consultation, providing an opportunity for industry to reduce net CO2 emissions from gas use and production, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says. “Our Government is committed to reducing red tape and removing barriers to drive investment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Faster consenting with remote inspections
    The Government is progressing a requirement for building consent authorities to use remote inspections as the default approach so building a home is easier and cheaper, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Building anything in New Zealand is too expensive and takes too long. Building costs have increased by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Revision programme presented to Parliament
    A new revision programme enabling the Government to continue the progressive revision of Acts in New Zealand has been presented to Parliament, Attorney-General Judith Collins announced today. “Revision targets our older and outdated or much-amended Acts to make them more accessible and readable without changing their substance,” Ms Collins says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government aligns Clean Car Importer Standard with Australia to reduce vehicle prices for Kiwis
    The Government will be aligning the Clean Car Importer Standard with Australia in order to provide the vehicle import market with certainty and ease cost of living pressures on Kiwis the next time they need to purchase a vehicle, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“The Government supports the Clean Car Importer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZQA Board appointments
    Education Minister Erica Stanford has today announced three appointments to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Kevin Jenkins has been appointed as the new Chair of the NZQA Board while Bill Moran MNZM has been appointed as the Deputy Chair, replacing Pania Gray who remains on the Board as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More support for Wairoa clean-up
    A further $3 million of funding to Wairoa will allow Wairoa District Council to get on with cleaning up household waste and sediment left by last week’s flooding, Emergency Management and Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell says.  In Budget 24 the Government provided $10 million to the Hawke’s Bay Region to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister thanks outgoing Secretary for Education
    Education Minister Erica Stanford has today thanked the outgoing Secretary for Education. Iona Holsted was appointed in 2016 and has spent eight years in the role after being reappointed in May 2021. Her term comes to an end later this year.  “I acknowledge Iona’s distinguished public service to New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister concludes local government review
    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has concluded the Future for Local Government Review and confirmed that the Coalition Government will not be responding to the review’s recommendations.“The previous government initiated the review because its Three Waters and resource management reforms would have stripped local government of responsibility for water assets ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Consultation begins on new cancer medicines
    Associate Health Minister for Pharmac David Seymour says today’s announcement that Pharmac is opening consultation on new cancer medicines is great news for Kiwi cancer patients and their families. “As a result of the coalition Government’s $604 million funding boost, consultation is able to start today for the first two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 50 years on, Niue and NZ look to the future
    A half-century after pursuing self-government, Niue can count on New Zealand’s steadfast partnership and support, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says. “New Zealand and Niue share a unique bond, forged over 50 years of free association,” Mr Peters says. “We are looking forward to working together to continue advancing Niue’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Upgrading system resulting in faster passport processing
    Acting Internal Affairs Minister David Seymour says wait times for passports are reducing, as the Department of Internal Affairs (the Department) reports the highest ever monthly figure for digital uptake in passport applications.  “As of Friday 5 July, the passport application queue has reduced by 34.4 per cent - a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Roads of National Significance moving at pace
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news that the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is getting on with the Government’s first seven Roads of National Significance (RoNS) projects expected to begin procurement, enabling works and construction in the next three years.   “Delivering on commitments in our coalition agreements, we are moving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New school for Flat Bush
    The Coalition Government is building for roll growth and easing pressure in Auckland’s school system, by committing to the construction of a new primary school, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. As part of Budget 24’s $456 million injection into school property growth, a new primary school (years 1-6) will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Dr Shane Reti's speech to Iwi-Maori Partnership Boards, Rotorua
    Dr Shane Reti's speech to Iwi-Maori Partnership Boards, Thursday 4 July 2024    Mānawa maiea te putanga o Matariki Mānawa maiea te ariki o te rangi Mānawa maiea te Mātahi o te tau Celebrate the rising of Matariki Celebrate the rising of the lord of the skies Celebrate the rising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Announcement of Mental Health Targets and Mental Health and Addiction Community Sector Innovation Fu...
    Kia Ora Koutou, Tena Koutou, Good Morning. Thank you Mahaki Albert for the warm welcome. Thank you, Prime Minister, and thank you everyone for coming today. When I look around the room this morning, I see many of our hard-working mental health and addictions workforce from NGO and Community groups, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Expert panel appointed to review Public Works Act
    An independent expert advisory panel has been appointed to review the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk has announced.  “The short, sharp review demonstrates the Government’s commitment to progressing critical infrastructure projects and reducing excessive regulatory and legislative barriers, so ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Resources Minister heads to Australia with message – ‘NZ is open for business’
    A trip to Australia next week to meet mining sector operators and investors will signal New Zealand is once again open for business, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. The visit is also an opportunity to build relationships with Australian state and federal counterparts and learn from their experiences as New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s scholarships awarded
    New Zealand’s ability to engage with key trading partners is set to grow further with 20 scholarships awarded for groups to gain education experiences across Asia and Latin America, Tertiary Education and Skills Minister, Penny Simmonds says. Of the 20 scholarships, 12 have been awarded to groups travelling for study ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Next steps for Northwest Rapid Transit underway
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed progress on Northwest Rapid Transit, as the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) confirms next steps on the preferred option, a busway alongside State Highway 16 from Brigham Creek to Auckland City Centre. “The Government is committed to a rapid transit system that will support urban development, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Targets will drive improvement in mental health
    Reflecting the Government’s priority to improve the public services Kiwis rely on, including mental health care, Minister for Mental Health, Matt Doocey has today announced five mental health and addiction targets.  “The targets reflect my priorities to increase access to mental health and addiction support, grow the mental health and addiction ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

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