Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Social Secuity

What if we were really rewarded for efficiency, or safeguarded from its ill-effects?

Rewards for efficiency are expressed in the form of targets, but we all know they encourage game-playing, because anyone who's in work has to struggle to stay there, and therefore puts across a persona that's working hard in the face of reduced resources.

Efficiency means more output per unit of input, and the "units of input" include jobs. Those without jobs are not hailed as harbingers of efficiency and the vanguard of the new age of freedom from work, but as scroungers, spongers, good-for-nothings and so on. Better to play the game of staying in work than to face that ignominy. Perform only as well as you have to to keep your job. Keep your head down, stay under the radar.

Thus we dwindle away our lives - assuming we're mainly paid for the amount of time we give over to work, but what if we were assured of real social security. What if everyone could work to reduce work, safe in he knowlege that they wouldn't at worst starve and at best be stigmatised for indolence or sloth?

This is the challenge we face as technological unemployment and enviromental catastrophe face us. We have to stop consuming our planet's resources just to make work to get money to spend on consuming our planet's resources (cyclic consumption).

Let's abandon this mutually assured destruction now.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Planned economy

It occurs to me that the defence of the free-market system often includes disdain for a planned economy, but there are so many elements of society are planned, and the fact that they are is uncontroversial.

Who would argue for an unplanned rail system? Market driven policing? Who in their professional life does not work to a plan - a business plan or something similar? Who does not plan their holidays? Is town planning wrong in principle?

To support the market economy, the coffee shop seems to be paradigmatic, but which shop you buy a cup of coffee in is so trivial as to make a mockery of the argument.

It seems to me that we plan everything remortely serious in our lives, or at least accept that we ought to plan for those things, but for some reason we draw the line at planning how we sustainably live on this finite planet.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


Voluntary charitable donations of time/goods or money don't make any sense. Our current economic system upholds work for income - for survival, yet people voluntaily give their time/money to those who need it more than they do.

Is there any reason why the money, or preferably the actual resources, should not go direct to those who need it, rather than via a donor, or do we like the feeling of control we get from choosing how much to give, and what causes are deserving?

Sponsored events oddly require someone to endure some ordeal or undertake some in itself pointless venture in order that others may give to charity. Perhaps this is the work ethic intruding again. I will save the life of a straving child in the third world if you wear a plastic red nose for the day.

Those who give to charity realise that the work for income system fails most markedly at the extreme poor end of society, where people have no real possibility of work, but where is the line to be drawn between those who for one reason or another really cannot work, and those who can (though of course the distinction is not so sharp as there are people who do lots of work and people who do little, and every shade between)?

Yet charitable donors are prepared to give something for no direct return, which demonstrates that they are not motivated by money, as our current economic system holds that they should be.

The logic of an RBE seems inevitable. Let everyone have what they need (or a fair share of what's available), and share out the work that needs doing amongst those that can and will do it.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Inelastic money


You will know if you have read the relevant posts that I take the view that the only reason there should be  more money in existence is if there is genuine growth. I don't mean growth in GDP,  because growth GDP can include things which are bad in themselves, or from putting right things that are wrong.

I concluded that only things that are good for humanity should count as growth. The thought process follows through that what is good for humanity is indicated by increased population. This is because increased health and happiness will lead to longer lives and therefore increased population, but also simply because twice as many equally healthy-happy people equals twice as much health-happiness.

But I have been itrigued by the idea in the essay linked to above - inelastic money. This is a money supply that never grows or shrinks and only varies in velocity. If the value (utility) of goods and services increases, then there is deflation as each unit of money represents more goods and services.

I am finding this intrigung and shaall certainly give it more thought, some of which I shall undoubtedly expatiate here.