Citizen's Income

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= policy proposal: Citizen's Income is a guaranteed source of income paid to everyone irrespective of whether they work at a job or not. It would be paid as an unconditional right and be designed to cover at least all essential needs. [1]


A 'Good World' movement proposal:

" What can be done about unemployment? As human labour is gradually replaced by machines and other means of production, the economic wealth base is growing larger every year. Fewer and fewer people are benefiting from this. A recent study (Townsend, 1996) found that the gap between the rich and poor has never been wider, most especially in the UK. So how can we distribute the benefits of economic growth efficiently and fairly when the economy no longer needs everyone to have a job?

Everyone needs an income! Since every individual has the right to life, they must also have the resources to support that life. Until thirty or forty years ago this was believed to have been satisfied by the breadwinner having a job. His sense of self-worth, as well as the right to an income, were said to be recognized in the workplace. But, increasingly, the effort required to produce wealth is delivered by machines, resulting in fewer jobs. Consequently we need to find new ways of enabling people to obtain their livelihood, and of valuing people as human beings independent of the work they do.

What is the solution? The solution to the problem of both unemployment and the fair distribution of wealth lies in the payment of a Citizen's Income (CI). It would be a base-income, paid by right to every citizen, regardless of whether they had a job or not. It would also provide a morally justifiable and politically feasible alternative to the present benefit system.

Can we afford to pay Citizen's Income? Careful calculations, carried out by O M Ephraim and others (Ephraim 1994; Robertson 1994), have demonstrated that a considered reorganization of the existing benefit and taxation system could provide adequate resources to pay a basic income to all without increasing the burden of tax or national insurance contributions.

There are also some more thoroughgoing ways of structuring and funding this vitally important social reform. A school of economic thought under the title of Binary Economics underpins the concept by demonstrating that most wealth is created by productive capital assets. Such income generating assets are owned today by a relatively small minority of people. Binary economics seeks to extend this alternative way of securing income to the general population and provides a firm theoretical basis for the necessary legal and financial changes.

In recent years Binary Economics has been developed to cover the use of interest-free loans for the development and spreading of all forms of productive capacity. Some examples of these are micro-finance (e.g. poor Bangladeshi women), tidal barrages for clean electricity generation, public capital projects such as bridges, hospitals, roads, and interest-free loans for students. Through its capacity to foster fairness and justice in economic matters while ensuring efficiency through market principles, binary economics is of appeal to all cultures and major faiths and people of good faith.

What would be the benefits of Citizen's Income?

  • It would protect everyone from economic and social uncertainties;
  • provide a base-line income for all;
  • set, in effect, a minimum wage;
  • offer individual choice for employment or increased leisure;
  • open up greater opportunities for social participation."


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