Awhile back, I posted on the idea of the state providing a basic guaranteed income to every citizen posing the question that if you had a guaranteed income would you go out and do meaningful things, or sit around playing computer games all day? At the time of the post, Ireland’s Fianna Fáil were discussing the idea of a guaranteed income and I provided a link to a study conducted in Japan on the feasibility of a guaranteed income. It is hard to image the enormous cost to run Japan’s social welfare system where it seems like there is more value placed on the large bureaucracy managing what must be a huge amount of paper work that is generated. A large inefficient workforce of busy body bureaucrats to manage the system for the Japanese people receiving social welfare benefits than there is on actual production in a country where its population is shrinking rapidly and in the coming years 40 percent of Japan’s population will be over 65 years-old.
Ireland’s Fianna Fáil are discussing a guaranteed income as well as in Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands where a guaranteed income has been implemented as an experiment in the city of Utrecht. A basic income is a “universal, unconditional form of payment to individuals, which covers their living costs.” The concept here is to allow people to choose to work more flexible hours in a less regimented society, allowing more time for care, volunteering and study. This would be a far more better way for Japanese who are increasingly finding themselves being forced to quit work to take care of their aging parents. The country of Finland has now decided to put into effect a guaranteed income for all of its citizens on an experimental basis so we will be watching this experimental guaranteed income with great interest. One of the benefits in Finland is to streamline social welfare benefits now being paid out into a more efficient system. It is suggested as being a blueprint for other countries considering experimenting with a guaranteed income.
For the best explanation of what a guaranteed income would mean, David Graeber in this short clip below offers his insights into these bureaucratic systems crushing creativity and putting citizens basically at the mercy of these inefficient and costly systems. The alternative is a fundamental shift or change in order to create better conditions where all people can be unrestrained from this current welfare top down model to end the restraints it imposes on citizens. The heavily indebted social welfare system in Japan where the bureaucracy and paperwork generated to run this system is becoming a financial burden to manage needs to look at similar models of a guaranteed income being implemented in Japan and the sooner the better.
David Graeber on basic income