Universal Basic Income Video John McDonnell
Universal Basic Income (UBI) Video John McDonnell & Guy Standing
Transcript of this video - Guy Standing on UBI
This report in a sense is a continuation of work that I've been doing for over 30 years and you're looking at a man who has the dubious distinction having been involved in pilots of basic income in five continents five continents many countries some of which are summarised in the appendix that John has mentioned so you will excuse me if I reflect that yesterday my blood pressure went up a notch or two when I read in a distinguished national newspaper that there is no evidence in support of basically I got slightly hot under the collar and what this report does is try to give a contextual rationale for basic income I say to John and his colleagues not all in the Labor Party but many of them in the Labour Party but the progressive part of our society has always made progress politically when we look forward when we have a plan for changing society for the better and when we articulate that rather than recreate yesterday and lament a loss and I think the spirits of the basic income debate is about that forward-looking I look back and I think of the great William Morris as one of the founders with his vision of news from nowhere that wonderful book and I think of people in that spirit it goes back to as John mentioned to the charter of the forest which asserted that every person in this case every free man had a right to subsistence a right to work the right to house it is part of our progressive traditions throughout the ages now basic income is not going to be a panacea it's only one part of a program of transformation from where we are today for those of you not familiar with the concept it would mean paying every man and every woman and every child through the parents a moderate amount each week as a right unconditional in behavioural terms unlike the means testing and behaviour testing that has been strengthened and turned us into a nanny state of punishing the disadvantaged in our society it would be permanent in the sense that the only Parliament could change it through a democratic process and it would be independently managed so as to take the politics out of determining the level and changes in the level I've talked about that in more detail in the report and then the book that John's mentioned and in the pilots that we've conducted don't have time now to go into it those of you who have access to the report and it's online as well it's freely available to everybody can look up for the more details what I want to do now in the next few minutes is give a justification from where we are today I was going to bring a copy of William beverages 1942 report and I my copy is practically falling to bits one of the funny things about it was that it was dropped over Germany in the Second World War and copies were found in Hitler's bunker am i copy on page two he said it is the time for revolutions not tinkering and in the same paragraph a very fantastic paragraph he says we must slay five Giants it's well-known thing among social policymakers disease idleness ignorance squalor and want today and this is the theme of the first part of the report I think we have eight modern Giants that we have to find ways of slaying the first giant that's before us is inequality we have grotesque levels of inequality in this country and it's not just the income that I'm talking about its wealth wealth inequality is far greater than income inequality our statistics underestimate the extent of inequality allowing certain rogues to pretend that it hasn't increased because they don't measure the top and they don't measure the bottom which is rather convenient but our income distribution system as such has broken down it's not a British thing it's a global thing the share of national income going to capital and to rents a shot up all over the world the share going to labour a shot down wages have stagnated for 30 years in many parts of the industrialised world it's not just a British thing and whether you've got strong unions or weak unions strong collective bargaining or not this phenomenon is a challenge before us but besides the income distribution we have grotesque I've used this word twice but it's it really is good to protest levels of wealth inequality and the wealth inequality is reflected in just a couple of statistics one that the ratio of wealth to national income has gone up to being 60 as much as national income I think that think about it the second is that 60% of our wealth in this country is inherited wealth if I'm not mistaken that means it's a lot of something for nothing those people who are receiving the wealth that this country have not done any work for it so when anybody objects to a basic income about giving something for nothing just remind them of that fact now a basic income won't eradicate inequality but if it's properly designed and it's a flat rate and taxed back clawed back from the wealthy as it can be done it would moderate the inequality that's the first giant the second giant is different but fundamentally important I was talking in Newcastle in Sheffield last week and people were coming up to me at the end we pink I'm not exaggerating weeping because of the insecurities that they face the giant of insecurity is a scourge that sweeping across the country more and more volatile earnings seventy-three percent of our workers have fluctuating incomes and the way universal credit and the means testing and behaviour testing that's gone on under this government and if I may say so started earlier is increasing the insecurity now basic security is a public good it's a superior but because we all need basic security we all need to have a sense of which at the end of the day we can survive and the psychologists have taught us that if you are insecure your mental bandwidth narrows you cease to have the IQ that you have if you're secure if you make people insecure don't think that they can make rational decisions that people who have security can make won't go further into it but for me the insecurities are something that policymakers have not addressed in the past 30 years all the reforms doesn't matter if they're made more insecure well it does if you're down there the third giant is something that one would have thought would have gone a long time ago and that's debt the government launched a policy of austerity based on the premise that we must cut public debt and they used one Americans study to justify it so they started squeezing the toothpaste tube who reduced public debt which merely increased private debt several years into the austerity trick they found out empirically it's private debt that causes financial crises and yet private debt today is higher than at any time in recorded statistics our private debt is 87% of national income any slight rise in interest rates or slight recession will tip hundreds of thousands if not millions of people into destitution and homelessness the average household has 15,000 pounds of debt I could go on but the facts are reported in the report the next giant staring at us is related to the above three good research has shown it and that's stress we have a pandemic of stress in this country and it's stress linked to insecurity strength littlest linked to many of the phenomenon that described in this report and again stress causes illnesses illness causes demands on our National Health Service lost working time and has costs to the economy and costs for society we have a pandemic of stress and if our policies don't act to reduce that stress we will find the other Giants that I'm about to talk about getting worse because the fifth giant is a phenomenon that hasn't received the attention it deserves but I've written about this in my precariat books it's a it's a giant of precarity more and more people feel they're living bits and pieces lives and at the same time they feel like supplicants they have to ask for favour they have to ask for somebody to help them or make a discretionary judgment a bureaucrat a parent an employer please this sense of being a supplicant erodes your sense of being an agent an independent free person it's a reality out there people feel they are supplicants which intensifies your stress intensifies your insecurity and the rest of it and leads to dysfunctional personal behaviour but it's not their fault it's the fault of a system which is creating those conditions the precarity trap issues that I've discussed don't have time before now for me make this a huge giant we need policies Margaret when you come in think of that to deal with precarity the sixth giant the robots everybody says the robots are coming and they're gonna make us all redundant we'll have nothing to do we'll all be out of jobs and no wait and what we do with our time I don't believe that I don't believe the most dire predictions of that let's discuss the reasons why in the report but one I ate profoundly do agree is that the technological revolution we're experiencing and we will continue to experience our intensifying the insecurities the disruptions to people's lives it's not their fault if they suddenly face being redundant or finding they've got to do a whole lot of other things and also this is the first technological revolution in history which is creating much more work rather than labor a lot of activities that people have to do for which they're not remunerated or compensated buts the seventh giant that I think will be the tipping point which will force more and more who are currently skeptical to come round to the point of view we need a basic Engram the seventh giant which I've listed in the report in the new word that's gaining popularity and strength is extinction the threat of the ecological crisis rushing towards us and the need to confront that sorry to upset John in what I'm about to say the need for new eco taxis and taxis on greenhouse emissions and other ecological erosions in our society unless we levy against these trends we will not have an effective remedy to this crisis but higher taxis are unpopular and fuel taxes which the government boasts of kept keeping down for nine years in a row are regressive by themselves the Canadians and the Swiss have managed to get round this by saying we must have higher fuel taxis but use the revenue give out in dividends which is another word for moving towards a basic income when that's done as research has shown by the IMF World Bank by sort of groups the one wouldn't expect to be allies they find that this would be a more effective than any other policy be it would be redistributed and see rather importantly for politicians here it would be popular it's extremely popular in Switzerland but there's another point which I don't have time to develop but it's in the report if we had dividends and basic income we would encourage forms of work that are not labour care work voluntary work the work in our communities the work of care these are not valued in our national income statistics but they're vital to a good society and we want a system that actually rewards and encourages those forms of work and they're valuable and they're ecologically more sustainable and the final giant is the one that should scare every one of us in this room and that's the impending growth of neo-fascism and populism of the far right if you make people insecure if you make people stressful if you see God tests inequalities around you you tend to listen to the sirens of populist s-- we are seeing it it's a terrifying prospect and we need policies to reverse that trend now as John mentioned in the latter part of the report I've moved first to deal with the objections that are commonly made I think we can deal with all of those objections sections unaffordable there are many ways of a paying for it I go through the options they didn't want me to go into detail because this is fundamentally about the advantages of moving in this direction but there are options and I would strongly recommend that when John becomes Chancellor or before we have a technical meeting with all the various people proposing different ways of funding the transition some excellent work by compass by RSA by Malcolm Toria and others bring them all together see which ways are the optimum way forward it can be afforded but just give you a couple of statistics in the report mentioned I just got from the Treasury a nice little spreadsheet the spreadsheet details the 1156 forms of tax relief this is the Treasury Tigger's I was going to tell you as is stated in the report that what these mean is that the Treasury fall goes from the top 200 of those 1156 tax reliefs four hundred and three billion pounds a year most of them have no economic or moral justification but in the latest figures showed that last year that had risen to four hundred and thirty billion pounds you can start by rolling back a lot of those without raising taxes similarly as John mentioned and is mentioned in my report if we just abolish personal income tax allowances and converted that into a payment of a basic income just doing that every individual in the country could get 48 pounds a week I'm not proposing 48 pounds as the optimum but you can gradually build up the funding so that you can pay a decent basically now the other objection is one I feel very angry about having been involved in those pilots in various countries some of which I've listed in the back in the appendix I know one of the biggest lies told by critics is that if we had a basic income people would become lazy they would not work and yet every single pilot has shown the opposite either minimal effect as in Finland was not really a proper basic income but it was partially or have found that actually work has increased when people have basic security they are more confident more optimistic they they get round poverty traps they take on new initiatives they take risks in their personal lives work increases not decreases and when they say it's something for nothing just remember those wealth statistics I mentioned earlier those are the sort of objections we're still getting now the pilots that I proposing proposing five models they're listed in the report we have some people I think I hope from Liverpool who are proposing that Liverpool should be the first place for a pilot great nice to see you at and I recommend to John that certainly Liverpool should be considered we have people from Sheffield who have devised a particular model for them great to see you here and we have people in other parts of the country as Anthony mentioned four areas of Scotland have been doing detailed plans for introducing pilots aided by a grant of 250,000 from the Scottish part we are at the cusp of doing pilots in Britain to a greater extent we should look at the pilots in Canada in North America in the United States in India in and then all show positive effects it's a matter of courage I hope in John's first budget that he says that there will be certain sum of money put aside for doing pilots without judging whether they're going to be successful or not but let's see in action I hope he will set up a commission to look at the feasibility of an Economic Security future put some money aside find from some of these tax reliefs to do it I think we couldn't do it but you know I don't like spoiling the party for politicians but politicians even some of my best friends tend to have spaghetti spines and they need us to give them stiffer spines so that they don't lose the nerve there is always a risk in a progressive policy but this is a progressive policy for the better just remember those people out there and then we'll do it thank you very much.
(We do not edit or punctuate transcripts which then may influence the reading of the text)