Guest Post by Mark on "Citizen's Basic Income: Productivity"
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
A common criticism levelled against the Citizen's Basic Income (guaranteeing each person an income as a right of citizenship (as far as I'm concerned this should be irrespective of the work they do)) is that it would interfere with the process of "creative destruction" and therefore reduce long term productivity gains. We will all be better off in the long term if the government gets out of the way and lets the market run its course. I disagree.
Creative destrucion is a process which applies to institutions, not individuals. If we destroy a bank, an idea, we might replace it with something better. If we destroy a man, take his income, take his self respect, home, possibly his family, will what emerges be something better, or something far worse?
This should be an important question to even the most self interested free marketeer, as technological change means that the work we require from people will increasingly fall into one of three categories - managerial, creative and direct customer service.
The great creative works of humanity have not generally been born of desperation, though many vile acts have. People worrying about survival are not free to make great things - we should give them this freedom. Likewise, people dealing directly with people are unlikely to be able to do a good job unless they actually want to be there. Let's replace obsequious waiters, who despise you, with people who genuinely wish to provide you with an enjoyable meal.
As for good management, what is it if not creatively dealing directly with people?
Increased protection for individuals would reduce the political pressure to protect institutions and would therefore aid the market in producing more efficient means of managing resources.
The time when we could increase economic production by driving reluctant workers into mindless jobs, with the threat of destitution, has passed. We should recognise this fact.
NB: Although posted by me because he had problems with my blogging platform, these are NOT my views but those of Mark - a prolific commenter here of late. His comments all challenge my views from a broadly statist perspective and I thought it might amuse you all to hear them expressed more systematically. Please feel free to comment and let's try to keep the Christians vs Lions vibe to a minimum please!