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Showing posts from June, 2016

If we want a kinder, gentler politics, we must first shape a kinder, gentler, economic system

A member of parliament is murdered while doing her job. Flags fly at half mast, parliament is recalled for tributes , campaigning in the referendum is suspended, the prime minister and the leader of the opposition share a platform and the challenger parties decide not to contest the now vacant seat. These are far from empty gestures. At the height of the most divisive, dishonest and ill-informed political confrontation that most of us can remember, it has taken a tragic act of violence to set free the instincts of our common humanity. It has reminded us that to empathise with and care for one another, to support each other and to share in our deepest feelings, whether of joy or of loss, is profoundly normal. As such, it throws into stark relief how entirely abnormal is the institutional behaviour that our political and economic frameworks impose. In the House of Commons on Monday, the words of Jo Cox were repeatedly invoked , that we "have far more in common with each ot

The basic income will make sense when people learn to value their unpaid work

Work in progress (but investment is needed) Which is more remarkable - that 77% of Swiss voters rejected proposals for a basic income in a referendum last weekend, or that 23% voted in favour? Admittedly the turnout was low , probably because there was little realistic chance of the proposal being passed, but the fact remains that nearly a quarter of the votes were in support of a radical, socially progressive idea of which nobody much was talking until very recently. A well-executed basic income policy fixes so many socio-economic issues - both present and looming - that it's tempting to think not if, but when. The main barrier, however, may not be demonstrating effectiveness, or even affordability, but overcoming public perception. People are rightly wary of "something for nothing" offers, including the idea that people should be 'paid' without committing to 'work'. Such perceptions matter, which is why 'paid' and 'work' are in