I’ve been aware of the Basic Income movement for some years but, until recently, I’d never given it serious consideration, seeing their goal (of an unconditional basic income for everyone) as an idea which had even less chance of being implemented than the inheritance-for-all reforms which I’ve been advocating myself. However, an exchange on OpenDemocracy prompted me to think about it more carefully and it seems to me there is a synergy between the two sets of ideas which could bring them both within reach.
It seems to me that social justice activists put a lot of energy into fighting battles that have actually already been won.
Principles like fairness and equality of opportunity are uncontroversial, they’re embraced (in public at least) by politicians and commentators across the whole spectrum – but still we are surrounded by gross inequality and blatant unfairness. Campaigners respond by demanding measures that will mitigate the ill-effects, but hardly anyone analyses why man-made inequality and unfairness exist in the first place, in violation of principles which nearly everybody claims to believe in.
At the root of it, to my mind, is a constitutional failure: the fact that there is no requirement for law to be coherent.
Where do we start, if we want to make a better world?
In one way the answer’s easy: with the one we’ve got, of course; the one we’ve been left by our forebears – the one we’ve inherited.
It’s easy to overlook the importance of inheritance. Our lives tend to be dominated by concerns of the moment and, to a large extent, we have no choice but to take the world as we find it. Our worldview is shaped by the world we’re born into and, by the time we’ve developed the mental tools to question it, we are so embroiled in it that questioning too deeply means digging down into the foundations of our lives.
More than thirty years ago I came to the conclusion that, for all its merits, there was something fundamentally wrong about the political system we live under in Britain. I made myself a promise at that time that I would try and understand exactly what was wrong and try and work out changes which would allow me to recognise it as having rightful authority over me.
Over the years I’ve written about some of the flaws I see, and the reforms I think are necessary, in various places on the internet. Now I’ve decided to try and pull them together and try to shape them into a coherent whole. This site will be the vehicle for that.