He'll not thank me for saying so, but I agree with Sam Bowman's call for a basic income (or, as he calls it, negative income tax). This raises a question: how can a Marxist so warmly agree with a right(ish)-libertarian?
In part, it is because Marxism is a form of libertarianism. But there's two other sources of agreement between us.
One is that I agree with Sam that alternatives to a basic income, such as a living wage, are inferior to the extent that they would price some people out of work. And I also agree that capitalism cannot provide full employment. We differ on how we express this: Sam would emphasize some people having a low marginal product and the effects of automation whilst I'd stress more systemic defects of capitalism. (...)
Secondly, I suspect we agree in rejecting the idea that the welfare state should have a moralistic purpose. From the "less eligibility" principle of the Poor Law, through Beveridge's plan to "make and keep men fit for service", to New Labour's use of tax credits to "make work pay", the Welfare State has always tried to encourage work. Libertarians and Marxists are, or should be, sceptical of this. Libertarians because the state in a free society should be neutral between ways of life. And Marxists because we don't think the state should be capitalism's human resources department. (...)
Where, then, might we differ? The answer, I think, lies in the level of basic income.
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Publicada por Miguel Madeira em 14:42