1672. Guaranteed annual wage and economics

I watched the video of the presentations (so only have what I saw to go on). Obviously the issue is of major concern for GardenWorld Politics


The following thoughts  are a bit of a  caricature.

I was struck by how almost all the speakers talked of the primary impact of such a flow of cash to everyone and why a guaranteed wage is necessary, even urgent. Inequality and poverty and unemployment were the concerns.  (there is a vote later in may in Switzerland on a guaranteed wage). The thinking was mostly linear, A causes B end of story.

But the questions from  the audience almost always dealt with secondary consequences of paying a guaranteed wage.  Where comes new taxes, new mix of the economy, impact on psychology of people, culture, politics, who innovates and why, the future of profit, and what about a steady state economy? systems realism.

The speakers dealt with standard economics, the kinds of issues amenable to math,  Primarily wages and impact on whether people drop jobs or spent the money foolishly.

The Audience was raising complex social questions about technology, climate, skills, the future of education if income is easy and education is hard. Questions like will a guarantee replace existing welfare  systems (most speakers  seemed to assume this was a positive) and as a result allow the further marginalization of the poor from the mainstream, the employed, of society.

Because the economists set the scene the assumption was that whatever else, growth was necessary and not even necessary to discuss,  so people could talk about the impact of a guaranteed wage in fifteen or twenty years. and there was no interaction between a guaranteed wage (increased consumption) and climate (pollution from increased consumption.) The political question was not dealt with in a straightforward way. How would elites rebel? For example, a guaranteed wage, along with either increased taxation or distributed royalty streams would lead to a reevaluation of all assets in society.

Are the economists trapped in the eddies of the mainstream? Does any individual economist, in order to discuss larger and uncomfortable questions (Yanofarkis at the end of the conference of course is in orbit and fascinating because of it)  need the equivalent of an escape velocity, so much inner conviction, that they can get into orbit and not follow a parabola back to normative economic thinking? Perhaps it is like quantum mechanics  where some quantum of outside energy, such as being shocked by some strong hint of external reality, to get economists to take seriously the fate of people?

If these metaphors, escape velocity and quantum jump, are accurate, what are the implications for new economic thinking?


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