US Declaration Of Independence

What a social order needs to be

Humans imagine that people have rights and obligations or are part of social classes. There has been a wide variety of social orders throughout history.1 A social order describes the rules of a society. The ruling class usually invents the social order and benefits the most from it. A social order needs a justification to convince everyone to accept the rules. You can compare the Code of Hammurabi, a Babylonian law from 1750 BC, with the United States Declaration of Independence from 1776 AD.

The Code of Hammurabi declares that the Babylonian social order is based on universal and eternal principles of justice dictated by the gods. It divides people into three classes, nobility, ordinary people and slaves. The code then sets out all kinds of laws and punishments for transgressions. The United States Declaration of Independence begins with the following sentence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

On closer inspection 3,500 years didn’t make a lot of difference. The eternal principles are replaced by self-evident truths but the order still needed divine support. There is no mentioning of classes. All men are created equal. But the devil is in the detail. Women and slaves did not have these unalienable rights when the constitution was written. Only nobility was done away with as businesspeople had become the ruling class. In the 200 years that followed slavery was abolished and women received equal rights before the law.

Saying that people are equal and have equal rights is problematic. People are not equal in their abilities as well as their opportunities. For example, we can imagine the right to live but we all die. Some people die young and some live very long. Many people are poor and have no access to good education. Some people are rich and can go to the best universities. Still, we imagine that people have equal rights, just like the Babylonians imagined that people are divided into classes.

Social orders are the result of historical and political processes. Ideas are at the basis of them. Equality is a revolutionary and modern idea that has gained ground during the last centuries. It has affected political orders on every corner of the globe. Even the worst dictators now say in public that all people are equal.

A social order is a collective imagination. It doesn’t exist in reality as such, but only in the minds of groups of people. If people agree on a social order, whether it is a division into classes or the notion that everyone is created equal, it can be a stable order. Social orders bring peace and stability. If people agree on a social order they can cooperate more easily as the order settles many matters that would have to be negotiated otherwise. Therefore social orders do not only benefit the ruling class.

Featured image: United States Declaration of Indepence

1. Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind. Yuval Noah Harari (2014). Harvil Secker.

Origins of Political Order cover

The state of human nature

Social animals

Humans are social animals who live and cooperate in groups. Social animals like humans cooperate on the basis of kin selection and reciprocal altruism. Kin selection means that sexually reproducing animals are more likely to help one another if they share more genes. Reciprocal altruism is an exchange of favours or resources between unrelated individuals. These behaviours aren’t learned but are natural to the species. Chimpanzees are our closest relatives and in many ways behave like we do.

Chimps live in groups of a few dozen individuals. They learn to cooperate with reliable congeners and to avoid those who aren’t reliable. In a chimpanzee band a leader may emerge if he or she proves to be impartial when resolving differences. Chimps have enough memory and communication skills to guess how others will behave. They have some social rules too. Chimpanzees can cheat and betray and probably experience feelings comparable to guilt when they break them.

Chimpanzees can be violent like humans. Chimpanzee males cooperate to go outside their own territory to attack and kill males from neighbouring groups. Humans in primitive tribes and gangs sometimes do the same. Chimpanzees do not have families but they have separate female and male hierarchies. Chimpanzee politics looks a lot like human politics. The alpha female or male earns her or his status from building coalitions and gaining support. Once a female or male has become dominant, she or he has some authority to set rules and settle conflicts.

Typically human

But chimpanzees can’t achieve the high level of social organisation like humans can because they don’t use language. Language enables humans to exchange information about who is reliable and who is not with the help of gossip. A chimpanzee has to experience first-hand whether or not a congener is reliable and it can’t share this experience with others. This limits the number of others a chimp can cooperate with. Language enables humans to cooperate on a larger scale.

Language also helps humans to make abstractions and to invent theories. Words can refer to concrete objects but also to abstract classes of objects like dogs and trees and even invisible forces like gravity and gods. This allows us to produce mental models like it is warm because the sun shines. People see correlating events and imagine causal relationships. The ability to theorise helps us in the struggle to survive. For instance, if someone dies after eating from a certain plant, it can be useful to see a causal relationship between those events.

Religion

The ability to create mental models and to connect causality to invisible abstractions is also the basis for religion. Religion made people cooperate on a larger scale than would otherwise have been possible. If the size of a group increases then its ability act collectively diminishes. In large groups it is difficult to distinguish between the contributions of individual members so cheating and other forms of opportunistic behaviour are common. Religion can help to solve this issue by promising rewards in the afterlife for those who cooperate and punishments for those who don’t.

Religion is a mental model of reality where causality is attributed to forces that can’t be observed by the senses. This can lead to theories like the harvest is failing because the gods are angry so it is a good idea to sacrifice a goat to please them. In this way rituals emerge, for instance sacrificing a goat in the planting season. Rituals have another role too. They bond communities so ritualas can outlive the theory that created them and lose their meaning. Humans endow rituals with intrinsic value and they can become a goal in itself. For instance, many atheists still celebrate Christmas.

Norms and values

Humans are conformist normative creatures, which means that we invent rules and norms and tend to adhere to them. Norms differ per culture but the ability to conform to norms is part of human nature. Adhering to rules is not a rational process but it is based on emotions that control our social behaviour like anger, shame and pride. The ability to use rules greatly reduces the required negotiations needed of social interaction and permits more efficient collective action. That’s why evolution has programmed us in this way.

Rules limit our individual freedom of choice. Traffic rules, for instance, make us drive on the right side of the road. Institutions are rules too. Institutions are stable, valued, recurring patterns of behaviour. Humans can become attached to rules and institutions, for instance, a constitution or a religion. Societies are inherently conservative with regard to norms and values. This can make societies stable but it can turn into a problem once rules have outlived their usefulness and become an obstacle to change.
The struggle for recognition

One person can recognise the status of another, including the value of his or her gods, beliefs and customs. Humans organise themselves in social hierarchies so the struggle for recognition differs from the struggle for material goods. Material goods are absolute so in an economic transaction win-win is possible. Recognition is relative so recognising one person tends to be at the expense of others.

It is part of human biology. Chimpanzees compete for the status of alpha female and alpha male. Humans not only desire recognition for themselves but also for their beliefs and groups. A lot of human struggle is about recognition of groups, for example women, minorities and homosexuals. There may be an economic aspect to it like equal pay for women, but it is primarily about recognition. This is called identity politics.

Recognition can’t be enforced. Leadership comes from recognition that a specific person a person has exceptional courage, wisdom or is impartial in conflicts and a desire from a community to have a leader and submit itself to him or her. Once a society develops, recognition is often transferred to political institutions. In both cases the political order is based on legitimacy and the fact that people adhere to rules.

Social change and political development

These features are the basis of the evolution of more complex forms of organisation. The natural form of human organisation is a small group of family and friends. Our inclination to favour family and friends can be overcome by rules and incentives, for instance the requirement to hire a qualified person or the business profit that comes from doing so. Higher forms of organisation like institutions aren’t natural, and if they fail, humans revert to lower forms of organisation in small groups like gangs.

The ability to theorise enabled humans to create large societies. Most notably, ideas about ancestors, gods and other invisible forces created new rules and strong incentives to adhere to them. Our inclination to attach intrinsic value to mental models and theories promotes social stability. It also makes societies conservative with regard to ideas and rules. Rules and institutions often emerged to meet a specific challenge and become a burden once they have outlived their usefulness. Social change is often not a process of small incremental steps but of long periods of standstill alternated with sudden dramatic and often catastrophic changes.

That explains why violence has been important for political development. The fear of a violent death motivates people to do things they wouldn’t do out of mere self-interest. Stakeholders in a society tend to hold off the necessary changes so that violence or the threat of violence is sometimes required to end the stalemate. The human desire for recognition means that politics is seldom about mere self-interest. People make judgements about meaning and the value of people and political institutions.

Political institutions are the underlying rules by which societies organise themselves. These come in three basic categories: the state, the rule of law and accountability. The state is a hierarchical, centralised organisation that exercises a monopoly on legitimate force over a defined territory. The rule of law is a set of rules of behaviour reflecting a broad consensus in society that is binding to everyone, including the elites. It includes human rights., law and order, property rights, and contract enforcement. Accountability means that the government is responsive to the interests of society.

Human nature itself can’t be changed for the most part. The diversity in political developments has largely been the consequence of differences in living conditions. Groups split up and then developed their own ideas and norms. Groups also had contact with each other. This was another important incentive for change. Still, societies that were far apart, found remarkably similar solutions for their political orders. Nearly every society had been organised along kinship at first. As rules became more complex, most societies developed states based on impersonal forms of governance like centralised bureaucracies.

Feature image: cover of The Origins of Political Order

What you can read here is derived from The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution of Francis Fukuyama.

loan shark

Why all interest is usury

In the past when borrowers couldn’t pay their debts with interest they became the serfs of money lenders. That’s why interest was often forbidden and called usury. Most people have forgotten about that. But nowadays most money is debt on which interest must be paid. And that is the reason why there are so many problems in the financial system like instability, increasing debt levels, inflation, and central banks having so much power.

Incomes fluctuate but interest payments are fixed. And interest is a reward for risk. So the less a debtor can afford to pay interest, the higher the interest rate will be. The lender is rewarded with a higher interest rate to take that risk. It is therefore not surprising that the financial system is unstable.

Even more importantly, money is loaned into existence and must be repaid with interest. So if the interest rate is 5% and there is € 100 in existence then € 105 must be returned after a year. But where does the extra € 5 come from? There are a few options:

  • Lenders spend some of their balance so borrowers can pay the interest.
  • Some borrowers default so a part of the balance is not returned.
  • Borrowers borrow more.
  • The government borrows more.
  • The central bank creates the shortfall out of thin air.

All these things happen and often at the same time. Lenders on aggregate let their capital grow at interest. A few defaulting borrowers are acceptable but too many defaults can easily cascade into a financial crisis and create an economic crisis. The cost of letting the financial system fail is so big that this option is not acceptable. So if no-one else is willing to borrow then the government or the central bank steps in.

That’s why debts continue to grow. That’s why there is inflation. That’s why we have economic crises. That’s why governments are running deficits. That’s why there are financial crises. That’s why we need central banks to save us. That’s why all fixed positive interest rates on money and debts are usurious, even when they are low. The following example can demonstrate that.

Suppose that Jesus’ mother had put a small gold coin of 3 grammes in Jesus’ retirement account at 4% interest in the year 1 AD. Jesus never retired but he promised to return. Suppose now that the account was kept for this eventuality. How much gold would there be in the account in 2020? The answer is an amount of gold weighing 12 million times the mass of the Earth.

A mere 4% yields an incredible amount of gold after 2020 years. Someone has to pay the interest, in this case the people who borrowed money from the bank. If Jesus doesn’t come back to spend his money, that’s impossible. At some point the debtors can’t pay the interest, let alone repay their debts. They can only borrow more or default. Lowering the interest rate doens’t solve the problem. It only postpones the reckoning.

Ending usury by banning interest was never possible. Lending and borrowing would stop or go underground. The capitalist economy requires lending and borrowing so without interest it would never have been possible to build a modern capitalist economy. But interest rates are poised to go negative so it may soon become possible.

Natural Money is interest free money with a holding fee. The holding fee on money makes it attractive to lend out money at negative interest rates. For example, if the holding fee is 10%, lending out money at an interest rate of -2% will save you 8%. Once most interest rates are negative, positive interest rates can be forbidden. That can end reckless lending without producing a financial or economic crisis.

What does ending usury mean? Interest is everywhere. Interest is hidden in taxes, rents, the price of all the products and services you buy. Most pay more interest than they receive. Ending interest will benefit most people as 90% pays interest on balance while only the to 10% richest people receive interest on balance. But there is more to it. A few consequences:

  • You can’t borrow if your finances are in dire straits. Lending money to people in financial distress shouldn’t be left to the markets.
  • People and businesses will become less leveraged as there is no incentive to that. Risky ventures will be financed with equity.
  • The business for banks does’t change much. Borrowing money at -2% to lend it at 0% is as profitable as borrowing money at 2% to lend it at 4%.
  • Financial engineering will be reduced as financial engineering schemes like LBO’s often involve great leverage.
  • The economy can find support in the negative interest rate so governments don’t need to go into debt to stimulate the economy.
  • The maximum interest rate can curb debt creation for as soon as the economy recovers equity investments become more attractive relative to debt.
  • It can be a blow to political corruption because borrowers need to be trustworthy, and that includes governments, so taxes must cover government expenses.
  • This is not austerity as governments don’t pay interest on their debts but instead receive interest on their borrowings.

Ending interest reduces leverage and this can stabilise the financial system and the economye. The holding fee can ensure that the economy will flourish. Money with a holding fee has brought the economy of the Austrian town of Wörgl back to life in the midst of the Great Depression. Ancient Egypt had a financial system with this money for more than 1,000 years. Usury can end very soon and it may never come back.

If you like this post, then you might also like:

The miracle of Wörgl

During the Great Depression people were desperate. In the small Austrian town of Wörgl a new form of money was introduced. This produced an economic miracle.

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Joseph in Egypt

Ancient Egypt had a money with a holding fee for more than 1,000 years. The Bible that might explain how this money came into existence.

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The future of interest rates

In the long run most capital ends up in the hands of the capitalists. Negative interest rates are the logical consequence.

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Featured image: Loan shark picture circulating on the internet, origin unknown.

 

Declassified Pentagon UFO footage

The ufo mysteries

In April 2020 the Pentagon released three declassified videos showing pilots running into unidentified flying objects. This vindicated people who believe that extraterrestrials visit us from time to time. This is credible evidence. Now think of crop circles. Not all of them may have been the work of pranksters trying to poke fun of the UFO crowd.

A few months later Netflix tried to resuscitate the once popular documentary series Unsolved Mysteries that was already dead for a decade. Most of the episodes aren’t mysterious to the point that the so-called mysteries can’t be credibly dubbed unsolved. But one particular episode is keeping people awake at night. It is about the Berkshire UFO sightings that allegedly took place on 1 September 1969.

Four unrelated families are said to have been picked up by a UFO and moved by a ray of light on that fateful date. Apart from a few personal experiences there hardly is any recorded evidence that this really happened. Not even the local newspaper did report about it. It is compensated by the documentary. It drags on, telling a ten-minute story in forty five minutes. But at least this is a mystery worthy of being labelled unsolved.

What may strike you about the accounts of the people involved was that they are credible. Thomas Reed, who was nine at the time, claimed he and his family missed more than two hours of their lives while driving in their car. Reed says his family saw an amber glow on both sides of the road. Then everything got really calm. It was like being in the middle of a hurricane. After that they found themselves back inside the car, but his mother and grandmother had switched spots.1

Reed also said that he saw the then 14-year-old Melanie Kirchdorfer aboard the UFO. She backs up his story. Tommy Warner, who was a child back then, claimed he was also abducted that same evening. His babysitter, Debbie, corroborates his account, saying that she saw him vanish into a bright ray of light. The people involved weren’t eager to tell their stories as they would made them a laughing stock. This Unsolved Mysteries episode has left many viewers feeling on edge.2 There are more alien abduction accounts, not all of them as convincing as this one.

The question remains whether or not this is proof of aliens from advanced civilisations visiting us. It may seem the most plausible explanation, but it is not. There is a wider array of unsolved mysteries, like evidence of reincarnation, mysterious coincidences, and premonitions. These things can’t be explained by aliens visiting us. But it may be possible to explain all these phenomena. This universe is itself could be created by an advanced civilisation. And it may not be alien. It may be humanoid. We may only exist for entertainment. At first sight that may seem disturbing but it also gives us purpose. And that may just be what many people are looking for.

Featured image: Declassified Pentagon UFO footage

1. 1969 Berkshire UFO Event Gains Recognition. Jim Levulis (2015). WAMC. [link]
2. Berkshire UFO sightings: Unsolved Mysteries episode is spooking viewers – but what happened next? Jacob Stol (2020). The Guardian. [link]

Free money for everyone

Everyone should be rich

“No whining, everyone should be rich, vote Opposition Party, together for ourselves.” The Opposition Party was a fictional political party in the Netherlands run by two dubious characters. The creators of the fiction, Van Kooten and De Bie, intended to mock populist politicians. An opinion poll revealed that if the Opposition Party had been for real, it would have fetched a few seats in parliament in 1981. Why can’t everyone be rich? Maybe it is because poor people haven’t enough money.

Perhaps everyone should get some money for free. This is called a universal basic income. Nowadays most people make money by doing a job. That is because without people working nothing will be done and nothing will be made. This has been true for as long as humans exist. On the other hand, there may be more people than needed for the work that needs to be done. This has also been true for as long as humans exist.

Pointless jobs

For most of history people only worked for a few hours per day on average. This changed with the Industrial Revolution. Idleness became frowned upon as factory owners promoted the belief that everyone has a duty to work long hours. Nowadays many people do jobs that do not contribute to making products or services people need and also do not benefit society. And a pointless job can make you unhappy, or very rich.

Executing a job, whether it is useful or not, uses resources. People drive in cars to offices which are heated or air-conditioned. If a pointless job consumes materials and energy that are in short supply, or pollutes the environment, there is a compelling reason to axe it. It may be better to pay people for doing nothing instead. The anthropologist David Graeber estimates that at least a third of all jobs are pointless.1 There is no good measure as to determine which jobs are pointless.

Graeber mentions the job of a receptionist at a publisher. She had nothing to do, except for taking up an occasional telephone call. Another employee could easily have done this alongside other tasks, but without a separate receptionist no-one would have taken the publisher seriously. Graeber contends that the best indication of a job being pointless is when people who do the job themselves believe it is.1 But that is not how the economy works. If someone is willing to pay for doing it, the job has economic value.

A game of Monopoly

The super rich have increased their share of global wealth in recent decades. Whether or not it was at the expense of the rest of us is a matter of political debate. To keep the economy going and to forestall a catastrophic economic collapse, there may no be no other option than to make the rich hand out money to the rest, either via negative interest rates on their debts or a redistribution of income, for instance a universal basic income. To see why, one can think of the capitalist economy as a game of Monopoly.

If you have played the game yourself, you may have observed that at first players build capital in the form of houses and hotels. You can get rich by making the right investments. There is also an element of luck involved. The game ends when most players are bankrupt but it can be extended by letting the rest borrow money from the winners. The winners can enjoy being rich while the rest stays in the game. Of course, the losers can never repay their debts. The players could stop pretending and let the winners hand out money to the rest so that the game can continue. They might apply a negative interest rate on the debts or tax the houses, streets and hotels, to increase the pay-out for passing the start square.

monopoly1935

The alternative would be to start from square one, or more precisely, remove all the houses and the hotels, and start a new game. That might be fun for a game but in the real economy this would be a horrendous disaster. Imagine all the houses, roads, and factories gone. There would be nothing to buy and everyone would be poor. Economists figured this out long ago. The famous economist John Maynard Keynes thought that the state should borrow money from the winners and spend it so that the rest would be employed and have some money to spend so that the game could continue.2

Keynes’ plan did get a lot of attention and that’s why he is so famous. His followers are called Keynesians. Other economists weren’t so pleased. Governments could now justify lavish spending by borrowing money from the rich to spend it on public works or lower taxes, leaving a debt to be paid by future generations. Keynes also advised governments to reduce spending to pay back the government debt when the economy is doing well,2 but this rarely happened.

If there is no starting from square one, the rich are getting richer while the rest isn’t getting ahead. And the state borrowing money from the winners can make things worse as interest must be paid. In this way everyone ends up paying taxes to pay interest to the rich. This could become a huge problem in the long run but Keynes wasn’t interested in the long run. “In the long run we’re all dead,” he said. Now the long run has passed and Keynes is dead.

Monopoly has a bank that is a magical source of money. Every time you finish a round, a fixed sum is given to you. That is great for a game. If it wasn’t for this everlasting fountain of money, the game would have ended after a few rounds. Monopoly has a universal basic income and it can help to keep the economy going. But adding money to the economy can make money worth less. If people have more money, prices often go up as there is more money to buy the same stuff.

If everyone craves for that latest model mobile phone, producers can raise prices, unless people run out of money and can’t buy them. But if you give money to the rich, and call it ‘trickle down economics’ inflation may remain subdued because people can’t buy more stuff while the price of assets like real estate may rise because the rich have more money than they can spend. In a game of Monopoly the rents are fixed but if you want to buy a street from another player when there is a lot of money in the game already, you often pay far more than the initial price. The rich may end bidding up prices of streets. In the real economy the prices of assets like stocks and real estate are rising.

Realising our full potential?

Proponents of a universal basic income tell us that everything will be fine and dandy and that we will be free to realise our dreams once we get enough money for free to do as we please. So if you always wanted to become a blogger or a vlogger, you can become one with a universal basic income. That’s because you don’t have to work for a living.

The opponents paint a dismal picture of people sinking into an abyss of idleness filled with writing blogs nobody wants to read and making videos nobody wants to see. A job can make you feel useful. And there must be a compelling reason to do unattractive jobs, otherwise they won’t be done.

Many countries have benefits for people without a job. Unattractive low paying jobs are often done by immigrants who don’t have access to those benefits. If there is a universal basic income, and there is no competition from immigrants, people will only do a job if it benefits them either emotionally or financially. In other words, the job or the pay has to be attractive and unattractive jobs will only be done if they are paid well.

Income guarantee

It may be better to have an income guarantee rather than a universal basic income because that would be a cheaper scheme. Why hand out money to people that already have enough? A simple example can explain how that may work. Assume there is an income guarantee of € 500 per month and a 50% income tax.

gross incometaxnet income
€ 0+ € 500€ 500
€ 1000€ 0€ 1000
€ 2000– € 500€ 1500
€ 5000– € 2000€ 3000
simple income guarantee scheme

If your gross income is € 2000, you pay € 500 in taxes, and your net income after taxes is € 1500.There is an inventive to work as people gain financially from doing a job. In existing welfare schemes you often gain very little by taking on a job that is paid poorly. If the income guarantee is sufficient to live off, there may be no reason to have minimum wages, and you may be able to do a job cheaper than any machine if you like to do it.

The future is anyone’s guess

Machines may become better than humans at more and more jobs. Until recently machines did only simple tasks. This already put a lot of people out of work. The surplus of workers could be employed in the government and the service sector. In the future self-driving cars may replace human drivers. Robots can care for the elderly and this could be an improvement as robots don’t have moods. Computers will be better at diagnosing diseases and robots will be better at operating patients.

Few professions appear safe from the coming onslaught. Economists tell us that robots can create an ample supply of new jobs for humans, for example programming and maintaining them, but that may be wishful thinking. There is however one big problem blocking this type of progress, or our descend into the abyss of idleness. If people lose their jobs they also lose their income and don’t have money to buy the products and services these machines produce.

If machines do all the jobs then everyone may need an income guarantee. But where does the money come from? The game of Monopoly provides us with a clue. It may come from capital via negative interest rates. The market mechanism may take care of this, at least to some extent. If fewer people are needed in the workforce, there may be less demand for goods and services so interest rates may go down even further into negative territory, and there may be money for an income guarantee.

We may need an income guarantee for another reason too. If we intend to live within the limits of the planet, we may have to axe the pointless jobs that contribute little to our well-being but consume scarce resources and pay people for being idle instead. On the other hand, this may cause a shortage of energy and human labour may replace machines. In that case there may be plenty of work for humans. The income guarantee scheme must only take excess labour from the market.

The labour market

By taking excess labour off the market, an income guarantee can improve the bargaining position of workers even when it isn’t sufficient to live off. For instance, if the income guarantee is € 500, and a living wage is € 1000, a person doing a cleaning job might work fewer hours so the pay may have to rise to attract more workers. But as long as there is poverty in other areas this scheme can backfire as immigrants may take the jobs so that the improvement in bargaining power won’t materialise. Ending poverty requires good government and good education to attract investments in developing nations.

Denmark has an income guarantee combined with a duty to look for a job if you are unemployed. The Danish labour market is flexible. It is easy for companies to adapt their workforce to market requirements. The lack of job security is offset by employment security, education schemes and generous unemployment benefits.3 Not surprisingly taxes in Denmark are high but so are incomes. A job can make you feel useful so it may be better that everyone remains employed and works fewer hours.

It may be better to start providing an income guarantee in the poorest areas of the world instead. The poorest can benefit from a small amount of money like one euro per day. Putting more money in their hands can improve the economy of developing nations. If 500 million people were to receive this allowance, it would cost less than € 200 billion euro per year, a pittance compared to what is currently spent on weapons and wars. It might reduce migration and improve the bargaining position of workers elsewhere.

The future may need an economy that can endure idleness. We are currently caught up in a rat-race of producing and consuming more that is killing us in the long run. And if the economy had been able to deal better with idleness, the corona virus might not have killed so many people. It is therefore good to define a path towards that direction that will not cause problems if work needs to be done. In the long run an income guarantee might lead to the following situation:

  • unattractive jobs machines can do will be done by machines;
  • unattractive jobs machines can’t do will be paid well;
  • attractive jobs machines can do will be paid poorly as there will be volunteers;
  • attractive jobs machines can’t do will be done by humans, but it is hard to predict how these jobs will be paid.

Featured image: De Tegenpartij poster. Van Kooten and De Bie (1981). [copyright info]

Other image: Monopoly game.

1. Bullshit Jobs. David Graeber (2018). Simon & Schuster.
2. General Theory of Employment, Money and Interest. John Maynard Keynes (1936). Palgrave Macmillan.
3. Danish Employment Policy. Jan Hendeliowitz. Employment Region Copenhagen & Zealand, The Danish National Labour Market Authority (2008). https://www.oecd.org/employment/leed/40575308.pdf