Universal Job Guarantee Program

(Mofosyne) #161

@Jesse_Hermans so should pirateparty go for both a JG and UBI? If so, then how much modification would it take to adjust the policy to be able to sustain both?

E.g. I could imagine that a hybrid scheme could be where, you get a basic income as a base living payment. And you are also given a certain amount of money for “democratic budgeting”, where you can vote which kind of jobs you care about most (e.g. on each election day). The proportion of what you vote for in this democratic budgeting ballot, would then allocate your portion of the money for these job guarantee slots.

(Jesse Hermans) #162

The policy I have created doesn’t require us to touch the existing BI policy. People just take up JG jobs like they would any job, and their BI is treated no differently than if they were employed in a private sector job. The JG policy will be funded through expansionary fiscal policy equating to about 2% of GDP (doubling the existing deficit), and would be run on the principles of functional finance. The funding requirements (and thus the deficit) would shrink during booms and grow during recessions, which would help stabilise the economy and inflation, while guaranteeing full employment at all times.

(Mofosyne) #163

Fair enough, that’s secures the funding aspect for JG. What about how the JG is allocated to certain job types? I would think that people would be interested in putting their own ideas of what kind of jobs they value the most. Hence maybe we would want to implement some sort of democratic budgeting system to encourage job seekers to fill certain roles.

(Jesse Hermans) #164

Yes, I have written that into the policy. Local communities (including the workers) will be able to determine jobs they want funded through their own autonomy and control, potentially via citizen juries. So long as the worker is suitable for the job of course.

(Mofosyne) #165

This ABC video is pretty relevant to this concept of UBI+JG.

“Unemployed, underemployed, underpaid: the reality for young workers”

Basically wage theft is a very common in hospitality, due to excessive underemployment. This is also causing a class of working poor.

Also abuse of “work trials” to avoid having to pay people properly as apprentice and employee.

(Jesse Hermans) #166

This is definitely a good example of where I think the JG creating a floor on pay/conditions and providing guaranteed work does what the UBI alone cannot. It’s argued that the UBI would give more bargaining power to workers, although it fundamentally does not address the issue of workers competing for too few jobs and being forced to capitulate to whatever employers ask of them if they want work. UBI relies on workers deliberately walking away and giving up aspiration to engage in the labour market for additional income, and for most people that is not realistic. One the arguments for UBI is it does not reduce the inventive to work. All we’d end up doing is subsidising employers in creating a working poor.

It’s worth pointing out however in the instance of awards and people getting paid below the award (but above the Minimum Wage), the JG does not necessarily directly address this. However if workers know they can at least get a JG job if they are sacked, they are more likely to join a union, confront their employer over them breaking the law etc.
The renowned Economist James Galbraith wrote a piece on the JG a couple of days ago:

On this issue, I’m an ex-skeptic. I was deeply involved in the full employment debates of forty years ago; I had the staff role—it was considered minor at the time—of drafting the monetary policy provisions of the original Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Bill. I’ve remained a resolute believer in the possibility and benefits of full employment, but my first published article, in Working Papers for a New Society back in 1978, was titled “Why We Have No Full Employment Policy.” It was about how hard getting there would be, including how hard to have the government serve as “employer of last resort.” I held that position for many years, but I’ve changed my mind. Here’s why the job guarantee deserves a better rap.

(Jesse Hermans) #167

Guardian endorsement today:

(Mofosyne) #168

Anyway, a key point that you will have to emphasize to avoid push back by either the UBI or JG camp, is that we are actually going for both. Because they both address different aspects to the same problem of a post scarcity future.

How I would personally phrase it is:

In terms of maslow heirachy, the Basic Income ensure base needs is always fullfilled, while the Job Guarantee provides the opportunity for self growth.

In philosopher lingo the Basic Income addresses Negative Freedom, while Job Guarantee addresses Postive Freedom.


Basic Income addresses both positive and negative liberty. Right to life being positively enforced by assuring you have the necessities for it and the right to not have that right to life controlled and directed and judged (as is the standard welfare exchange).
Job Guarantee is at odds in just the same way as other welfares are at odds because it steps on the same toes of the positive liberty goals while going the exact opposite direction on the negative liberty goals and wasting money in the process.

(Alex Jago) #170

Nobody would be obliged to take a Guarantee job, it’d just pay better than the BI.


Well, that depends on the scale of the BI which could be decided to be more limited based on other spending decisions like a JG. At which point you are “obliged” to find work in or out of the JG and we’re right back where we are now.

But really what I was saying was simply that JG like currently available welfare programs are all about having overseers to decide what their applicants do, that’s antithetical to the negative liberty goals of a BI which is purposefully getting out of people’s business.

(Jesse Hermans) #172

The decision around the size of BI and what constrains it is certainly not dependent on any new JG policy as a limiting factor by any stretch of the imagination. The BI policy was limited long before the JG policy was conceived of. Discussions around changing it as a policy can be put to the PDC at anytime by any PPAU member, and will be seriously considered provided there is some sort of outline as to how it will be accomplished. As well as a substantiated defence of why it is the optimal use of those resources.

Right, so by definition anyone who needs to work for a living (including the self-employed who are beholden to their clients) is also involved in other people’s business and is deprived of all liberty.


I was talking about reality, not a proposal. In reality programs budgets get changed.
In one sense I worry that the non-universal programs that can be given the political pragmatist and division spin would be used to make a UBI ineffective so it can be killed in it’s crib. “Socialism never works” they’ll say after murdering it.
My one hope for UBI is that if it’s implemented in such a way that everyone has an awareness of it benefiting them (which is why I’m not for the Negative Income Tax method which allows people to ignore it’s existence) that it will become politically damaging to anyone trying to reduce it.

Correct for everyone who “needs to work for a living”, hence the current problem… Wrong in what I assume you’re trying to say which is “wants to work” specifically because private business has to be competitive with one another and if they are not breaking the (government created and enforced) law are doing so on a fair playing field. This anti-negative liberty problem only applies when the government gets involved because only the government has all the power of the employer position but with no skin in the game.

(Mofosyne) #174

To assist in the discussion and help keep things focused, here is a reminder to everyone about what Negative Liberty and Positive Liberty is:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_liberty

    • Positive liberty is the possession of the capacity to act upon one’s free will, as opposed to negative liberty, which is freedom from external restraint on one’s actions. A concept of positive liberty may also include freedom from internal constraints.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_liberty

    • Negative liberty is freedom from interference by other people. Negative liberty is primarily concerned with freedom from external restraint and contrasts with positive liberty (the possession of the power and resources to fulfil one’s own potential)

I imagine what would draw people into the pirate party is the perception that we would be more pragmatic in keeping the balance between the need of both kinds of liberties, without being blinded by ideological bias towards either (Which you would see in either the socialist camp focus on Positive Liberties or the capitalist camp focus on Negative Liberties). Feel free to correct me if you think this is incorrect.

Of course the question would be what is the most pragmatic approach to achieve this balance. E.g. political pragmatism to deal with other parties sabotaging a BI program, then staging in a JG. Or maybe focusing on an all out attack to push for both BI+JG. Or perhaps BI by itself would already achieve this balance, or JG itself would already do so? Just remember to keep to the -L +L paradigm.

Again, let’s cue in the Mexican Girl going “why can’t we have both” meme as shown above

(Jesse Hermans) #175

The way this discussion is being framed to me seems a bit bizarre.

The first point relates to the potential of other governments to screw up implementation of good ideas. This is a mute point - if we forever worried about other governments screwing up good policy then nothing would ever happen e.g. Universal healthcare, education, basic pay and conditions etc.
To quote Gailbraith:

But if you think that good economic policy must always yield to the power and ideology of central bankers, there is no point in pursuing progressive ideas in the first place.

The same applies to the ideology of e.g. Conservative governments.

As for this whole “negative liberty” thing. There is an implication here that UBI is seeking address the infringement that necessities of living impose on people, such as the need to e.g. Need to eat.
Yet it is worth noting that negative liberty is defined as:

A person’s need for food is not interference from other people, nor is it an external restraint or imposition from an outside authority.

In this sense no one is suffering “deprivation of all liberty” from “needing to work for a living”. There is nothing in the tradition of this sort of “negative liberty” based thought that suggests that necessity is an imposition on liberty. So arguing that UBI is a “negative liberty” redress is flawed. No classical liberal or any proponent of “negative liberty” has ever framed a person’s basic needs as deprivation of their (negative) liberty. That is what positive liberty arguments for (everyone needs access to) universal healthcare etc. are based on.

You can’t make an argument that UBI is somehow a “negative liberty” based proposal when you are arguing along the same lines of:
“People need access universal healthcare, therefore we will use the state to seize people’s property to provide this service as a means of ensuring positive liberty.” Just replace “Universal healthcare”, with “UBI”. It’s no different. I can just as easily also substitute the JG in there as well.

All of these proposals involve the government “getting involved” and an “anti-negative liberty problem” because they all involve the state seizing property through the tax system.

This assumes the playing field is level to begin with, and doesn’t acknowledge that the government sets the playing field. A JG is just a different way of setting the playing field.

(Mofosyne) #176

So what is the philosophical underpinning of BI and JG?

Is there a more accurate philosophical framework than Negative vs Positive liberties? Or should we swap it around?

(Jesse Hermans) #177

You can think of the Right to Work as a collective right created to provide compensation for a collectively created currency monopoly which creates involuntary unemployment.

UBI is just welfare done differently. Unless you tie it to some sort of resource rent payment which involves common resources, in which case it is the practical maintainence of common rights in common property, by compensating those denied their share of that common resource.

Trying to frame these sort of things in obscure philosophy isn’t really useful for the average person though. It’s easier imo to think of BI as an equal share in the growing Commonwealth of Australia, and the JG as ensuring we provide a hand up to those who need it and no one is made worse off or left behind in a monetary capitalist market based system i.e. equality of opportunity.

(Mofosyne) #178

hmmm… then maybe a “equality of outcomes” vs “equality of opportunities” is a better mental framework for this then. (The term while may be useful is currently politically fraught with partisanship thought, between the current left and right camps.)

Someone also mention the idea of thinking about BI as a citizens dividend, in that we all share in the historical progression and success of society.

That could be the conceptal counterpart to JG as a compensation for the necessity of the currency based economic abstraction that runs our system.

Interestingly you could also think of BI as a compensation (As opposed to a dividend) from depriving a citizen of the ability to just live off the land. After all it is effectively illegal to be homeless at the moment. There are people who would prefer to live away from civil society, but we have effectively made this impossible to do so.

This underpins the difficulty of theorising a clear cut mental framework of categorising BI and JG. Which could explain why this discussion is taking a long time to resolve.

(Andrew Downing) #179

I’m enjoying your foray into philosophy in JG + BI.

I’ve seen above, people touch on liberty (positive & negative), rights (to work), as well as the perennial debate between equality of outcome vs. opportunity.

I think there’s a missing thread that runs through all of these considerations, but doesn’t get talked about, and that is “purpose”.

A human without purpose is a sad creature indeed.

Equality of opportunity is really about giving as many people as possible the opportunity to find purpose in their lives. The flip side of that is that imposed equality of outcome simultaneously takes away opportunity from people who are pursuing purpose, and removes the necessary agency of those people that it purports to help.

Liberty is also meaningless outside of the context of purpose. Liberty to do what? Well, liberty to choose purpose and pursue it, obviously. Once we take on the load of some purpose in our lives, we voluntarily bind our own lives up in a multitude of liberty constraints.
We’re happiest in cages of our own making.

The right to work is similarly derived. It can’t be an imperative to work, because that’s slavery (which prevents you from following your own purpose), and preferably policy doesn’t get expressed in a way that locks people into a kind of purpose following trap where the BI + JG creates some kind of bland existence absent growth potential.

In any profession that assists human development or recovery, from child care, to aged care, rehabilitation, teaching/training or education, there is a common Golden rule. “Don’t do anything for them that they can do for themselves.” It doesn’t help them. It hinders them. It steals their agency in the name of compassion, because it’s in our continual fight against the entropy of the universe that we find meaningful purpose.

So that was a bit of a tangent, but if you followed it, then maybe you can see the policy consequences also.

Social security systems are good to whatever degree they enable purposeful opportunities in peoples lives, but bad to whatever degree they surround people with cages not of their own making.

(🔰‏ geoliberty.org {UBI + LVT = 42} ) #180

Liberty to do what? Exactly. The more you spend on creating busy work, the less basic income to afford housing and food and to do those things which you choose to do. Start a small business, sell the tomatoes you grow in your garden, create art you can sell locally… the idea that humans will vegetate and not know what to do if you give them a basic income but no guarantee of a job is ridiculous. Even the most uncreative human is capable of working it out. In my experience, the less creative humans are more socially inclined, and thus will naturally work out how to do business with their time and income. Central planning of employment is a bad idea. Its counter intuitive to the idea of liberty to create purpose.

You can have a government program to employ people to fill in potholes of roads.
And the bureaucrats will swoop in and skim a chunk off the top.
Or you can have an entrepreneur create a marketplace allowing people to spot potholes and other people willing to fill them in to reserve the opportunity and go fulfil their purpose.
The latter does it more efficiently.

Humans aren’t dumb people that need to be told what to do.
JG subtracts from BI.