Re: true abundance?

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Sat Feb 10 2001 - 18:26:07 MST

At 11:16 AM 10/02/01 EST, Greg Burch wrote:

>> I've been looking at the guaranteed income from a new perspective since
>> reading Chapter 7 of THE SPIKE.

>I confess it was the part of Damien's book that made me grit my teeth - but,
>hey, he's Australian, so you have to cut him some slack :-0

Correct - I've had more experience of living in a nation where certain
goods are more or less readily available to all at very modest price, such
as Celebrex for arthritis sufferers, which now costs $A20 (roughly half
that in $US) a month and relieves a truly shocking amount of human misery.
Our polity, based in part at least on the mythic notion of `a fair go' (an
egalitarian ambition), regards as a fair deal the subsidy by healthy people
of those in later life suffering this disability, partly because the impact
is both unpredictable and quite likely to afflict anyone who gets old
enough. To some extent, we have chosen to fund this via taxation rather
than private insurance, in the belief that it's more efficient to do that,
and out of a history where very many people had no discretionary funds to
spend on insurance.

But that's not really the point. The guaranteed income model I promote in
THE SPIKE in not an Aussie idea. It was developed by an economist who lived
for most of his life in the USA, Robert Theobald. Granted, he had a far
greater proportional following, in recent years, in Australia and Canada.
But his books were originally published in the States.

>> The problem with having a guaranteed income administered by a centralized
>> government with power over a large number of people inhabiting a large
>> geographical area is the lack of personal interaction between donors and
>> recipients. These sorts of systems always seem to cave in on themselves
>> through mismanagement and corruption.

>As you say, Barbara, there also seem to
>be some inherent - and perhaps cascading - inefficiencies in the latter
>the increasing burden of administration as the size of the system grows
>to sap the end benefit bestowed on the intended targets).

But this misses the key aspect of Theobald's proposal (and that mad
socialist Milton Friedman's), which is to *abolish* most of the
bureaucratic meddling and tinkering by making the income floor a
*guaranteed `right'*, a secure floor permitting either enterprise or sloth.
True, most models then propose higher taxes once incomes start to exceed
that minimum, but this needn't be any more complex or horrid than the way
things are done now.

But where the money going to come from? I'm not going to pay some lazy
thief to loll around, or suffer my rightful earnings to be extorted from
me! --Different points, those. Irrelevant to this particular objection. (Or
so it seems to me.)

Damien Broderick

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