[Marxism] Guaranteed Income

Len Walsingham lha.walsingham at btopenworld.com
Tue Feb 17 11:29:07 MST 2004

This is from the LA Labor News. The full article is on the link below


Separating survival from work: The quest for a guaranteed income 

by Jim Smith


After years of fighting unsuccessfully to reverse the job drain,
activists and academics are beginning to reexamine the alternative, a
universal and guaranteed annual income. There are two different
motivations for this reexamination.

A guaranteed basic income is advocated by some as a solution to the
problems of welfare, poverty and homelessness. An income allotment would
be provided in lieu of welfare and to those who have lost their jobs and
cannot find reemployment. These plans invariable require recipients to
accept work or retraining.

Others argue that a guaranteed annual income should be a fundamental
right provided to everyone without strings. Since everyone - or at least
their parents and grandparents - shared in the creation of the wealth of
today's society, they should now receive a share or dividend of that

It would take a massive movement, and perhaps many years, to overcome
what Martin Luther King, perhaps in understatement, called "fierce
opposition" that would be generated to a guaranteed annual income. In
order to achieve a decent living standard for all, draconian taxes would
have to be applied to the rich and to large corporations.

Such a movement does have some advantages. The specter of communism and
cold war is no longer haunting this country. The fight for a guaranteed
annual income would not revive fears of totalitarianism. No one would
have their property expropriated, no banks, factories, newspapers or
second homes would become state property.

It was in an even more difficult political climate that the first
full-blown guaranteed annual income plan was developed. In World War II
England, Lady Juliette Evangeline Rhys-Williams proposed in "Something
to Look Forward To" that every man, woman and child receive a weekly
income benefit. She argued that the current system of social welfare
discouraged individuals from working since their benefits disappeared
when they found a job. Therefore, she reasoned, the benefits should be
provided to all without regard to employment status.

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