Defining the Social Economy - Green Economist

Defining the Social Economy - Green Economist

Citizens Income What it means, why it should be part of a green economy Introductory Discussion Why do people work? How many different reasons can you think of?

How many people would still work if they had enough money to live on? Might they make different decisions about what work to do? Why is there a problem with the work-life balance? Anthropology of human societies

Side by side with family housekeeping, there have been three principles of production and distribution: Reciprocity Redistribution Market Prior to the market revolution, humanitys economic relations were subordinate to the social. Now economic relations are now generally superior to social ones.

By universal basic income I mean an income paid by a government, at a uniform level and at regular intervals, to each adult member of society. The grant is paid, and its level is fixed, irrespective of whether the person is rich or poor, lives alone or with others, is willing to work or not. In most versionscertainly in mineit is granted not only to citizens, but to all permanent residents. The universal basic income is called basic because it is something on which a person can safely count, a material foundation on which a life can firmly rest. Any other incomewhether in cash

or in kind, from work or savings, from the market or the statecan lawfully be added to it. Philippe Van Parijs, 2000 The proposal Automatic payments depending on need

Tax-free and without means Income tax and employees national insurance contributions would be merged into a new income tax The tax-free allowance would balance out the Citizens Income for higher earners Important changes in welfare

1. Citizenship becomes the basis of entitlement 2. The individual would be the tax/benefits unit 3. The Citizens Income would not be withdrawn as earnings and other income rises 4. The availability-for-work rule would be abolished 5. Access to a Citizens Income would be easy and unconditional 6. Benefit levels would be indexed to earnings or to GDP per capita rather than to prices. Escape from the benefit trap

Effect on incentives Cost of the scheme Costs of current welfare system Social economy

Like the family economy the social economy is based on reciprocity; unlike the family economy kinship is not involved; The market economy and public sector are based on monetary exchange; the social economy is not; The public sector is based on official legislation, whereas the social economy is based on commonality of interests and values; The market economy and public sector are based primarily on material capital whereas the social economy is based primarily on social capital.

Revolves around the nature of relationships Reciprocity can be described in terms of give-and-take in a relationship between actors who, to a certain extent are equals. . . Mutuality is often used as a synonym for reciprocity. . . Reciprocity of social relations creates mutuality of economic relations, but mutuality in economic transactions is no guarantee of

reciprocity in social relations. Time for a rethink . . . Market or commons Consumption vs. provisioning Employment vs. livelihood Gary Snyder on commons

The commons is a curious and elegant social institution within which human beings once lived free political lives while weaving through natural systems. The commons is a level of organization of human society that includes the nonhuman. The level above the local commons is the bioregion. Understanding the commons and its role within the larger regional culture is one more step toward integrating ecology with economy (Snyder, 1990: 40). English commons history

a territory which is not suitable for crops and lies between the extremes of deep wilderness and the private plots of the farmstead Neeson (1989) estimates up to 30 per cent of British rural land A form of subsistence where meeting your needs from the local environment was explicit

Meeting your basic needs . .. Reed was plentiful and valued most as thatch for roofs and also to cover the stacks, ricks and clamps for all kinds of crops and vegetables. Rushesbulrusheswere equally plentiful, waterproof, and woven into baskets, mats, hats, chair seats and toys. . . they were also good for bedding, as a netting in the plastering of walls, and wrapping for soft milk cheeses. They made cheap, bright rushlights too (Neeson, 1989: 166).

Commons today . . . and in the Czech Republic? From commons to markets Enclosures preceded industrialisation Movement from the land to the cities Loss of subsistence; lower standard of living

Population explosion CI as a modern form of common right? 1873 2001 Total acreage 733,640 652,011 Agricultural acreage

696,958 509,908 36,682 142,103 534,640 549,500 496,935 246,600

101,474 233,000 29,280 403 Small landownersb 8425 3260

Large landownersc 250 215 Acreage of large landowners Percentage owned 454,732 211,287 61.9%

41.4% Non-agricultural acreage Population Owners of nothing at all Total dwellings Smallholdingsa An economy of solidarity? The projects of an economy of solidarity

have a tendency to reunite that which has long been separated and to question some presuppositions of the market-state synergy: the separation between the economic and the social, the sharp dividing line between paid work and leisure, the states monopoly on solidarity, the market-state dichotomy, and so on. Characteristics

Bottom-upwhat we might have called mutualism Anti-capitalist? At least antiglobalisation Importance of the locallevel of control Reduction of consumption and respect for the planeta partially new concern An economy of emancipation and cooperation

Why produce only as a function of an unjust market that depletes and exploits, denying us the chance to manage both the production and the economy for our own service, for the service of all citizens, and of all peoples of the planet, as well as for future generations? Our proposal is a socio-economy of solidarity as a way of life that encompasses the totality of the human being, that announces a new culture and a new form of producing to fulfill the needs of each human being and of the entire humanity. Further questions . . .

Why should anybody ever work again? How would the CI affect wage rates? How would it affect students, artists, activists? What does this have to do with a green economy?

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