Universal Basic Income (UBI) is one of those ideas that has divided public opinion into two opposing camps: Those who think it would result in disaster, as humans cannot be trusted. The other camp feels that a UBI would be liberating, allowing people to concentrate on the important things in life, not just earning a living. Rutger Bregman is a writer, widely acclaimed for his book, Utopia for Realists. In it, he champions Universal Basic Income and a 15 hour work week. So, we went to the Netherlands to ask him if the time for these ideas has arrived.
Amazon is looking for a new home and has put the word out for the almighty “market” to provide. The tech giant has made entire cities complicit in the race to the bottom with promises of tax cuts and other financial incentives – bribes. It is not only looking for a host city, but a partner which can further its monopolistic plans. Myopic cash strapped cities are happy to oblige mistaking this extortion for opportunity.
The Big Four tech giants control most of the world’s information flow, drug and food supply. Google and Facebook tried to manipulate the recent presidential election by prioritising, and sometimes burying content altogether. Throughout the history of human civilisation, including periods of ecclesiastical rule, no entity has had as much power to influence and control the social and political ideals of billions of people with zero oversight or regulation as these tech giants. Democracy’s only hope is for Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter to be broken up and regulated.
When governments fund decades-long loss-making ventures that expand the economy’s production capabilities, we call it industrial policy. When a billionaire does it, we say it is markets at work. Dr Cameron Murray explores what effective industrial policy should look like.