The first policy is universal basic income (UBI) whereby a financial payment is made to every citizen, unconditionally, at a level above their subsistence needs. UBI is needed to break the link between work and consumption. Critically, there is a constant awareness that we all need to be ever more productive at work, otherwise someone else will take our job. In response we have all said: I work hard, so I deserve that fancy meal, new gadget or long-haul holiday. Increased consumption is the reward for being ever more productive at work. Indeed, it makes little sense to curb our consumption when we know we will have to be ever more productive at work, regardless of our choices.
We increase the ability of people to consume by providing a UBI and this will curb consumption?
Which short bus to school has this guy just stumbled out of?
The second policy framework is what I call universal shared services – others have argued for universal basic services, but what’s needed must be far beyond basic. Many countries have some of these, from healthcare to education. These are the services everyone needs and their delivery has society-wide effects. Core are health, education, energy, housing and leisure services. Providing these universally lowers financial costs due to economies of scale, and can substantially lower environmental costs.
Free at the point of use things reduce consumption in what manner? And can we imagine government provided leisure? Well, yes, actually, Dom Kulturi…….
Simon Lewis is professor of global change science at University College London and University of Leeds
Jeebus, the short bus delivers the professors to school these days?