Authors: Simon Duffy and Caroline Richardson
Advocates of basic income often stress its benefits for increasing economic security and reducing poverty; but perhaps the most fundamental benefits will emerge as basic income helps shift our focus towards a more human approach to work and to the economy. In this paper the authors argue that basic income provides us with an opportunity to treat work and career development as a natural function of communities and neighbourhoods.
Originally this paper was produced as a submission to the Work and Pensions Committee Inquiry on the Department of Work & Pension’s (DWP) and its preparations for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Despite the well documented evidence of long-term systemic failure by the DWP to provide good employment support for people, there seemed to be no irony in the stated purpose of this Inquiry. Paradoxically a Conservative government, which supposedly believes in small government, sees no problem in imagining that a vast government bureaucracy, managed from London, is well equipped to support children, young people, families and communities to prepare for radical reductions in older forms of work and the emergence of new forms of work.
This paper proposes a different approach. By combining a realistic level of economic security for each individual with local and personalised support, rooted in our communities, we can begin to build a different kind of economic model. Instead of seeing work as being unilaterally defined by industry and big business we can start to create useful patterns of economic activity that build on the gifts of individuals and respond to our real needs. Instead of promoting unnecessary and environmentally unsustainable patterns of travel, commuting and distribution, we must encourage solutions that are locally grown and locally rooted.
This paper was developed within the UBI Lab Network which is supported by Citizen Network; however it is equally relevant to our Neighbourhood Democracy Network which focuses on how we can grow new forms of collective power in and between our neighbourhoods.
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The publisher is Citizen Network Research. Work is Neighbourhood Business © Simon Duffy and Caroline Richardson 2022.