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Free work and basic incomme (2001)

By Ernesto García Camarero

Ernesto Garcia Camarero [1]

The subject of the basic rent is often treats by its detractors as result of a utopian view arisen from desire unattainable (and shameful)"to live without working", and usually treats pejoratively to its defenders like utopians, demagogues, or what is worse, of promoters of "laziness", with its sequels of vices and destabilization of the system.

But the reality is another one. Now is emerging another reality, which I will try to characterize by some symptoms or characteristics :

1. The idea that the social product is fruit of the land, the work and the capital, is changing when discovering that they have always been the basic elements of the production the row material, the energy, the information, and those single (land, work. capital) they are his manifestation in a certain historical period.

2. The man participation in the production (what has been denominated work) has consisted, and still it consists, of man contributing with his energy (physical effort) and his information (attention and knowledge)

3. The fixed capital (machines, buildings) consists basically of work (energy and information) accumulated along the time and crystallized or materialized like production factor.

4. The first industrial revolution (1800) eliminated of the productive process the contribution of human physical effort that was replaced by alternative sources of energy (coal, petroleum...) using the steam machine and the electrical or explosion motors.

5. The second industrial revolution (1950) is eliminating of the productive process the direct contribution of information on the part of the man. The man information input is being replaced by that they contribute the automatic machines (computers, robots...) and by the new great storages of information, readily accessible.

In this situation that, obviously, would be necessary to quantify and to observe its evolution accurately, which is happening is that the traditional form of work contributed by the man is descending quickly and tends to disappear, and is being replaced by machines and other procedures of rationalization

It happens that still it follows the tradition effective of which the property of the machines (capital) is into the hands of sectors and the work into the hands of others [2]. This fact until now properly has been managed by employer’s associations and unions that have obtained a certain social balance and one formulate for the distribution of the result of the production : the wage and the benefit.

But when the world-wide capital (basically infrastructures, machines, information) grows and the work drastically decrease, the balance can disappear, since when the work force losing sufficient purchasing power (that it grants the wage to him) to consume the whole production and therefore is unable to maintain the apparatus productive, is necessary to find other forms of wealth distribution no connected to the work.

* * *

This panorama leads to us to be present at at the present time the following situation :

1. The increase of productivity, result of the scientific and technological advances, has done that the use in the primary sector (agriculture, cattle ranch) is practically disappear, and in the industrial sector the necessity of work hand is every smaller time and the same it begins to happen with the services. In spite of it, world-wide the gross product grows uninterruptedly.

2. This disappearing the illusion, that until now stayed, to think that the leisure of the work hand of the single agrarian sector meant its displacement to the industrial sector, and that the same would happen when the work hand was not necessary of the industrial sector moving this to the sector of the services. What one is taking place every greater and irreversible time is structural unemployment.

3. The great inequalities of the distribution of the wealth according to the geographic areas are causing that begins a process of human migrations of dimensions unknown until now. Who is sunk in the single poverty looks for to leave her without taking care of the legislations that prevent it...

Therefore if suitable measures are not taken, that the own system offers, to avoid the imbalances that can produce structural unemployment generalized [3], agravated by the great migrations that are approached, single great problems, that affected all the countries, of that can be predicted at the moment single perceive the initial symptoms.

These problems single will be solved if are suitable forms of distribution of the wealth that are not supported exclusively in the work.

In this frame he is the one that can be spoken of basic rent and other forms of distribution of the wealth.

* * *

In order to take care of this situation, that no longer can be confined to a single country but that it is a global situation, single three solutions are possible :

1. To try to avoid that the work is reduced, creating job to make articles although they are not necessary and to try to impose them by means of the publicity or other coercive procedures [4], with the only purpose from which people receive a wage.

2. To distribute the work, more and more little, between all reducing the day but maintaining the wage, so that the mass of money dedicated to the consumption stays, since the product stays or grows.

3. To find some formulates redistributed of the nontie production to the work.

First solution, that is the one that at the moment is tried to look for, is hardly attainable as every time it is left but patent. The technology expels from the productive apparatus every day greater number of workers (no longer cause surprise when groups of hundreds of thousands of workers are spoken of reduction) the new jobs are of precarious work [5]. The creation of new sectors of work in the new technologies will not cover nor a mini part with the destroyed jobs ; this illusion this vanishing.

Since the process of disappearance of the work, in spite of being fast, will require relatively long terms, a good solution could be the one to distribute the work that at every moment is available between all the people in age to work. But since the condition so that the economic balance stays is that it adjusts the dineraria mass that dedicated to the consumption of the product to the amounts of produced goods, the wages would be necessary to maintain them although the day labor went diminishing. This generalized maintenance of the wages single would obtain with a strong state intervention of difficult execution and in addition it would make difficult that the law of the real supply and the demand looked for forms of effective organization of the production but to reach a greater productivity.

It seems therefore that for a future not too distant the only solution to obtain the economic balance is by means of the discovery, development and implementation of a procedure of distribution of the wealth that not this exclusively tie ones to the work. In fact already at the present time the dineraria mass dedicated to the consumption that does not come from the not at all despicable work is of an importance (I talk about the social aids of all type : unemployment, dissability, retirement, etc. As well as the public unproductive use maintained as a type of subsidy).

* * *

The procedures of this type are several that have been proposed and partially tried, but are two those that have had greater echo : the negative tax of Tobin and the basic rent.

Already in the decade of years 60 of century XX, economy the Nóbel prize James Tobin, proposes a procedure of distribution of the wealth in form of negative tax. The idea is that nonsingle the fiscal system is a distribution but collection system also. Fixed a threshold of minimum income (received by any concept) for all the population, those that exceed the threshold paid to Property (quoting single logically reason why it exceeds the threshold) and those that does not reach it received of Property until reaching it.

The idea of a basic rent is not something recent but that has been coming seting out for a pair of centuries [6]. But in the present times, when already conditions of viability exist, it is when one is spreading and accepting itself. Usually one explicitly defines basic rent with the following characteristics :

* He is individual, receives each person independently of which they are his circumstances ; this avoids the control and the bureaucratic cost public.

* He is universal, it supposes the counterpart of its right like citizen to the natural resources (matter and energy), and the application of the collective historical knowledge (creative capacity, information) to the production, all it incorporated previously to the accumulated capital by all the society.

* He is unconditional, in the sense that the ones do not consider another class of income of the beneficiary (for example that come from the repayment of the work), nor no labor contraprestación calls to each other to him in return.

* The amount assigned to the basic rent is equal for all (whatever it is his level of rent) and would have to be like minimum equivalent to the poverty line to allow to satisfy the material necessities and to avoid so, in no case, the person is itself forced to live in poverty situations.

* The basic rent refunde in only a concept most of the benefits of the present system ; it does not suppress them.

They are these complex reforms to implement and that will have to be implanted gradually.

The negative rate of Tobin, was tried experimentally in the American state of New Jersey (1968-1971) proving the viability.

The idea of the basic rent (in English BASIC income) is in its period of elaboration and diffusion, being numerous the international forums in which it is this subject.

* * *

An objection very extended to the basic rent, as to other forms of repayment nonassociated to the work, is the one to think that "possibly the citizens serian many who let work or reduced remarkably their effort". This affirmation, that surely does not correspond with the reality, lets glimpse that it is not possible to conceive that the work freely is made and that this single one is possible if is forced work [7], retrotrayendo us of this form to but the archaic esclavistas ideas, had with good sense and common sense.

I create, nevertheless, that the possibility and effective existence of the free work (that is to say, not forced before the alternative of the hunger and the misery) would be a wealth and activity source, since released to work to survive it would work to live better, using the cooperation between people.

[1] 1 (c) 2003 authorizes leave to copy and to distribute this complete document in any means if for of literal form and this 2 note has been also staying

[2] Although this is changing, since numerous workers have their savings in investment funds and stock-market, but given to its dispersion its will tells little in this sector, applying the present laws and regulations.

[3] 3 Fundamentally because when being reduced the global wage mass, when growing unemployment, the products will not have exit.

[4] 4 a sector of unnecessary production but that helps some countries to leave the crises is the sector of manufacture and modernization of arms, and the maintenance services, learning of the use and use of the same ones.

[5] 5 Type of work, that without entering human and moral considerations, is little interesting for the present system since it makes difficult the credit policies.

[6] 6 Or Paine Takings (1737-1809), Anglo-American thinker who influenced in the elaboration the democratic ideas of the rising American nation, and that participated in the French Revolution or saw the necessity to define a basic rent (justice agraire opposée à loi ET aux privilèges agraires, Paris, 1796).

[7] 7 In the Convention on Forced Work of the OIT, of 1930, I finish of forced work means "all work or service that is made by any person under the threat of any punishment and for which the mentioned person does not offer itself voluntarily" (is worse punishment and greater threat than the hunger and the misery when there is no another alternative that to accept a work in the precarious conditions that are offered). In the Convention on Policy of Use of the OIT, of 1964, one says that "the use must of productive and being freely chosen". Also the Organization the International of the Work in her Declaration on the Principles and Fundamental Rights of the Work, indicates in her declaration (b) : "that all his [ States ] members have the obligation... to promote and to make... the elimination of all the forms of forced work..."