Mike qualified in social work in 1978 and worked in Glasgow statutory settings addressing offending, alcohol and drug problems, community care services and child protection, community development in disadvantaged areas and supporting the voluntary sector. A spell as full-time councillor, also active at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities during the late 1990’s, was followed by 10 years involvement in the development and implementation of Scotland’s Drug Strategy.
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Right-click here to save the chatcast to your computer: CHE Chatcast 002: Citizen’s Basic Income
The following personal notes and links on the talk and discussion were made by participant Satya Dunning and are shared in the hope that they may be useful, but are not verified by the Centre.
I am just back from tonight’s talk at the Centre for Human Ecology, which was about ‘Citizen’s Basic Income: time for Scotland to take a lead’. Mike McCarron was the speaker.Mike has been and is still involved in the development and implementation of Scotland’s Drug Strategy. I am coming away from the talk with a little more hope having learn things which give me understanding and acceptance of myself and the bigger picture.
I’d like to share some of the things I learnt.
The idea of a Basic Citizen’s Income is in fact not just an idea, it is in fact taking place in Norway, in Iceland and Iran is even looking into setting something similar up. Switzerland is currently in the process of voting for it. A Basic Citizen’s Income is universal, offered to every individual as opposed to household and is unconditional. It is a movement happening in Scotland, and if I got this right there is a campaign underway to make people in Scotland more aware of it and to make it a reality especially if, when Scotland becomes independent.
Guy Standing a founder member and co president of Basic Income Earth Network spoke to the Scottish Parliament in 2011 about a Basic Citizen’s Income and shared ideas from his new book The Precariat: The new dangerous class. Essentially, Standing says that at the top we have the plutocracy (1%) with huge wealth, then the salariat with secure jobs, followed by the proficients who work in IT and amass a huge sum of money and suffer from burn out, then the proletariat, the shrinking working class followed by a new burgeoning group he calls the burgeoning precariat, made up of people in short term work contracts, in insecure part time work, zero hour contracts etc. I recognised myself in that category.
So the benefits of a Basic Citizen’s Income would be:
the ending of poverty and unemployment traps especially in view of all the changes regarding benefits.
Freeing people up to take more control of their lives.
Freeing up people’s creativity and imagination as well as causing human flourishing.
For more benefits please visit this link: http://www.citizensincome.org/filelibrary/Citizen’s%20Income%20booklet.pdf
Guy Standing was invited to India to set up a Basic Citizen’s Income or cash transfer pilot over 1 year in 20 villages. There was an increase in quality of life and also a more democratic participatory involvement of the communities. You can find out more here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtYtwiG-uAM&feature=youtu.be
Ailsa McKay is a Scottish economist also talking about this, who is particularly interested in gender issues and who sees that a Basic Citizen’s Income would reduce the gap in gender income.
The Green party supports the introduction of a Basic Citizen’s Income.
Things to read to read are:
The Future Public Health by Philip Hanlon and Sandra Carlisle
Economics for People and Planet by Peter Merrit http://www.petermerry.org/blog/2011/economics-and-work-for-people-and-planet/
Welfare to Work or a Welfare System that works. Arguing for a new Basic Citizen’s Income for a new Scotland by Ailsa McKay http://www.scotlandfutureforum.org/assets/library/files/application/Research_Paper_5-McKay.pdf
Citizen’s financial rights by Ailsa McKay http://www.scotsman.com/news/ailsa-mckay-citizens-financial-rights-1-2799922
Annie Miller’s article: http://www.social-policy.org.uk/lincoln/Miller.pdf
Further links cited in the talk:
The Art of hosting meaningful conversations: http://www.artofhosting.org/
Guy Standing http://www.guystanding.com/
Ailsa McKay http://www.gcu.ac.uk/gsbs/staff/professorailsamckay/
Citizen’s Income Trust http://www.citizensincome.org/
Basic Income’s Earth Network (BIEN) http://www.basicincome.org/bien/
Writer and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch stopped by the CHE to share and discuss her most recent book ‘Blossom: What Scotland Needs to Flourish’.
Audio Chatcast: Alternative currencies – can we create our own money to build local economies that sustain us?
Leading the discussion, and sharing his knowledge is CHE’s Walton Pantland, who works for Unite, the biggest union in the UK. Walton is joined around the table by CHE colleagues and members of the public who also contribute.
Walton is South African, and before coming to Scotland worked with trade unions and community groups in South Africa. He wrote HIV-Aids manuals for COSATU and the ITF, and worked on projects for Workers’ World Media Productions and Ditsela.
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Right-click here to save the chatcast to your computer: CHE Chatcast 001- Alternative Currencies
Below are Walton’s notes of the presentation he gave.
Economics has an exhaustive amount to say on the flow of money, but very little to say about what it is, and why we use it. It’s a medium of exchange, and a store of value.
It is also a commodity – a thing that can be bought and sold.
Without money, we would all be bartering with each other, right?
Wrong: there is no evidence for this. Before money, primitive societies:
• Bartered ritualistically, for instance to celebrate a treaty
• Bartering is only common in populations that used to have money – for instance, in prisons and refugee camps. And they quickly develop a currency – for instance, the cigarette
• Primitive communism
• With the rise of mercantile city states we had the rise in debt, with for example landowners paying tax in wheat after the harvest had come in.
Later, debt chits were exchanged, and became money.
However, for most of human history, most people had little to do with it, taking from the land what was needed and sharing labour.
Money as measurement. No one ever said “I can’t pour you a glass of water because I have run out of millilitres”. If we look at money in this way, the solution seems simple: just make more.
What does it measure? Our social obligation to each other
Money has no intrinsic value. It no longer represents anything real. We use fiat currency now, which means its value is determined by the state.
Almost all money nowadays is electronic – it’s just a system of accounting maintained by banks, and is not backed by anything real, other than the authority of the state and central bank . It is sustained by faith – so what do we believe in?
Types of alternatives
• Local currencies – the Bristol Pound, Brixton Pound
Best for keeping money local. Work best in highly specific environments with a strong local identity, because it needs buy-in from business owners. – for e.g. a Southside Pound might work, to counter dominance of the West End
Best for sharing skills in a community. For instance, the Greater Govan Time Bank. Service exchange with time as currency. It has limitations, for instance it is good for trading services of similar value, but not goods.
Best as an alternative to the mainstream economy. Local Exchange Trading System – like the Cape Town Talent Exchange and Community Exchange System. Uses a currency to overcome some of the imitations of time banks.
Bitcoin and others – beloved of anarcho-capitalists and libertarians. Electronic money backed by software rather than any central government. Anonymous. Benefits the tech savvy.
The current system keeps most of the world locked in poverty, “owing” our labour to those who have engineered it so that they control the money supply. By reconceptualising money, we can begin to break some of this down.
MMT applies some of these insights to modern economies – instead of creating electronic money through QE and buying up the banks’ bad investments, use it
Brett Scott: The Heretics Guide to Global Finance
David Graeber: Debt: the first 5,000 years
Wed 15th January 2014, 6.30pm: Walton Pantland – “Alternative currencies – can we create our own money to build local economies that sustain us?”
Wed 5th February 2014, 6.30pm: Mike McCarron – “Citizens’ Basic Income – time for Scotland to take a lead”
Events are free – donations are welcome – and there will be tea and coffee.
If you’re interested in attending, please register at firstname.lastname@example.org , thanks!
Location: CHE Library, The Pearce Institute, 840-860 Govan Rd, G513UU
Welcome to the CHE Library Chats: Every 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month, we gather in the CHE library for a range of stimulating conversations in a convivial atmosphere. Various guests have offered to share their ideas*.
Part of the Centre for Human Ecology’s contribution to Govan Folk University is to develop the CHE’s own library as a community resource. As a first step, the CHE library will open its doors for a series of events, where members of the local community in and around Govan are invited to meet new people, browse books, and reflect on issues of our times.
*The framework for the library chats invites informal sharing to stimulate discussions; views expressed by guests are not necessarily endorsed by the CHE.