socialism & basic income
I'm hard at work alternately painting walls in our new apartment in Oslo and doing a pretty big translation job, but I do find some time to sneak in a little political work ("work") as well. This weekend I was at a seminar of the left wing of Oslos under-30 crowd, and I've got to say, I haven't felt this energised by politics in a long time. Not least by the fact that there seems to be a sort-of agreement that the thing to do is to try to build a broader left-wing alliance, to which I say: it's about time. On the left, we have been too fond of dividing ourselves into thinner and thinner fractions for a long time.
In my copious free time, I am attempting to find out why the socialist left (in Norway, at least - what's it like abroad?) is not interested in the idea of a guaranteed basic income.
(I like the Norwegian word better: borgerlønn, which means wage for being a citizen, or literally a 'citizen wage').
In Norway, only the centre-right liberal party Venstre is advocating this solution. I'm still just starting out researching the question, but everything I've been reading makes it more interesting as a potential, practical idea for a redistribution of wealth and power, and a radical restructuring of society. Not least because it increasingly seems to me to resonate wonderfully with socialist ideals. Why it has remained a centre-right-liberal idea in Norway is beyond me. I'm going to be looking into this for the next couple of months if and when I find the time.
But anyway, I just wanted to share this post at Crooked Timber with you: Should feminists support basic income?
Also check out the interesting discussion which follows. The post is a discussion of potential outcomes of a guaranteed basic income, as seen from a feminist viewpoint. What would happen to the role of women in a society with a basic income? It's possible that the gender gap in work/pay would widen, according to the author. Some interesting arguments, which would need to be taken into consideration if the basic income idea is going to work. The post is based on this 16-page paper (.pdf) which is much more thorough, but I haven't read the whole thing yet. Also more info and links in this post. I'm also going to have to read this article by Philippe Van Parijs, which I've seen several references to.
If anyone knows of any good books or websites discussing this, leave a comment. Also if you have any good arguments pro or contra to the idea. I need to find out more about this.