What LIFE is proposing is simple, a radical evolution: public services instead of welfare.
If we provide each other with safety (guaranteed access to the basic necessities of life in the event of need),
free of charge and without means testing,
we will remake our economy and come into balance with our environment.
That’s it. This one simple change will bring growth to our economy, sanity to our public finances, and joy to our lives.
This is not utopian, this is simple, basic stuff. We can spend the same amount of money that we are already spending on welfare today, but instead of providing benefits, we provide the actual services that those benefits are supposed to buy. The services only cover the bare necessities of life, and they are available universally to every citizen, irrespective of circumstance. No “benefit trap”.
No one is forced to take the services, they are just there to provide a floor to living standards to those that want to use them.
The universally provided services are: shelter, sustenance, healthcare, education, transport, information and legal services. In the UK healthcare, education and legal services are already provided universally and free of charge. Shelter services, in the form of council housing, are also provided, albeit very poorly. Universal local transport is provided, but only to those over the age of 62. We already provide free food to school children. What LIFE is proposing is to provide access to all of these services to everyone who wants or needs them, to the best of our ability, at the point of need, and without means testing (like the NHS already does).
The effect on society is transformative.
People can work as much or as little as they want, to satisfy their needs that are not provided by the basic universal services.
A minimum wage becomes unnecessary, and an enormous amount of micro economic activity is liberated.
Simply providing a free bus pass to everybody will transform our transport use overnight.
And without the coercion, life becomes a lot more enjoyable for everyone. (More fun = less stuff.)
A simple change that is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but that has a revolutionary impact on our economy, and our public finances, and our environment, and the balance of power between citizenry and government.
The second plank in the LIFE policy platform is there to support this basic change to our welfare system. Universal services need to be delivered locally if they are to be provided effectively, and that requires us to push power down to our communities, and in turn those communities need to have more effective democracies in order to function well enough for the purpose.
The third plank in the LIFE policy platform is to introduce external environmental costs into economic pricing at every possible opportunity. The primary mechanism for achieving this will be the comprehensive implementation of a carbon tax.
Not wanting to distract from the core message, we’ll stop there. There’s tons more if you’re interested. And if think the budget math can’t possibly work, you’re wrong, see here.
Think about it. You can work as much as you want to, but you don’t have to work. What would you do? What would the people you know do? What would society look like?
What can you do to help?
We need to get the message out. Everyone needs to understand that there is a simple change we can make that will put us on a path to a future worth living. Whatever you can do to get that word out is the first priority. We need to amplify the message, so the first objective must be to reach out to people who already have standing and audience: public figures and journalists.
The second thing we need to do is to prepare local groups in every constituency to nominate their LIFE candidate for the 2015 election. The LIFE Party will take care of vetting candidates and providing campaign materials. The local groups will have to fund their own campaign and their candidate’s election deposit. Whatever you can do to help get these groups started, and meeting regularly, is really important.
3 replies on “Intro”
This talk (by James Wallman, journalist, trend forecaster and author of Stuffocation (Crux, 2013) at the RSA) sets out the groundwork behind why it is that satisfying basic needs leads to less consumption, specifically less consumption of “stuff”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AX0OkSKeqwThis is an important tenet of life policy, that we will reach our environmental goals by satisfying our social needs.
Dr Roscoe argues that economic thinking, being Homo Economicus, is depriving us of the ability to develop the solutions to our problems, because our problems require cooperation and community and those skills are not rational economic choices.Fascinating talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRT-p737qgI
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