Footnote: Income of Dignity
In a capitalist state, most do not own any means of transforming their labour into their needs of life. This is wrong. But in the circumstances, those who possess all such means should at least be obliged to provide those who possess none with an unconditional income of dignity in lieu.
In Lieu of Birthright
Pending restoration of their rightful natural inheritance, and in partial lieu thereof, every person - man, woman and child - in every nation should be given an unconditional `income of dignity' which is sufficient to provide food, clothing, shelter, recreation, education, health and communication. In the absence of an `earned' income it may require them to curtail luxuries and non-necessities, but it must never amputate any of their established basic living facilities or economic functions.
Communication refers to the means and media, and use thereof, for finding work in an open market or putting their case as I am doing via this book. It should also include the means of maintaining sane contact with the rest of society which, at the moment, I am unable to do. For instance I cannot afford to do any mailshots or phone sessions or engage in any form of social activity.
A Right Not A Benefit
I think it should be paid to all by right: not reluctantly as an act of benevolence. Calling it a benefit is a misrepresentation. It is only a small fraction of what has been forcibly extracted from most of us for the duration our working lives. It is a poor recompense for that ancient birthright, the theft of which places on the powers-that-be both the guilt and the moral obligation to make full and fair recompense - whether they accept that obligation or not. It should be supplied to all from what is levied from those who have control of, and directly profit from, the wealth-generating resources of each country.
I further believe that this right to the needs of life should automatically block the action of any instrument of law which would otherwise result in a family's loss of its primary home and chattels, and that the losses of plaintiffs in such cases should be met out of an all-encompassing national compensation fund.
Some people cannot find work. Some people are unable to work. Everybody has a right to live and hence to an income of some form. I cannot understand therefore why my - or anybody else's - eligibility for welfare rests on their ability to furnish convincing evidence that they are actively seeking work. This implies that if the evidence I can supply does not convince the Jobcentre that I am still actively seeking work, I lose all `benefit'. How then do we eat? As a matter of fundamental principle, this prerequisite must be removed. The notion of one's income being an arbitrarily valued function of the amount and type of work one does is outmoded and outdated.
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©December 1996 Robert John Morton