Universal basic income is no panacea for us – and Labour shouldn’t back it

Le revenu universel de base n’est pas la panacée, et le Labour ne doit pas soutenir cette idée

Une tribune (en anglais) de Sonia Sodha dans le Guardian critique l’idée du revenu de base et invite le Labour britannique à se prononcer contre cette idée qui fait actuellement débat en interne.

The answer cannot be to accept this sorry state of affairs and try to patch things up with a basic income. It must be to address the fundamental power imbalances that allow employers to shift risk on to their employees by forcing them to become self-employed contractors, or refusing to pay them for breaks. And to develop long-term solutions for improving the quality of work.

You can see the attractions of a basic income for Silicon Valley. Firms such as Uber, whose drivers are classified as self-employed “partners” rely on this risk-shift model. Even as Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, heaps praise on a basic income, the tech giant does all in its legal power to avoid tax and dodge paying its fair share towards the social infrastructure it relies on. The left must not allow itself to be seduced. A basic income is a distraction from these core issues of economic power; a radical-sounding excuse to look the other way from the less glamorous, more complex question of how to ensure labour market rights are properly enforced. Accepting a deterioration in employment rights and working conditions in exchange for a basic income could be dangerously counterproductive.

Illustration : © Nathalie Lees.

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