Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Big Society. Is it The PITS? (The Pie In The Sky)

The UK media is awash with sceptiscism about David Cameron's Big Society. No one knows what it is.  It seems part of a modern trend such as subsidiarity (EU Maastricht Treaty 1992) whereby the centre only does what those at national, regional or local level cannot do best for themselves. Communitarianism was another idea in the same vein: empower the smaller groupings that people identify with, so they decide what they want to do for themselves. These ideas beg the question as to who assesses the outcome of  the achievements possible at the various levels? What standards are expected before you let it happen? Or do you just let the locals get on with it and end up with varying standards from place to place? 

But Prime Minister David Cameron is cutting his own Big Society feet off. George Osborne is axing government spending and those very people who might do the Big Society work (charities and voluntaries)  are being starved of funds as the local authorities have to spread  the funds thinner and leave them out.

The book The Free Lunch - Fairness with Freedom unlocks the possibilities of subsidiarity, communitarianism and The Big Society. The key is: the Citizen's Royalty (same as: Citizen's Income; Citizen's Dividend). The idea is to start to pay everyone a regular monthly payment without any means testing at all. Children to get it as well as working adults and pensioners. The Citizen's Income Trust shows how it is workable and affordable without any new source of funds.  In Iran they have just launched such a scheme.  For further funds a good start is to raise money from banking - suggested in the book years before the bank crisis hit us. The government should become the sole producer of credit and issue debt-free interest-free money for the public investment that we normally borrow from banks. (Google: Monetary Reform). The savings made by cutting out banks who create such money at the moment, could add to a Citizen's Income for all. No new taxes: restribution of wealth that is already being taken. It would transform the financial sector and make a safer money world for ordinary people.

It could mean the Big Society coming to birth. For unless huge numbers of people are given the means (i.e. money) to help dedicate their time and resources and carry out Big Society work on the massive scale that David Cameron's vision demands, it will fail. 

Advice to the PM: find a way to start a Citizen's Income or drop the Big Society idea fast.  People are chuntering about it already and your government is barely six months old!  But establish this idea and you would be remembered as a pioneering Tory who empowered  individuals, families and groups and sorted welfare at the same time.

Question: What is the Big Society?
Answer: It's what you start to get when you give everyone a Citizen's Income.
posted by Charles Bazlinton  


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