Sunday, January 24, 2016

Income inequality: Matthew Parris agrees with Jeremy Corbyn

Matthew Parris political journalist and ex-Tory MP, is agreeing with concerns expressed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Parris' writes (Times 23 Jan 2016):  'We should take seriously Jeremy Corbyn's thoughts on wage differentials'The context is that Corbyn and almost everything he says, is overwhelmingly rubbished in the UK media. For example Spectator's Fraser Nelson: JC's 'leadership of the Labour Party as an unalloyed disaster' . So to have Tory-leaning Parris thoughtfully argue that he agrees with Corbyn's view that income differentials are bad and growing worse, and that this matters for Parris because it gives capitalism a bad name is somewhat significant.

He cites Oxfam's report on the matter: '62 billionaires own the same wealth as half the world' . He writes: 'When I see reports like this I have to stop myself looking away'. And at Davos last week (World Economic Forum) there was even concern from the world's elite about further inequality expected as robots take work, thus wages, from low-skilled people.

This week the idea of an unconditional Basic Income (aka Citizen's Income) for all, was introduced in the House of Commons as Green MP Caroline Lucas tabled an early day motion on it (Independent report). This measure would start to address the income inequality problem. The article links to a BBC Radio 4 item; support from the RSA; the Finland policy; French interest; and also that Jeremy Corbyn likes the idea.

This gathering of interest in Basic Income is good news indeed. The book The Free Lunch - Fairness with Freedom majors on the topic and provides a reasoned argument for this hopeful idea that is now coming into the mainstream of politics.

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