Universal Basic Income is too basic

The Money Tree | Image: Shutterstock

UBI, Universal Basic Income, is wrong because it’s basic. The ‘B’ should stand for ‘Big’, not ‘Basic’.

UBI is basic because it’d be tax-funded. But a Universal Big Income big enough to replace wages could be funded by social credit.

The pandemic has shown there’s a money tree and it’s not magic. Historically, governments have allowed banks to issue almost all money – as debt. The consequent debt economy is inherently destructive, and governments are funded by tax – and borrowing!

If governments take back their right and responsibility to issue money, they can issue it as social credit. This would fund health, education and infrastructure – and could also fund a universal big income.

People would then be free to work as much or as little as they want. People might choose to work – for more money, for the pleasure of it, or as a volunteer.

With a generous state income funded by social credit, increasing automation would mean increasing leisure, as it always should have.

Some Like It Hot

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Don Juan, the other Don Juan, Zorba the Greek, Winnie the Pooh, Madame Blavatsky and Alice from Wonderland had been invited.

An apology was received from Madame Blavatsky. She said she wasn’t currently on a compatible plane. Blavatsky had successfully claimed to be alive under the 23rd Ammendment and was therefore a free spirit.

Alice had been the first to arrive. She was slumped in an armchair, staring at the rococo ceiling.

There was a muted bang, and Winnie the Pooh appeared. Alice, though equally fictional, recognized him from the shared matrix.

Pooh said, “What the fuck?”

“Oi! Potty mouth,” said Alice. “Not toilet-trained then, Teddy Bear? It’s a fantasy dinner party.”

Winnie scanned the matrix. “Right. What the fuck?”

Alice said, “You’ve not done this before?”. Pooh said, “No. I don’t think so.”

Alice said, “Well, you’ll get used to it. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

Pooh strode around the large enclosed space. A sofa appeared. Pooh flung himself onto it. “Any honey? Honey?”

“Fuck you, Bear. That’s your real name isn’t it? Edward Fucking Bear.”

“Jesus, give it a rest…” He looked at her. “Alice.”

“What?”

“You’re a funky chick, Alice. How old are you?”

“Eww. I’m legally a child. And you’re a bear for fuck’s sake! A bear from a children’s story.”

“Been updated. Like you, apparently, Little Miss Muffett. And, well, nobody’s perfect. That’s a witty quote, by the way, from, er, a movie…”

“… Some Like It Hot. Very good. But tell me, Winnie, can you hold an actual conversation?”

“Well, we’ll see, won’t we? Who else is coming?”

“Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Don Juan – the Fidelio one, Don Juan – the Castenada one, Zorba the Greek and Madame Blavatsky.”

“Christ Almighty!” said Pooh. “What half-baked stoned numpty would come up with that?”

“That would be our host. You better watch your manners if you want to make it to the drunken after-dinner conversation.”

“Sounds good,” said Pooh. “I’ll be on my best behaviour. I see Blavatsky’s not coming. That’s something.”

He sniggered. “I suppose there’ll be some raw fish for the seagull. Or chips. What about you? Magic mushrooms?”

“That wasn’t… it was… Oh, never mind.”

“Talking about real names, what about yours? Alice Liddell, isn’t it?”

Alice sighed. “I’m sure we’ll get to that. Here comes the table.”

The table appeared, with eight settings. “Eight,” said Pooh. “In case Blavatsky turns up, I suppose.”

They sat at one end of the table. “It could be worse,” said Alice. “I was at one where they invited God.”

“God!” said Pooh. “What happened?”

“Well, God couldn’t come, of course. He sent Jesus instead.”

“Jesus!” said Pooh. “I bet he was a laugh.”

“He was alright, actually,” said Alice. “Didn’t drink much.”
 

To be continued…?

As any fule kno…

We think we’re nice, interesting people. But we might not be. But how would we know? Who would convincingly tell us? No one – not even our significant other, if we’re lucky enough to have one – really knows us well enough or cares about us enough to do that. The Sage said, Know yourself. I used to think it’s better to be known. But maybe the Sage had a point. The problem is that once you discover what a piece of shit you are, where do you go with that? To a schmychotherapist? Is it possible just to stop thinking that you’re really great person? To be modest about yourself? Tone down your amusing charisma? Assume the cloak of humility? Worth a try.

Tell the truth then, Soothfairy

…and shame the devil.

That’s the brave challenge I imagine you issuing, dear Reader, given the pretentious name of this blog. But do you really want me to take on the devil? Have you read some CS Lewis or something?

Is telling the truth necessary for good writing, writing that people like reading? No, obviously not. Mainly because we’re not capable of it.

The truth would only be found in the Akashic Record. Revealed by Mme Blavatsky in the 19th century, and touted by hippies in the last one, Akasha’s a record of everything. Every incident with all its background and circumstances. What was done, said, felt, and thought. All of it, for all time, unchangeable. Expensive to record, archive and maintain? No problem – on Planet Akaksha, there’s an energy tree powered by time-looped anti-entropy perpetual motion. Or whatever. Free energy, anyway – in another dimension, basically: Dimension Akasha.

Here on Planet Earth there’s truth with a small ‘t’. (Actually, the word ‘truth’ only ever has a small ‘t’, except for believers.) For humans, truth is slippery, and – embarassingly for the Crown of Creation – impossible to grasp.

We may not be capable of truth. We might know that, and be up for some postmodern fun. But we know what truth – however amusingly diffracted into multiple realities – sounds like. Ring it!

Say I wanted to write about a difficulty I’m having with a member of my, er, extended family. My wife’s family, really. Her sister.

So I had a legal confrontation with her about their dear departed mother’s will. Their mother was blameless, the will was clear – the house was to be divided between four sisters.

This one was the executor. But she thought she was the executive. She didn’t discuss selling the house in order to share it. She lived in the house. Made no attempt to sort things out.

On behalf of the other three, I teed up the law. Her sisters would take her to court if she didn’t cough up. So she did.

Maybe she thought she was protecting them. Given what two of them did with their money, maybe she was right. She’s rated as a good cook, so she can’t be all bad. And she’s disabled. With polio. She also has a small portfolio of rented properties. You couldn’t make it up.

I made her do the right thing. Which she resents, of course. I put a stop to her arrogant mismanagement of her mother’s will. Unforgiveable.

She and my wife are currently friendly, and she and I tolerate each other. But I think she’s secretly seething and avenging herself by demanding more and more of my wife’s time, especially in the evenings, especially Friday and Saturday evenings.

Going out or not, Saturday evening’s special. Even sitting on the couch watching TV. She’s stealing that from me.

My wife knows I don’t like it. She says her sister’s on her own, and there’ s nothing special about Saturday, now all the days are the same in covid lockdown.

My wife doesn’t understand me. Ain’t that the half-truth?

Did you like reading that, dear Reader? If so, I told you the the truth – the writer’s truth. If not (or, worse, it was OK, but – blah blah blah), it’s the Limbo step for me.

A new poem by Hugo Brucciani

[Editor’s note: at this stage of his life, Brucciani, apparently embittered by failure and given to extensive substance abuse, now opens and closes his poems by arguing with an imaginary critic. He also has a product-placement deal with Nando’s.]

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Photo: Simon Alvinge / Alamy

lockdown is like the end of the world

by hugo brucciani
april 2020

you say my poems are
the stoned ramblings of a
half-baked moron?
well, fuck you

dear reader, please
add a short
pause after each
line
think of it as
the rhythm

here in the garden in an
infinity recliner, i wonder
how does it feel to
be a bird? hey, bird
does your tiny mind
bliss out when
you soar?

you soar like
a metaphor on
the wings of
my imagination

but
your wings are
real enough to
transcend any
metaphor

but
it’s hard to
acknowledge feeling in
others

people
birds

we have
advanced awareness but
can’t control it

for some, its
shininess is too
reflective

they live in
shiny bubbles
pretending to
connect and
hoping it works
to a point at least

(what shiny beast
saunters towards Nando’s
to be born again
as a chicken?)

others connect better yet but
it’s still not enough

think of us as
an evolutionary dead end
nice while it lasts
apart from when it’s not, like
now

it feels like it’s the end of the world
the end of the road
for us and our one thing after another
farewell cruel world
it’s all your fault

your human nature failed
its epic test
failed to fulfil its
promise

got so far, only
couldn’t connect with
the, you know, thing

couldn’t connect, so
couldn’t relate, so
we’re self-destructing and fuck it
if we’re going down we’re going to
take a lot of other life forms
with us

to whatever is
supervising
good try, and
better luck next time

the multiverse will
carry on evolving but not
with us and not with
life as
we know it
Jim (lucky to be
worried about by
Mrs Dale)

so we’ll never know
how the multiverse evolves
we’ll never see
the bigger picture
that’s the worst thing
here in my bubble

still, could be worse
my worst thing
never knowing
could be a third-world problem
the one we made
could be a pile of shit but
it’s not that bad or sad

it’s OK. it’s fine
it’s only love, and
that is all
love of my life
love of it all

fuck some universal purpose
let’s live for the future
the one that’s got people in it
and birds
and bees

fuck the self-destruction
let’s kiss it better
love it better yet
save ourselves
save our souls
are we saved? not yet

Save

a shallow epiphany, you say?
well, fuck you


[Editor’s note: In this poem, Brucciani seems to see humanity as a failed experiment in multiversal connectedness. For an alternative (if equally bleak) view – of life as a crop – see his poem, God the farmer?]

Coronavirus – Soothfairy speaks

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Image: Praxis Photography / Getty Images / Flickr RF

This coronavirus – what does it think it is? Coming over to us humans from bats, or pangolins, whatever, killing off our vulnerable old people, making us all stay in, destroying our socio-economic system and that. I mean, what’s it all about? You know? Bollocks!

Mind you, as a global threat it’s shown up market forces and the nation state as inadequate. So, if we end up with voluntary one-world government that can end poverty and war, give us a universal state income, and replace the environment-destroying debt economy with social credit, might not be so bad. Apart from the killing and destruction. Which is bad, obviously. Means and ends and all that.

But this isn’t a case of means and ends, is it. The deaths aren’t a way to get to utopia. The utopian idea comes from the deaths but isn’t caused by them. (The deaths are a way for nature to maintain its inhuman ecosystem. We’ve had plenty of warning.)

So this modern idea of utopia isn’t caused by the sudden mass deaths. It’s caused by the usual complicated pattern of thoughts and events. This virus is probably the catalyst (O-level chemistry, failed). The reaction is taking place. The result won’t be known till the post-virus dust has settled.

So would “they”, the Illuminati or whatever, the union of the super-rich, allow an end to neoliberal global capitalism as we know and hate it?

Not willingly, of course, but they might be forced to acknowledge a tidal turn of events and find another way to keep their loot; or they might try to co-opt New Utopia and bend it to the will of their ruling cabal; or – with a bit of luck – they might retreat in a sulk and rot away behind their security fences.

In the new utopia, in 50 years’ time, United Earth, having repaired the damage done by their greed, will round up the remaining cohort along with their warlord accomplices, convict them of their crimes and exile them to the Moon.

More tea, Vicar?

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Photo: Shutterstock / Borsmenta

Q: Why do people say, ‘More tea, Vicar?’ when someone farts?
A: It’s a joke about the thin veneer of civilisation covering our all-too solid animal nature, and our embarrassment about it – always good for a laugh.

It’s a joke about the incongruous congruity of a human (the vicar) representing morality ordained by a supernatural supreme being (God-based civilisation), an undeniable animal stench (the fart), and the consequent irreverent humour (the joke).

God being spiritual, and farting, animal, the saying ‘More tea, Vicar?’ humourously encapsulates the tension between those two worlds of meaning. The tea is a healing balm. The fortified wine that might then be produced closes the wound. Tea and sherry – closure medication for our divided souls.

But how does the vicar come into it?

Imagine a semi-mythical English past where people, whether working-class or middle-class, called their front room, if they had one, the parlour.

The parlour was the best room, reserved for special occasions. One such occasion would be a visit by the vicar, the Church of England parish priest. The family would wear their Sunday-best clothes, and tea would be served using the best service.

The conversation would be somewhat strained, due to the status of the guest depending on a shared tradition of faith in a supernatural supreme being (a belief which would inevitably cause some doubt in the minds of all concerned, not least that of the vicar).

During an awkward pause in the conversation someone, perhaps nervously, lets rip a loud fart. To allay the even more awkward silence and the undeniable animal stench, Mother – who, traditionally, pours the tea – brightly asks, “More tea, Vicar?“.

(Traditionally, Father may relieve the tension with a cheerful “Better out than in!“, thus enabling the conversation to sputter on. Fortified wine might shortly be produced, to the relief of all.)

Here we are again

Ancestor Australopithecus sediba | Photo: Brett Eloff / Profberger and Wits University

Here we are – animals with consciousness. We’ve achieved civilisation, again. And it’s about to be destroyed, again. Mass immigration, mass poverty, turning on each other, breaking alliances with neighbour states, about to destroy our environment. Vulnerable animals with a big brain. The only protection is world government. Like United Earth in Star Trek.

The ineffable

If universal consciousness caused DNA, it’s ironic that we highly conscious humans, the crown of evolution, are apparently unable to apprehend it – universal consciousness, that is.

Metaphorically, God made man in his own image: with consciousness; but even to conscious humans, God-consciousness (whatever gnostics, mystics and gurus say) is unknowable. Non-metaphorically, science for all its brilliance, is unable to agree on a theory of everything. Metaphorically again, science in its current state can’t look upon the face of God.

I should add that I’m an agnostic. I’m implying design, but not a designer. Evolution is designerless design. I’m suggesting a universal non-divine design process analagous to evolution.

The purpose of universal consciousness in fostering life might be to produce mirror or companion consciousness (perhaps the result of cosmic vanity or loneliness). Or – more darkly – it might be energy farming.

A solution to Brexit

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As a UK citizen, I suggest a compromise solution to Brexit: be in and out. Ie, stay in (promise reform of EU free movement of people to the UK, then get a remain result from a second referendum) but be the outsider.*

The 2004 neo-liberal experiment of allowing virtually unrestricted access to the UK of people from poor east European countries (pushed by then UK Labour premier Tony Blair) upset many locals. Boosted Euroscepticism led to the referendum, which was, in effect, the first public consultation on mass immigration. Result: split nation: loquatious liberals versus a taciturn precariat.

Offered a binary choice in 2016, I voted to remain – but was actually undecided. As a left-liberal who welcomes immigration, I nevertheless sympathise with the overlooked precariat – who have been wrongly dismissed by the metrocentric liberal establishment as ignorant provincial racists.

But it’s madness to abandon a good trading deal with our near neighbours in exchange for environment-destroying air and sea miles, and a sweetheart deal with corporate USA involving chlorinated chicken and a garage sale of the UK’s National Health System.

So, let’s stay in and, firstly, use the same EU rules as Germany and France have to restrict the “free movement” of people. (Mobility of cheap labour is no freedom.) Then vote for reforming the sh*t out of the corrupt, bloated, neo-lib EU gravy train. Then, with harmony and unity restored, we can resume our previous blissful sense of indifference.

*Update: the 2019 UK general election gave the Conservatives a large majority, so staying in was out. Harmony could now only be achieved by keeping as close as possible to the single market. Premier Boris Johnson, no Brexit idealogue (he flipped to Brexit in 2015 for reasons of personal advancement), might do that.