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  • Translator: Michele Gianella Reviewer: Ellen Maloney

  • It's very difficult to follow a fantastic musician,

  • and then a beautiful woman with a baby robot.

  • Very difficult, especially as you're all looking forward to lunch.

  • (Laughter)

  • And I want to take up the theme of this wonderful [TEDxLakeComo]

  • by talking about bridges.

  • The first bridge I want to mention is that 800 years ago

  • a 10-year-old king, who didn't know what he was doing,

  • he agreed to a document

  • which guaranteed every man and woman in society

  • a right to subsistence.

  • A right, in effect, to a basic income.

  • A right to a home, a right to work and live in the Commons.

  • He spent the next 50 years of his reign trying to reform that.

  • But he was wisely told

  • that if he tried, there would be a revolution,

  • because the people wanted to keep the right to a basic income.

  • And I want to trace that history

  • as a bridge from 800 years ago to when I was a student,

  • and I came to believe that the only progressive policy to come

  • in response to the neoliberal economics that we were seeing develop

  • would be a basic income.

  • Let me first define it, and then talk about the second bridge.

  • A basic income would be

  • if everyone of us in this room, and the children,

  • would have the right to a modest, regular payment from the State,

  • that would be unconditional in behavioural terms,

  • paid in cash - you can do what you like with it -

  • and it would be individual.

  • That's what we mean by a basic income.

  • The rhetoric of the MoVimento 5 Stelle has started to change things,

  • but they don't quite mean the same thing as I might mean it -

  • but that, we can leave aside.

  • Because the second bridge is this:

  • today we are on the bridge, at the beginning,

  • but we're faced by eight giants

  • that are blocking our path to a good society.

  • But another metaphor that one could use

  • is that we are faced with a "tempesta perfetta" -

  • a Perfect Storm of factors

  • which are suddenly making the advocacy of a basic income

  • almost mainstream.

  • For many years, people like myself

  • were regarded as mad, bad and dangerous to know.

  • Communist, idealist, utopian - you name it.

  • A lot of rude words were thrown in our direction.

  • But in the last five years,

  • this perfect storm has changed the dialogue,

  • changed the atmosphere.

  • So suddenly we're becoming almost respectable.

  • It's a dangerous position to be.

  • So one gets invited to TEDxTalks,

  • when before one would've been regarded as too mad to invite.

  • Now, what are these giants that are standing before us?

  • The first giant

  • is that we are faced by incredible inequality.

  • Globalisation,

  • and the technological changes, and the political changes

  • have resulted in a terrible model of capitalism

  • in which a tiny plutocracy

  • is absorbing and taking billions out of it,

  • leaving the rest of us to squabble

  • over a diminishing amount of income.

  • This is a cause of migration,

  • this is a cause of all the other things I'm going to talk about.

  • So your plutocrats up here are making billions.

  • One of my favorites is Jeff Bezos.

  • Jeff Bezos,

  • each week of this year,

  • each week,

  • he has increased his income by 400 million dollars.

  • I haven't made 400 million dollar in the past six months!

  • And I dare to say, most of you are like that.

  • Every week!

  • Now, these plutocrats, of course, are striding the Globe.

  • One of their people is in the White House,

  • and many others are in positions of power.

  • The real message of this

  • is that the income distribution system of the 20th century has broken down.

  • It used to be

  • that when you had a capitalist economy,

  • the share of income going to profits from capital and rents,

  • and the share going to labour,

  • were roughly constant.

  • But in the last 30 years all over the world,

  • the share going to capital is going up, the share going to labour has gone down.

  • I don't need to tell you

  • that our wages have been stagnating in real terms,

  • becoming more volatile.

  • This story of inequality is unsustainable,

  • because there is nothing out there which is reversing this trend.

  • The second giant goes along with it: it's about chronic insecurity.

  • Millions of people out there, and I dare say in here as well,

  • are suffering from chronic insecurity.

  • Their lives are defined by a feeling of uncertainty.

  • Unknown unknowns.

  • And this insecurity cannot be insured against.

  • The shocks and the hazards go on, and it leads to what I call the four As.

  • A sense of anxiety.

  • A sense of anomy, desperate feelings you can't do anything about it.

  • A sense of alienation: I feel alienated from what I'm doing.

  • And a sense of anger!

  • Anger out there is justifiable.

  • And this leads to the third giant.

  • We have a pandemic of stress.

  • People feel stressed,

  • they feel that they don't have any sense of control of their lives.

  • They feel they don't know

  • what's the best thing to do with their time,

  • they're part of the precariat

  • or could be part of the precariat tomorrow.

  • And this stress has led to morbidity, to more suicidal tendencies.

  • To an incredible phenomenon: life expectancy, in many countries,

  • has stopped going up, and started to come down!

  • So even middle-aged people, like many of you in this room,

  • have suddenly found that you're suffering from morbidity.

  • And it goes with the next giant:

  • a sense of precarity.

  • My books on the precariat have somehow changed my life as well

  • as led to me receiving thousands and thousands of emails

  • from people who say they are part of the precariat.

  • And they understand, and no one's listening.

  • And what does it really mean to be part of the precariat?

  • It really means, as the Old Latin for "precarious" said,

  • you have to obtain everything by prayer.

  • You are a supplicant.

  • You don't have a sense of agency.

  • You have a sense that you have to ask for favours.

  • You have to be nice to people,

  • not because you want to be nice

  • but because that is the way that you get some favours done.

  • It's an undignified type of existence

  • which many of our fellow citizens are experiencing right now.

  • Then it's something that leads to a feeling

  • that they're running on sinking sand.

  • Running on sinking sand.

  • And that leads to the next giant,

  • which goes with all the other things

  • but if you're in the precariat you face it every single day.

  • You are in debt.

  • You are living a life of indebtedness

  • where one accident, one illness, one mistake

  • could lead you to be out in the streets.

  • Sometimes I use the term "The bag lady syndrome".

  • People waking up in the middle of the night with a nightmare,

  • thinking that one error and they're out in the streets

  • with all their belongings in two paper bags.

  • If you haven't seen anybody like that, you're blind.

  • Everywhere we see it.

  • And that sense of debt

  • goes with the last two giants out there.

  • The first one

  • is the one that should worry every single one of us,

  • every single day.

  • It's the threat of extinction.

  • The threats that our species are disappearing,

  • the threat that global warming is rushing towards us,

  • the threat that the pollution is meaning toxic air

  • for our children to be breathing and shortening their life expectancy.

  • And it goes with many of the other things

  • because we have an agenda of economic growth,

  • at a time of depleted resources

  • and at a time when we shouldn't be trying to chase faster and faster growth.

  • But you have to chase fast growth,

  • if most of the returns to growth go to the plutocrats on the élite,

  • and the people down the bottom are not benefiting.

  • So you have to have faster growth

  • in order to raise living standards down here.

  • And therefore the politicians use the rhetoric of growth:

  • "We've got to accelerate growth!"

  • At a time when we should be listening and thinking ecologically,

  • to reorient and recalibrate

  • what we mean by growth.

  • Now, all of these things, these first giants,

  • can be addressed by giving people basic security.

  • If you have basic security, a modest basic income,

  • your life is less insecure.

  • You can reduce the inequalities.

  • You can encourage people to spend more time

  • in activities like care, like voluntary work.

  • Like doing the things that we all want to do,

  • instead of chasing the next Euro

  • and following a doctrine of jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.

  • Many forms of work don't count as jobs!

  • The economists have misled us.

  • If I care for my elderly mother, that's not working.

  • If I care for your elderly mother, and you pay me a wage, it's working.

  • It's sexist and stupid.

  • But we need to face the reality

  • that we need to have a basic income for a good society.

  • It's not a panacea, but it's an essential attribute.

  • But what is the eighth giant?

  • The eighth giant is coming up at the other side of the bridge,

  • and it should be scaring us.

  • It's the giant of neo-fascism.

  • Of authoritarianism.

  • An alliance between the plutocrats and the atavistic part of the precariat,

  • who listen to the sirens of neofascists

  • who say, the enemy is the other!

  • The enemy is not you, it's not me, it's the other!

  • We are seeing something that I thought we would never see in my lifetime:

  • a revival of a rhetoric,

  • a revival of a set of images that go back to the 1930s.

  • We're seeing authoritarian, panopticon developments.

  • And it's this that I think [is] this giant,

  • that is now suddenly making a lot of corporate people -

  • a lot of people in the centre of politics

  • suddenly say, we must do something.

  • They don't know what,

  • but they are more open to this dialogue.

  • We need a gentle society, we need a convivial society.

  • We need to slow down!

  • We need to rescue control on our lives.

  • Recreate solidarity.

  • And I think the precariat, the progressive part of the precariat,

  • in Italy and everywhere else

  • understands the existential threats

  • of this model of global capitalism.

  • And I'm eking out, waiting, looking for,

  • trying to create a new politics of Paradise,

  • with apologies to Dante.

  • To escape from the politics of Inferno,

  • which is rushing towards us.

  • I believe there's a new generation

  • of politics, of politicians, of political movements.

  • Many of us in this room would think,

  • they're not such good people, not such good messages bla, bla, bla -

  • but they're creating the space.

  • They're creating a new energy.

  • They're asking the right questions.

  • That is why I welcome these new forms of politics.

  • And I think, all of us have a job.

  • Politicians, by their nature,

  • have spaghetti spines -

  • not very strong.

  • Spaghetti spines.

  • Our job is to stiffen their spines, and make them bold.

  • Make them feel that they are the leaders,

  • they are creating and establishing a new convivial good society.

  • And that is why I hope some of you in this room will join us

  • in fighting for a basic income as part of a new distribution system.

  • Thank you very much.

  • (Applause)

Translator: Michele Gianella Reviewer: Ellen Maloney

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ベーシックインカム:ユートピアか解決策か?| ガイ・スタンディング|TEDxLakeComo (Basic income: utopia or solution? | Guy Standing | TEDxLakeComo)

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    王惟惟 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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