29 December 2013

Day 257: Living Income Practicality

Q: Will LIG result in the replacement of jobs by machines?

A: The foundation of LIG is to provide the necessary access to the living necessities as a human right, therefore if jobs are replaced by machines as an on-going trend, people will receive the LIG as a means to have their living needs covered. Therefore we don't directly endorse the idea of replacing human labor with machines as that is at this stage decided by each corporation's capacity to implement it in their business. However, also to consider that with LIG, due to financial security, many will feel more confident to start new business ventures, which will again create more jobs.

Q: How do we prevent those receiving LIG from being exploited by greed? For instance: Everyone working is receiving at least double the Living Income. What is to stop the price of goods from moving up so that it's not feasible for people on LIG to afford goods?

A: There will still be short-term fluctuations in the prices of various goods. However, when the prices of the commodities that represent living necessities follow an upward trend to such an extent the Living Income becomes inadequate – the Living Income amount will be increased. If the Living Income goes up, it means the minimum wage – which is defined as double the Living Income – will proportionally increase as well – thus increasing costs for firms. In the long-run it is therefore in firms’ best interest to expand operations in order to meet the increased demand rather than increasing prices. The period where inflation due to an increase in demand is most likely to occur is after the implementation of LIG. It is key, therefore, to ensure that the implementation is done in a transparent way, so that any increase in demand is not unexpected, but firms are prepared for the change and have defined strategies to expand their output.

Q: How will people be motivated to work and perform well under LIG?

A: The classical notion that money is what motivates people to perform well – where the more one earns, the better one performs, has been disproven – for perspective, watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc.
By setting the minimum wage at double the Living Income, every worker is recognized as a vital part of the company, which creates loyalty and a commitment to the goals of the company. It has been shown that when employees receive more than a subsistence income, a firm incurs less turnover costs as well as less costs relating to monitoring the employees. That being said, the relationship between employer and employee is likely to change as LIG increases the bargaining power of employees significantly; no-one will ‘need’ to work anymore. Currently – the threat to lose one’s job is often enough to compromise oneself within one’s job by accepting inferior labor conditions – because one knows that there are always others who will do any job just in order to survive – and thus one is replaceable. With LIG – working is no longer a matter of survival and employers will require to put in the effort to make jobs attractive by creating optimal labor conditions and treating every employee as an individual and not merely as a cog in a machine. The above-referenced video includes several examples of how appealing to employees’ sense of purpose creates far more effective motivation than the threat to lose one’s job.

Q: One point that came up for me is that with the Erasmus program in Europe many students travel to other countries for one year. The student is integrated into the local university system and learns about the culture and the language. In general students' mobility is highly supported by the EU. If there is a country that offers LIG at lower age than most other countries, then that country might see an influx of immigrating youth - would this play a role?

A: Being a student in a country doesn’t make one a citizen, and so, one is not entitled to a Living Income. Countries can specify whether permanent residents would receive LIG, as well as citizens – this could also go in stages, where initially only citizens can claim a Living Income and later, as more countries implement LIG, permanent and perhaps even temporary residents can receive LIG as the inflow of immigrants will not be as intense at that stage.

For context and more information:

Living Income Guaranteed - the Proposal: http://livingincomeguaranteed.wordpress.com/the-proposal/
Living Income Guaranteed YouTube Channel - watch the hangouts: https://www.youtube.com/user/BIGuaranteed?feature=watch
Living Income Guaranteed Website: http://livingincome.me


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