Capitalism, the economic system that has improved the lives of so many people around the world is under attack from the international socialists who believe that government should be the arbiter of most everything in the world.
Professor Philip Alston, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, has presented his report to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. A curious organization as its membership is comprised of some of the worst violators of human rights in modern history.
“The fundamental values of the international human rights system are under attack in new and diverse ways in 2017. While competing explanations have been proffered, one that is included in most lists is that there is a rapidly growing sense of economic insecurity afflicting large segments of many societies. There is an increasing feeling of being exposed, vulnerable, overwhelmed and helpless, and of being systematically marginalized, both economically and socially."
"This situation, which previously seemed to be a fate reserved only for those living in low-income countries or in extreme poverty in high- and middle-income countries, now afflicts not just the unemployed and the underemployed, but also the precariously employed and those likely to be rendered unemployed in the foreseeable future as a result of various developments.”
“The present report is premised on the view that the human rights movement needs to address and respond to the fundamental changes that are taking place in economic and social structures at the national and global levels. These include, among others:
- The increasingly precarious nature of employment in the age of Uber, Airbnb, outsourcing, subcontracting, zero-hours contracts and the like;
- The fact that traditional forms of labour market regulation are becoming ever less relevant to the emerging economy, and that an insistence on their continuing normative validity, however strongly justified, is increasingly impotent in the face of the evolution of global supply chains and other developments based on worker insecurity;
- The likelihood that vast swathes of the existing workforce will be made redundant by increasing automation and robotization, accompanied by the ever-greater concentration of wealth in the hands of the technology elites and the owners of capital;
- The rapid and seemingly unstoppable growth in inequality across the globe, captured by Oxfam’s statistic that the richest 1 per cent of humanity already controls as much wealth as the remaining 99 per cent,5 and by the detailed national-level economic analyses of Thomas Piketty and others; and
- The ascent of a new neoliberal agenda, which involves further fetishization of low tax rates, demonization of the administrative State, deregulation as a matter of principle, and the privatization of remaining State responsibilities in the social sector, risks leaving the State in no position to protect or promote social rights meaningfully.
"The principal purpose of the report is to reflect on the desirability of advocating a basic income approach to social protection when viewed from the perspective of international human rights law. Basic income offers a bold and imaginative solution to pressing problems that are about to become far more intractable as a result of the directions in which the global economy appears inexorably to be heading. While there are many objections, relating to affordability in particular, the concept should not be rejected out of hand on the grounds that it is utopian. In today’s world of severe economic insecurity, creativity in social policy is necessary."
Of course, implicit in the Professor's suggestions is that: one, government is needed to regulate all economic activity; two, governments must generate sufficient tax revenues to engage in wealth redistribution, three, a certain amount of nationalization of heretofore private property will be necessary, and four, this basic income will resolve many of the insecurities being suffered by third-world economies and people made redundant by automation and robotics. Of course, it also suggests that one would need to provide universal healthcare, affordable housing, and that it would all have to be managed for the benefit of the people by a cadre of “experts.”
If this sounds familiar, it is because it looks suspiciously like the class warfare advocated by international socialism and communism. Economic systems which have been proven unworkable and unsustainable in the real world. Or as England’s former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, observed, “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.”
Be very careful of the political policies you advocate because some of them lead to a downward spiral into a state of totalitarianism much like modern-day Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea -- Where producers must be forced, often under the threat of prison or even worse, to continue producing in order to provide sustenance for non-producers. Of course, when central planning fails, and people grow angry over shortages, even more force must be applied.
I was amused to see that one of the proponents of the basic income approach was Elon Musk whose various enterprises could not exist without government subsidies, contracts, and mandates. And whose only profit was turned on the sale of government-mandated pollution credits.
The full report is available on the Commission's site.