As regular readers of New Escapologist will know, we see Citizen’s Income (also known as Unconditional Basic Income) as a possible and permanent “Escape for All”.
We discussed it briefly in Issue 4 (in an article by Sam Nairn of the London School of Economics) and occasionally online, but we’ll discuss it more credibly in Issue 9, the overarching theme of which will be monetary and called “Take the Money and Run”.
By giving a state-funded minimum income to every man and woman — regardless of age, physical ability, education, or wealth — we’ll be able to abolish poverty and make work far less an essential thing in one fell swoop. People will still want to work in order to pay for luxuries, but that will be a choice. Frugal Escapologists will be able to discount work altogether under this system; people who’d like to work part-time will be better able to do so; risk-averse people who’d like to start their own business or become artists will finally have a safety-net; and nobody will have to go hungry any more.
CI would be funded by consumption taxes on luxury goods; green taxes on corporations who use or pollute natural resources; and (best of all) by the savings incurred by dismantling the expensive bureaucratic systems that maintain and police the current welfare and pensions system.
It’s not crazy. The idea has notable supporters from the political left and right alike. Pilots have been conducted in Germany and Canada.
Samara and I will be crossing Canada by train this summer with stops in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Jasper, and Vancouver.
This is our summer vacation, but we’re open to meeting with New Escapologist readers who happen to live in those towns.
Email me if you’d like to hang out, or just to high-five us from the window of the train.
From a really excellent article about the nature of modern work by Mark Fisher.
At the top of the tower, there is no liberation from work. There is just more work – the only difference is that you might now enjoy it. For these CEOs, work is closer to an addiction than something they are forced to do. In a provisional formulation, we might want to posit a new way of construing class antagonism. There are now two classes: those addicted to work, and those forced to work.
What we are forced into is not merely work, in the old sense of undertaking an activity we don’t want to perform; no, now we are forced to act as if we want to work. Even if we want to work in a burger franchise, we have to prove that, like reality TV contestants, we really want it.
We’ll be selling copies of New Escapologist at the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair this weekend (May 25th and 26th, 10am-5pm). Come along and meet us!
We always enjoy this book fair. This will be our fourth appearance. Read about the first time we attended.
If you’d like to come, here are the details and directions.
Returning from Boston by car, we saw Montreal — our home — rising up out of the landscape. Crossing the bridge, we could see everything at once: all the landmarks, all the familiar sites in one sweeping eyeful.
If I were feeling romantic I’d describe it as a shimmering oasis of civilisation. If I were feeling cynical I’d describe it as a hunk of steaming litter. The striking thing, however, was that the city looked very, very finite. It was a limited physical object in the vastness of space. It was hard to believe it could have any substantial effect on the world or on our souls. It was a thing with ends.
And yet when we live inside it, it becomes our entire world. We scurry around in it like rats in a trash pile, cognisant of a world beyond but seldom really concerning ourselves with it. We become bogged down in a detail.
I suppose it was being on the road for a while that made me notice this. We’d only been driving through New England and Quebec for about five hours. I tried to hold the idea of North America as a physical continent in my mind for a little while but couldn’t.
I also thought briefly about Pale Blue Dot again, but then I got dizzy and had to open the window a bit for some air.
It’s worth remembering the finity of our surroundings if we want to remember that escape is always an option. A city, an office, a commuter train, a home has ends.
This Thursday evening, at 7pm, I’ll be teaching a class in minimalism (or ‘living with less’) at Monastiraki in Montreal.
The event is part of Monastiraki’s “School PWYC” series in which people teach classes in whatever they’re enthusiastic about.
This class will explore the idea of living with very few material possessions. We’ll look at the reasons we might want to do this: to save money, to save the planet, to save our souls. We’ll discuss some hints and tips on how to live minimally, how to benefit from a minimalist hobby, and how to appreciate the bare necessities. We’ll celebrate some of the heroes of minimalism, from 19th-Century rebel printer William Morris to future-facing digital minimalists.
Here’s the event page at Ye Olde Book of Faces.
I daresay I’ll have some copies of New Escapologist to sell, and I’ll be happy to hang out and chat after the event too. Come along if you’re in the area!
Embrace challenge and shun convenience for its own sake. Ask, “Will this really make me happier in the long run?” about all life decisions. Realize that happiness comes from accomplishment and personal growth, rather than from luxury products. Seek out voluntary discomfort as a way to become stronger, rather than running from it. Develop a healthy sense of self-mockery, and acknowledge that you are a wimp in many ways right now (and only by acknowledging it can you improve). Practice optimism. And of course, ride a bike.
That’s pretty high-level stuff. If you just want the meat and potatoes: Live close to work. Cook your own food. Take care of your own house, garden, hair and body. Don’t borrow money for cars, and don’t drive ridiculous ones. Embrace nature as the best source of recreation. Cancel your TV service. Use a prepaid cellphone. And of course, ride a bike!
Friend of New Escapologist, Mr Money Mustache interviewed by the Washington Post.