In 1795 the magistrates of Speenhamland in Berkshire, England started a system under which farm labourers on poverty wages had their income supplemented from the poor-rates. The result was predictable. Farmers were encouraged to keep, and even to extend, paying low wages. The payment from the poor-rates became a wage subsidy to employers. Today, the Green Party, among others, wants to revive this under the name of “Citizen’s Income”, which they describe as “an automatic, unconditional payment sufficient to cover basic needs of every individual, working or not”.
This is more commonly called a “Basic Income”. Daniel Raventós, a keen […]