Mon 23 Mar 2015 10:06PM

Proposal on UBI for Online PPI GA 29th March

AR Andrew Reitemeyer Public Seen by 219

May the General Assembly of the Pirate Parties International decide the
following declaration:

Pirates see labor not just as a tradeable commodity, but also as a
person's individual achievement. Respect for human dignity therefore
commands that each person can decide freely which occupation he or she
wishes to pursue and which job to take, but also that such services be
adequately compensated.

Thanks to technological development it is no longer necessary that each
monotonous, senseless or even dangerous task be performed by humans. We
welcome and wish to promote this significant advance. Hence we consider
the goal of absolute full employment as outdated and not socially
desirable. Instead, we want to achieve that all people receive their
adequate share of the general wealth; to this end, we will consider the
introduction of a basic income guarantee.

Official motion: http://wiki.pp-international.net/Online_GA_2015/Motions#MO-4_Basic_Income


Poll Created Mon 23 Mar 2015 10:07PM

Should we support PPDE Proposal on UBI Closed Thu 26 Mar 2015 7:04AM


Results Option % of points Voters
Agree 60.0% 3 DU HM PC
Abstain 40.0% 2 AR BV
Disagree 0.0% 0  
Block 0.0% 0  

5 of 41 people have voted (12%)


Ben Vidulich
Tue 24 Mar 2015 6:28AM

I am not well enough informed about UBI to have a strong opinion (agree in principle)


Hubat McJuhes
Tue 24 Mar 2015 9:02AM

a UBI is the logical iterative orogression from welfare toeards fairness.


Andrew Reitemeyer
Wed 25 Mar 2015 2:37AM

I am not happy with PPI taking stands on policy even if we agree.


Peter Cummuskey Mon 23 Mar 2015 10:27PM

While I agree with UBI in principle, I also realise that a policy like this will hamper our efforts to be taken seriously by the populace. There is an instinctive dislike for anything that "essentially" rewards being lazy.


Hubat McJuhes Wed 25 Mar 2015 8:14PM

@zl4bv , @petercummuskey : I can offer you (and other who may be interested) to borrow my copy of 'The Big Kahuna - Tax and Welfare' by Gareth Morgan and Susan Guthrie where the idea of an UBI is discussed and the expected effects are scientifically deducted and calculated the numbers. It is a serious study that shows that it can be done is not unreasonable (even though I would advocate for a slightly different 'geometry' than the authors to avoid a negative impact for single parents).

There is a calculator available where - given a particular set of paramters - the costs can be estimated:


Hubat McJuhes Wed 25 Mar 2015 8:18PM

@petercummuskey People that don't earn money should not be seen as lazy by default. About 80% of the work in OECD countries are in fact unpaid work, e.g. household work, caring for family, also hobbyist work, amateur science, amateur sport, not to forget Open Source software development,... . People are not aiming at being lazy and want to be challenged by default. this seems counter-intuitive from the outset but can be proven.


Hubat McJuhes Wed 25 Mar 2015 8:24PM

@andrewreitemeyer I sort of see your point. But could it be that PPDE is trying to safe a party platform that is otherwise about to implode by suggesting changing the mandate (probably amongst other things)?
PPDE seems to have formulated a set of general policies that are a good example of problems that need to be addressed on a higher than national scale. It might be worthwhile to discuss if (or under which conditions) PPI could be a platform to formulate those.
For us (PPNZ) it seems like a gift to be able to show that we actually stand for a set of defined policies and that those are backed by more than half a dozen of persons, but are backed by a movement in > 30 countries.


Andrew Reitemeyer Thu 26 Mar 2015 4:29AM

@hubatmcjuhes Yes, if it is only used as a platform to lobby international agencies like the UN but:
1 Some, like UBI, can only be implemented nationally on a case by case basis
2. These policies could become a standard by which national parties are judged and even a standard for admission to PPI itself.

I see it as dangerous.


Hubat McJuhes Thu 26 Mar 2015 10:36AM

1 all policies can only be implemented on a national level as there is no planetary government. Even whatever the UN decides needs to be implemented by national governments as there are none of higher levels.
1 b) while some nations could possibly consider implementing a UBI on a national level alone (like Aotearoa New Zealand), most countries (first and foremost European countries where the citizens can move freely amongst them ) cannot reasonably do so as it would impose unbearable frictions with neighbouring counties unless the efforts would be synchronised on an international level.

2 This could be a problem that needs to be addressed. I believe there are currently defined criterias what alleges a national organisation to become a member of PPI right now? It must be clear that fulfilling those criterias is sufficient to claim right to become a PPI member - not the agreement with all or some of these PPI policies. Quite the contrary, really: once you (as an organisation) are eligible for membership you should be able to challenge any of the PPI policies.

It might be necessary to inject an according proposal to clarify the rank of PPI policies before agreement by PPNZ can be given to any of those. We should try to find an agreement on this abstraction level quickly (before the 29th), so that we have a chance to agree to the separate items if the overall conditions allow.


Andrew Reitemeyer Fri 27 Mar 2015 4:37AM

@hubatmcjuhes That is what my problem is. If PPI was purely a lobbying body on behalf of the Pirate Movement then that would be OK but that is not what is being proposed here. PPI is concentrating on European issues and that should be PPEU's job. PPNZ and the other non European nations are not being served by PPI at the moment.
I want to see who turns up at the GA and what the attitude of the board is.

How we vote is not that important.


Danyl Strype Thu 21 May 2015 12:41AM

@petercummuskey am I right in thinking that you are not objecting to UBI as a policy, but rather commenting on the possible public perception of that policy? Looking at the copyright issue as an example, it seems obvious that any policy we offer that is more "radical" than Lab/Nat authoritarianism ("the centre") risks being misunderstood, especially when it threatens corporate interests and is therefore misrepresented by corporate media.

As I see it, we cannot make progress by trying to figure out how to "sell" our policies through corporate media, as other parties do, by pandering to existing ignorance and prejudice. The task before us is to help facilitate a seachange of political opinion in the electorate, by taking part in sensible, evidence-based policy debates online, and in person. Ideally we can use Loomio (or Liquid Feedback or whatever) to engage directly with the 5% or more of the population who already have more radical views than the mainstream parties, and to facilitate agreement on specifics policies, which we can then campaign on in future elections,

Not only is UBI a just and sensible policy, but there is broad and growing movement in support of it, both from the "left" and the "right". It seems obvious to me that the NZ Pirates take a prominent part in this movement.


Peter Cummuskey Thu 21 May 2015 9:51PM

@strypey Yes, and I agree. More than anything I want to make sure our policy on UBI is easy to understand and accept, but the policy itself has clear merit. The real question we're going to be faced with, is how to pay for it? The most obvious answer is more taxes, which people hate, but a Wealth tax might be a good option.



Danyl Strype Fri 22 May 2015 8:41AM

@petercummuskey You are right that how to pay for a UBI is a big question, but there are also major difference among proponents, such as whether the system should be a universal basic income where everyone gets a top-up, or a universal minimum income which is still means-tested:

There are a number of proposals being thrown around for paying for the UBI. In the late 90s, the proposal was usually a "Tobin Tax", now known as a Financial Transaction Tax. Brian Easton claims a NZ FTT would not produce enough to fund a UBI: http://www.pundit.co.nz/content/what-is-the-problem-with-a-universal-minimum-income

I looked at the link he provided. He says that based on work done by an EU working group on FTT, the NZ government could potentially earn $1 billion from it: http://www.eastonbh.ac.nz/2014/08/an-eu-financial-transactions-tax-and-new-zealand/

Divided by 5 million people, that's just over $200 for every person in the country. Factoring in that everyone over 65 already gets a UBI (NZ Super), a UBI of $200 for every adult over 15 and $100 for every child under 15 (paid to their caregiver) would cost $680,964,800 (see attached spreadsheet for details). That's well under Easton's estimate for FTT revenue, and considering also that most of the current Work and Income budget could be redirected into the UBI fund (plus the cost of Working for Families), it seems pretty affordable.

Easton also seems to claims that a UBI at that level would not lift children out of poverty. Under the above proposal, a household of 2 adults and 3 children would have a UBI of $700. Where they have at least one fulltime income between them, it's $700 more than they get now. Where both parents are not in paid work, that's about $200 more than they would get on a benefit, and they won't lose money if one of them succeeds in finding paid work. If that doesn't help lift children out of poverty, what could?


Danyl Strype Fri 22 May 2015 12:06PM

As soon as I posted the last comment I realised the error in my numbers. Easton's figure for FTT is per-year, while my figure for cost of UBI is per-week. Hmm, back to the drawing board.

It would be worth getting hold of the current per-week spend on benefits (including the portion of income support from ACC which could be replaced by UBI) and Working for Families, and see how big a shortfall we still have to fund. But as I suggest in the discussion on taking action, I think we're best to pool our effort with other UBI proponents rather than trying to come up with detailed policy in isolation.