Thursday, October 06, 2016

Citizens of Nowhere

An interesting or cynical take on the rise of the Welfare State, kicked off amongst others by Bismark, was that it was not out of good spirited benevolence (See Home Deus). It was part of the arms race legacy of Mercantilist competition. If you were going to open up free markets through ventures such as the Opium Wars, you needed a strong nation. If you needed a strong nation, you needed men to fight when they were 18 and pay taxes when they were 40. Someone who is not working because they have a sustainable lifestyle 'off the grid' is not useful to the state as a source of tax or fighting power. Working is expensive. Hut taxes were one tool used to force people into the system. If you have to pay tax on your house, you have to earn money to pay it. The 'exchange' was state education, unemployment protection and pension funds.

If you are 'Citizens of Nowhere', no one can tax you into obedience and no one can make you fight. 

An argument for making a Universal Basic Income independent of Nation States, and for Global Citizenship, is that it decreases sovereignty in the sense of the State having power over individuals and communities. States become larger communities or service providers, but there are no rulers. States may co-ordinate large scale public projects but they cease to have control over people's lives.


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