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About this book

“This is a radical, thought-provoking book, which brings together debates that are often kept separate about basic income and 'sovereign money'. You might not agree with all of it, but it makes big arguments and does so with constructive intent: that of proposing alternative ways of organising our economy and welfare states.”

Nick Pearce, Director of The Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath, UK

“Though I have criticized modern money theory (MMT) for being too facile regarding the consequences of money financed deficits, I welcome this book’s advocacy of a universal basic income. MMT proponents have focused on the problem of employment. Geoff Crocker wants to shift the focus to basic income, and I believe he is right. We are in an era of transition. Employment was the fundamental problem of the 20th century. Income distribution will be the fundamental problem of the 21st century. We must begin transitioning the policy discourse now. In coming decades we will need both employment and basic income policy. It is good to have MMT advocates on board.”

Thomas Palley, independent economist, Washington, DC, USA

"Geoff Crocker's book is a very stimulating and provoking contribution to the discussion of how to define, identify, and finance basic income. It addresses very clearly the societal issue of a monetary basic income funding which will excite the discussion beside well --known tax proposals, and establishes the discussion on integrating basic income directly into crisis prevention and crisis solution."

Bernhard Neumärker, Götz Werner Professor of Economic Policy & Constitutional Economic Theory and Head of Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies (FRIBIS) at the University of Freiburg

The current economic system is dysfunctional, characterised by crises, austerity, excessive household and government debt, low pay, poverty, inequality, and ecological damage. This needs a radical re-think and re-engineering of the economic system. The standard explanation of the 2007 economic crisis is that banks behaved badly and governments failed to regulate. But policies of tighter bank regulation, quantitative easing, and austerity failed, and proved counter-productive. This book challenges this orthodox view. From a careful analysis of long-term economic data, it shows that earned income has inexorably fallen behind economic output, leading to huge increases in consumer debt, causing the crisis. Governments have sought to curtail deficit spending by socially harmful austerity policy. The answer is a universal basic income, funded by debt-free sovereign money, which also funds government social expenditure, always limited by economic output to avoid inflation. This book will appeal to policy makers, academic economists, think tank networks, and everyone who is concerned with the ongoing dysfunctionality of the current economic system.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

The Proposal as Policy

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Summary and Core Argument

Abstract
A radical claim is developed that in combination, basic income and sovereign money uniquely counteract economic crisis and austerity policy. Modern high technology economies are dysfunctional, delivering not only crisis and austerity, but also pervasive debt, poverty, low pay, inequality, and ecological damage. As earned income declines against output, unearned income becomes an essential component of aggregate demand. Basic income is the best form of unearned income.
Geoff Crocker

Chapter 2. Economic Events, Policies, and Crisis

Abstract
Post-war economic policy is traced through Keynesian demand management and two variants of monetarism. The standard behavioural explanation of the 2007 economic crisis in terms of bad banks and poor government regulation is challenged by a more structural explanation focussing on inadequate aggregate demand supplemented by a huge growth in consumer debt. Post-crisis policies of tighter financial regulation, quantitative easing, and austerity policy are analysed and critiqued. QE raised asset prices, increased inequality, but failed to stimulate the economy. Austerity policy has caused huge unnecessary social harm.
Geoff Crocker

Chapter 3. An Alternative Radical Diagnostic

Abstract
An alternative diagnostic is developed, showing how income has diverged from output in modern high technology economies, creating a need for unearned income to fund consumer demand. Supplementing deficient consumer income with household debt led to crisis. Government deficit equally became an inevitable part of the structure of high technology economies, with national debt growing to multiples of GDP which can never be repaid, whilst generating huge annual funding costs. In effect, consumer debt has acted as a surrogate for basic income, and financial deficit has acted as a surrogate for debt-free sovereign money. A fundamental re-think on the nature of income and money leads to a radical synthesis of basic income and sovereign money.
Geoff Crocker

Chapter 4. Wider Arguments for Basic Income and Sovereign Money

Abstract
Wider arguments for basic income include social justice, effectiveness in reaching groups in need, administrative cost-efficiency, human flourishing in lifestyle choice, and environmental responsibility by breaking the link between well-being, employment, output, resource depletion and pollution. Wider reasons for sovereign money include reduced financialisation of the economy, return of the benefits of seigniorage to the community, and reduced dependence on interest rate as the sole tool of economic policy.
Geoff Crocker

The Context of the Proposal in Contemporary Economic Thought

Frontmatter

Chapter 5. Diagnosing the 2007 Economic Crisis

Abstract
Contributions to the debate from authors Adair Turner, Martin Wolf, Robert Skidelsky, Mark Blyth, are set out and critically reviewed.
Geoff Crocker

Chapter 6. Basic Income and Sovereign Money Within a Brief History of Economic Thought

Abstract
The proposal for basic income and sovereign money is shown to be a consistent development of established Keynesian theory and policy of deficient aggregate demand.
Geoff Crocker

Chapter 7. Basic Income and Sovereign Money: The Current Literature

Abstract
Current literature on basic income and sovereign money is reviewed.
Geoff Crocker

Backmatter

Additional information