[Diggers350] Re: The Economic Case For Universal Basic Income

Alison Banville alisonbanville at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Jan 29 22:34:17 GMT 2014

sounds like an argument for universal basic income to me

 From: Linda Beamish <linda.beamish at yahoo.com>
To: chris morton <crisscross at evendine.eclipse.co.uk>; "Diggers350 at yahoogroups.com" <Diggers350 at yahoogroups.com> 
Sent: Monday, 27 January 2014, 21:33
Subject: Re: [Diggers350] Re: The Economic Case For Universal Basic Income

In response to Chris and Alison's comments regarding 'The Economic Case For Universal Basic Income' - in regards to the proposals that money set aside for UB be better used for the supply of clean green renewable energy, and in answer to the reference that 'after a further decade money would be obsolete too', I feel I must add comment.

What work have we 'all' been brainwashed into believing we must do?

I left the rat-race in the mid-1980s and raced back to live in rural Norfolk - I never wanted to work in 'Admin' anyway, (but was told by the family member who would have to support me financially, that I must because I was a female, so I couldn't go to university when I was a teenager to study either environmental science or zoology, or architecture - because I was only going to have a family NOT a career).

Going back to my roots, I've happily bumbled along in rural Norfolk doing exactly what I wanted on a self-employed basis, designing 'things', sharing my visions, and living as sustainably as I could within the rural environment I've loved all my life.

However, having lost the affordable rural house I rented privately for twelve years in June 2006, I can prove that it simply isn't possible to live without any income - and especially when having three dependents dependent upon one person for all their living costs, (most especially when living in unaffordable rural housing 2.5 miles from the nearest bus stop or shop).

I know this, because I wasn't paid for doing my self-employed work for five years - and because I was then supposed to be classified as a 'social entrepreneur' after forming design proposals and being co-founder of the Tree Ark Project (TAP intentional Eco-Village showcase community), which meant that after the first five years of unpaid self-employed work as a designer, I was then committed to work unpaid as a 'social entrepreneur' - while covering all the costs of all the equipment needed for me to work in both positions.

Why did I have to be classified as a 'social entrepreneur' - I'll tell you why - because the Principal Planning Officer for Major Projects in Breckland, (Nick Moys), said at our informal planning meeting to discuss proposals for our intentional Eco-Village, that it would help in order to find alternative asset land for our intentional Eco-Village showcase community, (if we failed to gain planning consents for our original site), because we intended to offer the community the opportunity of affordable (FREE) eco-homes, (albeit self-built in most cases).

But this proved not to be the case - and we never did find an alternative site - even though we ticked all the planning boxes, and I ended up working up to 22 hours a day unpaid, while trying to also work on paid projects to earn enough money to feed and clothe my children.

We intended to live in an Eco-Village - inspired by CAT Eco-Village, inspired by Lammas Eco-Village - by the Earthship Eco-Village in Fife, by EarthShip Biotecture, by the EarthShip low carbon community in Brighton - and inspired by the 'Tree Study Centre' in the New Forest.

We intended to live in free eco-homes we intended to built ourselves, and we intended to install eco-toilets with anaerobic digesters and bio-gas plant, to provide ourselves with free, clean, green renewable electricity, bio-gas, heating, and water - from our own effluent, and from other organic waste.

We intended to make our own small-scale wind-turbines - and to showcase the work of local makers of these renewable innovations - in fact, we intended to do an awful lot of things, including picking up other people's rubbish - left strewn across our beautiful rural countryside, to get rid of all the ivy killing all the trees, to plant edible planted shrubs, wild-flowers, and support the ecosystem - as well as providing information and education on Eco-Villages, Permaculture, Sustainable
 Construction, and Environmental Sustainability.

We didn't want to claim any more benefits - we wanted to live freely on the land, grow our own organic food - and ensure that there were enough bees, moths, butterflies and other companion species.

We (rather stupidly as it transpired), believed that - as our proposals were checked and found to comply to all the Planning Guidelines for 'sustainable community living projects' - and as we intended to help as many people as we could to live free and sustainably - without needing to claim any form of benefits, that the Local Authorities we intended to help, (and the government we intended to help) save Tax-Payers money, would actually welcome the fact that we intended to partner with my ex-lecturer at The College of West Anglia in King's Lynn, to provide East Anglia with it's own (unique) version of a showcase Eco-Village, designed from the outset to help people find what they needed in order to live 'free' of the need to claim any form of benefits, that the Local Authorities would welcome us and help us to source the asset land which Nick Moys had said they would if we were classified as a social enterprise.

I could go on and on - in fact, over the years I have - there's a massive, huge, great, long, paper trail - I've done exactly what I was supposed to do as a 'social entrepreneur', and provided the open transparency required by the guidelines.

But I didn't have a salary - like most of the people who I represented in my intentional Eco-Village from the outset - I suffer from exclusion, and rural poverty, and have done for years and years, (and so have my children).

I am not allowed to make any criticism of 'The Government' because I am the founder of a non-profit and community organisation - and so the following observation is made without any criticism whatsoever - and is merely detailed here as a record:

While I was living in virtual homelessness for eight months from September 2012 until the end of May 2013 - because UK Trading Standards took no action against the fraudulent supplier of faulty goods, (purchased by myself and my children to use to promote the work of the UK Eco-Village Network, Permaculture, WWOOF, Transition Towns, and our co-founder Avril Fox's autobiography 'The Long Road To Realism'), in fact, while we were living without any form of electricity whatsoever, lit by tea-light, without access to a bath or laundry facilities for those long, eight months, and while we were freezing in sub-zero temperatures without any form of heating for the most part of the winter of 2012, I happened to read that Lord Freud MP had said: "ALL self-employed single parents and sickness claimants live in comfort on a few hundred quid income per annum and DON'T take any risks."  (Or words to that effect - in fact, I believe that the article was shared online
 by Tony Gosling.)

As I said, I cannot criticise - but I can prove that Lord Freud MP was incorrect in his summary of ALL self-employed single parents lived in comfort on a few hundred quid annual income.  (After being robbed of £13k for a restored Land Rover 110 with a 100% gas propelled V8 engine that didn't work - nor could I - so I only earned just £700 gross between January 2012 and the end of May 2013.)

Similarly, in 2013, at about the same time as George Osborne and Ian Duncan-Smith both stated that they could easily live on just £53 per week - I myself received a letter from HMRC Working Tax and Child Tax Credits, telling me that they'd only awarded £51.59 per week for myself, my daughter and my son to live on, and from that, I was supposed to pay circa £20 per week for the rent and council tax, £15 per week for the electricity, £10 per week for the water and sewage bills, (plus I also had to pay for mobile phones, bus fares, and everything else out of that - including food and clothing for three of us, out of the £9 or so this left us per week after bills.

I was threatened with eviction twice by our 'social' landlords - within the first few months of having been virtually homeless for eight months, after being robbed for a vehicle to promote the work of the UK Eco-Village Network - to promote 'Green Design', (etc.), and then I read that it is generally considered that we can all live without money?

We really can't - not when we have bills to pay we can't - and most definitely not when we have dependents dependent upon 'us' to look after them.

It's different for people who own their own homes - it's different for people already lucky enough to live in Eco-Villages - and the whole point of the Planning Guidelines, is to get Designers (such as myself), to prepare proposals for 'sustainable community living projects' that DO allow people the opportunity they need to live 'free', (i.e. without any money), and which can be proven to do so - i.e. as so many community groups already do.

We CAN all live without money - but only if we do this 'en-mass' - I most definitely wouldn't recommend trying to 'go it alone' - especially not as a single mother, (with dependents, we're all far too vulnerable).

Sorry to go on - and on - I really do think that people need to know just how desperately bad it is for all of us rurally isolated single heads of household - especially all those of us living circa 2.5 miles from the nearest bus-stops and shops.  

(And NO - before anyone suggests it - I absolutely and totally refuse to go and live in a town or a city!!!)

I can't do cities and towns - I tried it once and it nearly killed me.


Linda Beamish (@LinkedIn)
Group Moderator:  UK Eco-Village Network
Ambassador: Imagine Rural Development Initiative (IRDI) Zambia
Designer and Co-Founder:
Eco-Designs http://www.eco-designs.net/
The Tree Ark Project (TAP intentional Eco-Village community showcase) and
Global Ark Projects (GAP) social enterprises
(N.B.  Avril Fox - agreed: Patron Saint of Ark Angels, November 2013.)
'AnEarthMother' @Wiser.org @MIT Climate CoLab @SlideShare @WordPress @NewsVine @Twitter @YouTube @Facebook @MySpace @Care2 @Google+  (N.B.  Global Ark Projects and Ark Angels groups also formed at FaceBook.)

Email: Linda.Beamish at yahoo.com
N.B.  Imagine Rural Development Initiative (IRDI) - Imagine Zambia - is networked with 'NextGEN' http://nextgen.ecovillage.org/ - part of the Global EcoVillage Network (GEN), of which the UK Eco-Village Network is also a branch.  (We're all connected - we all share the same vision, and we're Cooperatively formed, 'not-for-profit' - but for the benefit of humanity and the environment, built for building sustainable community living projects - based on all the best exemplars of sustainable design - and books, i.e. GREEN DESIGN by Avril Fox and Robin Murrell.)

On Sunday, January 26, 2014 8:02 AM, chris morton <crisscross at evendine.eclipse.co.uk> wrote:
We have been brainwashed into such an obsessive pre-occupation with work (by definition in an enterprise that makes a profit) that we don't seem to see that universal income is essential to serious reduction of energy use. Half of the massaged work created is not only using energy unecessarily, but also totally soul-less and often demeaning. After a week or two of doing nothing, most people would be bored to death and start doing the creative and ecological things they want to do.

Personally I would advocate that the income is distributed in energy units (available clean energy shared fairly) and after a further decade money would be obsolete too   

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