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wonderpup

Flexible Labour And The Welfare State

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The idea of the welfare state was to provide a basic floor in terms of living conditions- the implicit assumption being that the welfare provided would never compete with the lifestyle one could achieve by working.

But what happens if wages at the bottom are driven down to the level of that basic floor? At this point working no longer makes sense financially- and given the insecurity of much low paid work welfare is actually a more rational choice since it offers a secure income.

So it seems to me that we have a basic conflict between two different models of society being played out in the current welfare debate- one being the postwar welfare state model based on the idea that there is floor below which no one should fall- and the other being the neo liberal idea that ones living standards should be determined by the free market.

The supporters of the welfare model will argue that wages are too low- while the supporters of the free market model will argue that benefits are too high- but both would agree that in a free market there is no reason why wages should support an arbitrary idea of what constitutes an acceptable standard of living.

If it is true that we are in a 'global race' that requires us to compete on a global basis with other workers- no matter where they are- then the welfare state model is unsustainable since it tries to defend a living standard that is no longer viable.

Those who say that we cannot have open borders and a welfare state have missed the point- in a globalised economy there are no borders.

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The idea of the welfare state was to provide a basic floor in terms of living conditions- the implicit assumption being that the welfare provided would never compete with the lifestyle one could achieve by working.

But what happens if wages at the bottom are driven down to the level of that basic floor? At this point working no longer makes sense financially- and given the insecurity of much low paid work welfare is actually a more rational choice since it offers a secure income.

So it seems to me that we have a basic conflict between two different models of society being played out in the current welfare debate- one being the postwar welfare state model based on the idea that there is floor below which no one should fall- and the other being the neo liberal idea that ones living standards should be determined by the free market.

The supporters of the welfare model will argue that wages are too low- while the supporters of the free market model will argue that benefits are too high- but both would agree that in a free market there is no reason why wages should support an arbitrary idea of what constitutes an acceptable standard of living.

If it is true that we are in a 'global race' that requires us to compete on a global basis with other workers- no matter where they are- then the welfare state model is unsustainable since it tries to defend a living standard that is no longer viable.

Those who say that we cannot have open borders and a welfare state have missed the point- in a globalised economy there are no borders.

this is not true; free markets are happy to create economical loosers and completely bankrupt them; creating a social floor has nothing to do with the free markets; social floor is a political construct as we do not want to see human beings to die or existentially struggle

if there are some complaints about the social floor it would be these:

- it is not sustainable to spend so much

- you are better off than working

- you are better off having more than less children

- you are hijacked by a political party

- some parts of social floor are inflating prices for the rest

Edited by Damik

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The idea of the welfare state was to provide a basic floor in terms of living conditions- the implicit assumption being that the welfare provided would never compete with the lifestyle one could achieve by working.

But what happens if wages at the bottom are driven down to the level of that basic floor? At this point working no longer makes sense financially- and given the insecurity of much low paid work welfare is actually a more rational choice since it offers a secure income.

So it seems to me that we have a basic conflict between two different models of society being played out in the current welfare debate- one being the postwar welfare state model based on the idea that there is floor below which no one should fall- and the other being the neo liberal idea that ones living standards should be determined by the free market.

The supporters of the welfare model will argue that wages are too low- while the supporters of the free market model will argue that benefits are too high- but both would agree that in a free market there is no reason why wages should support an arbitrary idea of what constitutes an acceptable standard of living.

If it is true that we are in a 'global race' that requires us to compete on a global basis with other workers- no matter where they are- then the welfare state model is unsustainable since it tries to defend a living standard that is no longer viable.

Those who say that we cannot have open borders and a welfare state have missed the point- in a globalised economy there are no borders.

well money has to be earnt before it can be spent.

the question really is who is the most responsible for EARNING money.

monopoly corporations aren't, and neither are welfare claimants.

that's why corporate socialism doesn't work, because those at the top hoard everything,and in so doing try to pull up the drawbridge on any young upstart with a better model.....which is actually self defeating.(that is the present model we are saddled with)

and that's why communism doesn't work either, because those at the bottom stifle the incentive to be creative and get better.

quaker capitalism is the only solution really..ie a percentage of profit gets returned not just to shareholders, but to the employees as well.

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this is not true; free markets are happy to create economical loosers and completely bankrupt them; creating a social floor has nothing to do with the free markets; social floor is a political construct as we do not want to see human beings to die or existentially struggle

if there are some complaints about the social floor it would be these:

- it is not sustainable to spend so much

- you are better off than working

- you are better off having more than less children

- you are hijacked by a political party

- some parts of social floor are inflating prices for the rest

We?

Whatever happened to charity? If someone wants my money they can damn well look me in the face and ask for it or, if they are able, do something in exchange rather than get some scumbag politician steal it from me. Forget flexible labour, welfare has no place in a free society.

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We?

Whatever happened to charity? If someone wants my money they can damn well look me in the face and ask for it or, if they are able, do something in exchange rather than get some scumbag politician steal it from me. Forget flexible labour, welfare has no place in a free society.

Very odd definition of freedom that you have there.

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We?

Whatever happened to charity? If someone wants my money they can damn well look me in the face and ask for it or, if they are able, do something in exchange rather than get some scumbag politician steal it from me. Forget flexible labour, welfare has no place in a free society.

Haven't we tried that? iirc the results were not pretty - high crime and exploitation.

Still, probably worth it just to see the expression on some orphan's face when you tell them to pish off.

Alternatively, we can try and work out a sensible way for everyone to benefit from efficient production (and the current welfare system ain't it).

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We?

Whatever happened to charity? If someone wants my money they can damn well look me in the face and ask for it or, if they are able, do something in exchange rather than get some scumbag politician steal it from me. Forget flexible labour, welfare has no place in a free society.

be careful; welfare also helps retards; you never know ....

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We?

Whatever happened to charity? If someone wants my money they can damn well look me in the face and ask for it or, if they are able, do something in exchange rather than get some scumbag politician steal it from me. Forget flexible labour, welfare has no place in a free society.

They will probably just cut your throat and take your money anyway. which used to be the problem.

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this is not true; free markets are happy to create economical loosers and completely bankrupt them; creating a social floor has nothing to do with the free markets; social floor is a political construct as we do not want to see human beings to die or existentially struggle

I agree-my point was that you can't actually have a free market in labor and a welfare system- especially in a globalized environment where wage arbitrage will favor those states that do not have welfare.

In choosing to open up their workers to global competition those states that have welfare systems have implicitly signed up to the idea that those systems will need to be dismantled.

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Haven't we tried that? iirc the results were not pretty - high crime and exploitation.

Still, probably worth it just to see the expression on some orphan's face when you tell them to pish off.

Alternatively, we can try and work out a sensible way for everyone to benefit from efficient production (and the current welfare system ain't it).

Fine, set up your utopia. But don't force me to partake.

Whats so objectionable to you about that?

Why do you need to 'help' me? I never asked to be helped. I never gave government permission to 'help' me.

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Fine, set up your utopia. But don't force me to partake.

Whats so objectionable to you about that?

Why do you need to 'help' me? I never asked to be helped. I never gave government permission to 'help' me.

Unless you're living like Thoreau, then you are partaking of the state's help on a daily basis, and your income and lifestyle are almost certainly dependant on it.

Are you an anti-statist (which would at least be consistent) or do you just want the bits of state removed that you don't see as useful to you (but are paid for with 'your' money)?

'Utopia' is a strawman. It's just about trying out imperfect solution to intractable problems.

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Fine, set up your utopia. But don't force me to partake.

Whats so objectionable to you about that?

Why do you need to 'help' me? I never asked to be helped. I never gave government permission to 'help' me.

Presumably you want to occupy some part of the land?

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The idea of the welfare state was to provide a basic floor in terms of living conditions- the implicit assumption being that the welfare provided would never compete with the lifestyle one could achieve by working.

But what happens if wages at the bottom are driven down to the level of that basic floor? At this point working no longer makes sense financially- and given the insecurity of much low paid work welfare is actually a more rational choice since it offers a secure income.

So it seems to me that we have a basic conflict between two different models of society being played out in the current welfare debate- one being the postwar welfare state model based on the idea that there is floor below which no one should fall- and the other being the neo liberal idea that ones living standards should be determined by the free market.

The supporters of the welfare model will argue that wages are too low- while the supporters of the free market model will argue that benefits are too high- but both would agree that in a free market there is no reason why wages should support an arbitrary idea of what constitutes an acceptable standard of living.

If it is true that we are in a 'global race' that requires us to compete on a global basis with other workers- no matter where they are- then the welfare state model is unsustainable since it tries to defend a living standard that is no longer viable.

Those who say that we cannot have open borders and a welfare state have missed the point- in a globalised economy there are no borders.

Capitalist economies, real capitalist economies in the real world, can't exist without some kind of a benefits system. The benefits system exists because you have to be able to coerce people into playing a game which is of no benefit to them.

You either threaten the losers, or you bribe them, or you let them believe that they might win if only they play for a bit longer.

Otherwise, people just start breaking the rules.

Different governments have gone for a differing amounts of carrot, stick and shtick, but most successful economies have figured out that bribes and propaganda are more cost effective than violence.

It's not just the capitalists of course. Pretty much all ruling elites have been faced with this choice.

Edited by (Blizzard)

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Capitalist economies, real capitalist economies in the real world, can't exist without some kind of a benefits system. The benefits system exists because you have to be able to coerce people into playing a game which is of no benefit to them.

You either threaten the losers, or you bribe them, or you let them believe that they might win if only they play for a bit longer.

Otherwise, people just start breaking the rules.

Different governments have gone for a differing amounts of carrot, stick and shtick, but most successful economies have figured out that bribes and propaganda are more cost effective than violence.

It's not just the capitalists of course. Pretty much all ruling elites have been faced with this choice.

We haven't got anything close to a capitalist economy. One hasn't existed in the western world since WW1.

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Alternatively, we can try and work out a sensible way for everyone to benefit from efficient production (and the current welfare system ain't it).

An irreconcilable contradiction in terms

And therein lies the problem.

If it weren't so tragic you would have to laugh at people blaming foreigners for being willing to work hard and live frugally and upsetting the welfare state. Either hard work and frugal living is wrong or the welfare state is wrong.

If you believe that the free market is correct and thus the wefare state is wrong, then you must believe that competing in a crowded menial job market is not productive and the solution is not to complain and invoke protectionism, but to raise the skills of your workforce through education and spawn high value added, innovative, productive industries that pay everyone more. See Germany , for example.

Don't look down, look up.

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Capitalist economies, real capitalist economies in the real world, can't exist without some kind of a benefits system.

I think that's true in the sense that the 'consumer' society only works in people feel secure enough about their future to spend rather than save. So there is a symbiotic relationship between welfare and free markets that rely on mass consumption to keep the wheels turning. Welfare creates the illusion that saving is not required since 'the state'will provide- which frees up money to spend on 'consumer goods'.

This is why the ongoing project to shift business risk onto the employee is ultimately self defeating- people who feel insecure in their jobs will tend to spend less and save more.

Zero hours contracts, short term contracts and part time work allow business to mitigate the risks it takes at the cost of depressing demand.

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We haven't got anything close to a capitalist economy. One hasn't existed in the western world since WW1.

No this really is capitalism. It may not do 'exactly what it says on the tin', but then there were no gulags in das kapital either.

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I think that's true in the sense that the 'consumer' society only works in people feel secure enough about their future to spend rather than save. So there is a symbiotic relationship between welfare and free markets that rely on mass consumption to keep the wheels turning. Welfare creates the illusion that saving is not required since 'the state'will provide- which frees up money to spend on 'consumer goods'.

This is why the ongoing project to shift business risk onto the employee is ultimately self defeating- people who feel insecure in their jobs will tend to spend less and save more.

Zero hours contracts, short term contracts and part time work allow business to mitigate the risks it takes at the cost of depressing demand.

That might be true but it's deeper than that.

In the past there were real fears of a revolution in the capitalist world, at various different times.

That's what really led to the welfare state, democracy, even mass home ownership.

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No this really is capitalism. It may not do 'exactly what it says on the tin', but then there were no gulags in das kapital either.

No. To have capitalism the money supply must be stable. We do not have this.

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No. To have capitalism the money supply must be stable. We do not have this.

Really? Haven't heard that one before.

Capitalism is just the idea that everything is owned, and that the only legitimate form of human interaction is trade.

That does stand in contradiction to the need for taxes and a welfare state, but I don't see the problem with money printing.

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Capitalism is just the idea that everything is owned, and that the only legitimate form of human interaction is trade.

That does stand in contradiction to the need for taxes and a welfare state, but I don't see the problem with money printing.

Capitalism is primarily about property rights, not that everything is owned. Just as important is the free trade of goods and services within a market. I don't even know from where you get trade being the only legitimate form of human interaction.

The only way you can pay taxes is with money. Money is created by banks and they charge interest upon it. By controlling the money supply this given them an unfair advantage in all markets. They decide which markets thrive and which do not. You can't create money. I can't create money. ASDA, HMV, Primark can't create money. But HSBC can and they can decided which small bushinesses and individuals are allowed to have money and which cannot.

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An irreconcilable contradiction in terms

And therein lies the problem.

If it weren't so tragic you would have to laugh at people blaming foreigners for being willing to work hard and live frugally and upsetting the welfare state. Either hard work and frugal living is wrong or the welfare state is wrong.

Don't look down, look up.

all well and good but it goes far deeper than that.

when engaged against competition that believes the way to equality is to poison the wells and salt the fields of the opposition(ie debasement of education system, de-industrialisation of host country and deliberate discrimination of indigenous host country natives)...then the playing field is not quite as level as they make it out to be.

it then doesn't matter how hard they work, because an artificial "handicap", similar to that used in golfing terms, is being employed.

it still ain't level.

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