Health and Income
You could make an argument for a universal livable income solely on the basis of the very high costs of ill health.
The lack of a guaranteed livable income (basic income) affects people's health in 3 ways:
Poverty causes ill health and shortens lives
There are mountains of research showing income as the main determinant of health.
The health costs of letting people, especially children, live in poverty are so vast as to be incalculable. With all the research showing the links between poverty and ill health and high health costs, it should be obvious that political leaders and opinion makers do not want to discuss the connection between health and income. Instead, they hold onto out-dated ideologies regarding morality and 'hard work' which continue to shape social policy. The result of this out-dated thinking not only impacts people affected by poverty, but it also means there are high costs of poverty to society in general, to peace, democracy and to innovation and invention. Read more: High Cost of a Leaky Roof Society. Read more: The Manly Mythology of Hard Work.
A study done in 2001 in BC revealed that it cost $30,000 to $40,000 for one homeless person per year for service and emergency shelter costs with an average of $11,410 being spent just on criminal justice costs. (Volume 3, Costs of Homelessness in British Columbia, B.C. Government 2001)
Millions of jobs depend on the consumption of unhealthy products.
This is not a moral condemnation of products or people. But it must be pointed out that large numbers of people deciding to consume mostly healthy products is currently not an option for society as it would devastate the economy from loss of direct jobs, and 'downstream' jobs in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
Without a universal livable income for all, we are trading our health (and children's health) for jobs. The attempt to produce fuller employment by getting people to consume more products such as fast foods, tobacco, alcohol, soft drinks, donuts, caffeinated drinks, sugared foods, processed foods etc. has caused widespread ill health.
Not only does the repeated consumption of certain products make people sick, it also makes all forms of life progressively sicker by polluting the air, water and soil that gives us all life.
The best example of the trading of health for jobs is the is the cola industry.
Their goal is to get more people to switch from drinking water, to drinking coke.
" Our products account for only 5% of all liquid consumption in South Africa. Our strategy dictates we push it up to 10%... Our competition is alternative sources of liquid refreshment, including water..." ---
Vast amounts of resources are wasted convincing people to take up unhealthy habits because getting people to switch from water to liquid sugar produces economic growth.
In addition to ruining health, many industries also ruin the environment.
Harmful industries do not see themselves as impoverishing people and the environment, but as benefactors for the sole reason that they they can say they create jobs. Jobism views any job-creating economic activity as success even if it destroys people's health and ruins or depletes natural resources. This is an ecocidal ideology that is totally disconnected from the reality of the natural world and our relationship to it.
Convincing people, especially children, to habitually consume soft drinks is part of a 'death-cycle' economy that rewards unhealthy and destructive economic activities and destroys the very things that we rely on for life: the air, the water, the land.
In contrast, in a life-cycle economy millions of people would not lose their incomes (jobs) if masses of people decide that drinking water is 'the real thing' and not soft drinks.
But without a guaranteed livable income, having masses of people decide to switch to healthy consumption would destroy millions of jobs.
Millions of people only have jobs because people continue to consume cigarettes, coffee, junk food, soda pop and the propaganda put out by mainstream media. Millions of others have jobs only because people are getting sick from from consumption-related causes. An economic system that is dependent on increasing consumption depends on having the 'freedom' to destroy people's health, children's health, and the health of the planet. Read more: Vested Interests as a barrier to change.
Without a Guaranteed Livable Income (basic income) we will continue to destroy our health, our children's health and the health of the planet.
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