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101 Reasons for a Citizen's Income’

Arguments For Giving Everyone Some Money
Malcolm Torry

A diluted argument

Malcolm Torry is director of the Citizen’s Income Trust, and a major advocate for a universal unconditional citizen income. His earlier book Money for Everyone presented a powerful case. This shorter book works less well. It includes many good points, but it’s an artificial idea that there are 101 reasons for a citizen income. This artifice inevitably leads to huge and tiresome repetition, and hence to a dilution of the argument. It also leads to forced brevity, meaning that it’s unclear which of Torry’s points are empirically tested hypotheses, which are compelling arguments, and which are subjective speculation. This weakens claims that citizen income generates increased employment, women participation, new business formation, training, voluntary work, creative endeavour, even house price reduction.

A short succinct structured focussed summary would more effectively communicate the case for citizen income. There are in fact 3 main category reasons for citizen income : social justice (which only makes it as number 90 in Torry’s list), benefit system effectiveness and efficiency (eliminating poverty and unemployment traps and invasive bureaucracy, which is Torry’s forte), and economic necessity (the argument to which Torry gives scant attention, that the divergence of productivity and real wages leads to deficient demand and economic crisis for which citizen income is the unique solution). A presentation of this structured argument would be more communicative and compelling, but this would require more consolidation between the various advocates of citizen income.

Geoff Crocker 2018

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