By Andre López Turner

The current global Covid-19 crisis has been dealt exclusively, -in just a few cases effectively but mostly really poorly- by the executive power of most countries. The world has followed their orders with a mix of incredulity and hope. Now that the ineptitude of populists and chancers have left us with hundred of thousands of dead people, think about «Who said so?» when recalling the ocean of information and misinformation we have been given

When asked to follow many laws or rules I usually obey. When I’ve had to implement laws and rules; I’ve always explained the reasons for them to whomever I’ve had to communicate them to. I guess this has been slightly intuitive on my part because when leading sports team and facilitating groups for drug users, criminals and free thinkers they question who said so is never far from the surface. In many cases it is overt. “That’s a dumb rule, who said so?” I had to deal with this question for many years on a daily basis. On many occasions I’d agree. I could definitely identify. I think the question is the mark of intelligence, sometimes curiosity and yes, rebellion too. Add selfishness too.

  Anyway, with this horrible virus still spreading itself around the world and killing so many, the lockdown comes with time to think and reflect. I thought when it first started here the Government would have to bail out the people. I know they’ll always bail out the banks, yet I wasn’t sure what they’d do. Thankfully the Government has agreed to partially bail out the people, though those of us in the self-employed and freelancing bracket are receiving the equivalent of the benefit (which is hopefully just a short-sighted mishap on the treasury’s side) and workers who earn up to £2500.00 a month are to receive eighty percent of their salary. Nevertheless, I note the banks are either continuing business as usual or giving mortgage holidays. I note that various multinationals who register themselves under other countries flags to avoid paying their fair share of tax have asked the Government for financial assistance. Mr. Branson you have more front than a…

   My preamble leads me to the thought, as I hear the birds sing in the street now that cars and buses aren’t drowning out their song, whose to say that after we come through this viral pandemic that we take a good look at our way of life, specifically the working to cover the costs and pay the mortgage. Specifically, the extraneous work yourself to exhaustion to “Make ends meet,” read break even and cover the costs. Specifically, the work yourself to exhaustion to consume more clothes and material goods that exist in an abundance either in your house, you community or the world. If you don’t believe me take a look around the markets of south east Asia and the warehouses all over China. Or the shopping malls strung out over western societies advertising next seasons new line. Seriously, we have enough “stuff.” Who said so?  I just did.

…we have enough “stuff.” Who said so?  I just did.

   That’s a ridiculous thing to write and say. Who said so? There are a few human beings who enjoy and like their work and accruing large amounts of money and material goods. I get that and I’m happy for them. There are many rich bankers and traders who openly will tell you it’s not about the money rather it’s about buying and selling. It’s about the game. Bob Diamond, he of much banking fame and infamy said so. He enjoys the game. Does Jose Mourinho manage football teams because of the money? No, he enjoys the game. Likewise, Tiger Woods, Rory McElroy, Roger Federer and numerous others. Who said so? They said so.

   That’s a ridiculous concept and It can’t happen. Well it can, and it is happening and maybe we could continue with the idea, it’s called a Universal Basic Income and the idea has been around for awhile. The reason for a Universal basic Income is the technological revolution and artificial intelligence world that is here and knocking on our door. The idea is that there will not be enough jobs for human beings when these technologies take over so the people will need to be paid a Universal Basic Income. Who said so? Do the research. In fact the Corona Virus maybe opening the door and jettisoning the idea into our societies faster than anticipated. Look at the virtual outbreak of zoom and how those business that are staying open are refusing to accept cash, rather you pay buy card. Is the cashless society and the Universal basic Income months away.

   So, whose going to pay for it? We are.

   Who knows? Now some human beings won’t, will and do not like the idea of receiving money for not working. They may believe that work is good for you. I say structure, purpose, having a schedule that involves fitness, art, community volunteering, growing your and your societies food is not work but good for you. For those who are able to partake in the technological workforce and want to then great. For those that may want to have more money and material things then keep on working, then great. And for those that like the game – even better.

   So, whose going to pay for it? We are. By eliminating tax havens and small taxes on the people who love the game and from the people that are involved in the oncoming technological revolution. Of course there will be resistance to this


Andre López Turner is co-editor and co-presenter of The Programme, a political and cultural podcast by ZTR Radio