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November 20, 2006


james higham

The old Soviet bloc might well have had more growth if it had prioritized liberty over growth.

Very much so. They idealized a thing called 'Stakhanovitz' - a worker who would put in 110% effort for the same pay but gave no incentives to do so. If there'd been some liberty, results would surely have been different.

Chris Bertram

I think you've got me about right there.

A couple of qualifications:

1. I'd like people to have the freedom to choose less work and more leisure (or the reverse if they really want it). There may be a number of ways of getting this, but basic income would be one of them. At present, people work more than they would like to because jobs come with a long-hours requirement (either explicitly or as part of the culture of expectation).

2. I don't rule out that we might need to restrain growth. Not because there's something intrinsically noble about doing so, but because other policies that we ought to follow (say environmental politicies) may have that effect.


You might like the idea of the citizens dividend and Geonomics.

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