Full disclosure: I'm an opinionated moderate conservative who supports the Pirate Party, for the most part. We need to talk about the economy; the system we've got isn't working and the politicians are just going round in circles recycling old policies. I've got a better idea.

Me smiling

I have a dream, a sweet, simple dream in which we can all live happily ever after if we just stop being epic douchenozzles to one another and implement my awesome plan for economic wellbeing. Okay, it's someone else's plan. Okay, the tweaks aren't my idea either. Let's take a look at it.
I think we can agree that working gives us dignity and purpose. There aren't enough jobs to go around but there are a lot of needs that are usually met by volunteering, which provides skills you can use in the real world of work.


I think it's reasonable to introduce an earned component to the jobseeker's allowance, or whatever they call it now. The idea is that you get a basic, barely-there flat rate to live on plus housing benefit, free prescriptions, and full council tax rebate. If you volunteer, you get a free bus pass and an extra tenner a week for every four hours you do.

Bus journey
There would be no limit on the hours you could do but you should apply for at least five jobs a week.

generic female

Volunteering for work experience is one thing but the point of volunteering is that it's done in your own time.
We need a welfare state that works for the people and is based on empirical evidence, not airy-fairy ideology. It must actually meet people's needs.
me wagging my finger
We also need to improve state-funded education and build more infrastructure. The NHS must be ring-fenced and protected from privatisation. Even the most rabid right-winger will agree that a sick, thick, underfed and stinking workforce won't perform as well as a healthy, educated one.
Community regeneration projects should be created in accordance with the needs, demands, and resources of the community and the people should be closely consulted.

round table discussion

The results of doing it that way are amazing: the East Lancs Railway has revived the towns it passes through and there is now a Ramsbottom music festival. Local industry is thriving as farmers sell their produce to bakeries, restaurants, and pubs and artisans set up shop in the market places and on the high street.


None of that was achieved by giving managers huge salaries and cutting workers' pay. In fact, capping CEO salaries at 15 times the lowest-paid worker's salary so that, if the CEO gets a pay rise, so does everyone else, ought to redress the income inequality we're experiencing at the moment.
Raising the minimum wage to a living wage is the key to success; as part of a profit-sharing scheme it would give workers a share of the wealth they help to create. lt's only fair. Labour IS capital!

happy man
Who would do the work if they weren't there to do it? Don't say "Indian workers."
Outsourcing jobs has not resulted in a fairer, more open market. Far from it. The jobs market has been flooded with cheap labour from abroad, forcing wages down by creating an artificial shortage of jobs.

Indian woman

As a result, tax revenues have dropped - or gone to India, depending on your point of view. Their middle class is growing because they've got the jobs we used to have. Businesses need customers, remember, and they have them now.
Needless to say, IPR has got to be reformed now. Innovation is being stifled by the prospect of being sued for infringement of broad patents or copyright.

copyright troll

According to the Copyright Office, "speculative invoicing," or "extortion: pay a settlement fee or I'll sue you" is perfectly legal. It's also a growing industry. Please note; new ways of trolling for IPR rents is not a form of innovation.
When businesses are paying 5k or more a year to play recorded music, that affects their bottom line. Besides, the record companies fleece the artists using work-for-hire agreements. Do you still think copyright is all about paying the artists and creators? Patents on medicine are actually a disincentive to produce new ones; the pharmaceutical companies prefer to milk the old ones, making small changes and re-patenting them. It's a scam called evergreening. And it's legal.
Oh, and we should end the war on drugs and mass surveillance. What a waste of money and resources they are!

If you can think of a better system than this, let me know and we'll discuss it. The idea is to promote a sense of personal and social responsibility, take a pragmatic approach to policy-making based on empirical evidence, and build from the community outwards, not from the top down. Let the people decide what's best for them.