Unconditional Cash Payments In Japan

I don’t think Prime Minister Aso is going to have any more luck than President Bush did in buying the voter’s effections but it looks like the individual cash payments are going through. (Ja MSN Sankei Article) My title is a bit misleading the payments aren’t completely unconditional – you have to have a Japanese address and those between the ages of 18 and 65 as of February 1st get 1200 yen while children and people over the age of 65 get 20,000 yen. It’s been criticized as an economic stimulus plan with no clear goal – how much of a one-off payment will leak out of the country through sweatshop Gap/Uniqlo clothes and 100yen dollar stores, or just go to pay down debt… Our celebrity governor in Japanese mused about local currency and hoped people would spend it in local restaurants. His idea of local consumption is foreign feed dependent beef and oil dependent Mango fruits but people value him for seeming to put a lot of effort into his job. I don’t know how many people wonder if the governor’s job is to be the prefecture sales person, but it doesn’t seem to be enought to lower his approval ratings. Oh, and foreigners are supposed to -ing 1 trillion 67 billion yen (16.7 billion US dollars give  or take 10%?)..

I guess stupid is relative, the plan seemed stupid until the Obama team came out with their ‘let’s buy up the toxic assets plan with the hedge funds where they get to play heads I win, tails you lose with the tax payers."(See Krugman on DemocracyNow) Aso is an illiterate genius in comparison. With all these millions spent getting the money to people maybe Yasuo Tanaka and Yosefu Arita can ease in the regular payments of the Basic Income Policy on top of the new infrastructure. Yosefu Arita, in his blog, touts the Basic Income as a way of realizing the promise of Japan’s Constitution, "Article 25: All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living." (On a Soap Opera note gleaned from ja.wikipedia Arita’ s father was high up in Japan’s Communist party and named him after Joseph Stalin, disowned him when he left the party but they later reconciled…)

I found Toru Yamamori’s _Beginning Basic Income_ at a bookstore today. (English Web Materials by same author:  USBIG pdf, Html Abrtract ) It starts out with a bang, Martin Luther King learning from the single mother’s movement, and how he was demandin a ‘Gauranteed Income’ with the ‘Poor People’s March’ Toru Yamomori has written _Economics and Gender_(KeizaiGaku To Gender) and  _Armatya Sen’s World_(Amatya Sen no Sekai) too. He sounds like a trans-movement, Z kinda guy from my brief exposure.

I’m just going to paste his abstract in her to keep track of it and get some exposure. Yasuo Tanaka in a magazine interview mentions the irony of Friedman (Milton) and Negri sharing similarities. (SotoKoto p. 102)  Friedman apparently admitted in an interview that the one point he shared in agreement with Galbraith was the Basic Income. (Yamamori, Toru "Basic Income Nyumon" p. 232) Apparently those two were opposites, didn’t agree on much.

Una sola multitudine: Struggles for Basic Income and the common logic that emerged from Italy, the UK and Japan

by toru yamamori [St Edmund’s College, Cambridge]

Summary: “All of us are guaranteed to Basic Income without any condition!” This is the demand called by various names: Basic Income / Renta Basica, Citizen’s Income / Reditto di Cittadinanza / Guaranteed Income / Revenu Garanti / Revenu D’Existence / Allocation Universelle, etc. Michel Hardt and Antonio Negri describe this demand as one of three programmes of the multitude. This paper is written as a response to the three following situations:

First, critiques against Hardt and Negri do not understand this demand properly. Second, while recent developments within academic literature concerning this demand should be welcomed, the fact that one of roots of the demand is radical grassroots’ movements in 1970s is usually ignored with a few exceptions. Third, while experiences of Lotta Feminista, Autonomia Opereia and other spontaneous movements in Italy are recognized as an example of people making such demands among participants of this conference, experiences outside of Italy are might not recognised as such.

The argument will go as follows: I will start by introducing current academic discourses on this demand (Section 2). This will help to point out misunderstandings within the critiques against Hardt and Negri. Then the argument by Hardt and Negri will be introduced with a brief reference to struggles in Italy in 1970’s (Section 3). Then some points of scepticism concerning Basic Income are overviewed (Section 4). Is Basic Income the cunning of Empire? It might be, so the context of the introduction of Basic Income is crucial. Thus we can learn from the struggles for Basic Income. I will look at the experience in the U.K. (Section 5), and in Japan (Section 6).

CV: Toru Yamamori is a research associate at Capability and Sustainability Centre, St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. He is an associate editor of “Basic Income Studies”, and a member of “Basic Income Earth Network”. His academic specializations are economic thought and social policy.

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