Breathing Space

Living a Citizen's Income



Rutger Bregman Ted Talk Poverty Isn’t a Lack of Character, It’s a Lack of Cash

So well put….



Universal Basic Income and Recognition Theory – A Tangible Step towards an Ideal

by Roisin Mulligan

While looking for info on economist Amartya Sen, I came across this essay by Roisin Mulligan, which won the 2012 BIEN Essay Prize.  She writes:

In the context (of basic income), the basic idea underlying theories of recognition is that persons need to have their individual identities ‘recognised’ in the same way they value themselves in order to flourish as human beings. What this entails varies from one account to another, but it broadly requires that each individual must be affirmed for his or her innate characteristics and contributions.

I’ve just skimmed so far, but looking forward to reading properly as there is a very useful focus on  work and an analysis of it.



Finland so Far – A Couple of Cautionary Articles

As the Finnish experiment gets underway the American leftwing magazine and website Jacobin analyses how the experiment has been diluted and narrowed. It is only being given to unemployed people because “the primary goal of the basic income experiment is related to promoting employment.” The UBI Bait and Switch article concludes that schemes conceived with the best will in the world can be implemented conservatively, “forcing unemployed workers into bad jobs while undermining organized labor, earnings equality, and the welfare state.”

Continue reading “Finland so Far – A Couple of Cautionary Articles”

A Reflection on Ellie Harrison’s Artist Talk

What can an artist/activist achieve in a place, given a year of not having to worry about money?

Livestream video of Ellie Harrison’s Talk

Even though she only revealed the tip of the iceberg of her research and activism  in her year of living within the boundary of Glasgow, I was impressed by the scope and scale of Ellie Harrison’s  investigations of the Glasgow Effect  She was inspired by   New Economics Foundation approach: Economics as if People and the Planet Mattered.  One of her themes was transport and the twin irritations of a city carved up by motorways and the sorry state of public transport, particularly the buses.  This in a city which has a lower than average car ownership.  Sometimes it takes a fresh eye to re-view what everyone else has stopped seeing,  just got used to. Pavel Buchler once said that one function of art is to stop and look after everyone else has moved on – wait a minute folks, look at this!  Not only had she looked – through her investigations, she had discovered that the monthly board meetings of SPT (Strathclyde Partnership Transport) are open to the public! She set herself up as undercover artist in residence at SPT and attended six Board meetings to learn and to lobby.

Continue reading “A Reflection on Ellie Harrison’s Artist Talk”

Sweden is Paying People to Fix Their Belongings Instead of Throwing Them Away

Sense and Synergy

The scheme is funded by a tax on harmful chemicals used in the production of white goods. As well as the environmental benefits, the article points to the benefits of boosting the local labour market.

Thanks Ruth 🙂



Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More

Over the holidays I came across a few articles critiquing Citizens Income, which I’ll be posting shortly.  One of the early conclusions I came to after reading the critiques was that a consideration of Citizens Income has to go hand in hand with a consideration of what work is.  Thanks to Jane Frances for sending me this brilliant link from Films for Action .


Thought provoking and inspiring talk by artist Ellie Harrison after her year of what can be framed as  an artist – activist living a citizen’s income in Glasgow.

Freakonomics podcast – In Praise of Maintenance

Thought-provoking podcast about the valuing of maintenance as well as innovation in our lives, communities and systems.  Reminds me of  when I was working as a postie in Shetland in the early 1980’s.  One of my rounds was Sullom Voe and the Oil Terminal.  I remember someone explaining the two phases of development – one team came and installed the terminal, then another team came and ran the thing – innovation then maintenance.

Maybe a more nuanced sense of how things work is that innovation contains maintenance and maintenance contains innovation. Does this resonate with the thinking embedded in the  post  harmony  considering the tensions in a rope which makes it hold together?

Noting the etymology of maintenance – holding in the hand (Latin) and it’s cousin maintenant (French:now)

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑