Episode 208 – Loriana Luccioni and Universal Basic Income

In this episode, we talk to Loriana Luccioni about Universal Basic Income.

Loriana Luccioni is a PhD student at the University of Queensland. After completing degrees in Psychology and Sociology, Loriana has graduated with a Master of Science in European and Comparative Social Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, with her dissertation winning the Titmuss Prize. Following a brief collaboration as an independent postgraduate researcher with the Policy Innovation Hub at Griffith University, she is now investigating the Cultural and Political feasibility for the introduction of a UBI in Australia.

From Loriana – In a nutshell, my view on UBI is one of sceptical supporter. In other words, although I strongly believe in the potential of UBI to propel radical social change, I also believe that it must be preceded and accompanied by an equally radical change in public discourse. In order for a UBI to produce radical changes, we need to open up the public dialogue and start to ask questions that will help re-build a civic sense of the ‘common-good’, of community, of social solidarity. We need to start questioning what do we mean by ‘work’, ponder on the many other human activities that can equally confer a sense of meaning and identity (with or without the monetary incentive attached to it). We need to redefine what the economy is, and for whom it should work; redefine measures of well being beyond the ‘growth’ mantra of GDP. And much more. I see UBI as a stepping stone, not a silver-bullet solution.

 Loriana’s Article on welfare reforms

… it will be argued that only by looking at how human societies construct their own role, meaning, nature and priorities through language, it is possible to grasp the deep causes of social change … too little attention has been paid to the changes in discourses about human needs … the main point is that the way human needs are interpreted and constructed affects the way societies organize themselves. Social policy, in particular, is highly informed by implicit or explicit interpretation of human needs. … As long as the discursive construction of human needs in welfare reform proposals is overlooked,it will not be possible to truly understand and challenge the status quo. Convincing alternatives cannot be proposed if the core presupposition about what being a human being entails, are not accurately deconstructed … The extent, to which a view of human being is culturally rooted to mean ‘economic actor’ or ‘vulnerable creature’, differentiates the papers in exam … Once a particular discourse becomes normalised, built into conventions and norms, the actors involved cease to question and challenge … The neo-liberal orthodoxy translates in policies assumptions about social relations that are primarily in the service of economic functioning rather than a search to satisfy human needs … the human subject is constructed as a striving individual whose unique wants and preferences can be met only through selling his/her labour as a commodity. … Aristotle observed 2,500 years ago: ‘wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking, for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else’ (UNDP, 2004; p. 127), this understanding of human wellbeing as the end should be revived (Panic, 2007), and can only be revived by starting to re-construct, primarily through language, a different human being, whose needs can be primarily met socially, whose responsibilities are shared … 

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2 comments on “Episode 208 – Loriana Luccioni and Universal Basic Income
  1. The Beneficiary says:

    Hi everyone.
    Recently one of my favourite Youtube creators, Stephen Woodford of Rationality Rules, was wrongly denounced by the Atheist Community of Austin for allegedly making transphobic statements in his video on transgender athletes in competetive sport.
    Anyone who knows Stephen and his work will know that he is not transphobic, he’s actually a prominent, vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ rights. I watched the initial video that Stephen put out and it resonated strongly with me. I tended to agree with Stephen and his position, so I started to wonder… do I hold “transphobic” views or views that could be seen as transphobic?

    I watched the long and rather dull rebuttal by Essence of Thought, complete with its list of supposed references and cited studies which baffled me even more. What was actually being referenced? I couldn’t find many studies on transgender athletes myself, where was all this research coming from? And EoTs arguments swayed me slightly but only as far as I started to realise how little I know about this topic. I came for the drama and stayed for the education. If anyone is interested in listening through the videos I suggest EoT and Noel Plum in 1.25X playback speed at least but RR isn’t as slowly spoken.

    I’m not interested in sport. I don’t care to watch it, I rarely play it and you’ll only ever see me running if someone is chasing me. But this has been a really interesting topic to dive into. I was hoping that there might be someone else within our group who’s also been following along, or who has knowledge in this area because I’ve been pondering a few questions on the topic of gender identity and the recent law reform in Tasmania.

    Over the last few months I’ve listened to the various videos between Woodfords Rationality Rules channel and Peter/Ethels Essence of Thought Channel as well as hours upon hours of supplementry commentary on the state of professional sport and the rights of transgender athletes to the point where my non sporting self was yelling “What’s the point of sport in the first place!” It seems like a hopeless mess. How do we classify groups of people in a way that is fair for the point of competition?

    One of the best commentaries on this current debate has been done by Noel Plums channel. He manages to take sport and describe the issues in a way that’s easy to understand with a real focus on the science behind policy decisions.
    Turns out we’re still very much in the “More research needed” phase.
    And this leads me to the odd questions that I’ve been pondering.

    As a lead in, his video Explaining the Caster Semenya Case (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsqfoEr4zQM) Noel covers the legal definition of cis people and trans people at 12:30 – 16:20, please watch this bit because it covers the basis of my questions. This definition of cis/trans was different to my previous understanding. I’d been led to believe that a cis woman was XX and a cis man was XY.
    So it was Semenyas birth certificate stating that she was a cis female that made all the difference in the ruling of her case.

    I live in Tasmania. Back in April our state governement passed legislation to make gender optional on birth certificates and persons aged over 16 years are able to ammend or change the gender on their birth certificates.
    I have, and still do support this change because babies born in Tasmania will continue to have all the same details, including sex, recorded on the Births, Deaths and Marriages Register and I feel that there are benefits to trans individuals and the community overall.

    But what then are the legal implications for individuals born in Tasmania who do not have a gender listed on their birth certificates? Could individuals inadvertantly miss out on some legal protections if their parents don’t list a gender on their birth certificate?
    If I have a child, regardless of what sex they are born as, am I better off to list their gender on the birth certificate as female, since this is a current legal qualifier for entry into the protected class of “female”? Is that hedging your bets?

    I didn’t see a copy of my Tasmanian birth certificate until I was 16 and needed to get a drivers licence. I might have been shocked if my stated gender didn’t match up with my outwardly expressed one but I could’ve accepted that my parents did it that on purpose knowing that it offered me the greatest legal protection. Is there a parallel that can be drawn there with cases where parents will list a man other than the childs biological father for the sake of legal protections and “what’s in the best interest of the child”?

    If you lived in Tasmania and you were about to have a child would you list your childs gender on their birth certificate? Why/why not?

    I also quite like Noels proposed restructuring of sporting classes in his video Womens Sport: Solving the Gender Conundrum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLtm3o704RA similar to how ESports and chess are divided.
    Any thoughts from the sporting types as to if this could work?

  2. Bronwyn Benn says:

    Hi guys,

    Universal basic income – what a fascinating discussion. It sounds so utopian that I kept trying to find a ‘catch’ or a major risk which could kill it off, but so far have been unable to come up with one. There would obviously be problems and issues during the transitory phase to a UBI based economy which would require resolution, however I agree that the major blockage to the adoption of UBI in Australia is entrenched thinking, and the ability of vested interests to manipulate the debate and derail the initiative.

    A side note – when there are so many ill-informed and biased ‘commentators’ around these days, it was a real pleasure to listen to a genuine subject matter expert discuss a complex issue at length. Thanks for this episode guys, and I wish Loriana all the best with her project.

    Best wishes as always.

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