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.
… 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 …