I say, ‘Keep it all closed.’
Give everyone basic money and food
Pay their rent and mortgage
Forgive all debts, especially what the poor owe the rich.
Billionaires and rich countries
don’t need to be repaid
For money they stole in the first place.
People would still have to work, but not to survive.
They could help others, grow food, create beauty.
Fix pipes and cables and roads, build things
Like the kids painting murals on boarded up windows.
Like the people bringing food to old folks and
You know, real work.
There would still be money, but money wouldn’t rule.
People could take it or leave it.
You might be poor, but not starving or homeless.
If you wanted more, you could open a business
Or get a job, or fix things up and
Sell them, or perform, or serve.
Shut the prisons, shut the jails
Shut the arms factories and military bases
Give workers room to breathe, time to rest
Protective supplies and clean workspaces
Sick pay and health care.
Shut the nursing homes!
People who work from home or not at all
Can take care of their own parents.
Could such a system survive?
It has before.
In the Great Depression
We had the Conservation Corps
They planted forests; they built roads
They fed young people and gave them
Useful work to do. People loved it.
What about economics? You ask
What about the value of money?
Imagine this: governments create
As much money as needed to keep
The economy going, distribute it through
Basic income payments,
Buy materials for infrastructure, then stop.
No inflation, no need for taxes.
Imagine a world with less industry, less economy
Less driving, less pollution
Like we’ve had in the shutdown
Less stuff, so less to steal.
Good for Nature, good for social relations
Having fun, creating art, making love, healing
Not accumulating more
Not fighting war.
Not locking people in their homes
Sick people quarantined, well people doing
What they do, masks maybe, washing hands,
But touching if they want, eating together, dancing
Sick people get well and then join in.
Open restaurants and clubs, museums and libraries
Sports and schools
Like they have in Hong Kong and Sweden.
Communism didn’t succeed, you say?
People didn’t work hard without a cash incentive.
But tell me: if you could live without a paid job, would you work?
What would you do?
Would you invent, create, toil, help others for room, board, and change?
Do what you love for three hots and a cot?
That’s no way for a person or country to get rich,
But maybe a way to be happy, healthy, and loved.