How Bertrand Russell squared the benefits equation

Fancy getting something for nothing?

Philosopher Bertrand Russell: supported the idea of the Citizen's

Philosopher Bertrand Russell: supported the idea of the Citizen’s Income

That’s the stigma-free concept behind the Citizen’s Income, an unconditional payment granted to every individual as a right of citizenship, replacing the complex benefits system.

Under the proposal, which is to be discussed at an open meeting organised at Ruskin House next Monday, July 7, there would be no difference between a student, a person managing life with a disability, a pensioner or someone struggling to find stable employment if they were all to receive the same starting point.

The concept was first mooted in the years between the wars, when the Great Depression saw millions out of work and poverty and deprivation rife throughout the country. Then, it was known as “social credit” and had support from the likes of Bertrand Russell. The Beveridge Report and the foundation of the Welfare State after 1945 saw the Citizen’s Income idea bypassed.

But with 13 million in Britain living below the poverty line today, the current benefits system is being stretched to breaking point, and the Citizen’s Income concept has been dusted off and examined again by the likes of the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and John McDonnell, one of Labour’s more radical MPs. Proponents argue that the Citizen’s Income is fair and affordable, enhances opportunities and reduces inequality.

At the Croydon meeting next week, organised by the local Green Party, the guest speaker will be Malcolm Torry, a director of the Citizen’s Income Trust.

To be held in the Mandela Room at Ruskin House, the bar will be open from 7pm, with the meeting due to begin soon after. There will be an opportunity for questions after the presentations.


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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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1 Response to How Bertrand Russell squared the benefits equation

  1. mraemiller says:

    Isnt that the Universal Credit?

Leave a Reply to mraemiller Cancel reply