The Corona / COVID-19 crisis has invented a whole new multitude of ways to distribute money to favoured interests and individuals. In addition to being unemployed, you can now get your full salary for doing nothing, while someone else you worked with has to continue to do their job, on the same salary, with all of the commitments their job requires. In the UK that has become known as ‘furlough’. In many cases, it goes way beyond those in employment – the self-employed can also make claims to get their earnings covered. Staying at home, being paid full salary, having all the time in the world to do the house up, improve the garden, or even find another job to boost your earnings even more – a concept in the UK that has become affectionately known as “double-dipping.” It all sounds idyllic, doesn’t it, but there must be a catch, and, of course, there is.
If the various schemes introduced to pay employed people to do nothing sound like a major extension to the welfare system, then that’s probably because they are. Some people were bound to question the point in being productive, when for the same amount of money you could do nothing. Not everyone will feel that way, and some will be upset and stressed about the loss of work, but in terms of bending minds, taking power from people, and getting them used to rules, it is very reminiscent of the 1980s deindustrialisation of Northern England. A period when hopelessness and despair took over from community, self-sufficiency, and a strong work ethic. The schemes may also be the start of something that has been thrown around for several years now and never gained traction – Universal Basic Income. The concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) is quite simple – every citizen is issued with a basic amount of government fiat currency per year, enough to live on. It never caught on because too many people could see through it – whatever the UBI level is, it would become the new zero, and self-sufficiency and freedom would surely be eroded. To say nothing of the existing gold base supporting more and more newly issued currency units every year.
Where the extra fiat currency has come from to fund all this, it is hard to see any real statistics on. We know that at some point, public borrowing must rise, and indeed, that is being presented through the news to make it palatable to the public, but increasing borrowing takes time. Wherever it came from, the consequence of these policies must be Inflation. Quite simply put, there must be a lot more currency units in circulation than there were a year ago, and even if the majority of those units are in bank accounts right now, doing nothing, at some point, they will begin to enter the market and circulate. At that point, prices must begin to rise. Whether this happens tomorrow or in a few years seems to be the only question.