Continuing in the spirit of Cate Speaks

Paul Ross, Independent

Summary

Website: citizens-dividend.org
Social Media: FacebookTwitter
Slogans: Be Coopetitionist
Themes: I have solved everything with this one incredibly simple idea!
Electorates: Upper House: Victoria
Lower House: none
Preferences: not yet available
Previous Reviews: none

Policies & Commentary

Paul Ross’ slogan is ‘Be Coopetionist’. Do you have any idea what that means? Because I didn’t before I found his site. Apparently, The Coopetition Principle is The nature-consistent fusion of Cooperation (first & foremost) and Competition (the treasured second) – such as in rules-based sport, democracy and a non-exploitative & efficient free-market economy. Does that clarify things for you? Because it doesn’t for me. I think what he’s trying to get at is a combination of certain elements of cooperation and competition, but he hasn’t troubled himself to actually explain which elements here, nor to link to some more detailed explanation, so I’m not going to give it any more thought.

Moving on the policy section, I can now see why: the first of his five policies is Universal Rule of Coopetition-maximising Law. How nice for the creator of a new economic theory to skip straight over that messy ‘marketplace of ideas’ stuff and move straight on to enforcing the theory on everyone. That has certainly never backfired on anyone in the entirety of human history.

His next three policies are Universal Liberal Democracy, Universal Education and Universal Healthcare, which are unobjectionable on the face of them, but completely lacking in detail. He goes on to explain that Australia already possessing robust versions of the first 4 – again, not supported by any information, but apparently implying that our current educational, political, economic and health care systems are all just fine the way they are and need no attention. There’s a sense of timelessness to the way Ross presents his ideas, in that they in no way engage with any sort of recent events, such as, for example, failures of our educational, political, economic and health care systems.

And there’s his fifth policy, The Universal Survival Income (USI), which is ‘Survival Income Slavery’ (SIS) abolitionist. (And please note that abolitionist is italicised in the original, too.) His phrasing is unclear here, but he goes on to develop and explain his USI idea (and hoo-boy, I’ll get to that next) in a way that suggests that he is actually in favour of something he himself describes as ‘slavery.’ Which is… let’s just say icky, and leave it at that.

The USI consists of the following:

  1. $20,000 per year for every non-jailed in-country adult citizen
  2. $5,000 per year for each child (to their guardian/s)
  3. Pensioners over 66 1/2 years old and the disabled receive a no-disadvantage ‘top-up’.

Now, this represents an increase for most people on Jobseeker, and the ‘top-up’ presumably means that pensioners will not be disadvantaged either, so that’s fine. Apparently, this will also end the stigma (‘the dole-bludger’ narrative including its racist and disablist variants) of being unemployed. I’m not sure how paying the unemployed more will change the minds of conservative politicians and media commentators, but sure, whatever, Paul.

So, now the vehicle is up to speed, and some of the looser things are rattling a little, but we’re moving forward, right? Get ready for the wheels to come off.

You see, the USI will also replace the current minimum wage of $20.33, which would actually mean a pay cut for anyone with a minimum wage job for 19 or more hours a week. But that’s okay, because this will permanently eradicate Unemployment/Underemployment and unleash small/big business. Again, no explanation for how this would work, but it now appears that the reason the unemployed will no longer be stigmatised is that those on a minimum wage will be replacing them at the bottom of the heap.

It gets better, because Ross’s policies also call for Abolishing the tax-free threshold and Extending the GST to 20% full-breadth. Or in other words, “Hey poors, have a pay cut and a tax hike!”

Now, in fairness to Mr Ross, there is a lot of additional information on his idiosyncratically-designed website, and I didn’t go into it in a lot of depth.1I mean, there’s only 10,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000,​000 years until the heat death of the universe, and there’s all these things to do round the house. It’s possible that some of the points I’ve raised here are addressed somewhere in there. Which means that Paul Ross’ theories are detached from reality in at least one more way, a failure to understand modern soundbite culture.

Paul Ross is going to be near the bottom of my ballot. Assuming I bother to number that far down.


Just a reminder that Maz and I lack the necessary Eurovision knowledge to choose the songs that Catherine liked to include, but we’d love to see what you suggest in the comments below 🙂

8 Comments

  1. Laura

    Since when are free-market economies cooperative?

    • Loki

      Yeah, I had some issues with that bit as well.

  2. DS

    My reading of the site is that he’d also abolish NDIS, and any non-funding elements i.e. social assistance elements of Centrelink, DHSS etc.

  3. Henry Howard

    He seems to be going for the standard Universal Basic Income idea. Similar to Andew Yang in the USA. Interesting idea, wouldn’t trust this guy to execute it.

  4. Chucky

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coopetition
    It’s a solid business concept… but not much of a political platform.

  5. JS

    I feel like theres a disconnect here talking about replacing the minimum wage. It seems like youve read “replace the minimum wage” as “people on minimum wage get nothing but the UBI”, but I just read it as “you get UBI plus whatever wage you can negotiate”.

    eg, Get rid of the minimum and put the 19 hour a week worker on, say, $5 an hour and it’d be $4950 + $20000 UBI = $24,950. About $5k a year pay rise, not a pay cut.

    • Loki

      Ross specifically uses the word “replace” – if he’d written “supplement” I’d agree with you, but that’s not what he said. Then again, clarity is not especially a feature of his writing, and it’s possible you are correct and he just hasn’t explained himself very well.

  6. Paul Ross

    Dear Loki

    Thank you very much for your critique of our philosophy.

    I’m a fan of your site and your endeavour.

    You are correct regarding the Coopetitionist principle – i.e. Cooperation first & foremost and, within that context, Competition as the treasured second.

    While until now it hasn’t been a conscious narrative, we believe this is what we’ve already largely got – i.e. we have rules such as laws and social-conventions, which we are encouraged to abide by (i.e. be Cooperative), and, within that context, to Compete for what we individually want.

    Regarding the examples of sport, democracy, civil-debate and a non-exploitative & efficient free-market economy, if we just take sport, everyone agrees on the playing field and the rules, which is Cooperation (first & foremost), and then, within that Cooperative-construct, they Compete. Without the Cooperation of rules and the agreeance to them, rather than sport, any Competition becomes a brawl.

    In order to systemically build societal-wide Coopetition, we require 5 ‘universal, guaranteed & unconditional’ Citizen-Empowerment-Infrastructure (CEI) cornerstones – i.e.:
    1. Universal Rule of Coopetition-maximising Law
    2. Universal Liberal Democracy
    3. Universal Education
    4. Universal Healthcare
    5. Universal Survival Income (USI).

    Regarding the first, Rule of Law is uncontroversial but rule of what law?

    We say it should be Coopetition-maximising – i.e. law that ‘empowers and inspires citizens to Cooperate first and foremost and then, as a treasured second, Compete’.

    Regarding laws such as those relating to the economy, there are usually punishments for:
    1. Breaking Cooperation – for example, stealing, not paying tax etc.
    2. Breaking Competition – for example, laws against collusion and monopolies.

    So, we haven’t gone into a lot of detail because, as mentioned, we think it is, basically, just giving a name, structure and narrative to what we are mostly already doing.

    Regarding the next 3 cornerstones, the question may be asked, ‘Do they assist in inspiring and empowering citizens to Coopetition?’

    In answer to that, specifically, the NDIS and, the yet to be introduced, Universal dentalcare are yes.

    We think it’s clear, compared to other countries, Australia’s first 4 cornerstones are Coopetition robust.

    By the way, each cornerstone impacts the others and with the fifth missing, all the others are suboptimal – for example, a child’s education will likely be poorer for the home-disharmony caused by Poverty & Unemployment.

    Regarding The USI, as with the all 5 CEI cornerstones, it concerns infrastructure – i.e. societal-wide systems – and, consistent with this, ‘The USI-Reform’ consisting of trading-in Universal Minimum Hourly Wages (UMHoW) for The USI refers to trading-in the UMHoW system, which means deregulating the labour market such that there are no ‘Fair Work Commission’ UMHoW judgements.

    It does not mean that anyone currently on the UMHoW rate of $20.33 will suddenly only receive The USI.

    That is, paid-workers income will equal: The USI ($20,000) + wages + any other income.

    In the case of a full-time UMHoW worker who earns around $36,000 net a year, initially, they will earn around $56,000. Definitely, they will be much better off.

    In addition, with their wage determined by supply and demand, now that Survival-Income-Servitude (SIS) has been abolished, some will want to work less hours, which means business may need to pay more to get people to do that job. Also, with businesses unleashed, they will increase their demand for labour. Thus, wages will rise including for many of those who are volunteers (pre-pandemic 5.7 million) earning $0.00 per hour.

    The USI will also end the dole-bludger stigma (including its racist and disablist variants) of being unemployed because:
    1. There is no unemployment – i.e. unemployment is caused by UMHoW so, with that eradicated, ‘everyone who wants work at the going rate can find work’
    2. Everyone receives The USI (no targeting) – i.e. when everyone from the PM down receives The USI, it doesn’t make sense that there can be stigma for receiving it.

    I hope this helps; certainly, any questioning is welcome.

    Thank you.

    Best regards

    Paul Ross
    CDO Founder

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