Monday, September 20

About Messi and Charlie Hebdo: minimum income and maximum income

We have witnessed conflicting opinions in the Messi case, who left Fútbol Club Barcelona to be signed by Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG). Opinions in favor and against. For some, the footballer-star had the right to demand according to his worth and the prices of the sports market. For others he had no right to jeopardize the economic stability of the club by demanding exorbitant emoluments and retributions.

Shortly thereafter, in mid-August, the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which suffered a bloody attack by Islamic fundamentalists in January 2017, published a surprising cover showing three Afghan women dressed in burqas and on their backs. Messi’s name or his sports jersey number. The cover became viral on the networks, many interpretations of it have been made, motivated by the relationship of the Qatari president of PSG with the very rich and authoritarian State of Qatar, denounced several times by Amnesty International, a source of funding for PSG. I believe that the cover fully addresses the issue at hand, the relationship between minimum income and maximum income, trying to contrast the unlimited wealth of a State, which allows itself to pay the very high and squeaky salaries of elite athletes like Messi , and the miserable situation of Afghan women, now subjected by the Taliban, domestic slaves, without freedoms, without even rights over their own bodies, similar, although less dramatically, to the situation of women-subjects, who are not citizens. – in Qatar. Two sides of the same coin.

Those of us who for years have been proposing an unconditional minimum income for all citizens and have welcomed the minimum living income approved by the coalition government (despite the delay in its implementation and the processing problems), we have also defended the limitation of a maximum income, since no one should be above a salary and patrimonial ceiling. And it is not simply because from the point of view of the right it is attentive to the first fundamental right of our Constitution: the dignity of the person, “the foundation of political order and social peace” (art. 10.1 of the CE), and from the point of view From a social point of view, it further accentuates the extremes of social inequality between people, but because of the problems it causes. The dignity of the person does not refer exclusively and directly to the person in question, socially isolated, but must be considered comparatively in relation to others, whose advantages can humiliate or detract from the work, effort and contribution to the community of the vast majority. Likewise, the principle of equality of persons has a relational sense from the legal point of view. Allow me to transcribe a precept of the EC, which to date has been developed by the public powers (particularly the Constitutional Court) from a conservative perspective: “It is up to the public powers to promote the conditions so that the freedom and equality of the individual and the groups in which they are integrated are real and effective; remove obstacles that prevent or hinder its fulfillment and facilitate the participation of all citizens in political, economic, cultural and social life “(art. 9.2 of the EC, my italics)

If from a republican conception we consider that all people should have minimum resources to live and participate in public life, and that it is the obligation of the State to attend to this vital need, we also believe that there should be a salary ceiling, in order that does not endanger the ordinary legal and economic traffic of organizations and companies, that does not give rise to the excessive promotion of competition in the sector, that does not cause the absolute disproportion between work and price, that is not an instrument to deepen inequality social, that does not involve the incompatibility between the concentration of private property without limit and the end of the general interest required by art. 128, 1 and 2 of the EC as a guideline for action by the public powers (a precept with hardly any normative concretion at present), which does not harm the concept of freedom as non-domination of third parties difficult to maintain in the power relations generated by the great fortunes … but above all to make the master articles of our Constitution come true, even in gestation after more than forty years since the approval of our fundamental rule: art. 10.1 and art. 9.2 CE, cited above.

Basic income is a desideratum Historical since Thomas Paine designed in his native England in the late 18th century a program to avoid poverty for the British through a growing tax system taxing inheritances at the time of their transmission to the heirs. A “national fund” would be created, from which amounts would be withdrawn to help British people at two decisive moments in their lives, when they start and leave work: at 21 and 50 years. Without any type of condition or consideration. Strange measure? Well, ask the people who have seen how our State taxed their inheritances when inheriting. The basic income is only a modest amount granted by the State unconditionally to be able to attend to the most basic needs of the people and guarantee their right to subsistence. It is not a subsidy more subject to the will of the governments of the day, but a guaranteed income.

Currently, a large number of economists have designed a basic income for our country using various financing simulation methods, which the interested reader can find on the website of the “Basic Income Network, Spain section”. The legal recognition of basic income would culminate the process of construction in our country of the social and democratic State of Law (art. 1.1. Of the EC) and would incorporate into our legal system a social right to close the list of social rights. Its benefits would be many and the greatest of them the suppression of extreme poverty and the social stigmatization that it entails. We also have a range of maximum rent limitation designs, beginning with the widely publicized program of the economist Piketty in his book Capital and Ideology.

Both basic income and maximum income limitation are part of the republican tradition. This tradition has defended small property, which allows citizens to be independent and free and to participate in the public life of their country, and has also condemned large property for generating extreme inequality among citizens and leaving open a window to the Corruption A paragraph by Montesquieu is an example: “In a good democracy it is not enough that the parcels of land are equal, but they must be small.” Republicanism has sought a minimum for all and has opposed great fortunes. A position totally contrary to liberalism, which has always left hands free to large landowners and the hoarding of wealth by a few, allowing their growth without limit.

Between recognized basic income and uncontrolled maximum income, placed at the extremes, there are communicating vessels, which the reader may not have noticed. Because it is a fact that the first makes us more equal and the second more unequal. Uncontrolled maximum income inequality stops and fractures the equality that basic income pursues. And let us not forget that all the reports without exception from the European Union – in addition to the reports from Caritas and the NGOs – show how inequality has been increasing among Spaniards: the rich are richer and the poor are poorer. The middle classes, Caritas warns, are now close to their soup kitchens. Therefore, those who defend a hammer-blown liberalism, which goes through the maximum liberalization of access and trafficking of wealth and the contractual capacity of the parties in the market, must not forget that liberalism is not simply a political theory to use. , which promotes a maximum guarantee of freedom rights and a minimum state of sit-down arms, but a very consistent theory in practice: the one that opens its arms to the extension of inequality between people to inconceivable levels. Extreme contrast between the astronomical figures perceived by elite athletes, senior finance officials, senior politicians, who do not stop shamelessly raising their salaries in the face of the unstoppable growth of the masses of the poor, the old and the new.

Messi, the consecrated idol, currently cheered like the great gladiators in Rome, has the right to cry in Barcelona and to smile in Paris, but many of us think that behind the crying and laughter hides a fierce liberalism and without restraint, which elevates a privileged few and condemns the vast majority to a destitution without a future. An indecent liberalism.



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