I WAS interested to read Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp’s article (Let’s be honest, Finland didn’t properly trial a basic citizen’s income … but Scotland could, May 10) in Thursday’s National.

The idea of a customised Universal Basic Income (UBI) in the form of a Scottish Citizen’s Income (SCI) is to be welcomed as an important focus for the kinds of decisions we will have to make as the world of work becomes less integral to our daily lives. Automation can be seen a threat to the livelihood of millions, or as an opportunity to throw off the shackles of wage slavery and rise towards something better.

Of course, there are significant structural changes that need to be made, and Gordon deals with the role the private banks have in making, distributing, managing and holding the money we all rely on. Many observers have already pointed out that the capital in capitalism is no longer working for the good of society as a whole, instead being held increasingly in places where ordinary citizens cannot access it. The advent of the Scottish Citizen’s Bank looks to provide a solution here.

The private banks may well be the prime mechanism of the engine of greed which leads so effectively to vast agglomerations of capital in the hands of a few, but it is not the only one. It seems to me that the big threat to the value of our money is inflation, which is the real measure of how our wealth is valued over time.

The danger in any form of UBI/SCI is that the free market will adjust to accommodate the newly redistributed income. Nowhere is this more obviously a problem than in the already over-inflated housing market, where supply has been kept artificially low to keep prices high and allow the aforementioned private banks to profit hugely from the hard work of the citizen.

Current moves towards rent controls in the form of the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 would necessarily have to be just the start of widescale structural changes designed to relieve the pressures that would otherwise lead to the devaluing of the money supply, in the form of capital accumulation by means of rent and mortgage.

Other changes would need to include land reform to release more private lands to local authority control, and the subsequent large-scale building of public housing.

Smaller-scale inflationary pressures (in retail and services) can probably be dealt with over time by natural adjustments in taxation and the rate of SCI.

In the very long term we may have to come to the realisation that we are moving on from a world where progress relies upon the singular effort of each individual in contributing towards a collective effort, to a world where our right to live a healthy and fulfilled life is divorced from our ability (or willingness) to work.

We may come to see that money is a consensual construct, and that our collective idea about what it represents and how it serves us must transcend our current thinking.

Stewart Robinson