Marcus was awarded joint third place in the Adam Smith Institute’s 'Young Writer on Liberty' competition. The subject for this competition was '3 Policy Choices to make the UK a Freer Country', and the following is one of Marcus' suggestions.
The welfare state combines a seemingly improbable dichotomy: that it is both too expensive, and too mean in its provision. Across Europe, the social state began with the creation of state pensions, and in order to break the hold of welfare collectivism, the state pension must be the first area to face radical reform.
Instinctively, even many liberals will be suspicious of the ideas of private provision and unregulated society. The inculcation of collectivism and a suspicion of human nature drives many people to oppose the development of natural remedies to social ills. We imagine all too easily that without the abstract of society to impose solutions on us, the problems of disease, want and idleness will go unabated. In order to reverse this perception, the market must be seen to work for all people, and at all levels of income. In a liberal society, the refrain must be ‘Everyone a capitalist’. I believe that the prospect of a property owning democracy and a comfortable old age is only possible if private pensions become available for all.
Instead of hand to mouth, pension income would be derived from years of saving and investment. The tax of national insurance would be abolished in favour of routine contributions to a savings scheme for old age. This would be tax free, and could be managed by any number of approved mutuals, trades unions, and investment houses. In the spirit of bleeding heart libertarianism, I would not even be opposed to state supported additional contributions to help those on low incomes; who, for the first time, would have genuine cause to cheer the advances of business.
If the success of similar schemes in Chile is any indication, then we can suppose this policy not only to reduce the burden on the exchequer and to provide additional funds for investment in new industry, but to even increase the retirement income of pensioners above their previous work income. This would be true not only for the professional class but for ordinary workers who might be spared the inevitable trap of the endless years of work that is necessitated by collective provision. Cradle to grave socialism has failed; it is time that the inventive cooperation of the many ran welfare, instead of the directives of the political elite.