a study of UBI and the backlash towards it — Stuart
Imagine a world where we never had to worry about generating value for the sole purpose of paying our basic expense needs. What if these were taken care of? I have wondered what the average human would do if they didn’t have to do anything to live…
One side of me thinks people would just consume themselves to death if they were given a basic income from the government. Using all their extra time to stimulate themselves back into the earth without ever engaging in activities that require focus and attention to the moment and to human experience itself. I think there is a selection of the population that would pursue this type of lifestyle and they would be happy about it. I also think they would be a minority and that the larger portion of people would do what they do now, but with more focus and attention. There would be more focus on family, friends, personal growth, and meaningful community activities. The focus would be on the moment, which would be a break from the consumer-driven culture we live in now. Maybe this is just wishful thinking…
Basic Income Provisions
A basic income could allow us to focus on what is important. It would reduce the amount of time we spend doing things we don’t enjoy. It would be a giant step towards a society that values people. A basic income is not just about survival. It is about choice and freedom. It’s about allowing people to build the life they want. It’s about allowing people to spend time with their families. It’s about allowing people to pursue their dreams. It’s about allowing people to make a difference in their communities. Our economy is changing. It’s changing because of technology. It’s changing because of globalization. It’s changing because of the rise of the sharing economy. It’s changing because of the rise of the freelance economy. We are at a point in time where we have to choose what kind of society we want. Do we want to continue down the path of:
- Low-paid precarious work?
- Wealth inequality?
- Economic growth that only benefits a few?
We have the choice to build a better society. We have the choice to build a society that works for all of us. We have the choice to build a universal basic income.
There is a large backlash towards the concept of universal basic income
This is because it is portrayed as a “free lunch.” People find this concept abhorrent because they are conditioned to believe that everything of value requires work. This is understandable because this is the dominant economic paradigm, where work is a precondition to the exchange of products and/or services. The concept of a basic income, therefore, conflicts with a fundamental assumption of the exchange economy, i.e. that something is only worth what it costs to produce. This is a good example of how a belief, which is not necessarily true, can be so fundamental to the way we think that we are unable to see it, even when someone points it out to us. This belief is nevertheless in direct conflict with the law of conservation of energy- the principle that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It cannot be created because energy is conserved. It cannot be destroyed because that would violate the law of conservation of energy.
Some promoters of a basic income are therefore guilty of promoting a “free lunch.” This is done by talking about a basic income as though it is not worth anything. They describe it as a “basic” income. They say that it is “basic” in the sense that it is “merely” a subsistence income. You will often see statements along the lines that “everyone is entitled to a basic income because we all need at least that.” This is a mistake because the value of something is not determined by how much you need. The value of something is determined by how much someone else is willing to pay for it.
A basic income can have an infinite value if a person is simply given the opportunity to sell it. A basic income needs to be sold on the same basis as any other product or service. It therefore needs to be valued in the same way on that basis. If a person who has a basic income is unable to sell it on the open market, it is worthless. Just as a basic income is not worthless to a person who receives it, it is not worthless to a person who sells it.
Besides desiring a basic income because it will give them an opportunity to sell it, there is another reason why a person might want to sell their basic income. This reason is that they are so much better off receiving one than working for it. The basis on which a person sells their basic income is the same basis on which they sell their labor. It is the basis of how much they can get from someone else by selling their labor or their basic income. The only difference is that a person can only sell their labor once, whereas they can sell their basic income many times.
There is another reason why people might choose to sell a basic income instead of working for it. This reason is that selling a basic income is a form of saving, while working for a basic income is not.
Besides the aforementioned reasons, there is yet another reason why a person might choose to sell a basic income, instead of working for it. It is because the person who receives it does not really “do” anything to earn it. Like many other things that are obtained without having to do anything to earn them, a basic income is subject to the whims of the person who receives it. This is true because it is something that someone else is giving to him. A person who receives a basic income has no greater claim to it than anyone else. It is therefore dependent on the social and political forces that influence the person who receives it. A person might therefore choose to sell their basic income, knowing that they have no greater claim to it than anyone else.
There seems to be a lot of economic uncertainty in this era and I wonder if underversal basic income can help our situation. What do you think? If you read all of this, then I just want to say you’re amazing and I hope your life goes well! Thanks for reading :)
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