Studies have shown that it would actually be cheaper to distribute funds to the entire population than to run the welfare services governments engage in now.
Me thinks the current right wing “mean” spirited jackals in power right now–would rather see half the population starve, then to do something so NEW and PROGRESSIVE!
The idea of UBI is a good one. I personally believe this is an expert solution–that and Universal Health Care! Lots to work out, for sure…but the time has come for creative solutions for a world of diminishing resources and jobs.
Right now this is the least of our worries, being replaced by robots. Unless things change we may be around 4C in 45 years and 10C in 120 years, just to throw out some possible numbers on average global temperature. Maybe the people who are left in 2137 will be fully employed trying to figure out how to survive in a world that is warming to the point of making human survival nearly impossible.
Besides Bernie and Liz, we could have some great progressives like Ellen Brown and Gavin Newsome running in 2020. I hope Elon Musk, an UBI and direct democracy advocate, throws his hat in the ring too. The electron is after all, the best source of the renewable energy nature needs to run efficiently .
“Ontario” is a province, not a city in Canada. Perhaps the author can edit and name the city in Ontario which is trialling the basic income.
The demand for a $15 hour miniminum wage or even to fund a Universal Basic Income is doomed to fail because it uses a dollar amount as the defining standard of economic equality. This fixed dollar amount will forever fail in a “free market” capitalist economy that is driven to maximize profit regardless of changing economic circumstances.
Thus employers forever “work around” higher labor costs by minimizing or ending health care costs, benefits, overtime and costly benefits. Public services, supported by taxes to the wealthy and corporations and wealthy individuals are privatized. etc.
The meaningful demand for must be to demand an universal minimum standard of living for all people. At the most essential level this means the economy must provide for potable water, clean air, organic land use, nutritious food, etc.
At another level, the economy must provide for universal health care,tuition-free education, affordable housing, mass transportation, free access to the internet, etc. These universal minimum standards are never achieved under a capitalist economy because capitalists demand to amaximize profit out of every economic transaction, regardless of affordability, consequences to humanity, or the natural resources of the planet.
The demand for a universal minimum standard of living must include the end of capitalism and transition to a democratic socialist economy that provides a universal minimum standard of living to all.
Exactly. A UBI is the right of all human beings in any society where money is the determinant economic factor.
It’s unfortunate that Brown ties this excellent discussion to the UBI to AI. First, industrialization was promoted as the main means to relieving people from the drudgery of shit work and eliminating a “scarcity” of goods. Then, in the post-industrial age, automation was seen as the magic solution to the road to Valhalla, while sipping the nectar of nirvana.
Now Brown says that “experts” project that AI can outperform people “in all tasks” in 45 years. Well, “tasks” (only some of which are “work”) are central to what make us human and how we organize tasks has very much to do with the nature of society.
The quality of what we do and how and why we do it is missing from this article. It ignores what it means to be human and what society is/should be.
We should struggle for UBI because it is a HUMAN RIGHT in a world in which money is the central economic factor, not because the technology of the moment demands it; but because we demand it. WE, the human community, who have INALIENABLE RIGHTS - and inherent capacities/needs/resposnsibilities and desires.
What’s wrong with half the population starving? We have too many people! Too many people equals not enough resources and land for other species.
Sometime in the future (if we get there and aren’t destroyed by global warming or nuclear war) we will live in a world where human labor is no longer necessary to create wealth (goods and services.)
It’s not like human work will vanish. There will always be some need for human work in some management positions and in creative work. But this will not be enough to employ the large numbers as our current capitalistic system.
The reality will be that we will have vast more wealth than we ever had before but no need for workers to create it. The biggest issue is how the wealth will be spread through the populace.
In our current system most wealth ends up in the hands of the owners, who own the means of production and the goods and services created by it. They pay wages to the workers who do the actually creation of the goods and services and then sell those goods and services back to them. The result is that workers end up with the goods and services they create that they must consume to live, but the owners end up with the surplus wealth they store in money, land, or luxury goods they don’t actually consume.
This system will definitely fall apart. The motivation of the owners is to make these goods and services as cheaply as possible. Getting rid of workers is one way to bring cost down. But as the workers stop being consumers because they no longer get wages, the owners will lose their market. Debt can handle this for a while, as it is now, but not for long. (Of course the owners use debt to channel more wealth to themselves.)
I can only see four possible scenarios for a system to replace this one.
The owners realize they no longer need the bother of first selling the goods and services to the populace to gather their wealth. Instead they will just use their means of production to create wealth for themselves in a post-capitalistic form of feudalism and let the former workers fend for themselves in a separate economy of barter and subsistence. The SyFy series of last year, “Incorporated,” paints a picture of this system.
A modified version of scenario 1 is that the owners don’t just separate from the masses and ignore them, but actively get rid of them. The most humane way would be through sterilization. But the first “Kingsman” film paints a different picture where the elite actively plot to kill the masses. More likely this would happen over time due to starvation, disease, and war.
The state insures that the masses have a share of the wealth. A UGI is the healthiest way to do this. But it could be done with a massive welfare state too. This scenario is one where the current system continues, that is the populace, while no longer workers, are still consumers buying goods and services owned by the elite, who are taxed now to make sure the populace can consume instead of doing so by paying wages. The most ideal way to do this, in my opinion, is to conceive of the populace as the actual joint owners of the means and production and thus their income is not seen as welfare but ownership.
Another way to insure the populace has a share of the wealth so they can consume is that the elite owners and few creative types still employed would share their wealth with extended ‘families’ and clients they’d be patrons to. I see this as a possible system but I can’t conceive how we’d get from here to there. This might combine with scenario 2 with a vastly reduced population, though.
Actually, how about eliminating welfare and universal income and having more JOBS?
Keeping old people alive through artificial means is a business, and over 40% of the world population has pregnancies that are unplanned.
$1 dollar circulating 7 times in the economy, if returning 26% to the treasury would not be $1.82 in taxes paid (7 x 26 cents). The taxes are paid every time money changes hands (e.g. taxes are withheld for wages and salaries). That would result in only 83 cents in taxes after 7 rounds.
On top of that, the 26% includes state and local taxes…entities that would not be paying the UBI. Last year only 12.3% of GDP went to federal general revenue (not 26%) with 6.5% of GDP going to the Social Security trust fund.
On top of that, much of the UBI would be saved or used to pay down debt and thus not circulating in the economy.
On top of that, a big chunk would go to imports or American produced goods using imported content and leak out of circulation that way.
More money in circulation would only cause inflation in things with a fixed supply, like land, and not even the price of building a house on it…although the cost of buying a house would increase because of the increase in the price of the land it sits on.
If businesses raised their prices just because their customers had more money to spend (and not because their costs went up) then their high profit margins would attract more price competition and keep the prices from rising.
Look, life is tough. There are no guarantees or handouts certainly not from taxpayers or strangers.
I support the right to die. I think only three or four states allow this. Many people are ill, have severe depression or have lived their best days. The prolifers would rather that people suffer.
mealouts, the problem with half the population starving is that kind of desperation creates all kinds of crime, mob violence, and distressing scenes. The surviving generation would all have PTSD for just living through it, they’d all have to go on disability, and so you might as well offer UBI to begin with. Besides, when you have a huge die-off, populations don’t stabilize at the new number, they bounce back. Hard. The Baby Boom is an example.
It might sound crazy now but the world is changing rapidly
Money is a temporarily. Money is infact nothing worth. It is paper without any backup. The gold is worldwide gone. Very very soon everybody around the whole world will enjoy abundance. We don’t need to buy anything anymore. We just manifest what we need, whatever it is. Nobody HAS to work anymore and can enjoy their hobby, nature. Maybe yoy will feel the need to do something for the community.
Taxes, medicine, banks, debts will be no more. Mass arrest will take place all over the world. Governments will change worlwide. YOU will change. You can go everywhere without a passport. You can live wherever you want to. No need to travel long times.
It sounds like paradise on earth. And that is exact what is going to happen.
In the meantime: enjoy your garden, have fun and don’t worry about was is going in the world. It will pass very soon. We all are here on earth because we wanted to. It is an exiting time. There are billions of ‘others’ who want to take your place. Take care.
Love of The Light
Excellent article, even more meaningful when tied to proposals for states to take back authority from banks with respect to creation and circulation of new money and even, replacing taxation and public debt through direct monetary expansion. Kudos
Ah, sorry! Good eye. It should read –
Three cities in Ontario, Canada, the city of Oakland, California, and Utrecht in the Netherlands are planning trials;
Here’s a link on the Ontario trials: https://qz.com/914247/canada-is-betting-on-a-universal-basic-income-to-help-cities-gutted-by-manufacturing-job-loss/