Home | About | Donate

Universal Basic Income: Why a So-Called 'Solution' for Disappearing Jobs Makes Serfs of Us All


What’s wrong with free money from the Marxist angle, well worth the time to read



UBI could sure help with the grocery bill or rent… Could help folks have more leisure time to learn and expand…might help allot. Seems a better idea than giving giant corporations and the military the coin. I dunno.


Ok.first off, planning on funding UBI with copius amount of Fiat currency is economic suicide. If that’s what you want, it won’t take long. Second, taxing income is how we got here, what you have to tax is spending. Currently, government approved spending is tax exempt and what separates the 95% from the 5%. On the Fairtax, poor people don’t pay taxes, not after the prebate. And previously deductible spending is know a taxable event.
Why don’t politicians like it? Because their real power is in the tax code. That’s why bankers, pharma, big everything, make big contributions…for the tax code and how it picks winners.
Anyway, this discussion ends once the dollar is no longer the World’s Reserve Currency.


Hi PonyBoy, thank you, that was wonderful---- and I really liked that he was creeped out by the word “Homeland Security…” me too. Willian Arkin—he needs to be cloned, and then infiltrate all major media : )


It was nice to read an article that actually discusses some of the meat and potatoes of UBI. I agreed with much of what the author said, however she did leave a lot of questions unanswered which makes sense given the complexity of something like UBI.
The author is correct that the rich look at it as a way to ‘sell more’ which is something any Progressive recoils in horror at. I would agree therefore that any talk of UBI should go hand in hand with the end of consumerism. Too easily UBI could end up going directly to creditors after the recipient finds themselves borrowing against their UBI and eventually seeing most or all of their benefits go to Verizon, VISA or Staples to pay a bill they incurred long, long ago.
In an ideal situation, all funds from an individual or a family’s UBI payments would go to essentials such as housing, food and clothing. Of course in an ideal situation, everyone would have universal healthcare and education as well, freeing up that much more funds towards the first three essentials I mentioned.
Several comments here also touched on our ‘fiat currency’. This is important as any government has the ability to print money. Money should be used for the general welfare of society above all else. If we’re going to replace military spending with social spending, we would go a long way to making people proud again of their country while reducing global threats from around the world, especially from our own imperialist doctrines.
Employment has any easy solution in theory. If we have for example 20% unemployment, simply increase everyone’s wages and salaries by 20% through legislation while simultaneously reducing the work week by 20%. This should provide enough work for anyone who still wants to go to work, but at only 4 days a week instead of five! Keep in mind that people always work for free as it is. Whether you’re raising your kids, helping the elderly, volunteering at the local library or fire station or just doing your daily chores, we don’t expect nor do we receive money for these menial tasks. That’s why I agree with another posting here that the bare minimum should be $2,600 a month to begin with.
Richard Nixon was a big fan of UBI and actually experimented with it. However his ‘aides’ sabotaged it by giving him inaccurate conclusions about the pilot projects. In one instance, an error was made with one decimal place being out of whack and as a result the study showed an acute increase in the divorce rate. Rather than fact checking, the Presidential aide instructed Nixon to abandon the whole project ASAP or else risk losing the next election if this information leaked out. The point is that some very wealthy and well positioned people in D.C. will do whatever they can to make sure that the 99% never even discuss UBI.
UBI’s time has come, but first the details must be ironed out. Secondly, UBI is necessary if we’re to tackle the problem of global warming, because like global warming, UBI can not come to fruition without a functioning democracy.


The median wage has remained stagnant for over 40 years now, as computers, automation, and off-shoring have cut jobs and cost workers their bargaining power. 42 percent of working families in my area cannot make ends meet.

Meanwhile, capitalism has produced more and more wealth, but that increased wealth has flowed to the top one percent, to the tune of over $1 trillion per year in the US.

We have the chance to make everyone’s life better through some form of federal income supplement, paid for by much higher taxes on the one percent.

In other words, it is not capitalism that has failed us. Our government has failed its most fundamental responsibility: to care for the common good.


Convincing shouldn’t be that hard, they operate like the rest of the world, just pay them more and the majority will do what ever we want. We would have to put the first batch arrested in Guantanamo, or some place like it to encourage the people earning $5 million per year to accept the new system instead of replacing those arrested, something they aspire to do.


Now, a bit of somewhat depressing comedy…


I believe these people are not stupid, just act like crooks by going after the easy money.There is one way to fix our money problems and our governing problems.
The bad news is that it ain’t going to happen. Both need direct armed mobs, or mass bodies to converge because nobody is going to give it up freely.
We can try to tax the rich for the money, but think we have to take it.
We can change government to support the 99ers, but it will take overt action.
Otherwise just sit and whittle or knit and watch the water seep over the threshold.


I’m not totally convinced you really get it! I can understand a ‘natural’ inclination to insist that a healthy, able bodied recipient does work in order to qualify for the money, that somehow ‘free’ money is anathema, but that would just be an extension of a Workfare type scheme and would be in fact a re-iteration of the present system where some workers would be used to undermine others. And anyway, much of the employment in the areas you describe will have been automated anyway, agriculture is one area that has already been heavily automated, and other areas will see increasing automation simply because machines do some things much better than humans do.

A ULI that wasn’t unconditional wouldn’t be worth having, as it wouldn’t really progress society that much, if at all. Sure, all those occupations you described are worthy and much needed, but surely that work should be paid for, over and above the ULI. You have to remember that nowhere is anyone proposing a ULI that allows anyone a life of luxury. Under it’s better known name it’s called Universal Basic Income, with the emphasis on basic but liveable. Sure, there would be some who would just live on their ULI payment, nothing wrong with that, as, at the very least, that would mean one more scarce job that someone else could do. Some would use the ULI and the time they have in getting involved in community organisation, something that at present doesn’t work too well because most of us are too busy chasing our tails and are too tired in our leisure time to take part in that kind of thing. Yet others would devote their time to self-improvement or other things, many of which could be of huge social benefit to the wider community. Heck, ULI could well be the very thing needed to reinvigorate the very idea of community in a real sense at a grass roots level.

Immediately any notion of compulsion is brought into something it ceases to be individual choice, and in many respects it’s the very thin edge of the anti-democratic wedge.


Fine article. Fine beginning.
UBI is not a solution.

“Rarely, if ever, has throwing money at problem whose core is society’s loss of moral compass brought back that moral compass.”

Our culture, our social order is capable of providing food, shelter, healthcare, and education to all.
Let’s start there.

No individual ought to make a nickel of profit before everyone has these four essentials taken care of.
No government expenditure for secondary needs, until everyone can at least live a basic life.


I am not sure what you mean by going back to a basic way of life. Does that mean we go back to the 19th, 18th century or earlier? Life was harsh for people back then and there were plenty of poor people.
There is no way to feed people by going back to the horse and plow. There goes modern sanitation by going back.
Technology is certainly going to decrease the jobs available in many fields. So how do those people survive without jobs? Without a basic income.
I understand the premise of being a consumer society and the pitfalls of it. But still people need money for at least the basics like food, housing, clothing, healthcare. And right now many people are not getting enough of the basics to live decently.
As for an evaluation of changing course, sounds great, but what you advocate means a great deal of change to people’s lives. And one thing most people don’t want to do is upset their lives. The most important thing to most is security and change does not promise security.


Just remember though that those 16K control the government, the police, the military, etc. And that a good portion of the population supports that 16K.
They may be a small number, but then the rich always have been. And for the history of the world they have usually won in any fight against the rest.
Just saying, it isn’t that easy or it would be done all the time.

Most revolutions end up with a new small group controlling everything. The poor still remain the poor.

Remember the founding fathers were mostly rich men who wanted an elite to rule the country. They despised the poor. And the system of government they set up has always been used by the rich to control the government and the rest of us.


Except there was no socialism involved. Hitler took over the socialist party, kicked them out and just used the name. Democracy died and hitler took over and controlled everything. That isn’t anywhere near socialism.


I think the proponents of UBI have one basic weakness - they fail to understand capitalism.

As Debs explained it is an economic system where wage slavery is its foundation. You can’t keep capitalism and at the same time remove the driving force why people work…sell oneself to an employer or suffer deprivation. It is the reason than NO UNCONDITIONAL version of UBI will ever be introduced. Nor is it the first step in doing away with the wages system as some progressives hope

In reality it would be a State subsidy to employers and/or the streamlining of the welfare system.


Might have a point there. Socialism was in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Cuba and China.


Clearly, a work requirement is controversial because it is so often abused by the right for some of the reasons that you state.

However, I absolutely disagree that work can ever be automated out of a healthy living sustainable biosphere. The human spirit demands satisfying work and productive work. Successful economies demand ways and means of production that transform natural resources into humanly usable things like food, clothing, housing, transportation, education, healthcare, child-raising etc.

The closer humans are to the biosphere in our daily lives, the more we come attuned to the reality that we are a part of it and attempting to own or exploit it is destructible to both us and our Mother.

There will always be more work than we can do. It’s how we organize the work in relation to the biosphere that matters. And how we collectively share the fruits of human labor. Automation and industrialization are part of that - I know this personally from much of the work that I’ve done through life (manual/industrial labor) and now pounding computer keys in various venues.

So I maintain that, though problematic, work requirements should be built into such schemes in humane, non-exploitive ways because work (inside and outside the home) is very much at the center of what it means to be human.


"there’s a physical requirement to subsistence ag that many people can’t meet. what about them? they could contribute in other ways. The able bodied can grow more than enough food.
The general health of the people has only declined, cancers, mental and emotional issues, autism etc etc. . Older folks used too and many still do love to garden.
Your avatar name of drone is very telling. You have already given up.
In every way, a simple subsistence way of life is the only way to survive. Ecologically, socially, health wise, climate etc etc…


“Life was harsh for people back then and there were plenty of poor people.
There is no way to feed people by going back to the horse and plow. There goes modern sanitation by going back.”

You dont have the knowledge of what it even means.


Add the fact people themselves gave up striking and fighting for better wages and benefits.