Uncivil Society Part 1b: Universal Basic Income

This is a followup to Part 1 in my series exploring flaws in the reasoning behind current widely-held social ideals. Put your thinking cap on and take this opportunity to consider what’s written here. If you prefer to abdicate your responsibility for critical thought, and you’ve come just to loudly expound on the dearly-held ideas that were given to you by others, please take advantage of either the “back” or “close tab” button on your browser. Otherwise, disagreement and reasoned debate are welcome. Enjoy.

Upon reading Part 1, a friend introduced me to the idea of a universal basic income, a system where every citizen is guaranteed a set income from the government, and any income from work or anything else is supplemental.

My preference would be to set up a system where there is state-run basic food, basic clothing, basic housing, basic internet, and basic healthcare (plus anything else deemed necessary) available for any citizen who wishes to use it. Income from work and other sources would allow people the use of nicer options instead of the basics offered. It would take more work to administer, but guarantees the basics, so there is no possibility that anyone would lose their piece to addiction, theft, or whatever other circumstance and still be left with nothing. And it allows more to be given to those who really need it, because nothing is being spent on those who don’t.

Still, the concept of a universal basic income is a huge step forward from what we have now, and if such a thing were seriously proposed I would be strongly in favor of it.

Update: please read this excellent piece by Laurie Penny: Robots are coming for your job. That might not be bad news.

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