Basic income as a voluntary project.

eli5 style

By nature, we can live in the woods just fine. As society, we agree to exclude each other from the woods and increasingly more places, for greater productivity.

To ensure things aren’t increasingly awful (worse than living in the woods) for an increasing number of people, policies such as the universal income can come in.

Why universal basic income?

Because people don’t like being told what to do.

Not many individuals can tell you what to do when you live in the woods.

Not many individuals can tell you what to do if you have a lot of money today.

To make it fair, we can see about basic income security for all.

So not many individuals can tell anyone what to do.

So we can agree on what to do for each other on a more level playing field.

So that some areas of our lives are not much worse than living in the woods.

Now because it’s complicated to figure out who has enough money to not fear being told what to do by other individuals without a consent taking place, we just give the money to everyone.

And we can apply some tax rate on additional income, considering people have income also due to being given this income in the first place to spend it on each other. Only makes sense for it to come back by a method or another.

Also to consider, taxes on other things where they make sense. Like periodic taxes on being in a position to exclusively use the woods or other Land.

Be it material or conceptual Land. Conceptual Land like knowledge, patents, intellecutal property, customer recognition, network effect, economies of scale, among many other types of Land.

To ensure the economy continues to operate smoothly, without excessive inflation. Without coercion to do anyone’s bidding in particular.

That’s not to say that we always have to keep excluding each other more and more from the Land. Take for example the increasingly popular concept of the commons, here’s a basic introduction. As an alternative to enclosure (the formal name for excluding each other from the Land). An alternative that might be suited in a variety of cases. But enclosure is useful too. It allows for markets. Markets make sense in cases too, if you ask me.

Still, where enclosure happens, we want to make sure that people don’t increasingly depend on the wims of whoever has the exclusive authority over Land, for the reasons outlined before.

Did they make the Land? Not entirely. They might have taken part in it, for example in case of knowledge work or infrastructure building.

But the market process does not tell us how much they did.

You might have noticed that people actually building the homes and railroads for us hardly see the profits. You might have noticed that game developers often depend on the publisher who can reach the customers. Sometimes forfeiting big parts of creative control, monetization and more. So the well known publisher makes the money (for its owners, shareholders), to a good part for being well known. Similarly for research, be it medical or technical.

Also, many of us could come up with an idea or another, so being dependent on the wims of whoever came up with it before, if the idea is enclosed, is problematic.

Still, the well known people and groups certainly did something to become well known, and do something to maintain that.

But the market process does not clearly tell us how much they do for it, as the value of simply being known already is quite great (or the value of the idea might be so great), and might continue to grow today, as technology becomes better.

After all, technology makes it so that if you sell something multiple times, the additional copies become increasingly cheaper (economies of scale). Or that if customers visit you already, other customers will come as well, because they want to meet the prior customers (network effect). Here’s a paper with some supporting evidence in that direction, and a podcast discussing it.

We as society create the structure for people to be well knowable and to benefit from that, without bad things happening. Or at least we should try to create those structures!

Like the basic income, to reduce chance of anyone experiencing arbitrary domination.

Also structures such as the police, so you don’t get killed over being well known and making a lot of money by that circumstance and by contributions. Or so that you’re not impersonated for the purpose of tricking others for a personal gain or ruining your reputation.

That’s not to say that how these structures should look like is set in stone. It’s a learning experience. Constent based, Deliberate Democracy might be one path to consider to evolve our structures, that would hugely benefit from the presence of a Basic Income.

Maybe food for thought, but that’s up to you!

Like what you read? Give Tivvy a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.