Universal Basic Income will Accelerate Innovation by Reducing Our Fear of Failure
Scott Santens

Having been previously exposed to the idea of Minimum Basic Income, I will reiterate my thoughts on the matter…

What does society as a whole “do” with those who, choose to pool their MBI, and live the party life? How do the producers of wealth and creators of usable goods (the people who call themselves “productive members of society”) actually view the “moochers”? Being a “productive member of society”, I’ll tell you.

There is a great resentment towards the notion that someone is “entitled” to the basics of life without having to work for it, nor without showing appreciation for it by continuing to not work. I’ve little issue with the notion of MBI as a safety net for those who are unable to work, but for those who are unwilling to work? That’s a different kettle of fish.

Now I realize that the actual number of people (at this time) who are actually unwilling to work are not as numerous as the FUD-spreading “productive members of society” would have everyone believe. But what the proponenets of MBI are loathe to overlook are the sociological changes in society that would begin after enacting such a policy. Far too many liberal economists fail to take into account that changing income/tax/pricing structures throughout the country changes the behavior of those people involved at both the input and output stages of their “perfect” equation.

What’s a perfect example of such a mass behavioral change? The passing of ObamaCare and the number of people are are making an informed medical/financial decision to willingly forgo medical insurance and pay any administrative fines/fees/taxes the law imposes. The overlooked data point is the reason the Health Care Exchanges are failing nationwide. (The number of people who are rejecting health insurance out of principle, saving money by paying cash for medical services as needed, is a different data point entirely.) This simple facet of sociology, continuously overlooked by the leftist law makers that crafted the legislation — yet accurately predicted by conservative punditry; undermines a foundational tenet of leftist philosophy: the “perfectability” of the “noble human”.

Religiously minded conservatives hold the notion that mankind is NOT perfectible, and refer to this inherent imperfectability as “original sin”, while the non-religious conservative uses language evocative of “placing the needs of self and immediate family above the needs of the stranger”; or, in short-hand “enlightened self-intereset”.

It may be in the long term self-intersest of the collective as a whole for certain members of society to never know want, but without the fear of being unable to pay the bills, some people simply will never learn the means of self-motivation they need to not only function in society, but to actualy produce something for the benefit of society.

In short, for all the talk of “but people will want more than their basic needs met” fail to understand the degree to which people will go in order to “get a free ride”.

What is not even touched upon in the examples of other countries “miraculous benefits that America should adopt” is the notion of culture. The socio/economic factors at work in these other countries are resting upon the cultural values that a largely ethnically homogenous society enjoys, but America generally does NOT enjoy. The culture of Mobile, Alabama is radically different from the cultlure of Manhattan. Or to put it another way: School children in Japan are responsible for cleaning their own classrooms. There is no dedicated janitorial staff. Let’s hypothetically enact that rule in American schools, shall we? In the elite prepatory academies in New England, most white parents would have little offense at their children learning the value of work. However the parents of the black children in a deeply troubled public school in Mobile would very likely revolt because of the parallel connotations of ethnically based slavery. I wouldn’t blame them. (At least that’s the conclusion I reached after thinking about the issue for a moment.)

Both knee-jerk Conservatives and knee-jerk Liberals tend to have a single blind spot: they fail to understand that not everyone else wants to live the way they personally do. The notion of Minimum Basic Income will cause more harm than the good it purports to do.

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