Depending on which Wiki you read, I’m either a Gen-X’r or a Millennial. Either at the very end of Gen X or the beginning of Millennial. Would you believe watching Survivor 2 seasons ago, was the starting point of realizing which generation I actually was from? I tend to find myself on the side of most Millennials either way but I am glad that earlier generations are finding themselves caught up in the debate on basic income and would further like to say ‘unconditional’ basic income as it more accurately aligned with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
The point you bring up, being if no one has income, nobody is going to be buying from WalMart, or be avid mall shoppers for that matter. As you said, Robots don’t shop. Any business would increasingly become frivolous in nature if we were all forced to only buy our basic needs. There will always be a need to create additional income if one wants more then just the basics.
Which really leads me to say, I really feel we need to branch ourselves away from an economy driven by labor in exchange for money to a system that is not centralized on that trade off. I do not have a background in Economics, or Business but I do realize it would be a major shift and there would be a lot of discussion to be had on how that would actually function. A society much like that in the world of Star Trek: TNG where we are driven by curiosity, vision and purpose.
To touch on your first point, about how if we are not creating an income we are often perceived as having no value or negative value. I am grateful we are not put down as the ‘hypothetical horse with two broken legs’ that is seen as having no purpose beyond it’s use. People have so much to say about how we should be for causes such the homeless crisis, mental health issues, disability and such but nobody really seems to go much beyond caring at the basic level of it’s ‘cool to care’. Honestly its like a slap in the face, when we actually speak out about how shitty it is to be ‘considered’ disabled and that we should be thankful for the pittance we get or we get compared to those in third-world countries. Yes, thank you for pointing that out, but I’m not born in the third-world country I’m in a first world country, standards are different, and when our living standards are different how we treat our poor is a reflection of the populace of that country as a whole.
Still important, just not important enough.