The problem with UBI at the moment, as Yuval Noah Harari clarified in his new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, is the complexity in defining “basic needs”. What’s a basic need in Kenya (an East African country) is different from what is referred to as “a basic need” in the United States. The economies of these two different countries are different by far, and coming up with “universal principles” or general basic human needs might be a hard job. Technology (especially blockchain) has granted individuals power to own and control their stuff. And therefore, coming up with these universal principles might bring chaos and even play a role in dividing humanity instead of unifying it. Just a glimpse of what might happen: we might have more Trumps who would refer to poor countries (which still consider health, clothing, and education basic income) as “shithole countries”.
So the UBI is an experiment that still needs more work before actualization, just as Elon Musk said. I must also recognize the great ability that blockchain has in making this experiment work. It’s something that might work in 2050 or so after most human jobs have been taken by robots and more complex and satisfying computer programs have been developed to take care of humanity; after full execution of self-driven cars and related projects. I’d be unrealistic to also talk about data ownership. Big data, which will help in the switch of authority from political leaders or generally human authoritarians to computer algorithms will play a vital role in the adoption of new experiments that will help leverage human lifestyle — such as UBI.
I’d like to hear from you, the reader. What do you disagree with or agree with from my arguments on this topic?