A fascinating article, and some great arguments you made in favor of possible “Basic Living” policy the world could live by. However, I definitely have my concerns, but after reading your article I also favor this idea in some ways as well.
As you stated, “people are afraid to stick up for themselves due to economic insecurity.” This is so very true, and I’ve seen first-hand how people are now forced to work much harder, and for a lot less, otherwise they see the risk of not earning at all in the face of decades of economic decline for the working class, while the rich just get richer for doing nothing at all.
Unfortunately, in the face of rising disparity between the haves and have nots, hard work itself is no longer valued by employers, we’re all just treated like a desk or a chair, once our employers are done with us, they simply throw us away. There’s no doubt our current economic climate has trapped people in poverty, no matter how hard they work.
Growing up back in the 90’s hard work equated to a good income! Today, the story has changed completely. How hard we work today remains irrelevant as to our incomes, as does our level of education. In fact, I probably work 10X as hard today, yet I have virtually no income at all running an entire media organization on the web.
Today I am college educated, have 2 technical certifications as well, yet I live in total poverty. While as back in the 90’s I made $1,000 a week as a server in a restaurant, despite being a high school dropout at the time.
If our governments want to force us into poverty without no ability for recourse, then they probably should provide the basic living incomes to cover our most basic needs.
On the other hand, I learned as a teenager and from a time in the 90’s when financial prosperity was the norm, that people typically will not work, or work hard at that, if they don’t have too. Back in the late 90’s employers here in St Louis would fight over who both myself and my brother were going to work for. The reasoning is simple too, people were so well off they didn’t have to work, and the American employers were left scrambling to find workers that didn’t exist. This gave me and my brother bargaining power, and ultimately excellent incomes to live by.
But the unfortunate truth is that, there are millions of people out there who would just take that $1,000 a month basic living income and never work again, no matter how poor they are.
Growing up in California, I learned to work from a young age, and people in that part of the country typically do work hard. After moving to the Midwest in the late 90’s, the opposite was true. People here are typically lazy, and they will not work if they don’t have too.
We had people here back in the 90’s crying they were broke, yet there were jobs everywhere. If you hand these people money today, they’ll never appreciate what you’re giving them.
On the other hand, our state of economic disparity has reached the point where we’ve become slaves in our own country. Over the last 4 years of running a media organization on the web, I’ve only been paid for 7 months total back in 2014, and often still work 100+ hours a week, literally for nothing. I guess I always hope that if I keep working, things will change, but the possibility of finding revenue is slim to none.
It seems Patreon is working for you to some degree, but even that amount of income is hardly a livable wage. It’s something I’ve definitely considered with my own media though, and wont discount it as it does work for others to some degree.
While I wholeheartedly appreciate your argument, I don’t think that giving all of society a basic living income is a solution to people like myself who’re forced to work for free in what is essentially a form of modern day slavery. Why can’t people just go to work and earn a living like we used too?
The simple answer is greed, and a society where those in a position of power have no system of accountability forced upon them. One would have to ask how we got where we are now. We have corporate executives being paid hundreds of millions of dollars a year, while they hand the rest of their hard working employees bread crumbs. We other leaders taking government bailouts and writing themselves checks, while our political leaders insist its ok to do this.
Greedy political and corporate leaders, coupled with a system of zero accountability is the underlying problem. Handing everyone a check and saying, “Sorry you can no longer work for a living so here’s some cash” is hardly a viable solution.
Keep in mind, we live in a society where people like Mark Zuckerberg are never going to be happy with any amount of money he gets his hands on. Its never enough, and they always want more. As long as super greedy pieces of crap like him exist, we’ll all continue to starve.
If our political leaders didn’t work entirely for self gain, and our corporate leaders were held to account, we wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with. The loss of jobs due to technological advancements is one thing, but handing government money to already rich people at the expense of the working class is another. We need to take these political leaders and get them out of power, or nothing will ever change.