Why Basic Income? (9 Reasons)
I traveled to the first Basic Income Create-a-thon in San Francisco, I was given 9 Reasons why we need Basic Income TODAY.
1. Our economic system is messed up
It sucks wealth to the very top earners so when the economy grows, the rich get richer but the rest don’t. Society needs a system that is built into our economy so that as the tide rises, all boats , not just the yachts , rise with it. This proposed system is called a Universal Basic Income, a Citizen’s Dividend, or quite simply: Free Money for Everyone.
2. Rise of the Robots
Technology is changing our world faster than ever. On one hand, it is making our processes more efficient. On the other hand, it is replacing jobs, resulting in higher unemployment and financial insecurity in people’s lives. Jobs that are routine will be computerized or robots will be deployed to do these jobs. Computerization is going to hollow out the middle class of America.
As we use more and more technology to automate work that humans are doing, every human should gain some of that benefit: some economic freedom. But we should be doing this with or without robots. We have an abundance of resources and it is morally unacceptable that we are not distributing it to ensure everyone’s basic needs are met.
3. Eliminate Poverty
The campaign for basic income is not a strategy for dealing with poverty, it is the abolition of poverty. MLK proposed it in his last book as a way to end the cycle of poverty and economic injustice. With a basic income, people would no longer live in a state of constant fear of losing their jobs, of losing their financial security.
There is currently constant fear evident throughout the workplace. If you do not send an email to your boss at 3 in the morning, you worry they are going to think you are slacking off. It uses up mental energy to be that insecure; it becomes debilitating and counterproductive. Basic income eliminates that fear for everyone.
4. Paradigm Shift to a Real Shared Economy
Basic income can liberate us from the obsession that an activity is a good in and of itself as long as it generates money. We need to change our mentality. It’s not all about constantly working a job. It’s about sharing prosperity that we’re creating. And shifting towards a society that really supports an automated future. Basic income allows us to stop competing with each other and start co-operating with each other. With a diminished sense of competition and a greater sense of like we’re all in this together and we’re all looking out for each other people would be able to contribute a lot more in terms of community. It would create more compassion and less inequality.
5. Eliminate Government Bureaucracy
Even free Market capitalist, Milton Friedman, thought free money was a a good idea. It decreases the complexity/bureaucracy of government. Also people make better decisions about how to use their money somebody who doesn’t even know them like a government entity.
6. Freedom to say “No”.
Basic income is about empowering everybody to be in control of their own destiny. The notion of freedom is something that’s especially valued in America. And people get really riled up about it. But when you look at most people’s lives, there actually isn’t freedom in their work.
I think you need the freedom to say “no”. You don’t have this freedom of saying “no” today because everyone needs to work to make a living. I think everybody should be able to make a living because they’re human beings. That’s why we need a basic income. Because it creates the freedom, the real freedom, that enables you to say no to work without also jeopardizing your own survival.
7. Pursuing Passions
When kids are little we tell them all that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up. But that’s actually a lie. Because you can only be what you want to be if you have the money to support yourself. Basic Income turns that lie into a truth. It gives people a way to support themselves so they can do the work the want. They can be what it is that they want to be.
Having a job is important but really at the foundation of having a job is having a role in society. We should work of course and contribute to society. But in a way that we find meaningful.
We need to figure out solutions to climate change, take a really hard look at racism, police brutality, violence in our society. I think in order to solve these problems we need the energy of all the people who are currently trapped in jobs where they’re not producing anything except for profit.
Nowadays when it comes to trying to do something positive, it’s difficult because everyone’s pressed for time trying to make a living. But when you have their basic needs covered with basic income, this argument doesn’t count anymore. Because now you have the time. If you want.
9. It’s NOT Utopian
Don’t let anyone tell you this is “Utopian” or unachievable. We have decided that people have a right not to be property. And we can decide that people have a right not to live in poverty.
We live in a time here in the US where we are so politically and ideologically divided that we can’t get anything done. We can’t agree on anything. Well I believe a universal basic income is not left or right. It’s forward. This is something that we can all agree upon.