Taking the Basic Income idea to our policymakers

Infect Teh Interwebs

I am not one of the most pessimistic people when I state that we live in somewhat precarious times. In a recent presentation I did in Croatia I laid out at least seven reasons why we live in a global economic and political order that is at best fragile (and at worst close to a systemic collapse and a organizational reset).

By now anyone who has been paying attention should be aware of the idea of a Basic Income. The idea of basic income is quite simple – countries provide all born citizens with a very lean income to allow them to aquire the very most minimal essential living goods for a dignified existence, without having to work for it (since that work isn’t available anyhow) or without the need for means testing. The result of implementing a basic income might be that minimum wages are cancelled, that borders are opened for migrant workers (who won’t get the basic income and would have to compete at a disadvantage, leaving only viable migrant workers in place to pay part of the basic income for the natives) as well as cancellation of welfare. Basic Income might be lower or “only a modest bit higher” than current welfare levels, however people would be able to self-study for new forms of employment, or be able to more freely perform meaningful volunteer jobs at very low levels of pay. Yes, Basic Income would greatly increase the divide between the rich and very poor, however it would cause the very poor not to starve, or be regarded with current degree of national socialist level antagonism, since everyone would get it.

I will make a bold statement – Basic Income is inescapable, and the reason is pretty much technological unemployment. Yes Technological Unemployment Is Real. We are beyond the stage where Technological Unemployment can be denied, and I suggest everyone who argues this topic to treat it as a fact in all discussions and no longer a hypothesis.

It will be extremely difficult to make the current macro-economic and globalist system accept the core premises of Basic Income – too many people believe they would have to pay more taxes (which is not true) when Basic Income were to be implemented. Basic Income would save the state many expenses in means testing, and would allow the government to lay off large amounts of civil servants, who aren’t doing much in terms of meaningful work anyhow. There are many arguments that Basic Income would be a workable solution, but “the other side” (mostly conservatives) generally don’t like the idea of giving (their?) taxpayer money to deadbeats, ingrates and “useless eaters”.

That brings us to the problem with Basic Income – the idea can not be implemented in our current societal order. There are too many people who don’t get it, and wouldn’t like it. There are great corporate interests invested in keeping incomes low and workers “fairly desperate for a low wage job”. There are many conservative ideological interests at work here, some based on the best of intentions, others based on exclusive (and rather ruthless) self-interest. Worst of all, there is a lot of corporate money out there that will take drastic media action ridiculous the very idea of Basic Income, and slandering it in quaint historical references (“This is socialism”, “This is communism”, “Tax is theft” etc.).

So should we bide our time waiting for a collapse of the current system? Because things are getting pretty badly out there. That’s the simple question I pose to all Basic Income advocates out there – how can we compress the simple message of a Basic Income (however we’d care to define Basic Income) and sell it to audiences, media, employers, the unemployed, governments, civil servants and society at large?