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Monday, January 2, 2017

Our replacements are already on the drafting board.



Universal Basic Income. Call it what it is. Allowance. You can earn more but you are guaranteed that figure, whatever it happens to be this year. Suppose they set it at $500.00 per month. With a selection of similarly nonproductive UBI recipients, the crowd of you could inhabit an apartment and live in spartan comfort. With six of you drawing $3000.00 per month you could pay the utilities, and even have the very occasional luxury dinner or night out. That—along with my very own communist fantasy UBW (universal band width)—and a commune of sponges like yourselves could while away their days and nights doing nothing at all. Think cows. Think sponges. Think drifting absorbers of nutrients. Even a carrion eater like a maggot or a buzzard is more productive than your sort would be.

I can already hear the naysayers objecting that it wouldn't work, that there aren't and never would be a sufficiently abundant community of productive workers able to afford such a vast horde of layabouts living out their days simply laying about. If it were ten years ago I too would have stated with absolute certainty the impossibility of such a world. After all, who would voluntarily submit to what seems on its face mere slavery? I work. You laze about. No!

Let me ask you a hypothetical question. If you could quit your job today, and yet keep your income with the obligatory yearly cost of living increases, for the rest of your life, would you take it? You take the rest of your life off. Watch TV. See movies. Go on the occasional vacation as finances permit. Spend time with family, grandchildren, cousins uncles aunts, etc. Give that hobby a real go. Play sports, watch sports. Gamble. Learn a new language a musical instrument, ice sculpture, et cetera. ... experience all the thousands of things that a person suddenly freed from a lifetime of labor can experience. Would you take the deal?

If you said no, if you said that that you would rather continue working day in and day out then ... why not stick a broomstick up your bum and sweep the floor as you go about your sanctimonious day.

For the rest of us who would retire today given sufficient funding, what do you think about Finland's social experiment?
Finland has an ambitious New Year's resolution in mind: learn how offering free money for two years helps the unemployed get back to work.

Starting January 1, 2017 and lasting until 2019, the federal social security institution Kela will distribute roughly $590 each month to 2,000 jobless Finns.

Regardless of whether they find work during that period, the money will keep coming in at the beginning of each month — a trial version of basic income, one of the past year's most popular theories of how to solve poverty.

Under universal basic income (UBI), people receive a standard amount of money just for being alive. By handing out the money to everyone, regardless of their income status, UBI advocates say the system prevents people from falling through the cracks.
You say it will never work? Of course it won't. Those who are ambitious and want more than subsistence living will get a job and those who don't won't. In neither case will the substantial monetary outlay change those basic tendencies. In essence, nobody is going to go out and get a job just because you give them a check every month. Intuitively we could certainly intuit the reverse.

UBI isn't just pie in the sky however. What if there were no jobs. What if everything was done not because of humanity, but in spite of it. What if the world went on and we humans became ever more redundant, ever more the unnecessary third wheel? Look at Insurance, transportation, farming, education, etc.

I stopped not because I ran out of things that robots and computers would replace, but because there wasn't anything left that they wouldn't. How could such an automated world exist with humans unless there was such a thing as universal basic income?

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