The Thinking 
Housewife
 

The Universal Basic Income

October 5, 2017

ELLEN BROWN, author of Web of Debt, argues that with advanced technology taking over more and more jobs, a Universal Basic Income (UBI) would prevent economic melt-down and be cheaper than the current welfare system:

In a stagnant economy, a UBI can create the demand needed to clear the shelves of unsold products and drive new productivity.  Robots do not buy food, clothing, or electronic gadgets. Demand must come from consumers, and for that they need money to spend. As robots increasingly take over human jobs, the choices will be a UBI or to let half the population starve. A UBI is not “welfare” but is simply a dividend paid for living in the 21st century, when automation has freed us to enjoy some leisure and engage in more meaningful pursuits.

— Comments —

Bruce B. writes:

Professor Dwight Murphey wrote about a similar idea twenty years ago.

Professor Murphy was acquainted with our late friend Lawrence Auster and mentioned Mr. Auster’s work in one of his books. Mr. Auster also had a favorable opinion of Murphey. Murphey is an excellent source for scholarly, dispassionate writings on the sort of topics that Larry wrote about.

Doug writes:

Ellen Brown writes:

“A UBI is not “welfare” but is simply a dividend paid for living in the 21st century, when automation has freed us to enjoy some leisure and engage in more meaningful pursuits.”

A week end in Chicago might change her view in a “multicultural” society.

Laura writes:

The UBI would be better than welfare for blacks. The problem with welfare is that it destroys families. It overwhelmingly is applied to mothers of children, with no requirement that they be married. The UBI would encourage marriage and property ownership. It would help lessen the attraction of gangs and crime, especially if criminals stood to lose it. It would not be enough, but it would help.

The UBI could not come about in our current political system and it would make no sense with the open borders we have. I am interested in the idea, but not convinced yet. There are two basic ways to approach the automation of labor: 1) turn the clock back and return to simpler ways 2) view automation as a good thing and the problem of joblessness as fundamentally a fixable problem of money.

No society can be free where wealth is heavily centralized. The diffusion of property ownership — and I mean productive property — is key. With  a Universal Basic Income — and a cutback in the government regulations that keep people from forming productive businesses and farms — America could move closer to the ideals Jefferson defended — a land of independent proprietors, not wage slaves.

Not that any of that could happen now — but you get somewhere by first wanting to go there.

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