The colossal problem with universal basic income | Douglas Rushkoff
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The colossal problem with universal basic income | Douglas Rushkoff

DOUGLAS RUSHKOFF: For a long time I
was a fan of universal basic income. And the logic I had was that I always
hear politicians talking about, ‘Let’s create jobs for people. That’s what we need is jobs, more jobs,’
as if that’s what’s going to solve the economic problem. So the government is
supposed to lend money to a bank, who can then lend
money to a corporation, who will then build a factory in
order for people to have jobs. Do we really need more jobs? In California, they’re tearing
down houses as we speak, because the houses are
in foreclosure, and they want to keep market values high. The US Department of Agriculture
burns food every week in order to keep the
prices of that food high, even though there’s people who are
starving and people who need homes. We can’t just let
people have those homes. Why? Because they don’t have jobs. So now we’re supposed to
create jobs for people to make useless stuff for other
people to buy plastic crap that we’re going to throw away or
stick in storage units or end up in landfill just
so those people can have jobs so that we can justify letting
them participate in the abundance. And that’s kind of ass backwards. So I thought, well, shoot,
rather than creating useless jobs, what if we just let people
have the stuff that’s in abundance? Just let people have the houses. What’s the problem with this? And UBI kind of goes
along that lines of, well, if we have more than enough stuff,
if we don’t need everybody working all the time, then why don’t we
just let people have income? Or at least go to a four-day
workweek or a three-day workweek or a two-day workweek. If work is the thing
that’s scarce, then why don’t we mete that out
and say, ‘OK, we’ve got these 10 days that you’re
allowed to work this year. So come on, come onto the
farm and do that work, and then you’ll have to find
something else for you to do the rest of the time.’ But in reality, it’s not like that. If we were really that
efficient, then we wouldn’t be destroying
the planet with pollution. What we’ve done is found ways
of making stuff and doing things that require very
little labor, but externalize a host of other problems to
a whole lot of other places. So we could 3D print or
something, but where do you get the plastic goop
for your 3D printer? What mine in Africa is it coming out
of, and which topsoil is it destroying? You know, when we’re going to
run out of topsoil in 60 years, it means that we’re not actually
using the appropriate labor intensive permaculture solutions
in agriculture and all that. So first off, that whole idea that
we’re moving towards lower employment is a myth. We’ve faked lower employment through
extremely extractive, exploitative, polluting, and unsustainable
business practices. And second, I was giving
a talk at Uber, and I was talking to them about the
problems with their business model and how they’re putting all
these drivers out of work. And here they are, these
freelancers working for the company, basically training the
algorithms that will be replacing them without any profit
participation in the end-game company. And one of the guys got up and
basically quoted back to me a passage from my own book, “Throwing
Rocks at the Google Bus” he said, well, what about universal basic income? And when I heard it coming out of
their mouths, I realized, ‘Oh.’ So universal basic
income isn’t just a way to help people have the money they need
to survive and have time to innovate and come up with other solutions. It’s becoming an excuse
for companies like Uber to not pay a living
wage to their workers. So what’s the idea? Oh, we’ll get the government
to print more money to give it to workers for them to spend with us. So what really happens what
is universal basic income? It’s just a way of
perpetuating our roles as consumers at the bottom of
the pyramid, not as owners. If we’re going to go
to anything, I would say, what about universal basic assets? What about actual participation? What if the workers owned
the means of production? So you don’t just give them a
handout so that the money ends up in the same corporate coffers
and going into the same shares. That’s not the point. What universal basic income does,
if you look at the whole model, is allows the people who own
the lion’s share of our world to own more and more of it. We just print more money, and
more of it goes up to the top. That’s not the way to
get long-term equity. Sure, Social Security, welfare,
the dole, all those things are fine for those in need. But it’s not a great
long-term economic strategy. It’s really just a Band-Aid on
extractive corporate capitalism. How do we get to extract more? We’ll just print more
cash for us to extract.


  • Jarl Shmarx

    Союз нерушимый республик свободных
    Сплотила навеки Великая Русь!
    Да здравствует созданный волей народов
    Единый, могучий Советский Союз!

  • Dogma Sough

    Watching a communist criticizing a leftist idea is like following a rail of stupidity that loops around and into itself.
    It's staggering how far these people go in order to justify their absurd and completely backwards ways of thinking.

  • LivSimple

    It is beyond me how people think 500 dollars every two weeks are gonna allow people to not work…What freakin’ city do YOU live in that allows that to be done?

  • sewuzy

    UBI_3 WHAT DO THE BEST ECONOMISTS SAY ABOUT UBI? TOP NOBEL PRIZE LEVEL ECONOMISTS ENDORSE UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME. UBI is endorsed  by winners of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, commonly referred to as the “economics Nobel prize”. The economists were participating in the 6th Lindau meeting on economic sciences, which ran from 22nd to 26th of June this year in the picturesque town of Lindau, Germany.

    • Speaking in a panel discussion on the garden island of Mainau, Sir Chris Pissarides advocated universal basic income as a solution to the inequality that arises from both globalisation and the rise of robots and AI.

    – “We should not try to deal with inequality by stopping these global processes, because these have the capacity to bring more prosperity to the world,” he said. “We should welcome expansion of trade and the opening up of India and Africa, and improve R&D to bring robotics into production. After all, if there aren’t enough jobs for us all to do, we can take more leisure. We are ageing, so we can feel comfortable that machines will do more of the work that human beings currently do.” He warned that a high proportion of jobs are at risk, including skilled jobs. The social and political problems arising from automation need a policy response that doesn’t impede the march of technology. “We don’t need a new Luddite movement”, he said. “There are better ways of dealing with it.”

    • In the same discussion, Daniel McFadden advocated unconditional income transfers to relieve poverty. As an example, he explained how introducing casinos in native American communities along the Rio Grande enabled them to deliver a basic income to the poor. “A lot of economists would think that was not a good thing to do,” he said. “But what happened was that child abuse dropped drastically, spousal abuse dropped drastically, crime dropped. Simply handing money to poor people was salutary. It really helped them. Being trapped in poverty, with the stress and insecurities associated with that, is progressively debilitating. Sometimes even the simplest kind of transfers can break the cycle.”

    • Separately, labor economist Peter Diamond advocated universal basic income in a conversation with Steve Schifferes of City University, London. Professor Diamond, who shared the 2010 Nobel with Sir Chris Pissarides, has become increasingly concerned about income and wealth inequality in the United States, and in particular, about rising child poverty and lack of social mobility. In a recent paper, he approvingly cites Tony Atkinson's book, Inequality:

    – He argues for a capital endowment, a minimum amount given to each person on reaching adulthood. And he also argues for an annual child benefit, which the United States doesn't have, but many European economies do, to help support the finances it takes to help children have better opportunities. It appears to me that these are two very interesting ideas.

    • Professor Diamond notes that Thomas Paine advocated using the estate tax to provide a dividend to young people turning 21, to help them launch their careers, and to provide benefits for sick, disabled and elderly.

    • But how to pay for all of this? Both Sir Chris Pissarides and Professor Diamond advocate higher taxes on high earnings. They also recommend wealth taxes, though they disagree about how these should work: Professor Diamond is strongly in favor of a well-functioning estate tax, while Sir Chris prefers capital gains taxes on property transactions, including family houses. Perhaps the strongest endorsement of wealth taxes came not come from these economists, however, but from their fellow Nobel memorial prize winner, James Heckman. Speaking on the inequality panel, Professor Heckman noted that the falling cost of capital was driving down wages. To correct this, he advocated shifting the burden of taxation to capital rather than labor.

    • Universal basic income is a radical policy that requires a radical funding solution. Reform of taxation must go hand in hand with any attempt to introduce it. For most of history, labor has been abundant and capital scarce, so it made sense to tax labor more highly than capital and demand that people work for their living. But as we enter an ageing world in which capital is abundant and labor relatively scarce, it may make sense to tax capital at least as highly as labor. And if the need for humans as workers and producers declines, as Sir Chris Pissarides predicts, then some form of capital redistribution will be needed to enable the many, not just the few, to take their leisure and enjoy it.


    Making Basic Income UNIVERSAL —

    1. ELIMINATES the hated and counterproductive WELFARE CLIFF, which disincentivizes people from contributing, producing, creating, and working more;

    2. ELIMINATES STIGMA, resentment, recriminations, and potential strife between those who receive it and those who don't;

    3. ELIMINATES the angst, the invasion of privacy, the fear and BUREAUCRACY OF MEANS TESTING;

    4. ELIMINATES the temptation and INDUSTRY OF FRAUD, allegations of fraud, investigations for fraud;

    5. ELIMINATES tying up the CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM into determinations of fraud, obtaining restitution for fraud, and punishment for fraud; and

    6. GIVES the LIBERTY of CHOICE to citizen shareholders receiving the Freedom Dividend.


    The argument that UBI disincentivizes work is usually rooted in a longstanding criticism of welfare: Giving people free money makes them lazy.

    The fundamental difference between welfare and UBI is that: Welfare essentially rewards people for not getting a job, because doing so would mean they can't receive money anymore. This disincentivizes work. In contrast, people wouldn't have to meet any conditions to receive Yang's Freedom Dividend, meaning there'd be NO DISINCENTIVE to contribute their services, to be creative, to produce, or to work.

    The Mother of Invention is Our Laziness and our need to create better, easier solutions to the difficulties in our Lives. Technology is how we make things easier for ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our family, our society. Technology is the product of our inventive search to reduce the hardship of our survival, our labors, in the procurement of our needs. Technology is the child of our capitalistic organizational product to increase efficiencies and reduce costs.

    Our focus on the benefits of technology overlooks the harmful effects from its displacement of human labor. More and more lower income people, lesser skilled people, lesser educated and lesser trained people, lesser adaptable people, and now even skilled workers, professional workers, and competent managers are being displaced from their sources of livelihood and income.

    The technological causes of their displacement are often obscured and not visible to those displaced. There is not a one-for-one in-situs displacement. Technology is remotely centered in different office parks, in different industrial parks, in different automated warehouses, in a bank of servers linked to the 'cloud.'

    The resulting financial hardship for those of us displaced by technology, however overloads our senses with multiple stresses and the mindset of scarcity, and our IQ actually drops 13%.

    By providing core basic financial resources, Yang provides a base foundation of abundance and allows us to think harder in alternative creative ways when our jobs are displaced by technology. When things get tough, the tough get thinking harder. Andrew Yang says, "if we mistake money for the worth of a person, we are lost." Yang is making it possible for Americans to think harder in times of stress, become creative and inventive, with their time and energy to contribute, work and thrive in local communities of abundance in spite of technological displacement.

    • MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. in advocating for a Guaranteed Basic Income (UBI) said,

    "We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of proceeding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished. The poor transformed into purchasers will do a great deal on their own to alter housing decay. Negroes, who have a double disability, will have a greater effect on discrimination when they have the additional weapon of cash to use in their struggle.

      "Beyond these advantages, a host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security. The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands, when he has the assurance that his income is stable and certain, and when he knows that he has the means to seek self-improvement. Personal conflicts between husband, wife and children will diminish when the unjust measurement of human worth on a scale of dollars is eliminated."

    See also, 5 Reasons Why Martin Luther King Jr. Supported a Guaranteed Income, a UBI for All Americans

  • Shock Wave

    The money has to come from the food the state produces so they create goods that have a value and instead of selling them they give the money to citizens so everyone has food. You also need to take housing off the market so everyone has a roof over their head for free. And finally you make energy free to a certain extent and you only pay if you go over the top. Problem solved.

  • mmmk

    UBI is tied to inflation and GDP…. Yes, corporations will earn more which is why they won't lobby against it,but that also means it increases the tax revenue which would increase UBI in return. The government already prints money. The treasurey gives deposit credits to multiple banks to meet hypothetical demands. These demands are for hundreds of multi million projects mostly, so no, adding a UBI budget won't collapse the economy and produce inflation because we don't see contractors do that to the government (most of the time)

  • yellowknight1

    What do you mean with UBI becomes an excuse for companies to not pay their workers a living wage? You just mentioned an example of a company not even employing people because it has robotics, does such a company have the obligation to hire people? It is not an excuse, just a solution.

  • vivaldesque

    The idea of workers having a share in the ownership of assets (which already exists to some extent) is excellent. However, even if this man seems to have a lot of knowledge of a lot of things, I don't think he addressed the question of Universal Basic Income adequately. He mixed a hodgepodge of ideas to explain his impression but his arguments are not scientific by any means. He makes correlations but no solid economic hypotheses. He was apt at showing inconsistencies in the current way of organizing the economy but really fell short when it came to disproving the efficacy of UBI.

  • Palmsun

    Really good perspective, and i wouldn't even argue that this is an incorrect thought. However, that tittle is click bait because the issue described in the video is not a "Colossal problem". This is a good topic to discuss in a debate about UBI, but in my opinion this is a very weak argument against UBI. For sure something to consider with a UBI implementation. Down vote for the COLOSSAL click bait tittle #Shame.

  • Rhotos 2

    I thought the idea of UBI comes from diverting funds and taxing the rich more, instead of printing more money. The way he puts it, i wouldn't agree with causing inflation either…

  • Ryan B

    I still don’t understand why we should give people money for nothing, it really pisses me off, go out and earn it you fucking retards

  • Peter Nguyen

    He mentioned universal basic assets and that is precisely the long-term strategy that is needed in order to survive and thrive in world economy increasingly dominated by artificial intelligence and automation.

    One way to easily distribute universal basic assets like free business education, can be offered by entrapreneurs who believe in this mission of empowering people.

    This is not to say that Andrew Yang's universal basic income is a bad idea. It's just a temporary solution to a problem that will persist.

  • jordan smith

    Andrew Yang for president. His idea for universal income isn’t new and these people are for it “Thomas Paine (one of the USA founding fathers), Richard Nixon, Martin Luther King jr., Milton Friedman, Stephen Hawking, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerburg, Nicole Sallak-Anderson”
    It’s not socialism, it’s capitalism that doesn’t start at zero.

  • Demetrius Middleton

    I really wish we could hear arguments and discussions without emotional words such as crap and garbage and etc. I don't want to hear a bias opinion. I understand we all have bias but I want to hear facts. This guy is so condescending and all I want to do is understand the pros and cons. I really am not even on either side so I have no reason to bash him other than the fact that he is so condescending. I don't trust people who are trying to persuade me using emotions

    He can smile all he once while sounding like a condescending prick, that doesn't change the fact that he's a condescending prick. Communism? Really, that's your solution, communism?

    No thank you!

    And pollution? POLLUTION??? WTF does that have to do with UBI? SMH

  • Ylemonade

    Wouldn't the solution be to pay for it by having corporations forfeit profit beyond a certain level to the UBI fund and distribute it? That way they can still have stuff and it doesn't hurt small business creation.

  • ELR

    "Workers own the means of production"

    He just threw his whole argument out the window and shows he doesn't know what he's talking about.

  • 1NZD

    Point taken that UBI cannot be solely depended on as a complete societal solution, however I would argue that you've lost sight of the true purpose of UBI: It's not intended to fix the system, it's designed to serve as a glass of water for every man and woman. To the rich a glass of water is nothing, but to those who are dying of monetary thirst, it's enough refreshment to keep people's lives moving whilst hopefully unlocking previously unattainable opportunities. To your point, UBI has more of a lower-economic "smoothing" effect (which I would still argue is valuable), however what also needs to happen is a complete mindset shift on capatalism, wealth distribution and taxation within the economic system, whilst avoiding an extreme U-turn in the opposite direction (i.e. communism).

  • triad6425

    Your issue with ubi is that it's not communist. We are doing it as capitalism that doesn't start at zero. There will always be winners and losers. Honestly it's the best way to progress. COMPETITION

  • marcuspelt1911

    I take it algorisms are sending this to Yang followers as a deterrent lol…why else would I see this…touche to the attempt, he wasn't good enough though, didn't succeed

  • Everett McDonough

    They’re not printing more money for UBI. The VAT is funding it. And Uber will be forced to pay their employees more because they will have less supply of workers due to the fact that they have more money given the UBI and won’t need to work for Uber for side hussle.

  • National Study Academy Kim

    And you call yourself an economist? Do you even know what UBI is? It is a self-sustaining principal. We don't get to print extra money where do you get that crap? Most of the funding will come from v a t and trickle-up economy jump, from incarceration and like, as well as savings from 126 US Federal programs. Where do you get that supply-side printing money?

  • National Study Academy Kim

    By the way, rational thinking says that you don't know the future. The verdict is out in Finland but the verdict is in for Alaska. Yes they are different than a national level. But Alaska is a good example how it has created extra income and a cushion for the poor and underemployed. So your economics is better than Milton Friedman who championed basic income? I don't think you're that smart.

  • National Study Academy Kim

    Douglas Rushkoff doesn't understand UBI by Andrew Yang. AY doesn't willy nilly print money up as per Douglas assertion at 4:48. It's absurd.

  • Justin Bosley

    How do we get such ignorant, know-nothing people trying shape, mold and run society? This guy knows absolutely nothing about how the economy runs yet he thinks he can create a new one?

  • fifth_vargr

    Does anyone really think that humans will not be worked to death simply because machines are producing more? A CEO with a human workforce and a robot workforce producing 4 time what the humans make is not going to get rid of the human workers — 5 times the productivity is better than 4 times the productivity. The humans will be worked to burn-out and then replaced, as usual, the only difference being it will done along side an automated production line, which, when we're really talking business, has secondary value it reminding the humans that they are expendable. The level of intelligence that brought about the current economic state and, I think, will lead to something like the above scenario obviously isn't really surpassed in the idea of UBI. I somewhat agree with Rushkoff, though it seems obvious to me that a centralized system will work great for corruption as it always has. Decentralization, where small communities or even individual households own their own means of producing their basic needs sounds nice — why don't we work toward that? The basic technology is already there, usually open source with instructions on how to make it. "But what about my beloved and sacred iPhone 500X," you say? "What about my porn and reality TV?" "What about Chick-Fil-A? I can't live without it!" Bow to your pushers, then. They truly care about your luxurious addictions.

  • Jesse C

    He is right in that UBI is just another government program, which results in the policy makers and their friends staying at the top of the pyramid; but he is terribly wrong to suggest we just need to seize their assets.

    How people cannot see they are two in the same is one of life's great mysteries.

  • Jamie Kloer

    Here is the problem. The economy has grown on the back of credit and predatory finance. Gdp only grows if credit grows it is not sustainable. The same thing happened during the Great Depression. The same thing was said then technology was stealing all the jobs and people weren’t having kids. So now that the credit crisis has knocked the economy down. Now we need universal basic income needs to replace the credit bubble.

  • AmericanPatriot 1776

    It's as though the "government" has unending money in their eyes. Universal Basic Income is redistribution of other people's money. When "other" people run out of money, that's the end of money. Oh, oh, now I need to take a nap.

  • Kenji Miwa

    A few things flawed with this guy's thinking:

    – It's a HUGE stretch to even compare "giving people houses" with UBI. Most proposed UBIs are b/t $500-$1500 per mo. vastly different than "giving people a house" which is hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    – UBI doesn't have to be sourced from "printing more money". In fact we DON'T want to do this to cause macroeconomic inflation.

    – "UBI is an excuse to allow companies like Uber not to pay a living wage". Uber would do this with or without UBI. They will pay what the market will bear, and apparently the market of Uber drivers will bear a non-living wage.

  • Joshua Francis

    What he is saying is valid but Andrew Yang's UBI model is to introduce a VAT that will pay for the UBI not printing money. With the VAT you are taking money from the top and putting it at the bottom, it trickles back up and the process repeats

  • Peter James Photography Gallery

    He’s saying a ubi would be an excuse for companies to jot pay a living wage. Guess what? They don’t need an excuse. That’s already happening. So why not help people survive and live in dignity and pay for it with a VAT.

  • khmer31

    This guy is talking communism. The have and have nots can join to control the assets and means of production. But the problem with that thought is people will have to give up freewill and like animal people won’t give that up voluntarily. Throughout history, the rich and poor are interdependent, but that relationship is going to change because of AI. Manual non repetitive will be the last type that the rich will depend on the poor so technically, jobs will be scarce. Means of production will be much more efficient so much less resources will be used. The Uber example is a flaw. Why would Uber needs drivers when self drive cars become the dominant cars on the road? UBI is the first step to alleviate the burden for human to transition into the life of coexisting with AI. Basic asset needs and so on will follow but everyone controlling the means of production is communism. Perhaps, in 200 years, communism will be great to coexist with AI but if applied before that time, then humanity will self destruct. This is the difference between a professor who never live under a communist regime versus an average person with diverse experience who has lived in all regimes.

  • Muse (blr1224)

    something people forget about yang also what's to change capitalism. human capitalism will complement the ubi by giving Incentives to companies To be better as yang has put it companies are very good at making the bottom line they care only about productivity. they do the horrible things they do because they must to survive and they get rewarded for it if we change how rewards work how the government rewards companies for being better and doing Wellness checks on people as well as forums on how pollution they create and how much they better are world it will better companies

    Capitalism as we run it will fail us in the coming future not because is a horrible system because it is a great yet flawed system and its flaws are getting worse due to automation. Kuala tivity in companies will produce amazingly in the coming years but there want to help us will go down by having incentives to better the world by changing what matters by changing the data to include people and care more about people we make a better for people capitalism

  • gc5484

    Isn't the idea to tax the major corporations who are rising to monopolies to provide for much of the UBI? Corporations who are currently utilizing loopholes to evade taxes while paying below living wages to people working way too hard and are rapidly losing their employment to automation? The idea isnt to just print money, it comes from taxes, and largely taxing the top predators of capitalism, and also subtracting from each individuals UBI the $ amount they are already receiving in govt aid. A symbiotic relationship should have mutual benefits for each other and their ecosystem. I'm actually very new to politics and govt stuff, totally a noob. Thoughts? Be gentle <3

  • Joe Trusnik

    All he really said was that UBI doesn't work if it's done by printing more money. If you find a problem with one particular method, then you haven't found a "colossal problem" with the desired result. It's like criticizing the idea of building a house by pointing out that certain building materials aren't suitable for construction. There isn't a "colossal problem" with building houses, it just means you have to look at different materials.

    Universal assets that require payment for companies to use–as he talks about at the end–is traditionally the plan. It's more like renting resources that are co-owned by all people, and then dividing that rent between all the co-owners. See Henry George, Dwight Murphey, Peter Barnes, etc. I'm not sure where he got the idea that just printing money is what UBI proponents were all about, but he certainly never go the idea by doing his homework.

    There are, to be fair, discussions to be had and criticisms to be found of any particular plan, but he hasn't found a flaw in the idea itself.

  • Trey Slider

    So the problem with UBI is your causing inflation by printing more money? Then don't print it. Take it from somewhere else. Kill Wellfare (won't need it anymore, and the beauracracy of tracking it is more expensive than it's benefit: it also encourages laziness because you lose it if you start bettering yourself it goes away), maybe reduce the military budget (last I heard the US spends 2x the rest of the world combined on our military. I think we can spare a few percent for improving QoL of the citizens), etc. If you think the problem is the wealthy owning everything, implement Luxury taxes: yes they punish people for earning more than they need, but sounds like you don't think that's a negative so go for it.

    You're right that printing money is a terrible plan, but if you're pulling money from pre-existing sources, to empower the poor to actually take part in society, then who cares if the rich get richer? the poor will also get richer, and as long as we all get richer together, the money to maintain that system has to come from somewhere (and good luck removing it once you implement it: you'll have all the poor in the country ready to riot because you're plan is to starve them to line your pocket)

  • Janos Abel

    Rushkoff is simply saying that UBI is not going to address the environment-destroying behaviour of the current economic system. It is not meant to do that.

    However, UBI liberates people from being tied to jobs so they become free to,
    a) learn to understand what is wrong with the primitive capitalist production system and,
    b) to create, hopefully, lobbies and pressure groups through the democratic system and change the justifying ideological model that sustains current economic practice.

  • Civil Savant

    It's funny that Douglas wants to sound like he is looking at the long-term picture, while he is obviously ignoring the long-term goal. UBI is not about just giving people more money so they can spend more money, it's about taking a step closer to a world where money is irrelevant, unnecessary, and meaningless. Capitalists have this imbecilic idea that some people should have more or have less because they are somehow worth more or worth less. To reinforce this idea, they've established this nonsensical system that excludes all the most talented and inspired individuals from contributing to society effectively simply because they don't have access to the opportunities they need, which are restricted by this money-based system. Currently, and since at least a few millennia ago, the world's wealthy exploit this money-based system as a tool to keep humanity pressed down into servitude and total reliance. UBI lessens that reliance on the opportunities permitted by the rich, which reduces their power over society, and enables us to further mechanize our infrastructure without putting people out of their living. Here are your options: break apart this money-based system and create a new age of genuine equality(which begins with steps like UBI), or let the rich sit and wait for the pitchforkers to gather and murder them all. At which point, those rich will demand protection from militaries, and it will be a war of states against nations, and our global infrastructure will collapse and have to be revived from scratch. Frankly, I'm fine with that second option, I'll be perfectly happy to round up the world's wealthy and burn to death them and all of their sympathizers, and so would be half the world (an amount that swells every day), but UBI is a doorway into achieving the same goal without the bloodshed. I should THINK most people would prefer that.

    Although, this assumes a true democracy, which does not exist, as far as I know. The bloody route may require pitchforking down the state before the rich. I'll be fine with that, too. This is what people like Douglas need to realize. While you may be content in your bubble world of ease and luxury, the world around you has had enough. Being civil did not work to humanity's benefit, and now we're creeping toward a mentality in which we'll do literally anything for the chance of having just a single moment of freedom before we die.

  • Tea Jay

    Nope, i will never support UBI, you work then you get a paycheck from the business if you are too lazy to work you get nothing, you get fired or layed off then you gave systems in place to cover you while you get a job, if you cant work you have disability checks, but if any able body adult just doesnt want to work they shouldnt get a cent

  • JoyceEast

    Wow… For someone spouting completely irrelevant and illogical arguments bordering on delusional psychosis, he sure went into trouble to make such a seemingly-professional clip. 
    Wow if someone SO WRONG can promote such misleading misinformation online, really makes one scared for how much of the population might be affected negatively by such a bad video clip!
    Please can we FILTER and regulate the SXXX that are being posted online???!!!

  • JoyceEast

    Wow, I've never seen this many dislikes on any one video. Glad to see most people on this earth at least can discern from this illogical and unfiltered incoherent stream of consciousness. This clip really just tanked Big Think's credibility. (Uhh… are they trying to rip off the name of Think Big?)

  • Pouncingpuma7

    Completely misses the actual point and makes random non-supportive arguments. This man is just rambling and going on about pollution and waste, the government "printing more money" which nobody who supports this idea has ever brought up, and shortages in workers.
    No sources or evidence cited. No organization or cohesive set of statements. Just rambling.

  • Manuel Branco

    Nha – it's not really ass-backward UBI. the problem is this jerks head is so far up his ass he is a firm believer in his own sickness.
    please try to get some rest and jerk off more often. BIG THINK? Don't you mean BIG STINK?

  • Generic Username

    It depends on how you raise the funds. Instead of VATs (that require a huge bureaucracy to charge) or printing money, the program could be financed through a sovereign wealth fund. All US companies would be required to give a set percentage of their stock to the fund. As the economy grows the UBI payments would increase.

  • Eric White

    You make a good point, but uber will be using self driving cars soon. Also you really didn’t explain at all how your “plan” would work and why it is better than UBI. UBI may be a bandaid but it would help with a ton of problems.

  • KLJF

    the thing you haven't taken into account is the fact that the unemployed are currently persecuted and sanctioned by the government to the point were people are taking their own lives .

  • Clovie Pounders

    No one entity/party should own the "means of production". The system should be kept balanced like a multi-plate scale with all participants working for the betterment of the economy itself rather than company profit or workers benefits or government control/interference. It's supposed to be a compromise to benefit all parties. Not a profiteering scam between some over another. I'm not sure what the best answer is but shifting to one side will ruin the system entirely.

  • Dylan Myatt

    How would Uber use a UBI to justify lowering their wages? Uber’s already in the process of transitioning to pay drivers minimum wage (aka can’t legally lower wages any further).


    The More He Talks, The LESS Sense ( Less Rational ) He Seems To Become. He Goes From Rational ( @ Beginning ) To irrational ( @ End ). iWould NOT Be Surprised if if He Was Jewish, Meaning They ( Jewish People ) Always Use Bait And Switch, including With American Constitution Was Mostly Written By Jewish Founding Fathers, Who Most Of Them Objected To Bill Of Rights, is WHY Bill Of Rights is Often ignored By OUR Morally Lacking Government By ALL Branches Of Our Government For Past # Of Centuries, Since 1777 : ALL Branches Of Our Morally Lacking Government ignore ( OUR ) Basic Bill Of Rights (!).

  • Don’t Get Caught Slipp’n

    Why only assume what gets created are useless; there’s already dozens of it now, but people still buy it. Do you have any idea what the social ramifications are if displaced workers continue to pile up with automation? Or we just sit and wait to find out..

  • Sintrias

    2:40 Completely untrue. I am an automation expert in the IT field. Automation is going to take your job. Eventually, any job can and will be automated. The more mundane, repetitive jobs will be and are being automated first. Natural speech AI will replace a lot of call center work and will eventually replace almost 99% of call center employees. Even my job will be automated to the point that my skill is not as necessary, but that will be later since there are so many intricacies associated with software development. We've been automating jobs away from people for a good while now and technology growth is almost always exponential, meaning the more it advances and spreads, the faster it does so. Jobs may be slowly automated away today but 10 years from now, it will be much more commonplace. 20 years and the majority of the most common jobs will be completely automated such as logistics, call centers, fast food, retail, and more. We need UBI now to begin the transition or else the common American citizen will be on the streets while corporations profit without the need of human labor.

  • Matthew Reichlin

    Well, he is not wrong that a UBI would be just enough to keep people in a perpetual state of bare subsistence, which is why I oppose it. but my solution is more capitalism, more jobs, more participation in the economy, not take the rich's money and give some to the poor.

    But, as Will Rogers said, if you give money to the poor, the rich will have it by nightfall, but at least it passed through the poor man's hands.

  • Field Flower

    There is a severe worker shortage growing all over the country because the biggest generation is retiring, there's not near enough workers to replace to them. There are somewhere around 10,000 workers hitting retirement age every day. As I was researching it, I found so many stories I decided to make a playlist.

    This is part of the big picture, too. If It's left out of the conversation how can we get an accurate understanding of the situation?

  • Jordan P

    I love the idea about universal basic "assets"- or you could say "resources" instead. It's a step toward a decentralized network of communities where opportunity cannot be purposely concentrated to be provided only under conditions that serve the greed of the already wealthy. Its kind of remniscient of Noam Chomsky's anarcho-socialism.

    UBI itself is a step toward a heavily government dependent population. As much as it seems like part of a solution (and it could be), it's still a dangerous precedent to set in world where people feel more and more entitled to shit being served up to them on a platter. What happens when UBI doesnt solve the problem? Do we start levying the size of handouts? The argument wouldn't just end there. Its pushers would just claim its not being done right, as they've always claimed about every failed example of socialism.

  • MrChristopherGuest

    He describes what is happening now, only the people don't get the money before the rich people. The government just prints it and hands it to the rich people directly. Hmmm…UBI sounds better.

  • Isaac Schumacher

    Who says we would have to print more money? It's not that UBI wouldn't work… it's that Douglas's version of it is a horrendous model. Yang's UBI gives the top dogs a hair cut so the rest of us can eat in peace. It's also completely ignorant to assume production will slow down just because of environmental costs. Corporations will continue raking the earth as long as people's #1 priority in life is paying their bills to survive. The most practical way to combat climate change is to bring everyone out of poverty as fast as possible–only then will we all start to care.

  • Bully

    So…. Liberals dont want to pay the higher taxes they are making other people pay? Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. this is why im conservative

  • pine cone

    UBI does not necessarily have to create inflation. This is plain for anyone to see, so there is no excuse for your cognitive dissonance. If you want to see an example of how this can be done, visit
    Next time skip the logical fallacies and do the math.

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