Universal Basic Income: A Critique
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Universal Basic Income: A Critique

So let’s just say that the post-Great Recession job situation is absolutely gack recently – in the UK about 7 million workers are employed in very precarious work situations, 2.5 million are employed in online work platforms like uber, and about 1 million people are on zero hours contracts, so yeah it’s pretty shit. Other things are really just getting quite rocky; the lack of jobs has led to a skyrocketing in food banks under the tories say hello to Capitalist bread lines and rough sleepers have increased by over 50 percent in just a few years. In other words, our welfare system is just not coping well enough with our worldwide globalized economy. So when we talk about UBI most of us are understandably ecstatic, and rightly so. UBI will provide a greater freedom for workers. You’ve only snooped into jobs it will incentivize Automation for those careers and people will be able to pursue more interesting routes but it will also be a sort of payment for those who do home and reproductive labour, and many even consider this to be a capitalist shortcut to communes. But there is a darker side to UBI that is just not touched on that much and no, I’m not talking about the Libertarian Red Scare rhetoric, so let’s just call this ‘universal basic income: uh, a critique.’ Firstly let’s remind ourselves of where the ideas of basic income came from. It is true That this policy can be loved by both the left and the right, but love from very different perspectives. Whilst it has its roots in, well like most things, Greece, it was postulated in a more modern sense in between and after the war But its intentions here were for stability, not progress. With a fear of communist infiltration and the expansion of labour unionization, basic income was thought of as a method of preserving the status quo. Later one of the most famous examples of this was postulated by the late Milton Friedman in the fall of the negative income tax. The basic premise? It’s a flat tax system, but with universal credit. Therefore low-income earners don’t technically pay anything in tax until they reach a certain level, because they’re supplemented by credit. Therefore the incentives of people will always be towards making more money, without tax burdens. Friedman’s reasoning to this was the belief that charity is the number one solution to society’s ills under capitalism, and not social safety nets. Therefore, negative income tax would create a self-reliant taxpayer through the gradual elimination of social services, to be replaced by private ventures due to peoples larger amounts of wealth. Friedman’s belief in this go back to the Victorian Era of captialism and beyond, where the so-called Lodge Practice, amongst other institutions, provided to the poor, rather than the state. “You know that in 19th Century they sold insurance against poverty? They- There were mutual aid societies we would all get together and buy insurance in a sense insuring all of us.” This is, in many ways, a deeply ingrained myth of sorts. It’s true that this did happen in some avenues but there’s a reason they were gotten rid of. Most practices were of poor standard; you could only receive benefits if you were a member of an institution, you had to be of a certain age, usually you wouldn’t get life-saving procedures, and this wouldn’t always apply to families or unemployed people either. If you compare this with 70 years of the NHS, it’s night and day, but it gets even darker. Friedman also questioned whether or not people who only had the income grant should be allowed to vote, seeing as if they were allowed to do so they would obviously vote for more money towards their pockets instead of bootstrapping themselves out of poverty. This, along with the destruction of public services, really spells a more disturbing and anti-progressive nature upon basic income. We together have fought, not necessarily voted, for measures that have improved our ways of life; minimum wages, health care, council housing, and free and open education. I fear that if this is indeed the strong lineage of what basic income has wanted, I’m personally a skeptic. Bear in mind, folks, the companies of today will become the automated firm holders of tomorrow; they’re still going to be in charge, and they’re still going to be deciding things. It’s all well and good thinking of the UBI will be the ignition key towards Star Trek’s super abundance, but it’s really not the case when you still got people in the same societal roles as we see today – not much has changed just everybody has a bit more dosh in their pockets. It is true that western countries have had plenty of plans set up to make sure that we’re not all showing out on the streets; the National Health Service is a shining example. Surely then if we oppose UBI as it’s against our interest, the NHS is also something that we ought to oppose. There is a problem with this: The health service is a state-based solution; free access is the point of use. UBI, on the other hand, is a market-based solution. Now the two do not oftenly swing hand-in-hand. On the one hand, you’ve got something that guarantees money to be used in the economy; on the other hand, you’ve got something that provides people with basic essentials, such as education and health care. Now, markets are not a good thing to go down – most of the time they’re pretty big no-no. Reason why is they’re very easy to be swept up by opportunists whenever the price is right, simply because the profit motive is still used in the economy. Now, I don’t think that this is what the left should be about. A lot of centrist types have got it in their head, quite understandably, that the left is about equal distribution of wealth, but that’s really not what the legacy has stood for. It should instead and it has indeed always been about, ownership, control, and democracy. I know it might sound odd to some, but might I say that one of the biggest myths we’ve ever been told is that the greatest freedom is freedom to choose. Because at the end of the day what are you really choosing in day to day examples of this? Very little choice that would actually affect society as a whole. What does give us a greater ability to actualize our freedoms is waking up with a broken ankle, and knowing that you won’t have a hundred doctor’s bills to pay by the end of the month. You know, from me and my friends’ experiences in the gig economy, UBI is basically falling in line with common neo-liberal principles; shifting all the burden onto someone else. Now you may find that silly but believe me you’ll wake up someday and find that your waste job as a barista has now turned into a piecework job with concessions and no labor laws. Let’s not also forget that reforms are destined to be altered depending upon economic highs and lows. The health service in my country is in shark-infested waters right now. That’s not even including benefits, pensions, and higher education. They’re all coming tumbling down due to the swinging pendulums of bureaucracy. We can’t just think that this will be the end our immediate worries; it won’t. It’s subject to massive attacks and corruption; instead, we’ve got to think deeper. Now a common rebuttal to this critique is that we can just introduce measures to prevent it, but I’ve yet to actually find many substantiated ways of solving this. What I tend to find is “measures will need to be enacted” “protection policies will need to be enacted” – “humane policies will need to be enacted” If we want this to work for us, there needs to be actual, clear thought out and analyzed ways in which this can be done, rather than just an appeal to policy reform. Remember: it should come as a warning sign when some of the richest men in the room are advocating this apparent “for the people” deal. Many of them are wanting UBI in order to take down social services and improve their own gain. And just because you don’t want them to…. they do. And they have a lot more influence than you do. Bargaining power is one of the key ways workers hold on to their gains; united we bargain, divided we beg. By taking the emphasis of a large amount of people’s role in production, distribution, sale of goods… You’re removing a tremendous degree of that bargaining power, which is surely not in our interests. It’s all well and good to think of austerity is simply some ideological problem, but it’s really not. It’s a very understandable thing to do from the viewpoint of those who stand to lose a lot of money and influence. Let’s use a similar example and work this out. What if we made it by law that every single person had to have a job, 100% employment, no excuses. The boss, and the firm, for that matter, would lose an enormous amount of power over its workforce, because in normal working conditions, firms just fire employees if they aren’t needed, or if they get out of line – but now, unless as a position available elsewhere, firing would not be an option. As of such, there is no longer a power dynamic between the two groups, but the boss still controls the firm. So this is not a good solution for those in charge, which is why if it ever were to be implemented, for any reason, there would need to be a loss of concessions for the business owner in other forms. Now, even if these demands were possible to be reached and maintained, I think that they would come at huge costs. History lesson: Britain actually founded its welfare system from exploiting tin and copper reserves in Southeast Asia. I can only imagine that the largely pacified and okay with what they’ve got generation could open the floodgates to untold amounts of misery in the Third World. We need more democracy, not more money. One argument is the UBI will allow us to pursue further endeavors; people who might want to learn a trade but don’t have the time nor the monetary ability would now be allowed to do so. This would extend our ability to express ourselves and innovate to a spectacular degree. And to the budding revolutionary, the opportunity to organize for a greater tomorrow. But alas, let’s remember, a market is a market is a market. The firms are still in the interest of making a profit. Remember that graph about productivity being three times higher than what workers on average are paid? Who’s to say that similar things won’t ring true for UBI? The proposed basic income in Switzerland was 24k. I could, and have, live happily on half of that, but not in a land where coffee is seven francs each. We may find ourselves still needing to find some work, but because it’s not as necessary anymore, wages are gonna tank. As time goes on, basic income will need to be increased in order to cover costs, and after a while, we’ll be seeing the old age arguments around how we can’t raise this policy because if we do then the cost of goods will just increase further and further. Insecurity may well foster. Bear in mind, I am under no impression the UBI is going to make us lazy – far from it. What I’m interested in is whether or not UBI is going to prevent precarity; the daily grind of each and every one of us holds upon our shoulders. Now I do want people to be getting out there I do want people to have more free time to organize you know to explore more things to research more. We are not in a good position to be doing that when we come home after an eight-hour day and knowing that we’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow, but in order to get my point across of my criticisms towards this idea without using the n-word again is… yeah, I’m going to have to break Godwin’s Law. Ready? During the Nazi regime the country enacted a program called Strength Through Joy. It was a system designed, on paper, to create strenght through their occupations and joy through their leisure time, but there was a twist – its actual purpose was to provide people with a plethora of leisurely activities so they could take their mind off anything politically destructive and influence the regime status quo. I’m not saying by the way that this is our future – no, far from it, but I just want people to bear in mind, once again; this is not in our hands. Markets find ways of solving issues in ways that we simply cannot predict. Will UBI lead us to take ventures beyond capitalism or will markets find roots about keeping us on the straight and narrow? Our goal towards a better society is surely free access as opposed to free to choose. This is not going to benefit our progress towards that ideal at all. And I must say I find myself in a funny predicament; in my pursuit to eliminate the need for work, I’m, ironically, defending work, at least for the time being, because I fear about what will come if we give up our one piece of bargaining power. It’s worth noting of course that the theoretical basic income can work. The money is there – there’s plenty of it, but the problem is our incentives in this economy are based around our current one; as of such, it’s the structures of the economy that need to change, not more duct-tape. UBI is a band-aid for capitalism, it is not a transitionary apparatus for Socialism. I tend to have two points for realistic working solutions to society’s problems that might well be universal. Number one: if it sounds annoying, number two: if it doesn’t fit in 140 character tweet. Now, I know how it works omit is not being able to have this saving grace that will help us all but unfortunately it appears right now that the only practical solution that will fall in our interests would be stronger unionization and opposition to innovation. But there are huge hurdles to this: for one, we’ve tried this in the past and it never went down too well, even when union membership was vapidly higher than it is today. I also just can’t see a large enough of the first world opposing innovation when we simply love it so much Not to mention, as I’ve said, it’s well within the interest of firms to automate. My feeling is, as time goes on, businesses are going to realize that there aren’t enough people with money to spend and there aren’t enough bullshit jobs being created. Thus, UBI will have to be implemented to further the markets, but it won’t be in our control, and this is the big problem. The truth of the matter is, I’m not sure what the solution could be to our problems. Perhaps, as some union guys have said, redistributing work for the time being as opposed to wealth. This would, in doing so, eliminate a lot of the so-called bullshit jobs. What we as people should be aiming for right now is economic power as opposed to more money. It doesn’t matter how much money you have if it can all be changed by the fluctuations of the markets or the will of bureaucrats. Easy-fix solutions to complex problems are never a good route to go down. So too long didn’t read; my basic point here is that UBI is going to have to be implemented at some point in the future for the sake of preserving markets. A problem of course is it’s not going to be in our control, but if it was in our control, Well, why do you want to stop there? So it’s that time again folks I’d like to say thank you to all of my patrons and in addition to the ones going down the left-hand side the screen I’d like to say a special thank you to: Comrade King; Failure First; the Fatuous Pauper; Henry M Longstaff; Jakey’s Isaac; Jaden Kerby; Mattos; Ryan William Cox; Stephen Price; Tom Hat; and Zachary Dejoe. That’s a really cool name by the way. So thank you very much guys and just let you know this video might not be entirely accurate I mean, I may have gotten plenty of my facts wrong But I’m just offering what I can as a little bit of a critique To this idea that a lot of people are getting behind and I just don’t think that it’s entirely in our interests Oh, yeah, what do you think type in the comments below and I’ll see you next time. Bye. Bye


  • Timothy Johnson

    Currency creation in excess of economic growth is theft from all who labor for currency.
    The stolen wealth must be returned to those from whom it was stolen.

    Source: DuckDuckGo alcuinbramerton blogspot white spiritual boy off ledger

  • Tonol Togovoli

    Very good points in this video. A poorly implemented basic income can be more destructive than not doing it at all.

    A shift in perspective and social order would have to take place. People would have to start respecting strangers, be open minded, gather all the facts, not move fast and break things, hype flashy but useless products, and abuse the trust of strangers. We need to make it easier for people to trust each other. A basic income, along with other social reforms like shorter workdays can allow that paradigm shift to take place, which can in turn make those reforms stick. It's a chicken and egg situation, we need to start somewhere and make sure we successfully implement both.

  • Lambertorix

    Here's a marxist way to implement UBI : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhg0SUYOXjw
    the vidéo is in french but there's english subs on it if you go in the settings, enjoy 😀

  • zhess 4096

    @BadMouseProductions What do you think of Market Socialism? We still have money and a government, but instead of autocratic corporations, we have worker owned and managed cooperatives. Profit is still there and the government is there to "tax" cooperatives to state banks where entrepreneurs could get loans to start new cooperatives and such. There would still be income inequality, but not in a way where one could get a 1000 times more than an average. There would be publicly owned hospitals, education, and land but if you want to start a car making company, restaurant chains, or a tech company, it needs to be worker owned and and democratic without need for stock markets. Of course, it still has markets, but it's less tedious than non markets to set prices and stuff.

  • Tran Son

    mean why , me as a 18 year old boy in german chilling at home playing video games :v welfare is so nice i just keep flexing on my american friends i could go to work but why should , i have everything i need, food a home a pc and an internet connection.

  • ToyStoreJon

    Weird video. Can be summarised as "Basic Income isn't my platform so it's bad." Very confused by the statement that a basic income would give employers more leverage? Seems basically incoherent to say that allowing people to walk away from shitty employers somehow gives those employers more leverage.

  • Santiago Infantino Moreno

    Thank you for posting videos with such information. The way you present complex arguments is illuminating, great effort man!

  • Moonatik

    1:31 Oh lord, the cursed Critical Past watermark. The fact that we need to pay to use historical footage in the public domain without a watermark is why capitalism needs to go.

  • Pedro Campos

    this is why I think that one possible solution would be to fight for the right of ownership. instead of receiving money from the tax-collecting government, we would receive dividends from stock which we would always own. huge problem related to collective action, but it would change the structure of legitimacy related to distribution of wealth

  • Andrew Masters

    Perhaps the solution is to cycle the excess of production into personal /household capital (technologies, skills, equipment) that allows for provision of material basic needs. Because this is a physical provisioning, we don't have to worry about inflation.

    As a concrete example, what would happen if every household could get a gbp10k renewable energy grant.

  • anubis2814

    I would say that if its paid for by an automation tax, and there are plenty of public options, UBI could be great and could increase one's power in the workplace as you could survive and still choose to not work if the conditions are shitty. Automation tax would slow innovation too. However knowing capitalism it will go horribly wrong. Much of the social services we have in the US waste a ton on means testing, so it would be a step up for us, not so much for other nations.. Only 10% of Americans are now in Uniopns as well so this would boost our leverage massively. Though I still want Warren's idea of require half the people on boards to be the workers.

  • John MacDonald

    I think you have some really good ideas and arguments, I consider what you're saying to be probably true, but the sources are just like the ones of those "UBI is best" articles you showed, they dont point to reasons why you're right, just to people who agree with you.

  • Princess Mononokeynes

    That video was dumb as shit, tbh. And Im already a subscriber to him too. It's criticism mostly comes down to "capitalists are starting to catch on that UBI might be a good idea, which means it's a bad idea." Also that Milton Friedman liked it so it could replace the welfare state; to which I say so what, implement UBI still and just keep the rest of the welfare state too, not too complicated. Or that it's a "market solution." By that I take it he doesn't care for reforms and is strictly revolutionary? So what, let people starve while we wait for revolution? Or let people starve to force them into revolution instead of reform (which is psychopathic, if you ask me.) I think this is a case of leftists getting caught up in their own theory without thinking through the real world implications. Also, I hate to be that guy, but one of the problems I have with lefttube is that a perverse incentive exists which lends itself to controversy, since that gets clicks/ad revenue and that, frankly, puts bread on the breadtubers table.

  • Bill Kong

    If your nation doesn’t embrace automation then someone else will, then supplant your economy with their surplus. At that point you have to maybe a choice.
    1. Close international trade.
    2. Try to start revolutions in all the other countries whether their people want it or not.

  • Scott Isitt

    Thank you for uploading. I was about to lose my mind seeing all the blind support for UBI without looking at the problems/implications.

  • Trotskisty

    From Co-op stores, to credit unions, to death benefits memorial societies… this has all been done to death before.
    And Capitalism HAS killed them all.

  • ZerqTM

    UBI is interesting… worker flexibility and re-training potential would benefit business if that is the only concession then it may be worth it…
    Unions still need to be strong as does the social safety net that cant change for it to be viable..

    But laws ensuring workers cant be let go as easily may be changed if the results of loosing a job are mitigated like this then so long as tax money is put aside for worker retraining programs etc to ensure everyone has what they need to be valuable on the jobs market then i think it may work.

    more flexibility and retraining will help start ups etc especially in IT and that should mean more jobs.

    it may be more of a disadvantage in low skill jobs and other industries… not at all sure what works here… i know they have experimented with this in Finland but not sure what results they got…

    I suppose a partial opt in system wouldn't make sense though that would allow this to be implemented for industries where the system make sense and workers would not be greatly disadvantaged by it.

    anyway i hope more experimentation is done with this to see what effects it has in a real world test.

  • Albert Florian

    I like your video, but I have to contradict in two major points. First of all, I think you cannot simply deduct from the fact that Zuckerberg, Musk and others support the UBI that they want to use it to cut social services. Rather the avantgarde of todays high-tech-capitalism seriously fears that with automation, the disappearing of well paid jobs and the shrinking purchasing power of the middle class, flanked by a simultaneous enormous enhancement of productivity will lead to an economic collapse with destructive consequences for themselves. So it is basically the idea of securing the purchasing power of broad segments of society that is behind the support of UBI by high-tech-entrepreneurs. We arrived at a moment where the technological development forces capitalists to pay people to buy their goods, as it was predicted by André Gortz.

    My second point is that UBI is from a purely theoretical view way more radical than the job guarantee. It brings a profound changement to socialization under capitalist conditions. The job guarantee is an attempt to artificially keep socialization through wage labour alive at a point where this principle is in a deep crisis because of the replacement of human workforce by machines. The point of socialization through labour is basically that one should not be able to live well without working, but since there is not enough work for everyone, the state creates an artificial supplementary demand on the labour market. Why keeping such a principle artificially alive if we can replace it? Material participation founded in wage labour has to be replaced by guaranteed material participation founded in collective ownership of what I call "technical intelligence". The "technical intelligence", the knowledge and crafts that created A.I., robots, all this stuff is then considered as a social product, since it all would have been impossible without the contribution of the state (by state funding of research and development, the public eductation system etc.). Therefore every member of society should have its share of the profits gained by it.

    I also think that the job guarantee is a model that worked well in the 1930s but would fail today. Back then, it was market saturation that lead to a crash of the economy. Roosevelt created the WPA, people built streets, dams, power grids and so on, then came war economy, and then all the workforce was needed to provide Europe and Japan with goods during the Marshall Plan. Workers were finally able switch from the state sector into the private sector, as it was originally intended. But what is coming is not a crisis caused by the market and lacking demand, but by the changing means of production. People are not able to handle the new means of production and therefore lose their jobs. It is totally illusory that people in the public work programs will all find their way back to the "regular" labour market one day (meeting a private demand for their workforce) once automation has changed the latter radically and made their trained abilities useless. They rather will stay in the public labour sector for the rest of their lives. Plus, the extremely high bargaining power of workers will lead to even more automation and therefore disappearance of jobs since it will become less expensive for businesses to buy a robot than to employ a human worker. It's kind of a dream that one could restore the bargaining power of workers with the job guarantee after the unions power has been crushed by Neoliberalism. In the end, the job guarantee will lead to the exact same results of the unions high bargaining power in the 70s; only that instead of factories moving to China we will have radical automation and therefore job loss, and the rising state debts will sooner or later lead to the abandonment of the job guarantee and a new wave of precarity.

    Therefore I think that a UBI at a living wage is a way better solution than the job guarantee. Yet I think that people who have a job and earn well should get a reduced amount of money since they already profit from the social technical intelligence by their labour/wages.

  • Sean McCarter

    Isn't one of the good things about UBI that it makes labor less exploitative? If you're two choices are no longer work or starve because if you quit you can survive off of UBI then won't it create way more bargaining power?

  • Dylan Ross

    huuuu duuuuuu UBI is bad because if we give the workers more money they won't want to be anarchists anymore.
    fuck this, man. people are starving out here. asking for nothing short of revolution isn't gonna improve people's lives. what the fuck else are we unionizing for, if not to improve the situation of the working class?

  • Charlie W

    It could be a 'band-aid for capitalism' (and if it were implemented today, then yeah), but I imagined a socialist version. I assumed the idea was to have UBI ON TOP of the NHS, labour rights, maternity leave, pensions, insurance, etc etc. My idea of it was that because so many people are spending more time than necessary doing 'bullshit jobs', and at the same time we have the ability to automate so much, saving time and labour, then from a production point of view it'd be stupid not to have machines do the work. The profit still gets made, but instead of having capitalists owning everything and getting more and more (which I suppose is what you're cautioning against, in which case I completely get why they'd support that), if there was a norm of public/'state'/social ownership of factories, etc, we could make that profit and use it to pay UBI to the entire population. Loads of jobs would go, but it wouldn't be bad if the resources were shared rather than hoarded. Those that did work would still get some earnings from it, but it'd be a choice rather than an expectation or need, if someone felt UBI wasn't enough and wanted a bit more.

    I am aware though that it wouldn't just turn out that way if it were implemented here overnight, and you're right that it'd likely end up being something the right use to 'look good' and basically throw the public a carrot before getting back to ruling as normal. Making an effort to look good for a second, before swiftly undoing several other things and taking us back to where we started or worse.

  • lee comstock

    I don't see why UBI would make the labor class less powerful. If you don't HAVE TO work to live, you have a lot more leverage at the work place. Wages could also go up because why would you work for a shitty wage when you don't have to.

    I also don't see why the rich and powerful would be forced into implementing UBI to maintain the status quo. Every single UBI paycheck could instead just be replaced by some government bullshit job, like for example, everyone could just work at the unemployment office! That way the system chugs along while people don't have too much free time to ponder things or rebel against anything. Come up with some kind of bullshit job where you're forced to spend 8 hours a day in a boring room where the only thing you can do to not lose your mind is buy more useless consumerist junk, and you're golden, now you've forced the population into a inescapable cycle of mass consumption. Come to think of it, this is frighteningly close to that Black Mirror episode.

    The only rich and powerful people talking about UBI are from what I can tell the silicon valley folks who are a bit of an eccentric futurist outlier.

  • Sinom Irneja

    You said my point at the end.
    Given that no one would oppose innovation (in normal situation it would be a crazy thing to even suggest) I think UBI might be the only way we can have any bargaining power.

  • radicalprolapse

    What if it was set to the cost of essential goods… still a loss of economic power and no change in political power but at least people are protected from poverty

  • hogpen

    Uh what? You may not like markets but that doesn't stop the basic market dynamic of demand-and-supply holding true. You UBI away a significant portion of the labor market's supply and the demand is higher resulting in increased price/wages.

  • aid_n

    If UBI were given to each adult at a rate of some percentage of the GDP per capita, I think that would solve some of the market issues you mentioned.

  • CF Jahren

    i see a lot of people saying that "well if you're bleeding then a band-aid helps". i get that. but. the version you're imagining is not what it would be in the current system. it would be highly unlikely to actually help you, because it can be used not just to curtail social safety nets, but as an argument to lower wages – which is exactly what every elon musk in the universe is hoping for. and, as badmouse points out, shift the power dynamics further in favor of those who stand to gain by privatizing social services.

    i would not trade my health care and free education away for a much smaller lump sum. that's called a tax cut. it's not worth it, and that's why capitalists are ecstatic about it.

  • Christopher Perisho

    Who is going to take a job with shit pay when they already have income for free? Enough people will simply remove themselves from the labor market and since their basic needs are seen too will have much higher standards for the jobs they are willing to take. UBI will drive up the price of labor, not lower it. The idea that it would devalue labor is absurd, it would do the exact opposite. Gone will be taking a job so you don't starve to death or end up on the street. Nope, I'll wait for a better offer, thanks.

  • joe dursi

    4:11 that is Via Garibaldi in Turin, Italy, and I legit jumped a meter high when I recognized it

    i have accepted to see all in my life, except finding a corner of my city used as a stock video 😂😂

  • Saskeru

    9:52 Why would any business in their right mind do that? That would mean less money for customers to spend, which means less money for them to gain.

  • Anthony Valdez

    “I may have gotten plenty of my facts wrong” Why would you make a 15 minute long video about an extremely complex socioeconomic proposal that you haven’t throughly fact-checked? I desperately hope that everyone that sees this comment decides to independently research the socioeconomic reasoning behind this idea and the various responses to it. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with him but Andrew Yang (democratic presidential candidate for 2020) laid out his argument eloquently on a very recent episode of the Joe Rogan Podcast (Joe Rogan Experience).

  • Scott Shea

    I get that this is missing the point, but uhhh…. How’s somebody going to wake up with a broken ankle??? Like, did they fall in their sleep? Or did somebody sneak into their room and bash their foot in during the night??

    Either way, I’m having a hard time seeing this scenario as relevant or particularly representative. Love the video and keep up the good work!!!!

  • Will Huntley-Clarke

    Without universal basic housing, education and healthcare UBI would just be a way for market capitalists to increase their income at the expense of the state and taxpayer.

  • Byzantine Darkwraith

    I think having the right to your existence regardless of labor would be a massive leap forward in human rights. People would be free to pursue their interests and become great at something they love. Now, this should not be predicated on the removal of any other benefits, except perhaps means testing (only affecting say the top 10% of earners, if they did receive any benefits). People who are disabled, elderly, children, or one of many other vulnerable groups need to be taken care of and have their welfare, healthcare, housing, etc. taken care of, and that can't be swept away with "UBI" as the excuse. However, if it's only added to the system, with no removal of any benefits (except perhaps means testing affecting only the very rich), it could only possibly help us. If we have an entire society of people who are independent of their boss, their families, and the need to constantly work. They could make their desire for greater control over production known with much greater convenience. I know you address (who knows, maybe all) these points during the video, but I think it's important that UBI be supported if an honest, no-strings-attached attempt to enact it does occur.

  • Absurd Hero Rx

    Here's the other thing though. We are ALREADY losing the jobs that give us bargaining power. Our jobs are becoming obsolete. Sure, it will probably be at least another hundred years before ALL jobs are done by machines, but this is what we're approaching. We are becoming obsolete and automation is NOT going to stop. UBI is a good way to feed those of us who are currently obsolete and if we get UBI NOW while we HAVE bargaining power. if we wait, it's not going to be pretty. For example, you know how we're using people who have become obsolete now? SLAVE LABOR. IN PRISONS. Can't get a job? steal food, go to jail. Have nowhere to live? go to jail for trying to sleep in a building or on the street- it doesn't matter. cops are likely to fuck with you constantly when you're homeless. Oh wait, all those times going to jail has made the judge throw the book at me and now I'm in prison working for slave labor. (This has actually happened to me. And I live in supposedly super progressive Portland. .. We aren't progressive though. We're Neoliberal city who brands themselves as progressive and please pay no attention to the shit ton of neonazis. Anyway, the point is that extreme poverty is very criminalized and mental health problems are "solved" with jail. and repeated jail sentences often becomes prison, where corporations profit off your slave labor. Think about other places like Arizona or Texas. This is already happening. It's better to bargain while we still have some power.)

  • Panfried Egg

    I'm just wondering why it has to be an all or nothing thing. Why not both? We already have welfare, but it creates a ceiling that perpetuates poverty. So, UBI.
    Like, until basic needs can be nationalized it would be an aid. Not getting rid of healthcare, or the push for free shelter and food, but just putting in place a system that doesn't actively hurt people so that there's a possibility for them to acrue wealth and prosper in current society as we nationalize basic needs. And then, once you no longer have to directly pay to live, a UBI and untaxed wealth, can be used in a consumer market.
    I like stuff. I want to choose my stuff. As trivial a freedom that may be, it doesn't need to be eliminated for the sake of the more important right to live. Stuff is stupid. And I want it. A market isn't bad when needs are no longer commodified, and instead only wants are.

  • Restartwithdogpeople

    i believe we are going to look back at this discussion as an inherently archaic discussion, mainly because all the basic needs will be so abundant that no one will need to purchase them and anyone who desires to rise into any "higher" rank will be able to do so at their leisure.

  • sogghartha

    I have a different argument against UBI. If the state pays out the UBI to the citizens, and we then use it to buy goods and services from companies, isn't this indirectly funneling money from the state to the 1% ? That does not sit right with me.

  • Gilberto Borello

    Yeah! I agree and support the critique of this video. UBI is not a solution, but right now it would have immense advantages (if it doesn't replace social security, of course). And most important, it can be supported by left and right wings, turning it politically viable. It's very difficult to develop a practical socialist country with the US (and other powers like the oligarchic media) supporting coup d'etat and imposing economic barriers. I think that UBI can be a first step to give people a common goal in direction of a fairer society. And this learning, I believe, will show people that we're not enemies and can dream of a better society.

  • Dom Sch

    opposing innovation? Are you crazy? Thats the only thing why we arent picking veggies all autumn like our grandparents did – because of innovation in agriculture

  • JaredMithrandir

    I cannot get behind any Leftist are currently trying to hurt the movement towards UBI.

    No I don't think it's going to solve all our problems and so not where I want "stop there", and yes some Right leaning people supporting it want to get rid of other Safety Nets which I of course oppose. I'm also calling for paying for it with a Wallstreet Sales Tax.

    But right now it's best the progressive step we have a chance of actually achieving. And in my situation I feel like my long term livelihood is dependence on it somehow getting implemented within the next 10 years.

    Long term I want the Establishment of Capitalism altogether, but we're not gonna get people that far any time soon. The New Deal was also still a NeoLiberal Capitalist policy but we needed it to survive this far.

    See I"m not a Worker, I've never been able to hold a "Real Job" or make any headway in new Internet based employment either, so that bargaining chip is one I don't have the privilege of holding. I could not function in a world where I was required to have a Job.

  • Muumipappa

    The situation is very different in countries with already existing wealth redistribution. For example Finland has an extensive system for that: unemployment subsidies, student subsidies, housing subsidies, living subsidies etc. The biggest problem with the system is that it’s so complicated and you can get trapped on one income level because earning any more money would cause you to lose some of the benefits so that you actually have less money. These two big factors cause immense amounts of stress. When a limited version of UBI/negative income tax was tested on 2000 people, the results showed that it didn’t cause becoming lazy and not applying for jobs, but rather, employment among the test subjects was slightly improved compared to people without. One big reason for it is considerably reduced amount of stress and depression among the subjects.

    So I’d say that in the context of countries with already existing wealth redistribution programs, it is a much better option to enact UBI than to use currently existing immensely buerecratic programs.

    Also: the right-wing government claimed the test’s success being marginal, even though the effects on mental health was considerable. This is even more stupid when taking into account that the very same government implemented an employment policy earlier that demands not that you need to search for a job but either 1) be employed for 18 hours a month, 2) Earn at least 245.64€ from your own company per month, 3) be for 5 days in ”a service that helps employment” (provided only by the unemployment agency (until 1.4.2019), excluding all other training/education providers, and not necessarily actually being useful at all for employment). If none of these conditions are met, the unemployment subsidy will be cut by 4.65%, which can mean a lot for example a person that gets 1000 euros in subsidy. It ended up not improving employment almost at all and it only increased stress among unemployed. And the government said that was a success.

  • Mike Sousa

    Seems you’re more interested in power acquisition than actually improving people’s lives. If a dog hunts, it hunts

    P.S. if the output of ubi is regulated by democratically elected politicians that the people can pressure one way or another, how is that not in our control?

    What would true democratic control over the means or production look like if not that???

  • Ming Liu

    youtu.be/v6Ze7q34RvA Good analogy made here in this vlog. Americans are the owners of the game that's played in the US called the economy. As players, we are free to win or lose, but every player is also an owner that has the right to a dividend independent of play.


  • Max W. Midgett

    If you buy into the concept of historical materialism but still find the need for incremental evolutionary rather than revolutionary socialism implementation, then the debate should be over if UBI is better than the welfare state and current social safety nets. UBI puts decision making into the hands of the individual from the start rather than trying to balance that out for longer periods of sustainability and overall allows capitalism to be more fair and equal in the short term, promoting economic growth.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    I think UBI would be good to at least get us on our next step to the future and moving past capitalist to a society where robots do most ordinary 9-6 jobs. But I do agree that we need to be careful.

  • Matthew Watson

    In the US, I see UBI panning out like this: We all get $2,000 a month. Rent is now $1,800-2,000 dollars a month. There will be no price control and landlords will charge whatever their tenants are sure to have.

  • Lumitopia

    11:30 — How is this not a false dichotomy? Money GIVES you access through purchase, therefore "FREE" money (UBI) gives you FREE ACCESS. It's a capitalist take on making everything a library of goods and services, except in this case you don't need a library card — just citizenship and the fixed monthly payment that comes with it. It's "to each according to his need" with a free market, and none of the communist ideological baggage.

    Also, UBI gives every worker, unionised or not, increased bargaining power and NOT less like you implied here. I don't understand how this is even a controversial point. If you have increased financial security, you have increased leverage while negotiating wages, because you are not bargaining from a position of desperation and making decisions under the threat of potential destitution. Anyone, including BadMouseProductions who tries to obfuscate this very simple fact is at minimum doing their entire audience a disservice, and at worst propagating an outright lie in order to preserve an obsolete ideology.

    "UBI isn't socialism" is NOT an argument, it's a subjective semantic statement that is used to deny the real positive effects a UBI will have on the lives of the overwhelming majority of people who receive it. If people in the mid 1940s equivocated over whether or not the NHS was socialism, and endlessly nitpicked its potential shortcomings, I can guarantee you that it wouldn't have come to fruition in the decisive manner that it did (launched country-wide in July 5th 1948), and may never have been what it is today (free at the point of use for EVERY citizen, no questions asked).

    TL;DR: Don't be a stubborn ideologue.

  • Dorian Lemarchand

    On this issue I agree that UBI is not the right solution. When asked what we think the purpose of government is, I have thought for a while now that the purpose of government is to maximize social value. My dad on the other hand says it is to enforce minimums on quality of life. If there are cases where maximizing social value doesn't need government intervention, then I would probably be for it, but this just isn't the case very often. Even something as basic as paying people for the work they do maximizes social value and motivates people to work harder, but it is absent from capitalism. There is more where that came from.. (Also sidenote: When you run your own business and don't put any employees beneath you the lines between co op and bourgeoisie get blurred)

  • Simboiss

    My usual answer to the question of profit is part of what I call objective economy. Profit should be removed from normal accounting practices, and made illegal. No profits means the economy becomes more predictable and stable. It makes anyone's salary more stable too. My view on UBI is twofold:

    1) From the raw "mechanics" of economics point of view, it's a temporary "patch", or "bandaid", to make up for the lack of jobs relative to the total number of people.

    2) The philosophical part is because we all deserve a part of the fruits of innovation made possible by everyone over the history of humanity, and no one can own these inventions alone.

  • Masterchi

    People act like if you implement UBI it cause massive inflation, people will quit their job and lead to disaster etc. The best way is to implement it, give it a try if we have the fund. If doesn’t work then just cancel it. its not like you can’t undo it.

  • Arnold Kim

    But all we have is the market. The alternative is more horrifying to imagine, economically and socially. So, for now, I'll take the band-aid with an ointment of democracy.

  • Coco Nat

    Nothing is free. Why not put a restriction on how much AI organisations can use? This will prevent most of the unemployment that automation will bring
    And if they exceed that limit they have to pay extra fees ? We could that money in our communities. Could use this money to upskill people etc.
    And fix the taxation system so that big businesses don’t get away with not paying taxes.

    UBI is only a bandaid. Being a slave and reliant on government to survive below poverty line because AI will take over a lot of jobs doesn’t sound good to me.

  • Coco Nat

    The only way I could see myself supporting UBI is that there must be a way of ensuring people are using suing it for housing, groceries, education and their children.
    They’ll be people who will waste it away on drugs or other addictions. Nothing is free and UBI will cost trillions of dollars each year, it shouldn’t be wasted away carelessly.
    There should also be other incentives to prevent the loss of jobs because of automation such as helping and giving people opportunities to up skill and/or place some kind of restriction on how much AI organisations can use to prevent massive loss of unemployment at one time.
    Also fix the loopholes in the system so big businesses finally pay their taxes.

  • CF Jahren

    the problem with someone like yang's UBI is that it's a neoliberal band-aid where you say "aww you can't afford housing or health care and you have Less power in your workplace than you had before and we're gonna erode this without giving you the little workplace power you had back But Hey you have sliiiightly more money in your pocket right now so don't think about it".

  • JGHifiversveiws

    So basically people will survive under UBI but their chances of thriving will be sorely diminished, and if UBI exists for any prolonged periods of time you can expect wage reductions and galloping inflation, sounds like a plan. And hey at least poverty will be much less severe than it is now, and UBI could give us lefties a lot of leverage at least for the time being.

  • james dargan

    ah fuck just because you paint a villain doesn't mean your reasons are better. you just said super rich has a agenda well people have a agenda silly lol you don't think with more money not the super rich but just plain folks has preferences and now you gave them financial choices now lol you have a agenda ! i have a agenda ! stop treating this so naively please

    edit: at 8:24 you lost all logic lol

  • ohjay26

    Thank you for your great video! I have written my master thesis about the ubi and have drawn similar conclusions. Sorry for some errors! English is not my mother tongue and its grammar can be tricky sometimes!

  • Devientrazz

    If UBI was implemented wouldn't the recipient still have economic power via organization?
    Choosing not to spend a UBI distribution would be just as powerful a tactic in negotiating prices with corporations as unionization is to negotiating wages (There is also competition between corporations which lowers price of commodities).
    But that begs the question: under pressure by corporations, wouldn't the government just stop distributing UBI until the people released their stored economic energy? All of this productivity IS generated by these corporations using automation and thus would be the sole taxed entities. They hold all the cards in this hypothetical (which is why I think so many CEOs are using their influence to push for UBI). And with the current loopholes in tax law it gets worse: not only would they pay little (if any) tax, they would have practically zero employee overhead. The government would have to borrow from the federal reserve to pay for UBI. And with a small amount of the population working in the private sector due to automation wiping out most jobs, very little tax is being collected which compounds the debt situation. The government would have to raise taxes on the small population of workers to cover the cost of it's UBI program. Which means the corporations would have to increase wages or prices. Either way, it's hard to protect this economic model from some sort of runaway effect/positive feedback loop.

  • B P

    A UBI isn’t a bad idea per se, a lot of people are suffering and desperate. The problem is that this isn’t a long term solution to the essential problem, scarcity. In market economies, scarcity is caused by the market prices being independent of the actual needs of people (things like food and shelter) and profit and low costs being prioritized. A UBI doesn’t solve the underlying cause of scarcity (profit motive). But scarcity is the driving force behind a capitalist market system. People doing what they want to do in a capitalist economy translates into increased labor cost for businesses (they need to hire higher wages to attract people), leading to increased prices for whatever they are selling in the long run. Politically, this would also most likely create a shift to the right (among the majority or many people) as examples of perceived “free riders”, “immigrants” , and other “outsiders” are blamed (remember who owns the news outlets) for benefiting from the system thereby transferring “blame” for the scarcity problem await from the profit motive towards the aforementioned “others”.

    So it is absolutely a good idea, because it does help people who need it, but it’s not a magic solution that will solve everything.

  • Dominick Prive

    I suggest Democratized businesses as a solution to this problem. After all it's a lot harder to say that markets are in the hands of the capitalidt class if everyone who has a job is an official member. Additionally, if we succeed at democratizing workplaces UBI might be even more capable of improving general well-being as democratized business structures will likely act less corruptly and will thrive on the increased spending caused by UBI

  • TheBendablespoons

    Surely any UBI program will heighten the already super-exploitation of countries under the imperialist thumb as well. If the bourgeoisie are forced to concede some of their profits to the workers in the imperial core, they'll find a way to squeeze what they've lost out of workers in the global south. Not only that, but the extra cash in hand would actually stimulate and help capitalist commodity production to expand, further destroying the environment.

    If we were somehow to negate those negative effects while achieving the reform, it would only be possible because we would have a sufficiently organized vanguard party that is capable of separating the wheat from the tares. If we just simply fought for the reform and then went home when it was achieved, surely the bourgeoisie would turn around instantly and either increase the exploitation of workers elsewhere, and/or attempt to repeal the reform altogether.

    History has shown that they will do both. This points to the necessity of having a sufficiently organized party of the working class that is capable of waging a protracted struggle against the ruling class. And, if such an organization were to exist, it would be folly to only push for reform. With that much power and organization revolution would not only be realistic but wholly necessary for the ascension of the working class to the ruling political class.

    Essentially what I am saying is that in order to achieve any such reform in any sort of SUSTAINABLE fashion, a sufficiently organized working class must exist in order to counter reaction. And if such an organized working class did exist, it would be wholly counter-intuitive not to push for revolution in full. Lenin taught us that we cannot pass up the opportunity to seize political power.

    Ergo, if these reforms were ever enacted in a worker friendly way, i.e. by DEMAND of the organized working class, then it would suffice to say that the working class is organized and powerful enough to put the capitalists on the defensive, and thus sufficiently powerful enough to seize state power. If such were the case the working class would be in direct contradiction with their own class interests should they not attempt to seize state power.

    The fact of the matter is we need revolution. We can and must fight for reforms while waging a revolution (they make it easier to wage revolution after all), but they are battles in a war; means to an end.

    Edit: (You hit these points real well in the video)

  • Red River Scout

    I think one thing alot of people miss in the discussion is it will streamline certain parts of the social safety net like unemployment and welfare. Here in Canada there are people's who's job it is to literally wade through the red tape to figure out for you what parts of the social safety net you are eligible for because it is nearly impossible to figure out on your own. People also fall through the cracks because they don't meet arbitrary requirements. I also don't understand how this can be seen as a "market solution" since the social safety net is already a public service. I don''t see how unifying that magically changes that dynamic.

  • ArticBlueFox96

    I think that the ideal Social Safety Net (from a United States perspective) would include:

    1. Federal Job Guarantee (FJG)
    2. Universal Basic Income Plus (UBI+)
    3. Universal, Rent-Free, Safe, and Quality Public/Social Housing
    4. Universal, Free, and Comprehensive Healthcare
    5. Universal, Free, Comprehensive, and Quality Public Transportation
    6. Universal, Free, and Quality Higher Education
    7. Social Security (Old Age, Disability, Survivors)
    8. Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP/Food-Stamps)

    Non-Universal programs (Social Security and Food Stamps) should provide as much access as possible and minimize means testing and restrictions.

    In addition we need to have certain reliable and universal public services, including:

    1. Public Banking
    2. Public Libraries
    3. Public Postal Service
    4. Public (Affordable or Free) Internet/Cable/Phone Service

    Then we need more social ownership of the economy, through things like:

    1. More Unions
    2. More Cooperatives
    3. More Co-Determinism
    4. Higher Minimum Wage (tied to inflation, productivity, and/or local median incomes)
    5. Shorter Workweeks (which also helps to share existing work, if there is a work scarcity)
    6. Expanding the Public Domain
    7. Capital Controls
    8. Funds-Socialism (such as a Sovereign Wealth Fund)

  • JJ8KK

    If you were to win The Lottery tomorrow, you would experience a tremendous surge in your purchasing power within the economy. But if EVERYONE were to win the same grand lottery prize tomorrow, do you think you'd experience the same great increase in purchasing power? You wouldn't, because–the way markets function, they wouldn't allow it. Whether or not you are giving everybody the same boost in dollar/pound/euro income matters a great deal . This is probably the single greatest flaw in the perceptions of those who love the idea of UBI…

  • William Calhoun

    Here in America, UBI would be followed by conservatives immediately acting to cut other benefits, saying, “You don’t need Medicare, food stamps, etc., you have UBI!” Also many individuals who are ignorant of finance could fall victim to con-men since they’d have cash, but without a govt. agency helping you. You’d have innocents with cash wandering in a ruthless marketplace.

  • MrChristopherGuest

    Socialism isn't going to be on the ballot in the UK any time soon. The earlier UBI is instituted the more control we will have on it. If we are all out of work, we will have no bargaining power at all.

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    Yang 2020

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