Universal Basic Income is Not a Solution
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Universal Basic Income is Not a Solution


Universal basic income. If even Elon Musk says it’s the only option,
it must great, right? It sounds really like utopia came true: everybody
is entitled to receive free money no questions asked, no strings attached. And we could all afford this because production
would be so cheap thanks to automation, and there would be no jobs left for humans thanks
to automation. We are being told the same story over and
over – automation is coming and it will make you useless. You are not part of the automation, which
is why you are not in charge of making decision for yourself. So listen to this bunch of successful people
telling you how centralization is not just the best way, it is the only way. Yeah. I am good. Thanks. Automation has a potential to destroy 45% of the jobs of our jobs, says one report. But others are contradictory. It really depends on what kind of automation
we are talking about. Hypothetically, artificial intelligence does
have a potential to replace humans in all tasks at some point in the future. But are we really going to get there? That kind of a world doesn’t seem feasible. Considering human self-centered and incentive
motivated animal nature, we are probably not going to create a world where we no longer
find a use for ourselves. For the past 10,000 years, human economic
interaction depended on the ability to exchange goods and services for other commodities and
eventually money. No matter how authoritarian the system, it
always relied on trading the products on an open market. But that required other people’s ability
to buy the product, which meant they had to possess some sort of wealth or income. In modern time, that ability is in majority
facilitated by paying wages that are spent on the goods and services. The hypothetical automation that we hear so
many scary stories about would turn this business cycle upside down, as people would no longer
be able to generate income, which would cripple their expenditure, and gradually corporate
profit. However, only that which can be sold is produced. It doesn’t matter how cheap the production
is if there are no buyers. Provided people are the only buyers, owners
of automation are not going make such production that would make it impossible to sell their
products. To imagine a system where automation would
completely replace human labor, would require immense concentration of political power tightly
centralized around owners of automation. But the buyer can also be the government,
which explains unnecessary production of tanks and $1.5 trillion fighter jets that nobody
wants. The real story is, of course, that the government
exists and it often attempts to supplement the expenditure on behalf of the free market. The problem with that is similar to what Amazon
did to the book publishing industry – it destroyed the industry when it grew into a
monopsony – the only buyer on the market. Now Amazon can dictate prices and decide what
it wants to sell or not. If there comes a time when large portion of
population is no longer economically productive, implementing universal basic income would
eliminate poverty, bud deepen income and wealth inequality. Universal basic income would permanently separate
wealthiest technology owners from everyone else who didn’t happen to create a multi-billion
dollar technology start-up. The ramification of this system are existential. With everybody receiving equal amount of benefits
without having the ability to earn for themselves, the option to improve your standards would
disappear. It would eventually make everybody own equally
basic wealth except for those who make the decisions. Essentially, everybody who doesn’t own artificial
intelligence will fall into this category. Replace own with being part of and artificial
intelligence with a central party and you get the idea of how totalitarian Eastern Bloc
used to work before 1989. Whenever some part of population is turned
into passive receivers of income, their political power goes down with it. Their potential to influence the debate in
favor of their interests gets to freezing point. That’s why you’ve never seen homeless
people striking on the streets. Because they don’t contribute economically,
they can’t cause any damage if they choose to take action. Rioting is not an option either as advanced
police and military would take care of that quickly. If you give unemployable people universal
basic income, you sure improve their living standards, but nothing is going to change
on their ability to participate in the decision making. Their voice would be limited to casting a
vote to whomever promises them the highest benefits. Not only is the universal basic income just
one option out of many when dealing with poverty, it’s the least desirable. The fact that the Sillicon Valley so keen on introducing this
idea so much ahead of its time is deeply troubling. It would grant them ultimate monopoly powers
on the market as they would be the first and only owners of the automation. Universal basic income would thus make barriers
to entry the market with your own entrepreneurship, because you wouldn’t be able to increase
your income or make profits on your own. Since most people are left dependent on the
will of the Sillicon Valley to distribute their wealth, it will be up to technology
giants to decide what is universal and what is basic. The scariest part is that everybody seems
to be on board with this. Various testings and proposals are already
experimented with in Finland, Canada, France, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Netherlands,
California or Kenya, with only Switzerland rejecting this idea in a referendum. What seems like a progressive idea even made
it into Marco Rubio’s presidential plan. The only positive scenario that could make
universal basic income relevant would be if the ownership of automation was given up to
public ownership so that everybody could participate in the decision making process equally. I don’t have a problem with people getting
free money. The ideas of universal basic income as a response
to automation are way further into the future than it’s currently presented. It opens up a Pandora door to a new kind of
centralized system, possibly even globalized. I am not convinced that this idea would include
all of us equally, and that with universal basic income, we would all be granted universal
equal access to the distribution of wealth. And because I think that the latter is impossible,
and that permanent hierarchical system would be inevitable with this proposal, I cannot
support universal basic income in the current state of affairs. The real problem why automation deepens inequality
is the existence of high barriers to entry the market and diversify competition in automation
driven industry. Most of the artificial intelligence is through
corporate protective regulations within the hands of few multi-billion dollar transnational
companies. The rate of new entrepreneurs entering the
market is declining fast. To solve this problem would be to focus on
easing up regulations and bureaucracy for small-to-medium size enterprise so as to give
the middle class direct access to ownership of automation. There is no reason to believe universal basic
income would spur entrepreneurship. It would increase the level of risk entrepreneurs
take, which would make money-lenders raise their rates or stop lending altogether. Universal basic income would thus cut financial
funding, which would reduce incentive to innovate and enter the market. What’s causing increasing deformation of
economy is the shift towards generating revenue from intrusive data collection and targeted
marketing that violates privacy of individuals. This business model has similar creative value
as financial institutions trading bonds of risky mortgages among one another to generate
more profit out of nothing. It eventually resulted in an economic collapse
because the artificially generated revenue did not reflect real-life expenditure and
currency movement in the flow. Technology start-ups are no longer focusing
on creating new products, but rather spend most of their resources on improving the data
collecting AI to make it more and more invasive. It creates a multi-billion dollar bubble that
will burst once buyers no longer have enough wealth to keep their spending. Universal basic income sounds like the same
solution as the financial bailout of the banks that crashed the economy. That is a no solution at all.

43 Comments

  • The Hated One

    I know a lot of people are cheering up for the idea of universal basic income, but I think they take it for granted that they will continue to have democratic participation in the new order. I am pretty convinced that universal basic income will bring a definitive end to Western democracy as we know it. What do you think?

  • Pepe O

    Capitalism in its current form has created a hell of a lot of shit jobs and bureaucratized welfare to the point where those who need it don't receive it. Some people have to work three shit jobs and don't get any welfare if they lose one.

    Thus, UBI is way better than the system we have today. However, I agree with the point that business regulations need to be scrapped so that more people can start their own business.

  • Lee Alexander

    I have a perfectly good use for myself so automate hell out of things. Taxation on automation or any number of other systems could cover universal basic income. Believe me, I have plenty to do without taking time to chase money. I don't require a lot, but certainly enough to cover expenses. If there's enough I would be able to get my small business off the ground. Not a technology start up.

  • Victoria Francois

    and the people who choose to work can do better than those who don't,if you want more you'll work more what's the problem,I guess you would rather see millions homeless and walking the streets

  • We Deserve Better

    Your idea that people who are currently employed for low wages (ie: the majority of people today) have more power over the system than those who aren't employed at all is completely asinine. In most cases, any given worker is very easily replaced and wouldn't be missed at all if that person were to suddenly cease to exist. In that sense there would be no reduction in the amount of influence that individual has on the system if UBI was implemented.

  • Vote Classic Progressive Liberal and Save America

    Abolishing slavery was thought of as a utopian dream, so was equal rights for women, and even democracy itself was once a "pipe dream utopia". Sure, there will never be a utopia in the true sense of the word, but if we try, we do have the will and means to get kind of close to that, but not quite. The UBI would provide about $1000 per adult in the usa per month, that's not exactly a kings ransom, but it would let people who are at or near the poverty level fair much better so they can perhaps improve themselves when they are able to get a higher education for an even better job/position.

    If we can spend $700 billion dollars on a bloated military EVERY YEAR, we can afford to do this. I calculate the brute force cost of this to net around $600 billion a year. Our GDP size can absorb that cost. And a lot of that money will be put back into the same economy when consumers do what they do best…consume-

  • Spotlight New Media

    AUTOMATION DOESN'T AUTOMATICALLY LEAD TO LOWER PRICES AS THE FED.RESERVE AND CENTRAL BANKS KEEP PRINTING MONEY OUT OF THIN AIR. THE REAL PROBLEM IS THE MONETARY DEBT BASED SYTEM AND MONOPLIES.

  • Charles Hayslip

    We could always make a move to remove income as a status requirement entirely. Once we reach a point of near full automation, what's to stop people pursuing creative or intellectual pursuits once they no longer have the need to sell 80% of their week to work for someone else's profits and then be given a small portion to survive off of. This of course would be under the assumption that automation would be outright excluded from political practice (I.E. removing the need for money, removes money in politics) and live in a world built upon ideas, pursuits of intellectualism and culture? This is all assuming we are able to escape the deathgrasp of marketing hawks who need money to exist in the first place. I really don't see "trade and market" disappearing with the elimination of income. Simply give people sovereign control of their own lives. Perhaps I am too idealist.

  • Facu De Mario

    1) about automation being only of the most powerfull and all of that i have this answer: while time goes on the cost of owning, producing and using machines will decrease (as it actually happens now), so everyone could have acces to making an aoutomatized industry
    2) and about no jobs actually the studys made in every country in which the time of earning money just above the poverty line have proven that production was actually incentiviced and people were a lot more likely to be entrepeneurs
    3) Both points i made actually complements themselves
    4) i encourage you to make that research yourself!!! check studys from canada, namibia(an african city) brasil, etc.

  • Joseph Perrelli

    I think the issue of mass joblessness is far closer than you think. Using the numbers from the US 1 in 5 people are already unemployable and the situation is only going to get worse. I think the final thing to require UBI will be the mass deployment of self-driving vehicles. In the US there are 3m jobs in trucking alone and it is the most common job in the US and when you think about it everything from trash pick up to pizza delivery can be replaced with this technology. The issue is that not everyone is capable of "moving up" in quality of employment. Most people are simply not capable of being engineers or scientists or other high intelligence demand fields and even if they could it would cause mass oversaturation of these fields. Eventually, even high demand fields will be replaced with some form of automation eventualy. As much as I hate the idea of UBI I simply can't think of another solution and UBI will have some issues accompanying it. Most people need something to do to make themselves feel useful and justify their existence and even those that don't still need for that reason need it to help keep them grounded. The only other solution I can think of is the outlawing of most forms of automation but that would basically economically handycap any nation implementing it.

  • LIQUIDSNAKEz28

    No, slaving away 50+ fucking hours a week JUST to get by, with NO time Or energy left over to actually LIVE your life "SUCKS." If THIS is "freedom," then plug me into the matrix NOW!

  • Will Pearce

    UBI is just another government trick to lull the masses into obedience (and to dumb us down). It is presented like a carrot on a stick, but most can't see this. The government knows that most people will go for the bait. We are headed in the wrong direction, unfortunately. If you're paid to exist as meagerly as UBI would be, truly how much incentive would you muster to be innovative, get ahead in life, to succeed and be independent?

  • Ziad Jeeroburkhan

    UBI is not a solution if it still relies on an obsoleted monetary system let alone trade itself. Also there is NO such thing as human nature and numerous accounts of feral children clearly prove it. More info in the book "From genes to gender" on tromsite dot com/books

    Also automation is only wrong if it's not open sourced and if used for personal gains and eventually greed. You're so confused on this issue The Hated One

  • Robbo

    This video is rubbish on so many levels.
    I will limit myself to point out only the main faults: receiving UBI doesn't mean that you are not allowed to open your own business or look for alternative jobs; it is more like a safety net that allows you to live decently and care for your family in regards to basic needs. You would still receive UBI even if you're getting an other income. Some people will be happy enough to live with UBI and follow their own passions, some others won't and will find a way to make more money.
    The problem with corrupted governments, greedy corporations and monopolies exist now already, UBI cannot be blamed if once implemented things won't change in that respect. It is the people, now as ever, that need to unite and stand up to that kind of malice if we want to have a more just and equal society.

  • Chance Lacina

    @6:00ish "I'm not convinced that this idea would include all of us equally, and that with universal basic income, we would all be granted universal equal access to the distribution of wealth… " "and because I think the latter is impossible, and that a permanent, hierarchical system would be inevitable with this proposal, I cannot support the Universal Basic Income in the current state of affairs."

    There's already a permanent hierarchical system built into the nature of individuality. People differ on thousands of different traits, and wherever those traits are most adaptive those people will shine. A natural hierarchy thus ensues. You want people who are highly compassionate, have high tolerance for blood, bile, etc., and who are smart enough to understand the mechanisms of the body to be doctors. We want them at the top of our medical hierarchies. We want hierarchies, we just want them based on merit.

    So, that's a pipe dream (and not even a good one, who wants to be the same as everyone else on every dimension?). Now, what do you do in the limit when AI becomes the best at everything we care about? You want them to "rule"… in at least the sense that they protect us, the biome, and everything we care about… along with helping us enrich our own lives and find our own purposes. But in the nearer-term, what do you do with these massively wealthy companies with the technology and expertise to produce all the value that's being produced in the world? You want them to make jobs for you, a la Bernie Sanders? A guaranteed jobs program. So you make them spend their near infinite resources to create jobs for you. But why? Is work all you want? That seems fairly off.

    Maybe you want them to cede ownership of the means of production to you? Sounds good on paper. So, how would they do that? There's billions of us and a few of them. How would you have them distribute their powers to us? Would you have them build us physical factories? Now we can make things. But we can only make one or two kinds of things at a single factory. Somehow we'd need an omniscient central planner to make all the things we want. Ok, maybe when we take the reigns of Google we can do that. But wait a minute, aren't we just having them make us jobs again in this case? What are these factories for? Ditch digging and filling back in? We won't be producing value there, that's for sure: these companies can already do that autonomously. So maybe we should just divy up their companies! But how? Just have them give us all their stocks?

    But what can the average person do with small stocks in every company?

    I suggest instead you'd rather do something more abstract, easily used and easily transferred; something with durability, portability, divisibility, uniformity, universal acceptability and the ability to track how many resources they have to give us. Well, I hate to tell you, "The hated one", but you've just rediscovered money. And with that, your reasoning taken to the limit shows you are also committed to universal basic income.

  • Lord Apophis

    This video is right! The universal basic income is indeed a huge trap. We need to fight this shit off before our gets started. Just another way of government manipulation.

  • isandov

    So many agreeable points in this discussion. The uncanny resemblance of UBI to the bail out is remarkable. The difference being timing and romance. This generation is enamored with the idea of hand outs and forced equality of outcome instead of individual freedom and privacy. It will be fascinating to watch it all unfold when the ramifications of this economic distortion reach a boiling point.

  • skaltura

    UBI is difficult concept. However, automation is making things cheaper and cheaper, and everyone's living standards are vastly increasing. People has a knack of finding stuff to do as well.
    However, UBI has the potential to eliminate a lot of excess bureaucracy welfare and aid programs, which cost tremendous sums of money to just maintain. If there was an UBI program, it could save the govt money, and in combination of sensible entry level salary taxation could give people the freedom to find what they like doing the best. Albeit, there will be people who just don't want to get a job, and will always demand more, and as they get more, the group increases and it can spiral out of control. On the other hand, there are things we all enjoy but really is not profitable as a career, such as arts. Also coding FOSS projects can be such, i am sure there would be a lot more people just working on FOSS projects if they do not need to worry about basics as much and still could collect donations & sponsorships without loosing welfare, like it is now in most places.

    It is complicated, everything disruptive always is. With proper checks & balances it could be really good thing. Unfortunately, those proper checks & balances are either typically under constant attack or did not exist in the first place.

  • Egön Allegri

    I think we need UBI connected with a micro payment system like the one proposed from Jaron Lanier. Hated One have you read Lanier? Who Owns the Future is a great book

  • Anton Slavik

    The solution is to relax and wait for the ice age that will be triggered really soon by decreased solar activity. We won't survive in substantial enough numbers to continue our relentless march forward

  • yi

    I think it depends on what you mean by universal basic income. There isn’t just one model of universal basic income, there’s many.
    Your video mainly talks about that kind of ubi, in which jobs would become completely obsolete. But there is also the kind of ubi model in which jobs as we know them would continue to exist, but ubi would replace current systems to keep poor people from starvation and homelessness by giving them an amount of money that’s enough to be able to fulfil those needs. In the less radical ubi model, this money that is paid to poor people would instead be paid to all people, with wages serving the purpose of increasing your standard of living. This would of course come with higher taxes to get the money. This system would make the gap between poor and rich people smaller by breaking up mechanisms that discourage jobless people from getting jobs, like for example that they would get less money from their job than they did from the government before. It would also reduce unnecessary paperwork, as you wouldn’t need this whole bureaucracy of who gets money from the state and who doesn’t. It is possible that the money the state would spend on ubi would be less than the amount it spends on the bureaucracy that would become obsolete with ubi now.

    There are multiple concepts of ubi, not just the one you criticized in the video, please keep that in mind.

  • joeblackakareaper

    BULLSHIT how many trillions did they give the banks? It would only cost 50 billion to end poverty in the U.S.. TheReaper!

  • Anthony Walker

    Okay how about social security at age 55 cause I need it. Or better if we all get together and vote Andrew Yang 2020 for Humanity in this narcissistic country we have.

  • Loui Coleman

    I think UBI isn’t necessarily seen as an ideal, more of a way to minimise how fucked we’ll be. I do agree that it’s too early right now but I can see it becoming a necessity in a number of decades.

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