I'm a huge fan of GiveDirectly, who does tremendous work with direct cash transfers for people in poverty — essentially, micro-scale experiments in Universal Basic Income, with long-term data impact studies. As they describe themselves:
GiveDirectly is the first — and largest — nonprofit that lets donors like you send money directly to the world’s poorest. We believe people living in poverty deserve the dignity to choose for themselves how best to improve their lives — cash enables that choice. Since 2009, we’ve delivered over $140 million in cash directly into the hands of over 130,000 families living in poverty. Cash allows individuals to invest in what they need, instead of relying on aid organizations and donors thousands of miles away to choose for them. Isn’t this what you would prefer?
Despite the fact that UBI has such a wide range of support — from Nixon to MLK, from Socialists to Libertarians — many people are still resistant to the idea of no-strings-attached monthly cash payments in lieu of other poverty-assistance/welfare programs. I think this largely has to do with America's 300-year experiment in villainizing the poor. But time and time again, UBI experiments have demonstrated that people do not waste their money on drugs and alcohol. They do tend to work about 5-7% fewer hours on average, but they fill the rest of their days by finding new ways to be productive and contribute to society without succumbing to soul-sucking jobs. Instead of stressing to make ends meet through desperate wage-slave labor, they invested their time, money, and energy into things like education and entrepreneurship, which makes everyone happier overall. Read the rest
In a new essay, Douglas Rushkoff examines Universal Basic Income, writing that it's not a gift but a "scam" and a "tool for our further enslavement."
Here's a snippet:
To the rescue comes UBI. The policy was once thought of as a way of taking extreme poverty off the table. In this new incarnation, however, it merely serves as a way to keep the wealthiest people (and their loyal vassals, the software developers) entrenched at the very top of the economic operating system. Because of course, the cash doled out to citizens by the government will inevitably flow to them.
Think of it: The government prints more money or perhaps — god forbid — it taxes some corporate profits, then it showers the cash down on the people so they can continue to spend. As a result, more and more capital accumulates at the top. And with that capital comes more power to dictate the terms governing human existence.
...As appealing as it may sound, UBI is nothing more than a way for corporations to increase their power over us, all under the pretense of putting us on the payroll. It’s the candy that a creep offers a kid to get into the car or the raise a sleazy employer gives a staff member who they’ve sexually harassed. It’s hush money.
Read: Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam
photo by photosteve101 Read the rest
Two competing (or, possibly, complementary?) proposals for resolving income inequality and the hole that four decades of demand-side Reaganomics has dug us into are Universal Basic Income and a federal jobs guarantee (the former being a kind of "venture capital for everyone" that provides enough money to live without having to work for an employer; and the latter being a guarantee of a good, meaningful job of social value in sectors like infrastructure, education and caring professions).
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