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Why Basic Income should become a Human Right

The U.S. Basic Income Network define Basic Income as, "...an unconditional, government-insured guarantee that all citizens will have enough income to meet their basic needs." http://basicincome.org/bien/aboutbasicincome.html

This program could eliminate poverty resulting in a more predictable and stable society as crime and violence would decay.

It could also move innovation beyond traditional employment as everyone would have access to the necessities of life by a basic income thus economic flexibility.

It could, in addition to deliberate automation, diminish the work hours for full-time employers, giving people more time to friends and family and activities that enrich their lives thus increasing quality of life.

It would in fact save significant costs by liquidating cumbersome and bureaucratic government agencies, to a much simpler program that could be automated.

Furthermore, since there is no means test; the richest as well as the poorest citizens would receive it which could manifest a positive psychological effect in people to spend less and appreciate leisure, which is ultimately good for the environment.

An example of a 'mini-basic income' is the Permanent Fund Dividend which in an annual individual payout to Alaskans. Though the payout is relatively small and only annually distributed, it still goes to show that this kind of program is being used today: http://pfd.alaska.gov

Research from Namibia revealed that the introduction of a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) led to an increase in economic activity which contradicts critics' claims that the BIG will lead to laziness and dependency. Learn more about it here: http://bignam.org

Namibia had amazing results in a number of other things as well, namely poverty reduction, which is a pivotal point in and of itself, and a reduction in crime rate by 40%. Now, imagine what a global basic income guarantee could do.


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  • Oct 26 2012: @ Mitch Smith, thank your for giving me a little objectivity. That argument is endless with some people and if I am not aware I can fall prey to its effects and simultaneously forget its roots lost in a pointless surface level battle.
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      Oct 28 2012: Well, let me say this. Hope it does not go too far off topic (and I'm pretty sure you will be able to keep up with this):
      I have been directed to the work of neuro scientist Liz Pinal at University of Vermont.
      She seems to concur with my observation of dyad pairs operating in the autobiographical self.
      My observation hypothesyses "quadrads" - I talk about it often in these discussions.
      So - for every person you meet, you create 2 autobiographical selves - one to represent "I" and one to represent "other". The other also does this - this results in 4 A-selves (a "quadrad"). These A-selves are initially copies of the core self - plus a delta(change set) that is an accumulated "causal" map that represents the agregation of "expectations" - one set for "self", one set for "others". The A-selves are then run through the general "world view" map which is a conglomerate of cuasal and physical maps in various states of completion. The completion component of any particular map fragment depends on the synaptic strength attachment to associated maps that have deeply long-term potentiation. This allows the perception of uncertainty. Now, if a deeply potentiated association happens to contain an erroneous assumption (e.g. "god" or "free market") then everything associated with it will inherit the same false certainty.
      Each A-self in the quadrad begins with the default model and casts a "forecast" which is then measured for error in observation. The error is applied to a specific delta refining it to closer accuracy (Bayesian learning).
      In the quadrad Me(Me,You) and You(You,Me) - lets call them a, b, c, d respectively - the Bayesian learning produces a convergence between ad and bc - if you drew it as corners of a square these convergences are diagonal.
      With on-going experience between the me and you, these diagonals can potentially converge to exactly the same place. But the resulting convergence can be different for each diagonal pair (continued)
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      Oct 28 2012: (Sorry about the double post - it takes a while, even simplified like this)

      So the diagonal convergence can come to conclusion with a/d b/c in exactly the same place (symmetrical) or in different places (asymmetrical).

      OK - now we look at another intra-personal dynamic: advantage.
      Advantage is best described as a "field". It is the subset of the field of potential agency - that has causal maps which lead to convergence in the internal milieu (represented by the proto self). Conversely, the field of disadvantage is the subset that leads to divergence in the proto self.
      Now lets look at the game dynamics win/lose and win/win (assuming that lose/lose is rejected by both).
      These options have practical value depending on the frame set by the ambient environment.
      In time of scarcity, win/lose is appropriate (competition).
      In times of abundance, win/win is appropriate (cooperation).
      However, the win/win dynamic has an emergent property - it increases abundance.
      It follows that competition will result in an asymmetrical convergence of A-selves - cooperation will result in symmetric convergence.
      Symetry/asymmetry define the absolute vector of left/right politics. Erroneous world view will exacerbate assymetry - even in the face of abundance.
      When confronted with an asymmetric convergence, one must look at the state of abundance before attempting conflict. It is clear that inappropriate competition wil damage the abundance, and that inapropriate cooperation will damage the survival of the few.
      Under this scenario, I see that the Namibian BIG program is cooperation supportive and, if appropriate, will lead to greater abundance in Namibia.
      Ambient abundance will tend to disolve erroneous world views over time. However, if competitive "latch-up" occurs due to an erroneous world-view, then artificial scarcity will arise.
      In times of abundance, there is no need for currency - the beans do not need to be counted.
      I could go on, but you get the gist?
      • Nov 2 2012: Mitch very interesting and although not completely cryptic, I'm still struggling to place my understandings into your hypothesis. I shall give it a crack: I believe what you are telling me is that when presented with interaction between the self and another if we suffer from some sort of unconscious false belief due to whatever reasoning, we superimpose and then infect our views with this deep rooted false idea. I suggest that when this is the case our "forecast" is also tainted. I also believe what your saying is that with your model we will converge on some truth in some aspect of our world view.

        What i commonly see and have noted in myself is when starting on a false premise and a certain expectation of the other individual I tend to retreat to extremity. I noticed this with my father who when entering a debate with a family member would almost always retreat to reading right wing political works. However he only did this when he was at a loss for words. The argument was not so much about politics but more so about proving himself intelligent or correct in his assumptions. I think it needs to be noted that upon entertaining surface debates we open ourselves up to the effects of competition rather than the effects of mutual understanding and acceptance. I notice you at times cite Lakoff. He puts it very well that conservatives are not irrational they have a logic system that although is based on continuing cyclical abuse, makes perfect sense to them. If you notice on my profile page I put forth an idea that is old and important. The healthy and unhealthy mind reaches its conclusions the exact same way, through a logic system confined to the pleasure principle. It is more complicated than that but I think its a fair enough statement.
        What I mean to say is that if proper debate is not formulated on a rational bedrock debating the issue has been lost from the start and all we see is a clash of primitime competitive forces wishing to assert dominance
      • Nov 2 2012: Please update me where i fumbled your meaning or completely missed your point. You would be surprised how little neuroscience I have gone over in school. Most of my learning on the topic has come from spare time watching lectures and such...
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          Nov 2 2012: Hi Brian,

          I think you've pretty much nailed it.

          But there is slightly more depth to the picture.
          The key is the appropriate application of competition/cooperation.
          One has to ask "where is the scarcity?" before undertaking competition.
          In males, one would not be surprised to find that, in most cases, the only extant scarcity happens to be one particular female. It's not so primative when it happens to every male human during puberty. I observe a similar dynamic in females .. but I cannot speak for them.

          The very idea that all critical thinking requires debate is also problematic. Debate is a form of competition. Critical thinking requires nothing more than observation. This is what I call "grounding".

          We humans are not very good at comprehending non-linear phenomena.

          The retreat to extremity is an attempt to assert self-image.

          The cyclic abuse you identify is not so much direct physical or psychological violation - it manifests in the very framework of the common world-view. e.g. adversarial law and political systems, assumptions about "human nature" etc.

          Anything that assumes a state of abundance/scarcity without direct observation is a falacious stance.
      • Nov 3 2012: " It's not so primative when it happens to every male human during puberty"

        This is true and now you have directed me down a differing rabbit hole. I must now attempt to define what I mean by "primitive". I guess I mean pre societal, mainly forces which humans have deemed to be destructive to civilization. Maybe its from reading to much Freud, but i sometimes place a bit of mysticism into the unconscious forces. After reading his books I find it difficult to not see the world the way he portrays it(in a very linear way). I notice a thread in much of your writing Mitch, you seem to be always looking in fractals and I cant say I blame you tis a beautiful lens to look through. Either way, you are right the male teenagers hormones rage and his frontal lobe has not reached full development, hence: a recipe for impulse control issues. But are these forces primitive? I guess they are only primitive in the sense that society has been trying to wrangle and control them for years. "Civilization began the first an angry person cast a word instead of a rock"- Freud

        I think you are right about debate and I have noticed this may have been the root cause of the breakup of my philosophy group which I formed. Sides were being taken and it eventually lost its muster and faded(although it has just recently reassembled with new and old members). When we had discussion and sharing of ideas we made real progress, far more progress than in any school setting.

        I think what you are getting at is that by integrating a world view or accepting a view consciously or unconsciously we can absorb its falsehoods and that the only real way to deviate from asymmetry in your model is to offer ideas that have been formed from your own experience? I think much training goes into alleviating what we already know. The idea you present is one i have been and maybe always will be fighting to keep, at least on some level.
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          Nov 3 2012: Interesting that the word "primative" indicates primate which infers "ape-like" when we actually are apes. I think the Latin root means "first" or "topmost" and the Pope is referred to as the primate.

          Lots of historical ambiguity in that word. I think appropriately so.

          We are an odd species, we apes. The extended gestation afforded by mammalian birth extended to 14 years presents an interesting notion of what happens first (primary, prior). Quick-maturity animals do not get such an extensive holiday from sexual competition. During that holiday, the human ape gets to develop a broader range of interactions - to discover the power of cooperation as well as competition. Then the great puberty synapse cull shreds anything that has not fully potentiated.

          One wonders if the habitually competitive simply never left puberty.
          Once mated and mature, the human ape should no longer need competition .. that the opportunity for inapropriate competition is fueled by artificial scarcities of non-essential commodities - to keep the big kids entertained and blissfully divided?

          I think Freud was wrong - to me, it is evident that civillisation started with farming, and then stopped when humans started farming each other.

          There's some bad old trauma lurking back 10,000 years .. possibly a harm that is still in the process of healing. But then, we see the same dynamic in baboons and chimps .. oddly not bonobos. The prevalence of inapropriate competitive behaviour seems to have a latch-up dynamic - as observed in Sapolski's baboon troop when all the alpha males got killed by tainted meat on a garbage-tip: how, in the absence of dominance/competition-driven social structure, the troop flourished way beyond the success rate of surrounding groups.

          I'd like to get hold of the math that read Montaigne developed for his "dyad" model of interpersonal dynamics - then plug them into my quadrad model and see what species of convergence occur.
      • Nov 3 2012: there is almost to much in your post I want to respond to but I first must start here: "There's some bad old trauma lurking back 10,000 years .. possibly a harm that is still in the process of healing." I have thought of this often and one night i was watching a special on the history of dogs and an idea hit me. It came in the form of a creation myth but expresses your exact idea. I remember it as clear as day because of the feeling associated with it. I rarely speak of this but i try to interpret it as a vision of a creation myth. The accepted theory of the evolution of dogs come from wolves being attracted to trash piles made by humans and were selected by temperament to eventually live with man. We bred them so as to work for us and now we see the vast array of breeds. Whats interesting about dogs is that they have taken on some of our diseases as well as psychological traits. We in essence gave them a superego by integrating them into the modern family unit and living amongst other members of our clan, but most importantly we brought them out of the hunter gatherer state(Jared Diamonds theory of Leisure Time equating to intelligence). Well somehow this all materialized and I thought wow is there a chance we are just like dogs. Who enslaved us and powered our frontal lobes? Who taught us agriculture and brought us out of the hunter gatherer state which inevitably lead to the growth of our species and the evolved cortex we now endure. I asked were we once enslaved like dogs were? Somehow it all seemed to click at the time and part of me knew we have been passing on this trauma since the birth of civilization.

        Ive tried to put it into an intelligible theory but it does not really add up. So I view it as a myth with which i was allowed the pleasure to see. The myth expressed your exact idea and I think its probably true.
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          Nov 4 2012: Hi Brian,

          Yes - it's fascinating!
          I normally don't entertain external agencies as part of the dynamic .. species pride I suppose ;)
          But try this one - the meeting between homo sapiens and neanderthal?
          The inference is a ring species divergence, but the evidence of interbreeding seems to imply that the divergence was not quite complete.
          So who enslaved who?

          This would have to be backed-up by some historical study, but: is there a correlation between the practice of slavery and the presence of neaderthal genes?

          I have another conjecture that might have cogence. We view speciation as a divergent branching system, however, there is no corrollary with convergent symbiosis.

          Convergence is clear in the very old evidence of evolution. My conjecture is that collaberative symbiots gradually converge. That there is a step-wise pattern with the symbiots getting closer until they eventually occupy the same skin. I point to the symbiotic relationships: man/dog, man/worm man/bacteria, man/virus.
          With man/virus actually unifying in the DNA.

          It is also tempting to give creedence to some ot the old catastrophe myths - these might also point to some ancient harm .. but, the slavery event seems a whole lot more powerful in the social dynamic.

          Many thanks for your insight!

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