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What's your opinion on Unconditional Basic Income? (This is not Communism)

The Basic Income movement is one that is quickly gaining ground around the world. Both prominent right and left wing persons have given their support for this idea.

What's your thoughts on Basic Income, do you think it's a good idea?


EDIT: I forgot to mention (in case you haven't heard) that what sprout the movement was Switzerland's proposal for basic income ($2800 monthly). http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/04/us-swiss-pay-idUSBRE9930O620131004

EDIT 2: This is NOT meant as a universal cure for all the problems of the world, things like education, politics, corruption and deceases are separate issues (even though Basic Income might help with them) if you wish to solve those issues please join or start a conversation about those. However discussing them with respect of BI is very fine and encouraged.

Please try to NOT sway too far from the topic, which is "What's your opinion on Unconditional Basic Income?". Comments to others opinions are of course free to go far from the topic, but preferably not too far.

And please try to be constructive and mature in your comments to others on this conversation.

Also please read AT LEAST the provided Wikipedia article on Basic income as it will answer many questions posted here.

Thank you for reading this explanation...(?)

Topics: basic income

Closing Statement from Jimmy Strobl

Wow, thank you ALL for your contributions to this conversation!

There's no way that I'm going to be able to summarize what was said here.
But I do feel that people might be ready for this transition or at least they are able to be convinced that it is feasible.

Anyway, thank you all for your participation and sorry for the lack of response the last few days.

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    Dec 13 2013: I still don't get how this is going to work. When I ask, where the money for the basic income will come from, I'm told "tax". Then I ask "who will be taxed?" "The rich," I'm told. Then people say that we must do away with income inequality - cap income and otherwise eliminate the rich or make them significantly poorer. OK. Once we achieve this noble goal, who will be taxed then?

    Imagine trying to jump high to get an apple with 9 people watching. You get an apple, and the people say: "no fair! you must share!" and make you divide the apple in 10 pieces, then take 9 of them, and give you your "fair share". What will you do? Keep jumping to get more apples? I doubt. Most people will wait for someone else to jump. And some will find a tree where nobody watches somewhere overseas.
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      Dec 13 2013: The money, as with all shared funds, will come from tax. Why the rich? It's because they are the ones who can afford it, and they are the ones making money on the labor of the poor. if you take a look at this it might clear up a bit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

      You bring up the main argument against BI, which is that it takes away the incentive to work. And this it what it all boils down to. Are people inherently lazy, just trying to scrape by or do people want to do stuff, work and create amazing things? Sure, the crappy factory might have a hard time motivating people to come work, which would force them to improve conditions so that people would want to come. You are no longer FORCED to work, that does not mean that you don't want to.

      And when it comes to pay, it's not technically how much we earn that drives us, it's how much we earn in comparison to others.
      It's also been proven that people do the best work when you take money out of the picture, you give them enough to not worry about it, no less and no more. Watch this RSA Animation for more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

      And most (almost everyone) wants to build a capital that they can do stuff with. It's just that most people are forces to scrape by and are never able to change their circumstances.

      If having money would make people not work then we would not see millionaires and billionaires working as much as they do.

      When I first heard of this (about a year ago) I was also skeptical. Let me ask you this Arkady, would you just lay back and wait to die or would you continue to work, possibly with something else?
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        Dec 13 2013: Jimmy,

        Dan Ariely in one of his TED talks showed that money is not the main motivator for people as does the RSA animation. So, yes, people will work. People may even be willing to share their fortune with others who are less fortunate - many billionaires and celebrities set up charitable funds. But the rich WILL take their money and their business somewhere else if they feel that the taxes are oppressive. They will emigrate to Russia, the Caribbean or wherever else. That's the thing with the rich - you can't "force" them pay. This will bring the system down - it will simply run out of funds because there will be more unemployed and fewer "rich" to tax. Not that I think that the rich "should not pay" or try to protect the rich. I'm simply very skeptical that the whole thing will work and will fail as social security system is failing and as the 1990 luxury excise tax failed in the U.S. The taxes on rich do not work as expected. People will not do business as usual if taxes are increased. They will quickly adapt - move business overseas, lay off people, stop buying yachts or will buy them in Panama, etc. throwing off the assumptions and calculations of how these taxes are supposed to work.

        And, still, if the goal is to eliminate economic inequality, who will pay when rich people are extinct?

        On the other hand, there are also plenty of people who choose the lifestyle of bums and will spend their guaranteed income on booze and drugs. Why encourage this? Many parks prohibit feeding wildlife - squirrels, ducks, seagulls. Wild animals who are supposed to provide for themselves may become aggressive pests when they get used to get food from humans. There are already people in this forum who are ready to "die and kill for" the basic income.
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          Dec 13 2013: If all of them leave (which I don't think they will), what a great opportunity that would be to open new businesses for the people that remain. Imagine, no competition!
          Until there is and the system is restored.
        • Dec 22 2013: Plus sooner or later they will devise ways to compete with overseas business laden with transport costs and/or political instability.
          However this might mean the return to the original inequality, amplifying small differences in income.
      • Dec 13 2013: Perhaps there is no entertainment available in Europe or it's all very expensive. In the USA, entertainment is cheap and plentiful. The parasites would drag everyone else down with them.
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          Dec 13 2013: I think that many from the USA think very little of their fellow brothers and sisters... And I think that passing blame instead of understanding reasons and trying to fix them is quite ordinary for many Americans...

          Many of you seem to talk in an alienating way of fellow human beings. You think of them as losers instead of as unfortunates. And that makes me sad.
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        Dec 14 2013: This seems a problem that crosses boundaries rather than being particular to the US.
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          Dec 14 2013: Yes, but in general I find this to be more true for the US.

          You have the societal structure of "every man for himself" more deeply rooted, in general that is.

          I might be wrong but... I obviously don't think that I am.
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        Dec 14 2013: When were you last in the United States and for how long? Did you ever live in the United States for any length of time?
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          Dec 14 2013: Never been Fritzie,

          I'm basing it on conversations that I've had with TEDsters for the past three years, the ones from the US seem to be generally less humane in their worldview. But some of the most compassionate (Colleen for example) are also from the US.

          But I find differences in nationality.

          Or maybe I'm just biased, but then again maybe the ones disagreeing with me are...
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        Dec 14 2013: I agree that it is hard to make judgments on the basis of tiny samples one views only long-distance and via the internet. Would a person develop an accurate picture of Swedes by reading what you write, of Hungarians by reading what Kristzian writes, of Germany by reading Random Chance and Lejan, of Mexico by reading Harald, of Australia by reading Mitch?

        From a scientific viewpoint, would you consider those who participate in TED Conversations a random sample of the populations of the countries from which they come?
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          Dec 15 2013: Great points Fritzie!

          I can see how my opinion of the inhabitants of the US is offending to those inhabiting the nation. Just needed to clear that, I get that I'm being offensive with my honest opinion.

          I would not say that I am representative for my nation no, but many of my views are. Like my views on free education, universal healthcare, war, taxes and a few other. And I would say that most Americans (when referring to Americans I'm talking about the US, not including Canada and Mexico) have an inhumane viewpoint of such matters.

          Over here the US is generally held in very low regards, you're seen as a horrific example of capitalism, warmongering and every-man-for-himself-attitude. That I can say.

          Now, on here I only get to notice examples of non-US persons every now and then, while I see the vast majority as US citizens.

          1/4 of all TED members without photos are from the US and 1/3 of all with photos are from the US. Possibly more since not everybody chooses to say where their from.

          And I don't have any data but I'd say that about half of conversations is filled with US citizens. So I do find you to be a representative bunch scientifically, not completely random since we don't hear from those without an internet connection, but representative nonetheless. But I'm not in a position to assess if what I claim is true or just my bias. But I can tell you that it really feels that way. Or I wouldn't have said it.

          I think that the US has a culture that greatly differs from most of the first world, a culture that isn't very humane or forgiving.
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        Dec 15 2013: I have never found your impressions of the people of the United States to be offensive. Only quite inaccurate and uninformed.

        TED members with or without photos are unlikely to be a representative sample either of the US population or of those with an internet connection.

        Members who participate in Conversations are also a very skewed and small sample of either the average American or of the frequency distribution of views..

        I absolutely know the US is held in low regard, with the sort of assumptions you make of an every-man-for-himself attitude. It is simple an inaccurate picture of the people here. But then people in various countries are often encouraged to see great and uniform evil in strangers abroad (or even at home) and quick to screen in a biased way the evidence available for better judgment.

        I am not offended. I am only troubled at how the world can move forward in addressing problems constructively if people of different countries are utterly confident of their incorrect impressions of peoples across the globe from them. It is particularly disheartening to see it in the young.

        I am troubled by uninformed or weakly informed hatreds and where they lead humanity. I would encourage anyone to carefully examine his own tendencies to judge with little information and to hate.

        I wish for 2014 for anyone inclined to draw hateful conclusions of strangers, either as individuals or as groups of 'others," to consider with as big a heart and as clear a head as he/she can muster the foundations of his or her views.
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          Dec 15 2013: Well, we have different views on this...

          I'm inclined to say that you don't see the accurate picture since you're standing in the middle of it.

          I do not hate the inhabitants of any country. You seem to think that I feel hate, I do not. Where did you get that from?

          That's a nice wish, I wish the same...

          I also wish for people to see their society for what it is.
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        Dec 15 2013: What you can do is do your part to ask yourself continuously how you are forming your judgments and whether you can become better informed. I know in popular culture people often assume that people who are more immersed in a subject, like, say, scholars in science or another field, understand what they study less than those with more superficial exposure.

        Again, I think it is wise to consider what you really know rather than being too comfortably set in your first and distant impressions. This is particularly important if you aim to be any sort of a leader.
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          Dec 15 2013: I'm not aiming to be a leader, what I am I am out of necessity. As I've said many times, the system I'm advocating is one where all people are equal and have equal votes. I can speak for those who think that I can, nothing else.

          Again, I think that I see your country more clearly then you do since you lack an outside perspective...

          Should we end it here Fritzie? We won't get further. Our opinions differ, you think that I'm blind and judgmental, I think that is true for a large part of the inhabitants in your nation.

          I won't reply to this anymore unless asked a specific question, you are of course free to continue if you wish.
      • Dec 16 2013: I am just reporting what I have seen of former co-workers and others I have met. There is a very large proportion of Americans who, if they get a sufficiently "comfortable" hand-out, will refuse to work. I saw it happen over and over. I saw many people rotate through pointless jobs, not because the jobs paid too little, but because they decided that, since their bills were paid, they simply didn't feel like working anymore. Then they get unhappy when the same place won't hire them back.

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