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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 23 2013: Mike, I couldn't reply below, i've done it here.

    Mike - "So, a youngster, feeling lost, lonely and unloved is a ticking time bomb. I, for one, have no idea on how to defuse it."

    We are seeing more and more, time bombs, we've seen school shootings - many which now don't get reported unless there is a large number involved. We see angry young men who have murdered people in schools, cinemas, we have seen the youngest and most innocent of children be slain. Only for time and again for the perpetrator to take their own seemingly valueless life as well, and end it all in a desperate final act of rage.

    We've seen the lost of family, where people just don't have time for each other, as people have to work either multiple jobs, or oppressively long hours - just to make ends meet. We are seeing the second generation of divorce, where everyone eating a meal at the same table is only a long forgotten memory occasionally show in a tv commercial.

    Where young people are more plugged in than every before, and yet simultaneously more disconnected. More and more removed from the reality of life, it's the same reason people now more than ever take drugs. And no one wants to ask the core question what is it about society that makes people feel they have to do this, why do they need to 'check out'?

    It's not too hard, if people want to look on forums, boards else where just how isolated youngsters feel today, just how depressed they are, just how many are either thinking of and are committing suicide, and in the song below, in which he asks 'are we to blind to see", "do we simply turn our heads and look the other way", i think that over the past 40 years since it was recorded, we've done just that.

    If people can't see that Unconditional Basic Income, just may, have the ability to change that by giving people that very helping hand, then god help us all.


    And when you watch that video - know every day 40,000 children die... In the Ghetto
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      • Dec 23 2013: Hi Mike

        I can't help but see the "Re-distribution" of wealth framing in so many replies. Which side is the concern on, No one can doubt the redistrubiton from the masses to the few.

        Is this the concern you speak of? I have yet to see the direction reverse?

        Also we have to remember that money is purely a man-made structure.
        The arguements claiming insufficient funds are debating angels on the head of a needle.
      • Dec 23 2013: Mike I attach an infographic that for the USA shows where current money goes.

        Now some might not believe there is enough money, well it's all too clear where, if we change our priorities, exactly where that money can come from.

        I hope this educates people as to what and where the money that they pay actually goes.

        And I ask every individual to look into their hearts this Christmas to ask themselves honestly if where this money is currently going serves, not only the USA in the long term, but for the best interests of mankind as a whole.


        I'd disagree with the ipad comment Mike, if only it has brought a lot of income to the US as well as jobs, at a company level (apple) and at an individual software developer level. Things not often seen, and not often said. As well as the new infrastructure built, just as the legacy of FDR did albeit in roads, trains, bridges, but this time the infrastructure is one of higher data transmission, roads of the future. Something that America was falling behind with until the release of the iphone and ipad.

        If your looking for a culprit that corrupts children Mike, then I would say look at the media. The culture of celebrity, where the youth see them as role models, when the media spend more time on them and the minutia of their lives than the real issues of today.

        They are the distraction that has stopped people from seeing what's happening in the USA and the world, or to know or care. Given that, is no wonder we have seen the rise of reality shows, who's sole aim is to distract with mind numbing banality, and in some cases create envy, or worst still create in the youth's mind a path to follow to be reveled in. Where the people are just famous not for any achievement, but just for being on tv. Where the goal is not to create, but consume. And why many a sex tape, or soul, has be sold to get on that kind of tv, regardless of the consequences.
      • Dec 24 2013: There is plenty of money to fund a Basic Income. It's total nonsense to suggest otherwise. We can do it world wide, or country by country. The point of a Basic Income is to redistribute wealth so as to lower inequality. You take some form the rich, and give to the poor. The only way there would not be "enough" money to implement a Basic Income, is if there was no inequality in the world. There is massive inequality in the world so to implement a Basic Income is trivial. It's only a matter of will.

        In the US for example, we have talked about a BI on the level of about $12K a year, or $1K a month for every adult being reasonable. That's about 20% of GDP. That's a lot of money. But it could be implemented with a 20% income tax and a 20% corporate profit tax. Someone with zero income, would pay no taxes, and get $12K a year. Someone with $60K of income, will pay $12K of taxes, and get $12K of BI making it wash. Someone with $60 million of income, will pay $12 million in taxes, and get $12K of BI making them a huge contributor.

        Every home, with less than $60K per adult (aka $120K for two adults) will come out ahead after the BI tax. Everyone with more than that, will pay greater taxes under this structure of a BI.

        There is NO ECONOMIC PROBLEM to implement this. It's only a matter of making people vote for it.

        Much of these taxes would be paid for, by reducing most our current social programs. So we won't all get a 20% tax rise, but a 10% rise would be needed for this size BI.

        But the way to start, is with a smaller BI, and smaller taxes. Maybe as low as $200 a month, then raise the BI over time, as we cut out our current welfare programs.
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      • Dec 24 2013: Mike, "We should ROB Peter to pay Paul"?

        Actually you wouldn't be, because it was Peter's money in the first place.

        Too often people forget the money the government has is NOT it's own, it's yours. You get to decide if you want it spent on weapons of war, or on humanity, it's called - Democracy.

        Ask yourself why do you pay taxes on goods that the government, didn't make, didn't invent, didn't work on, and don't sell? Because someone came along and said "I'll tell you what to do, how to do it, what you can and cant do and for that, you'll have to pay me". And people fell for it.

        I end this on a laugh, but in laughing see that even 40 years on, there is "truth in humor"...

      • Dec 24 2013: Mike, you are totally correct that this is not "free" money. No matter how it's implemented, it will redistribute from the rich, to the poor. People need to understand this.

        However, it is very much morally valid to do this, and that's what is so hard for people to grasp. There's a huge misunderstanding in society that people think they "earn" their wealth. That's just not true in a large society where we all trade with each other for the things we need day by day. We don't create the wealth individual. We create it as a team working together.

        I can't write enough to make this clear in this post. It deserves an entire book be written about this misconception. But what's happening, is that technology is allowing those that own the best tech, to steal opportunity away from others trying to "earn" their money. It's the strong, pushing the weak around, using technology to do it. As our technology advances, the ability for a few, to steal the wealth of the entire world, away from everyone else advances with it. They "steal' our opportunity to earn a living, and we have the moral right, to steal some of the wealth back (aka share the wealth) when they do that.

        Mark Zuckerberg created great tech with Facebook. He's worth Billions today because of it. This 10 years of work, has paid off to the tune of 5 million dollars a day for him. That gives him a right, to a large slice of our country's total GDP. His 10 years of programming, and running a small company, has now entitled him the right, to 19 billion dollars of our GDP. The average family income is around $55K a year. His money, now gives him the right, to have 8,500 people that earn $55k, spend their entire 40 year working life, doing anything Mark wants them to do. So Mark donates 10 years of his live to society, and gets 340,000 years of labor in return from society.

        Mark's sucess, in effect, has prevented all those other people, from working for anyone else.
      • Dec 24 2013: Yeah, Mike, I fully understand why you and many others are against wealth redistribution. But times are changing, and you have to learn to change too. Without wealth redistribution, our society will collapse and fail. When one person invents robots that are 10 times more intelligent than any human, and they choose to make as much money off the invention as they can, instead of sharing it, they will take over the entire world economy. The only other people that will have money is other very rich members of society, who own resources like oil wells, and land, and coal mines, iron ore mines and the like. The guy that invents the robots, will sell his tech to all the other rich, and all the rest of the humans, will be left with no one to employ them. They won't have money to buy any consumer goods, so all the rich will stop trying to sell the poor stuff, like food, and just sell high end goods and services to the few rich that have all the money and natural assets of society. We will have 6.9 billion poor on the planet and 100 million super rich that own all the land and natural resources and robots. The rich, will use their robots to herd the poor into death camps and reservations in the Sahara desert and let them starve to death. This time, the rich won't need the poor, to tend the fields, or build the castles for them. This transformation in society is already well under way in society today, and people are blind to it, because, like you, they think "humans" do all the work and deserve to keep the "money" they "make". Humans don't do much of the work at all anymore. Machines do it all. Mark Z. is rich, not becuase of what the humans that work for him do, but becuase of what his machines do for his 1 billion users.

        I fully understand why this doesn't make sense to you. But in time, you will understand what I'm saying as you see your friends and family being replaced by machines. The more that happens, the more we need to share wealth.
      • Dec 25 2013: Mike

        You are correct money is trade for goods and services. The text you are reading says money is to be used for power and control.

        My Econ 101 take away is far different from yours, I see money as a means for equal opportunity and growth. Not a means to control and even allow death to those without.
      • Dec 25 2013: "If you understand, how could you sustain your argument for wealth distribution?" Because I understand what you are failing to grasp. You think machines won't replace humans, but you are dead wrong and in time, you will grasp your error.

        "And your contention the the rich are some sort of maniacal group bent on mass annihilation of the poor can not be farther from the truth"

        Not my contention at all. Again, you fail to understand. I don't blame the rich and the fact that you think I do, shows again how clueless you are. I blame the system for creating inequality. I don't blame the rich for being rich like some liberals do, and I don't blame the poor for being poor, like some conservatives do. I blame the technology of capitalism, mixed with advanced machine, for creating the inequality. If you play the game of Monopoly by the rules, the game rules are what creates inequality not the players. One person gets rich, everyone else loses. It's not the fault of the winner for wining, or the losers for losing. It's the way the game is rigged by how the rules work. Our society is rigged by the rules we play by as well.

        We can change the rules of the board game of monopoly and create a very different result. If every time someone wins money in the game, they have to take half of their winnings, and share it with all the other players, the game becomes every different. No one ever goes bankrupt. Everyone gets to keep playing. One person will be richest at one point, a bit later, someone else will be the richest.

        Technology is transforming our free trade economy into a real life game of monopoly where there will only be one winner. Technology is driving inequality higher, and higher, and it will end with billions of people in poverty, and a few lucky people owning the world. We can add a Basic Income to change the rules of society, just as in my example above, I added a basic income sharing to the board game.
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          Dec 29 2013: I like your analogy to monopoly, only, in the game you go bankrupt, but in real life, you sell your house, work for whatever you can get or become homeless or both, and in countries without even public aid, you become a slave or die of starvation.
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          Dec 30 2013: An interesting and very relevant fact: Did you know that monopoly was constructed to show the intrinsic faults of the capitalistic system?

      • Dec 25 2013: Mike says: "Man will never be replaced by machines... if man makes machines that can replace us... we are all doomed. I read science fiction too!"

        Machines will be our slaves. We will only build the type of machines, that we can control. Humans are survival machines. We are built to keep ourselves alive and to reproduce. We could build machines with the same motivations, but then they would kill us, in order to take control away from us to increase their odds of surviving. But we can make intelligent machines, that have different motivations than humans. Instead of building smart machines that have an innate goal of self preservation, we will built smart machines with innate goals of serving humans. These will be highly intelligent machines, but won't use their intelligence to keep themselves alive. They will use it to do the best job possible of making humans happy.

        Just imagine a human slave, that doesn't have any motivation for self preservation that all humans have. Imagine a human slave, that only wants to make it's masters happy and would gladly, in a second, sacrifice it's own life, or cut off it's own arm, if that was the best way to help a human. Imaging a human slave, that would like you take a hammer, and bash it's hand into bits, and not think twice about you doing it because if that's what a human wants to do, it will gladly let the human do it. That's the type of robots that will build. Very intelligent, but with very different drives and motivations than humans

        These "slaves" will do all our work for us. They will do it better than any human ever could do the work for us. McDonald's and Wal-mart will replace all it's store workers with machines like this. Factories in China will replace it's millions of $10 a day workers, with robots like these. UPS, Fedex, USPS, Amazon, and all trucking, will replace all their workers with robots like these. All taxi companies will replace their drivers, with robots like these.
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      Dec 24 2013: Steven there will always be those who can not see beyond the money, perhaps because that is what is most important to them. However, the UBI is imminently possible for those who can see beyond such a narrow view and who know the first step in any transition is the desire to change the way things are and to not get bogged down by those who desperately cling to the status quo, even if that quo is to their disadvantage.

      As I have said many times, if we can put human beings on the moon and then bring them back safely, then in comparison to that real world event, it is small potatoes indeed to remedy the inequities of an economic system that exists primarily in our minds and has only as much substance as we allow it.

      The personal freedom and greater control over one's own life that a UBI represents is surely some timely thinking in this 21st century.
      • Dec 24 2013: William your right, there will always be those who can not see beyond the money. And it's astute to realize that it to them has value.

        Again your right about the moon, but I see beyond that, I see that all it takes is the will, and when we have that determination, things will change. And there is nothing that cant.

        It also makes me think that's why the statement is true "The people get the Government they deserve". If only because we 'assume' there is nothing we can do, and so we devolve our self of responsibility, as a way out of having to do anything, and then just blame the people we gave our responsibility to. Then vote once every 4 years and claim it doesn't matter, so for many why bother to do even that.

        The Ancient Greeks knew what we have forgot, "Democracy is a day-to-day business". Same for Rome, until a Cesar snatched power, and never let it return to the people, rather like a presidential executive order, no? After all where do people think the knowledge of architecture for capitol hill came from, or the ideology of a senate, a congress, and even Democracy itself. And even the phrase a "Government by the people, for the people".

        But we live in times like Rome, regarding UBI, just as Cesar knew, just keep the mass's distracted by throwing people to the lions and send armies of to conquer, and all will stay as was.

        Question is, do we want to sit by and carry on seeing people being "thrown to the lions", that is - until they come for us. Or do we accept that, in this 21st century, with "personal freedom" comes "responsibility", they are and always have been - a package deal.
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          Dec 24 2013: absolutely, this too easily corrupted representative system is at the heart of so many of the world's problems and has little to do with real democracy. In fact, I call it a sham democracy and it is no accident that there is no educational curriculum that informs its young people what democracy really means, the various forms it can take and that its foundation is supposed to be consensus based not authoritarian based.

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