I want to write a few posts about the basic income over the next couple of months. This is part of an ongoing interest I have in the future of work and solutions to the problem of technological unemployment. I’ll start by looking at a debate between Philippe van Parijs and Elizabeth Anderson about the justice of an unconditional basic income (UBI).
1) People have stockholm syndrome, they've been told this is the best they can do and they believe it.
2) Protestant work ethic. Obsession with work. Almost violent opposition for people who dare question this work ethic, and tons of character slander for doing so.
3) People have some horrible misunderstandings about how our economy actually works. They don't have a sort of clear systems thinking like many of us do. While we see exactly how trickle down economics fails to provide, many people still blame poverty on laziness, and seem to be living in a fantasy world in which anyone can make it if only they try hard enough.
4) Right wing controlled narrative. We won the cold war, capitalism is perfect, and anyone who thinks different is a communist.
5) People lack the stomach to do what needs to be done. People pay lip service to the poverty problem, but then won't do anything about it because they think taxes are evil. They think the solution is creating more opportunity, but if you have a good understanding of the system, which as I mentioned many people don't, they'll realize that their solutions don't work and you need to think outside the box. They literally can't seem to wrap their heads around what it actually takes to solve the problem. And even if they do understand, they have backwards solutions. For example, one person I talked to today realized that there arent enough jobs for people, but his solution was to focus on immigration and stop poor people from reproducing. This explains a lot of conservatism actually. They recognize there arent enough jobs, but instead of rethinking distribution, they turn to what seems to amount to the vitriolic xenophobia we see and say poor people wouldnt reproduce.
6) Crab mentality. People screwed by the system think because they're miserable, other people should suffer too, because it's not fair their life sucks, everyone's life must suck too.
There's also the question of affordability, since UBI just barely makes it under more abstract proposals (keep in mind my $12k/4k/40% plan is pretty abstract), and I think funding could be a challenge in practice when one accounts for problems like corporate tax evasion. Right wingers like to play on this and go on about how it cant be done and how it will literally destroy the economy. I think there will be consequences, but i dont think that they'll be that dire.
In short, as you can see, I really pick on the right here. Which is why I come off as so anti conservative on this sub...because I really do think to a large extent modern conservatism, and its obsession with work and unfettered capitalism and its hatred of "free money" and anything that promotes "laziness" or requires taxes is a problem. I know how right wingers think, and while more intellectual ones like we sometimes see on here are for it due to the reduction of bureaucracy, there are a ton of reasons for them to hate the idea, because ultimately, they do have an obsession with work ethic, a hatred toward taxes, a love affair with capitalism, and a stockholm syndrome that makes them think unfettered capitalism i the best we can do. I mean, let's face it, a majority of anti UBI articles we see on here recently are from right wing websites like Red State. That's our opposition. Those are the people we need to fight politically to have a shot at getting UBI implemented.
This post is part of an ongoing series I’m doing on the unconditional basic income (UBI). The UBI is an income grant payable to a defined group of people (e.g. citizens, or adults, or everyone) within a defined geo-political space. The income grant could be set at various levels, with most proponents thinking it should be at or above subsistence level, or at least at the maximum that is affordable in a given society. In my most recent post, I looked at Van Parijs’s famous defence of the UBI. Today, I look at Widerquist’s critique of Parijs, as well as his own preferred justification for the UBI.