Every now and again, the idea of a Universal Basic Income starts to float around the policy sphere, but for many countries, it never really lands. A Universal Basic Income basically would mean that every adult receives a period payment to their account--no strings attached.
Welfare payments are often means-tested, or dependant on one's inability to work, but a Universal Basic Income is usually set to be above the poverty line. This means that everyone receives a sum of money, with no catch.
Now think about it, what could you do if you didn't have to worry about rent money or eating? Implementing a Universal Basic Income shows us how we can imagine a new, freer, society.
When discussing Universal Basic Income, inevitably the retort comes: "So you just want people to not have to work, is that it?" Accompanied by a smug smirk, expecting me to backpedal and hem and haw, say "Of course not, that's silly." Except...yes. Yes, I do. 1/11— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 23, 2019
People shouldn't HAVE to work. People should WANT to work. Sharing in the labor of building and maintaining a society because it benefits everyone should be desirable, not forced. It shouldn't be something we do because we'll die otherwise. 2/11— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 23, 2019
Sidebar but it is also super messed up that healthcare is tied to employment.
Imagine a society where survival didn't depend on a job. Imagine how that would alter the fabric of...everything. Imagine if you could leave a job without fearing the loss of income or health care. Imagine the power of the worker in that society. 3/11— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 23, 2019
If a person could survive without a job, imagine what employers would be like. They'd have to treat their workers fairly, and make themselves attractive to entice workers. They'd have to offer a better option than other employers, and make people want to participate. 4/11— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 23, 2019
Places that have offered UBI have seen the results: most people do want to work. The people who choose not to are generally young parents, students, people with disabilities and the elderly. people have a desire to contribute, for our lives to have purpose and to be useful. 5/11— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 23, 2019
And before you say it, yes, some people will take advantage. That is true for absolutely everything ever. You think people don't take advantage of the economy we have? Like, say, the 1% who grow wealthier while their employees have to work three jobs and use food stamps? 6/11— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 23, 2019
They can only do that, by the way, because people are so terrified of losing a job and the destruction that would follow that they tolerate mistreatment, disempowerment, the destruction of their unions, healthcare, retirements and even their bodies to avoid it. 7/11— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 23, 2019
That would not be the case if everyone were guaranteed a baseline survival income. Your boss couldn't treat you like shit because he knows you can't leave. You CAN leave, and you will. 8/11— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 23, 2019
What if desperation didn't motivate everything? Imagine the impact on health, relationships, parenting, well-being, crime, violence, progress. When you aren't desperately scrabbling for the rent, you can spare a neuron to contemplate long-term problems. 9/11— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 23, 2019
Imagine a society where terror of destitution wasn't a constant thrum underneath everyone's existence. Imagine the creative works that society could produce. Imagine the children it could raise, the elderly it could care for. Imagine the inventions it could produce. 10/11— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 23, 2019
Now, imagine knowing all this and thinking "NOPE. We can't have all that, because someone I don't like might benefit from it. So to avoid that, the rest of you can all hang." And there you have modern conservative thinking. 11/11— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 23, 2019
That's kind of the difference between progressives and conservatives in a nutshell. Progressives = I don't want others to suffer as I did, conservatives = I suffered, so everyone else should, too.— Lori Summers (@madlori) July 24, 2019
Sure they do, but they do so for different reasons. Someone who is rich, or born from wealth, can more easily work because they want to, because it's interesting or fulfilling; not because if they don't they don't get to eat— Lewis Upperton (@sineout) July 23, 2019
When people no longer have to work to survive, we can decide what work will make our lives feel full. Most people go through life doing something that doesn't bring them any joy, the feeling that you are wasting your life is so crushing. This kind of system alleviates that a bit— ✨Ari✨Moon Fairy🌖🐇🌔 (@manifestedreams) July 24, 2019
Couple thoughts:— Dave DeLong (@davedelong) March 14, 2021
1. UBI incentivizes employers to offer better perks. People who want those perks would do those jobs
2. Anyone who wants *more* than UBI is incentivized to do those jobs
Everyone has been stuck in a job before. This is quintessential to the American worker experience. Imagine if instead of being “stuck” there, suddenly you were free to pursue better opportunities for you/your family/your community, to make new things or develop new ideas...— Stacy Says🗽🥊 🦆🦖 (@TheMostStacy) July 25, 2019
And I don’t want my survival to be pinned on what I want to do being popular that week or my health, mental or physical. I can get a little bit done some weeks and feel proud rather than guilty.— Patrick Gerard (@PatrickGerard01) July 23, 2019
A happier world is possible, we just have to find it!