A reader writes about Universal Basic Income

A reader writes about Universal Basic Income December 3, 2015

This is pretty much outside of my wheelhouse but I thought I’d pass it along for our argument du jour. He writes:

I wanted to pass this along to you because it deals with a topic that I find fascinating and have only recently encountered for the first time: universal basic income. It strikes me as the type of topic that would fit with the things you post on your blog and, as a bonus, will likely solidify your reputation as a “damned librul!” (;-)

In an age when the problem of poverty has less to do with production and lack of available goods and resources than with how these goods are distributed, the words of (I believe) St. John Chrysostom and St. Ambrose ring sharply; to paraphrase: once our necessities are met, our excess, as a matter of justice, belongs to the poor. (How well I live this ideal in my own life is another story…)

I’m not quite a proponent of UBI yet (still learning about it), and I don’t know if it’s feasible, but on a conceptual level, it makes sense to me: in an age when there are really enough resources in the world to provide everyone with at least a basic level of existence (I believe this part is true), why would we not want to do everything possible to make this a reality?

The concept of UBI is truly a radical one for our “modern-day” sensibilities, almost incomprehensible. However, mankind has experienced enormous shifts in civilization before. Wouldn’t the concept of agriculture have been practically incomprehensible to people whose only model of survival, their very existence and all they had ever known, was hunting-gathering? One thing I’m certain about is that, for a variety of factors that are all converging, our current economic system is untenable in the long run. Something is going to change, whether we like it or not, and hopefully it will be a positive change for humanity that doesn’t involve bloodshed or violent revolution.

There’s been a lot written about UBI on the web. I’m sending you a link to an essay. Hope you find it at least interesting. Talk to you later!

Capitalism, Coercion and Modern-Day Abolition — Basic income


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