Universal Basic Income

An opinion piece on universal basic income

Tom Sargis, Staff Writer

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When there is talk about the issues surrounding unemployment in this country, one debate which stems from the “unemployment crisis” presupposition is the concept of ‘universal basic income’ which in short is essentially a government supplied endowment which allows (in theory) the person receiving it to be able to live off of it sufficiently. The idea of universal basic income comes from the speculation of certain economists who theorize that an unemployment crisis gone ‘sideways’ would require people to receive such a thing in order to be able to live. Separately, it is also speculated that such an addendum to the way in which things are, would be necessary in order to compensate for the loss of jobs to automation in the future. The issues that come about when ‘UBI’ is discussed tend to commonly be related to issues of the ‘how’ and ‘what if’. One of the issues which UBI could be responsible for, however, is creating an Orwellian nightmare in which the state, holding all the resources can do as it pleases. This is highly speculative of course, but were all (or most) jobs to be outsourced to machines, there would need to be some alternative for people to earn ‘green’ to eat. Some speculate that the creation of a universal basic income system would coincide with the addition of a social credit system – a system in which the government assesses how good or bad you are as per their criteria, and thusly hand out the ‘dole’ accordingly. Obvious criticisms stem from such an idea: what is good and what is bad? There is too, the idea of superficial appeasement that could coincide with such an implementation – panem et circenses.