August 29, 2020
The topic of UBI has surfaced again as Germany gets ready to begin a trial with some of its citizens. Is there a deeper question behind UBI that isn’t often spoken about? A question that begins thinking outside of our current ideologies?
When most people think of universal basic income we go through the standard path of questioning: how would it work? How would it be paid for? Are we really losing jobs that fast that we need this? What happens if people don’t contribute to society? Does it create more government dependency? What ‘ism’ does this fall under?
All good questions, but perhaps ones that don’t truly look at some deeper thoughts behind UBI as a result of our current way of living. What do I mean by this? I go back to a statement Andrew Yang made in relation to why he was presenting UBI as part of his US presidential campaign:
“We could get the boot off of everyone’s throats just like that. And we have to do it, because we’re in the midst of this historic transformation of our economy that is pushing more and more of us to the sideline.”
Before we get more into Yang, we did a segment of The Takeaway where we spoke about the deeper side of UBI. You can watch it below. I’ll continue exploring the subject in writing below the video as well.
Essentially, Yang is saying that he feels too many people are struggling to do even the basics, even when they have multiple jobs, and thus they can’t even think about exploring taking a breath, doing something they love or are interested in simply because they are always just trying to survive. Of course, some people will say, “go get educated and get a better job” as if education is the path to money. This is merely an illusion as our current economic system not only MUST create economic classes by design, but there must always be those who struggle. Constant growth is a must, and so companies are driven to do things more inexpensively year after year, replacing human jobs with automated jobs. Innovation is driven by the need to make things cheaper so companies can survive, thus pushing people out of work.
This seems like a ‘bad’ thing as people won’t have money to survive, but when you think about it in another way, we’ve found ways to have innovation take over having to spend our lives working. The only thing holding us back at this point is an outdated economic system that does not align with the technological advancement our minds have created.
UBI brings up a deep question: in people’s hearts, why is this idea attractive to them? What is the potential deeper inspiration?
Sure, you can choose to gawk at and judge people, saying they are ‘lazy’ or ‘commies’, but I challenge you to open your mind and go deeper. Is it possible that what we’re really asking for behind UBI is not so much getting free money, but that we’re tired of our current ways of living? We’re ready to live a life we know is possible, where we can thrive as a society without having to slave 40 hours a week to make ends meet? Perhaps people are feeling that a radical shift in the way we live is possible, but is being held back by our ideologies and systems built out of them. Maybe the discussion of UBI is really pushing us to re-imagine our entire system?
Like I mentioned above, we had this discussion openly in a segment of The Takeaway. The intention is not to go over all the existing studies and literature on the topic, but more so to appeal to a greater sense of engagement asking how YOU feel.