7 Reasons The Universal Basic Income Is Worth Fighting For
7 Reasons The Universal Basic Income Is Worth Fighting For
By Andrew Dolan / wire.novaramedia.com
Apr 1, 2014

The Universal Basic Income (UBI) – sometimes called the Unconditional Basic Income, Citizens’ Income or Social Wage – has in recent times become a focus of economic discussion across the political spectrum. While column inches in the Financial Times and The Economist have been racking up, academics such as Stuart White have been articulating how valid cases for the UBI can be made from communist, liberal, and republican perspectives. Here Andrew Dolan offers 7 reasons why the UBI should matter to people who want to create a just and sustainable world:

1. Wages aren’t working.

Since the 2008 financial crisis it has become increasingly impossible to survive on wage labour. In real terms, wages in the UK have declined 9 percent in the last 5 years, whilst in the same period the cost of living has risen 25 percent. Combined with mass unemployment and the reduction of welfare the situation is worse than any in recent memory. Whether in or out of work, poverty is a reality for millions of people living in the UK, the world’s sixth largest economy.

2. Full employment is neither possible nor desirable.

From Conservative to Labour to the TUC, the solution offered to this problem is reducible to one dominant idea: economic growth. Grow the economy and jobs will follow, or so the logic goes. Yet as automation accelerates and human labour becomes ever more unnecessary for the production of goods a return to full employment is quite simply impossible, with or without growth. As for an expanding service sector, neither Costa nor Credit Suisse can employ everyone and nor is it desirable that they do. A new response is needed, one that recognises and seeks to overcome these contradictions. A universal basic income is one such response.

3. It’s unconditional.

A universal basic income would ensure that everyone, regardless of employment, earnings, age and gender, receives an income from the state: a single weekly or monthly monetary payment with no stipulations as to how it, or the time of its recipients, is spent. A universal basic income would guarantee a minimum standard of living and relief from poverty where work and current welfare cannot. In this sense, it is an extension of the social democratic promise; as a non-reformist reform, however, it sets the stage for the further transformation of society.

4. It undermines the necessity of work.

However it is funded, as a wage separate from production a universal basic income not only recognises the impossibility of full employment but also has the potential to undermine the mythical sanctity of work—a controlling ideology of capitalism—and accelerate the discussion and struggle over what work is necessary, how it will be done, and for whom. More immediately, a universal basic income could provide the money and time with which to collectively create spaces that embody alternative cultural and social values to those currently dominant.

5. UBI is going mainstream.

Admittedly, the introduction of a universal basic income swims against the seemingly unstoppable neoliberal current, which has accelerated the dismantling of the welfare state and elevated an ethic of entrepreneurial individualism. There are, however, a growing number of mainstream politicians and economists, most notably Paul Krugman, who have voiced support for a universal basic income as a possible solution to the impact of automation and a means through which to redistribute some of the gains of capital and stimulate market demand.

6. UBI represents an opportunity.

Although the vision of Krugman et al remains subservient to economic growth, it is the appeal of a universal basic income to those seeking the maintenance of capitalism that renders its implementation relatively feasible. In other words, the requirements of capitalism—in this instance the need for consumers—create opportunities that can be exploited by those looking to transcend it. If capitalism is to be stabilised once more then let it be on terms more favourable to society and with consequences that lay the foundations for a post-capitalist future.

7. We need to make the case for a UBI on our terms.

One cannot, of course, rely on the largesse of economic and political elites, nor mistake opportunity for inevitability. A universal basic income will not simply be given; it must be demanded, as it has been by growing numbers in Berlin, Rome and in particular Switzerland, amongst others. A universal basic income is not a panacea for the social and economic problems of capitalism and its transformative potential is dependent on greater democratic control of the state and a reduction of the working week. Nor should campaigning for it supersede workplace organising; it should, on the other hand, compliment it. Yet organising for a universal basic income presents the possibility of the employed and unemployed uniting around a shared demand that, whilst recognising the inadequacies of work, seeks not its improvement but the creation of a sphere independent from it.

4.6 ·
6
Trending Today
What Happens When You Rebel Against the Herd
Sofo Archon · 15,461 views today · Are You Truly Living Your Life? You live, but are you living the way you want to live, or the way others want you to live? You choose, but are your choices based on...
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 13,303 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State
George Lakey · 8,668 views today · Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over.
Everything We Think We Know About Addiction Is Wrong
6 min · 4,175 views today · What causes addiction? Easy, right? Drugs cause addiction. But maybe it is not that simple. This video is adapted from Johann Hari's New York Times best-selling book 'Chasing...
Artificial Ethics and the Search for Intelligence
5 min · 3,339 views today · How to stop a robot turning evil.  It's 2027 and Mental Endeavours Ltd has a problem with their flagship robot Günther. How do you program an intelligent machine not to...
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 3,218 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
The Coming War on China
John Pilger · 2,425 views today · A major US military build-up – including nuclear weapons – is under way in Asia and the Pacific with the purpose of confronting China. John Pilger raises the alarm on an...
Murdoch and Trump, Sitting at the Tee, S-C-H-E-M-I-N-G
Frankie Boyle · 2,238 views today · Say what you like about Donald Trump but he's already done things people said were impossible, like made Twitter worse. Looking back, the Harambe situation is the closest...
Real Underground Kingdom That Has Existed for Millions of Years Went Unnoticed, Until Recently...
Kid Krunk · 1,459 views today · 28 Stunning Photos Of The World’s Largest Cave
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 1,434 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
Two Ways to Build Global Community
Dan Hind · 1,219 views today · A platform co-operative approach to information, rather than the models of Facebook and legacy media, provide reason for optimism, writes Dan Hind.
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 1,117 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,063 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
What Would It Take to Stop the Raids?
CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective · 864 views today · Responding Effectively to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Attacks
Philippine Vigils Against Vigilantes - The Reign of Terror in the President's War on Drugs
7 min · 794 views today · The war on drugs waged by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has taken more than 7,000 lives since its inception. It took the killing of a South Korean businessman by police...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 759 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
System Change Will Not Be Negotiated
Nnimmo Bassey · 747 views today · We frequently hear calls for system change, at public mobilisations, in conference halls and even in negotiation halls. The calls come as slogans, they come in anger and they...
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 664 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Simple Social Experiment Shows We Are More Than The Boxes People Put Us In
3 min · 664 views today · We live in a time where we are quick to put people in boxes. Maybe we have more in common than what we think?
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 577 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
7 Reasons The Universal Basic Income Is Worth Fighting For