The idea of a universal basic income is gaining currency (pun intended). The higher orders are afraid. “At the annual gathering of the global elite in the Swiss resort of Davos, billionaire finance chieftains debate how to make capitalism kinder to the masses to defuse populism,” says the one and only New York Times in a November 15 article entitled, Capitalism has a problem. Is Free Money the Answer?
With a title like that, one would think the ruling class is finally coming out of the closet about the truth of capitalism. Economists, we are told, are supposedly struggling to find “the fix for persistently weak wage growth . . .”
“Persistently weak wage growth” is a mystery to rationally-challenged professional economists. Is it a coincidence that it benefits the superficial interests of the ruling class? Our constant lobbying, off-shore leveraging of jobs, and playing states and groups against each other have apparently nothing to do with weak wages. But the second half of the that statement betrays some of the real fears hanging over the heads of higher classes: “just as robots appear poised to replace millions of human workers.”
Weak wages are one thing, a tsunami of unemployment due to technology is another. The lower orders, through centuries of conditioning, have learned to accept low pay and limited lives, but the loss of hundreds of millions of jobs is a revolutionary moment. It makes socialism more attractive to the lower orders.
The loss of jobs to robots is paradigm shifting. Capitalism has always assumed it needed workers, but in a robot world far fewer will be needed. And while a surplus of labor is crucial for wage and dissent suppression, an entire population of the unemployed conjures up torches and pitchforks.
The Preservation Society supports a universal basic income.
Paying for the universal basic income would not be so difficult, though inevitably Our Conservative factions would cry “unaffordable!” while ignoring corporate subsidies, war budgets and actual war, off-shore accounts and the costs of cleaning up corporate disasters, not to mention years of money printing QE with no direct effect on inflation.
Ellen Brown does a good job at laying out the case for a universal basic income in How to Fund a Universal Basic Income Without Increasing Taxes or Inflation.
But before a universal basic income can even be considered, inquiring minds might want to contemplate how effective a it can really be in the current state of usurious debt, especially that plaguing the poor. Wouldn’t a universal basic income be, as is already in the present circumstance, tantamount to flushing money down the debt toilet and into the coffers of payday loans operators, big banks, usurious credit cards and for-profit higher education? Would debt jubilee be mandatory for these reasons? Are universal basic income and debt two sides of the same coin? Can one be considered without the other?
Furthermore, wouldn’t a universal basic income encourage Us in the higher orders to engage in ever more systemic fraud such as we have seen throughout history, unless We were significantly restrained (think Tulip Craze, South Sea Bubble, railroad speculation, Civil War bonds, mortgage speculation, and dubious “financial instruments”).
As We mentioned, universal basic income is a paradigm shifting development. Can it be implemented without significant changes to the system? Indeed, the title of the Times article — “Capitalism has a problem” — implies, along with proposals for a universal basic income, what Marxists, socialists and others have always known: capitalism is a failure in terms of decent society. We say this with the purest love for the system have has given Us so much. To save capitalism, odious as it may be, the wise believer must learn from the blasphemer, and drop the fairy tales, at least among the policy makers.
Even if, by some miracle, society succeeds in implementing regulations significantly curbing debt peonage and the power of big players to abuse the system, it is easy to see what may happen after the implementation of the universal basic income. How long would it be before We go on the attack?
When all the studies and debates are done, and universal basic income moves forward, do the masses really think we would leave it alone for long, provided they get it out of Us in the first place? Can a universal basic income really be fair under the ruling class? and how long can it last?
The masses need to be many steps ahead to catch up.