Options for a Cumulative Unconditional Basic Income
On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 07:56:28AM -0400, Richard Stallman wrote:
> I think the basic income might be a good thing I just don't think
> it matters whether we consider it socialistic or not.
Yes, it doesn't matter, but actually that wording is inappropriate since "socialistic"
implies that everyone gets to have a job and thus that
there continues to be economic growth on planet earth as it
has been all the time since mankind started trading. Both
is unrealistic for the future and any political party that
is defined on this basis should have no long-term relevance
(that is pretty much all).
Maybe "social-libertarian" is more appropriate, since a
Cumulative Unconditional Basic Income
(some call it a BIG, a Basic Income Guarantee, or an
but I prefer to stress the notion of both Cumulative and Unconditional)
gives you freedom to work how you think is right, takes care
of your well-being and stops human society to grow itself to
It can also be "liberal," but that depends a lot on the
details of the implementation and there is a serious risk
of it losing its social aspects if too much attention is
given to the liberal ones.
- The Götz Werner model, based on radically raising
the consumption tax (VAT), is not recommendable IMHO as it
redistributes wealth from middle class to lower class,
leaving the 0.01% who own Planet Earth safe from lower
class uproar - at least until 99% of the population is
lower class and the system falls apart.
- This image shows a proposal by a German christian democrat
(in black) compared to those of more reasonable political
parties and the status quo (in blue). It illustrates how
wrong a BIG scheme can be if done by the wrong people.
Mr Althaus was promoting a scheme that would detract money
from the poor and make wealthy people even wealthier.
- A model that finances itself out of a Robin-Hood-Tax
redistributes from the 1% of wealthiest people and
companies to the 99% of humanity. This to me seems
to be a good model of what we currently need in order
to achieve economic stability and regain some justice.
In recently updated simulations developed by the authors of
"The Limits To Growth" they came to the conclusion that
only in models where a solid redistribution of wealth
was considered, humanity reached a condition of sustainability.
A quite impressive
research study from Maryland University
seems to confirm these findings:
- A model that also increases taxes on all kinds of
behaviours, resources and productions that aren't
ecologically and economically sustainable helps
stabilize humanity. A good example is heavy fuel oil:
It is artificially keeping globalization afloat while
polluting the environment irreparably. By increasing
taxes on it we limit international shipping to only
cargo that actually deserves worldwide shipment.
From the point of view of an "honest liberal," the
market is unbalanced because it doesn't take ecology into
account - so it desperately needs ecological taxing to
- The short-term side effects of CUBI can also be
appetizing to liberal thinking: cost of labour going
down, competitivity of the country that introduces CUBI
going massively up. This gives an economic advantage
to the early adopters and forces surrounding economies
to follow suit.
But as the Althaus and Friedman/Werner models show, there are plenty
of ways to get it fairly or completely wrong, therefore WE
MUST AT ALL COSTS ensure that it is the right and reasonable people
fleshing out the details of the deal. It is not
sufficient to just ask for "some kind of guaranteed basic income"
and then let the parliaments work out the details. It is quite
likely a recipe for failure.
The "Pirate New Deal" must come from ourselves, fully
detailed and mathematically solid. Forgive me if it
doesn't fit into the few paragraphs of a blog post.
In the coming age of automation, when people might eventually work ten or twenty hours a week, Man for the first time will be forced to confront himself with the true spiritual problems of living.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood, 1986
Update: The series on UBI continues
and DiEM25 has adopted the "New Deal" wording in the meantime.
Last Change: 2018-05-10