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Forum Post: Basic income guarantee for the US

Posted 12 years ago on Oct. 7, 2011, 12:11 p.m. EST by DMolloy (3) from Northvale, NJ
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

We discussed this exiting idea in a group this morning, and should consider adding it to our demands (e.g. at Wikipedia, visible for the press). Media bringing the idea up would be a success already. Our movement might be the chance to make them discuss it in public.


An existing experimental project in Namibia: http://www.bignam.org/

Please read it, start discussing it, and spread the idea. It would be a big chance to make the US more humanistic and "free" (doing jobs only to avoid unemployment is -not- "free").

The concept is being discussed in detail in political parties and organizations of several European countries at the moment. Some (including bank CEOs) call it our only answer to increasing unemployment due to automation, artificial intelligence and outsourcing. Also, some African countries consider the introduction since experimental projects have shown that it could be more effective than development aid. A single "official" discussion in the government would be fantastic already.

Best D. Molloy



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[-] 6 points by martel (13) 12 years ago

From whose pockets would this basic income be taken? As if the middle class wasn't taxed enough...

[-] -3 points by derek (302) 12 years ago

Right now, about US$700 per month per US citizen is redistributed as social security, school costs, welfare costs, and unemployment costs. Rather than make those payments needs-based or age-based, they could just be given unconditionally to everyone. So, there is less bureaucracy and less unfair discrimination. Beyond that, there could be several different ways to fund a basic income like through leasing government assets (like broadcast spectrum, access to land for forestry, or fishing rights, or mining rights), or part of it could be done by taxes on wealth, income, and/or transactions. Remember, the middle class would benefit greatly by a basic income as a reliable source of income they and their children could use in planning.

Some supporting evidence that higher marginal tax rates benefit the middle class:





[-] 1 points by abundantmind (17) from Siheung-si, Gyeonggi-do 12 years ago

Why does income have to come from anyone's pockets? In the US, money is "fiat". Look it up. On the first of each month, every registered citizen receives a paycheck from the US government. Worried about inflation? Me too, but I'd rather live with the guilt of not being able to solve the inflation problem than continue to live in a society that essentially enslaves its workforce for the profit of a few.

[-] 2 points by wigger (-48) 12 years ago

It always comes down to free shit doesn't it? All problems are caused by a lack of free shit and all problems are solved by getting free shit. Where does the money to pay all you deadbeats come from?

[-] 1 points by abundantmind (17) from Siheung-si, Gyeonggi-do 12 years ago

The US will simply deposit money into each citizen's bank account on the first of each month. It comes from the US Government. It's "fiat" money. Look it up.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 12 years ago

all shit belongs to no one

[-] 1 points by mikeydubbs (40) 12 years ago

Plenty undeserving people get "free shit" in our current system, like rich kids who party all the time and live off trust funds. Do you see a problem with this?


[-] 2 points by demcapitalist (977) 12 years ago

This plan would cause inflation on a massive scale. Think Wiemar Republic, the economy that fueled the Nazi rise to power or Zimbabwe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zimbabwean_dollar

[-] 1 points by mikeydubbs (40) 12 years ago

Why would it lead to inflation? Masive wars cause inflation, this could be paid for through pollution taxes, and taxing income, and wealth. It would actually spur real productivity because it would allow individuals to train themselves and better produce for society, and it would increase demands for goods because people will spend their money on goods.

[-] 2 points by light (4) 12 years ago
[-] 2 points by eginge (1) 12 years ago

The German Pirate Party with 9% of the votes (15 seats) are going to implement a basic income guarantee (plus free transport and free intellectual property) IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS!! This shit's getting real people!!!!

Pirate Party captures big victory in Berlin: http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET­/more/pellissier20110929

Why technoprogressives should join the pirate party: http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET­/more/prisco20111010

[-] 0 points by Perspective (-243) 12 years ago

With 9% they aren't going to implement anything.

[-] 2 points by jots (3) 12 years ago

The time has come for this idea to be implemented. Out of all the ideas I have heard from OWS, this is by far the best.

for some background, check out this 410 page book which is online: http://michaeljournal.org/plenty.htm really worth the read.

also http://econfuture.wordpress.com/ talks about the effect of automation on the labor force, his book talks about a basic income as a remedy.

[-] 2 points by Fredone (234) 12 years ago

I would also point out that this could help enormously to undo the "welfare dependency" problem. No longer will people on social assistance be deincentivized to work, because you get the benefit whether you are working or not.

I would also point out that it is not a "disincentive to work" precisely because it is not means tested. It is perfectly arithmetically equivalent to taxation, it is a negative flat tax tacked on to the existing taxation rates. Maybe that would be a more appealing way to put it: Negative flat tax!

This idea has also occurred to me during the few years a while a back while I was on disability. The money is paltry (about 800 a month for me but it varies) but the RULES. There is a thing in the world of financial aid to developing countries where the recipient countries calculate the net worth of a dollar of aid, given the strings attached because it often comes with various conditions.

So do social security payments these days. LOTS of conditions. If you think about it, those conditions actually destroy value and cost the taxpayer money. The taxpayer pays a dollar to the gov, and that dollar is paid out to the person receiving support but because of the burdensome rules, the person does not receive one dollar of value. Clearly, value was destroyed.

In fact, where I live there is even a rule: if you are on disability, and you earn money, they reduce your disability payments by 50% of whatever you earned. So if I worked to earn 400 bucks, they would reduce my payments to 600, so I only have a net gain of 200 bucks!

This means that de-facto you only get paid half as much! Now that's called incentive distortion. Plus in many cases there are costs to working, clothing, transport, eating more expensive food, all kinds of things. It's extremely damaging.

The best thing would be to just give people the money; but then there is always moaning and groaning about people who don't "need" it getting it, and especially if someone, during the course of getting off disability ends up with both government support but also an income like 1500, 800 from the gov, people moan and groan and think that is unfair.

Another way to do it might be to do it as an insurance scheme, that would help reduce the moaning over different payouts, but ultimately people just need to grow up and realize that their bigoted feelings are not always the best way to determine economic policy. Sometimes supporting someone in a real, substantial way, with the goal being to get them back on their feet, no bullshit or political motivated moralizing in the equation, is the right thing to do.

[-] 0 points by Perspective (-243) 12 years ago

"I would also point out that this could help enormously to undo the "welfare dependency" problem." So you think creating a massive welfare system will do this? You can't be that dumb.

[-] 1 points by Fredone (234) 12 years ago

It's not a welfare system. The whole point is that it is not means tested, and the total amount of dollars going to each citizen is similar to what the government is already paying out through the existing system. The government already pays an average of 700 bucks per adult in social support. If you simply forked over the cash instead of making it come with all kinds of strings, yes, that would greatly reduce welfare dependency, because the fact is that all those strings just get in people's way. They are put there deliberately by the 1% to keep people in poverty. The 1% doesn't care if keeping people in poverty means keeping them on welfare; they don't pay for it, we do, the taxpayer. They just make the rules!

By making it not means tested, there are no rules. EVERYONE gets it, no buts. That eliminates the "being paid to be poor" problem. Think about it.

[-] 2 points by Fredone (234) 12 years ago

I remember seeing a book called "the guaranteed income" or something by an economist. Much more cred when an economist says it, look it up.

[-] 2 points by fooligan (30) 12 years ago

here is a very good, if a bit long, explanation ;-) The “Cook Plan”  

What I am modestly calling the “Cook Plan” is simply to pay each resident of the U.S. a dividend, by means of vouchers for the necessities of life, in the amount of $1,000 per month per capita starting immediately as our fair share of the resources of the Earth and the bounty of the modern industrial economy. The money would then be deposited in a new network of community savings banks to capitalize lending for consumers, small businesses, and family farming.  

I am calling it the “Cook Plan” because I have been advocating such measures for almost two years, every since I published my first article on the subject in April 2007 entitled: “An Emergency Program of Monetary Reform for the United States .” (See Global Research at  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=5494)  

The dividend would total about $3.6 trillion, which, not by coincidence, is the amount of new debt U.S. residents must incur each year from banks simply to exist. That borrowing, of course, is on top of borrowing in past years, because most people do not entirely pay off old loans before taking out new ones. Debt in this country in recent years has been cumulative, with interest constantly compounding. The annual dividend I have proposed would bring a halt to this “grip of death,” as it has been termed by British author Michael Rowbotham in his book: The Grip of Death: A Study of Modern Money, Debt Slavery, and Destructive Economics.  

Because we have all been brainwashed to believe that the only sources of government funding are through taxes or the national debt, it is difficult to believe that a dividend of $3.6 trillion could be paid to residents by other means. In fact it could, and it would not even require a fund to be set up like the Alaska Permanent Fund that is replenished by resource revenues. According to Social Credit theory, the dividend fund could be created sui generis; i.e., it could be created out of “nothing.”  

And why not? John Maynard Keynes pointed out, and everyone realizes today, that the banking system does just this in creating money “out of thin air.” It’s what many people refer to as “printing money,” which the Federal Reserve is doing on a massive scale in bailing out the financial system. The banks that belong to the Federal Reserve use the purchase of Treasury debt as collateral, but the money itself is simply issued as credit. The trouble is we end up paying interest on it, which is why the interest on the national debt in the fiscal year 2009 budget totals more than $500 billion.

[-] 1 points by RoughKarma (122) 12 years ago

You lost it with me right here: "our fair share of the resources of the Earth and the bounty of the modern industrial economy." That one statement is the only justification given for this proposal and it means absolutely nothing. Is there such a thing as a "fair share" of these things? It doesn't even sound fair. Fair, at least to me, implies getting out of a system in proportion to what you put into it. Large input = large gain. What you propose is an equal share.

And how is $1,000/month a real valuation of that share? $1,000 is an illusory number. If bread costs $.50 it's a great number. If bread costs $50, it sucks. My problem is not my salary, it is my cost of living.

If you inject any amount of money into a system on a permanent and predictable basis, you will, I feel, only reset the zero-point. Being totally broke will now mean getting $1,000/month. It's kind of like if everybody won the lottery every month, nobody would care about winning the lottery. It no longer represents an advancement in economic status, it just redefines the status quo. For this to work over the long term you have to be able to heavily influence the pricing of goods and services, and that is antithetical to a capitalist system.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 12 years ago

Thanks for your insightful essay. Here is a post I made here with several links that support your point: http://occupywallst.org/forum/basic-income-guarantee-for-the-us/#comment-82143

And another: http://occupywallst.org/forum/basic-income-guarantee-for-the-us/#comment-82219

See also: "The Richest Man in the World: A parable about structural unemployment and a basic income" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p14bAe6AzhA

A clickable link for your report: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=5494

[-] 0 points by mee44 (71) 12 years ago

So you're a professional moocher?


[-] 1 points by mikeydubbs (40) 12 years ago

it's not about mooching, its about insuring that all individuals are given the chance to better themselves, and better produce for society. Some people would obviousl squander it, but there are plenty of undeserving people with money through inheritance, so i don't realy see how this causes an issue in the realm of social justice

[-] 2 points by DMolloy (3) from Northvale, NJ 12 years ago

It would mean basic survival for those people who have no lawn available, or who won't have lawns available anymore because somebody invented lawn mowing robots.

Please read about the concept and its theoretical background before expressing prejudices (..based on cold war brainwash). The US could be a pioneer in humanism again.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 11 years ago

Posted 1 day ago on Aug. 30, 2012, 4:50 p.m. EST by ubi (2) This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Unconditional basic income ( $1000 / month ) is a particular form of guaranteed minimum income, which gives all people access to some income irrespective of their current work performance or their past work performance. A guaranteed minimum income in this sense is something which has existed in several European countries for a number of years, but basic income differs from the existing guaranteed minimum income along three dimensions: first, basic income is strictly individual, given to all people on an individual basis irrespective of their household situation; second, it is given to all irrespective of income from other sources (labor income or capital income); third, basic income is not subject to whether people are willing to work or not. It is not restricted to the involuntarily unemployed, but would be paid to everyone, including people who choose not to be engaged in paid work (for example, housewives / househusbands, volunteers, students, many artists, caretakers, etc.


[-] 1 points by LeFreak (4) 12 years ago

I just learned about Basic Income Guarantee today but I have actually been advocating it for some time now. I'm so thankful to OWS for helping bring to light many great ideas whose time has come but whose advertising budget is nil.

 My Story:

About 10 years ago I added two more diagnosis to my list of chronic illnesses and was no longer able to perform my job. A good job, making 80K a year plus benefits. Since then I have collected social security, medicare & medicaid. I receive about $1,000 a month for myself and $500 for my son. I'm a single parent. This is not a lot of money but it is enough to survive. I don't have to steal or beg or sell drugs to feed my family. I do work as much as I can but I work because I want to, not because I'm forced to. I think that most people WANT to work. Having a basic income also allows me to contribute to society in other ways. It allows me to be creative, make art, volunteer, educate myself, educate others, be a better citizen, a better friend, and take care of my family. All of these things are of value to our society even if they don't generate income. I would not wish my disability on anyone but social security has allowed me to live a more free, productive and satisfying life then working for corporate america ever did.

Of course I'm trapped in this system now. If I make too much money I loose my benefits. If I can't make enough more money, I'm way worse off. If I fall again there will be no safety net.

But why do we need a safety net? Why do we expect people to live their lives on a tightrope just waiting for the winds to blow the wrong way? Why don't we create solid ground on which we can ALL stand.

What the government does for me it can do for everyone. I'm no more special than anyone else. I don't want a handout. I just want to know that as a citizen of the richest country in the world I will always have enough money to survive. I want this for every American. I want this for everyone on the planet. And we can do it... All it takes is for enough people to want it.

[-] 1 points by pullmyfinger (-6) 12 years ago

Oh yea...everybody knows the axiom..."if it works in Nambia...it will work in the USA"

another OWS Fucking idiot heard from

[-] 1 points by toukarin (488) 12 years ago

I am firmly within the 99% and I still don't believe in free money. It just is not right.

People will no longer have the incentive to perform to their fullest potential. Instead of a basic income guarantee... give them job training... for jobs that actually exist...

Lots of non glamorous jobs actually pay a lot more than people like to think... govt should focus on educating people about these jobs and providing or otherwise sponsoring training for long term unemployed...

Give a man a fish you feed him for a day... teach a man to fish... you feed him for a lifetime...

Even if I wanted the govt to give me some money... it would be only fair for me to have to do SOME kind of work for it... a community service program perhaps? Maybe I help scrub graffiti off city walls or some thing like that...

Heck I do enough odd jobs anyway... am the default auto-repair-guy for most of the people on my street... even if I cant fix it... I at least give them the facts so they don't get screwed over at a real shop...

[-] 2 points by mikeydubbs (40) 12 years ago

Wouldn't you like a little money to help you get you on your feet? You could use it to get a mechanics licence, or start a shop. It would enable you to better contribute to society.

[-] 1 points by toukarin (488) 12 years ago

Like I said... instead of giving me a check... govt could give me access to free or a least some subsidized training/licensing...

P.S. Also... I do hold a full time job... as an engineer...

[-] 1 points by mikeydubbs (40) 12 years ago

the problem with subsidization things is that it invites an army of bureaucrats to suck up needed resources that could be going to the people, it's inefficient whereas writing you a check is much more simple. Plus this is less likely to create economic bubbles because all individuals can spend the money on different things, this is why Hayek supported it, it works from with the free market economic perspective. If you give the government the power to steer markets, they will most likely abuse it to help their croneys in the financial sector, rather than help working Americans who actually produce something for the economy.

[-] 1 points by toukarin (488) 12 years ago

and the problem with a free check is that the recipient has no incentive to use it to better himself other than his own conscience and ambition...

Unless... we arrive at a compromise... how about a system where the government allocates some funds to every citizen which may only be used for such purposes?

Instead of giving me a check which I could very well blow on alcohol drugs gambling or any other non productive activity... They could reimburse me for any training or certification program I undertake providing I present proof of completion and an invoice... at a reasonable cost...

That said... any system of disbursing a regular payment to all US citizens would also give rise to a massive bureaucracy with just as much potential for abuse... I am sure you have heard about cases where people hold others in captivity to steal their welfare checks etc.

[-] 1 points by mikeydubbs (40) 12 years ago

I'ts all about liberty friend, who is the government to tell you how to spend your money. It's all about freedom, and while some undeserving people would get funding, society would be a better place because of it. Society provides a world of opportunity for people, and this would essentially redistribute the opportunities that society provides. There's allot of people on this rock, and we're gonna need to learn to work together if we're going to make it through the 21st century.

[-] 1 points by toukarin (488) 12 years ago

Indeed... but you are forgetting that it is the governments money... until its in your hand...

Lets say you are walking in the street and a guy asks you for a handout... would you rather have it so that (once you give him some cash) that he be free to spend it at a liquor store or finance some kind of education? Dunno about you... but I sure as heck would like to have a say in how that money is spent... cause I am not going to get it back am I?

Would you rather be party to the enabling of alcoholics and drug addicts to continue to fuel their addictions? Possibly cause accidents and increased tendency for violent crime?

You would have the liberty to train yourself as a mechanic, a plumber a musician or whatever else you can manage... and I believe that's good enough...

Every dollar given to the undeserving is a dollar not given to the deserving.

The idea that someone would receive a free dole equivalent to something that someone else may have or currently may be working his rear off for is repugnant to me. It removes both mine and his incentive to work...

Well aside from my feelings and opinions about this... lets for a minute list the practical implications of this scheme...

Now I am assuming that you dont intend to provide the basic guarantee to those with a job? I am also assuming that there is a age range where you want to provide this guarantee i.e. Not from birth to death... BTW there will need to be a yardstick to determine how family units are evaluated... if I had wife and 2 adult children (say) would all of us get the same income as a guarantee i.e. 4X the basic guarantee? I am going to assume you would want a way to evaluate us as a unit of 4 and arrive at a more appropriate number...

Now... everyone who is currently making less at their job than this basic guarantee loses all incentive to work... so they WILL quit or ask for a raise... and I am sure you can divine how most people will feel about suddenly having to give all of their low wage workers a hefty raise...

Now... youre giving them money... cool... where is the money coming from? Taxes? We are already running a deficit that is too ludicrous to even mention here... and you know how often a bill for a tax increase has made it past our proud, great and freedom-loving democratic government....

OK...so we print a little money and borrow the rest from the banksters...

So these people getting money (from the taxpayer and the govt) will spend that money... on whatever... that money goes to businesses out to make a buck... obviously they pay a percentage of that as tax... and some is given to their employees in salary... but they DO make a profit... and they KEEP it... i.e. the government is not going to recover it all... and eventually we will arrive at a breaking point... hyperinflation ensues... and we will have civil war...

[-] 1 points by mikeydubbs (40) 12 years ago

This would be true, but the premise of the basic income is that all citizens receive it. This means even billionaires would receive it. Yes we would have to raise taxes significantly, but the money would be returned to all citizens evenly. I agree inflation is a problem, we shouldn't spend money we don't have. Everyone would be better off except those who seek to exploit the system to their benefit. Also as society becomes more mechanized less people will be able to find jobs. Without anybody to buy products their will be no point in producing. without some money redistribution scheme I don't see how our society can progress further. People can work less and the minimum wage can be abolished.


[-] 1 points by mikeydubbs (40) 12 years ago

I have actually been doing some research on this very subject. I discovered that there was actually a presidential candidate who campaigned on it in the 70's named McGovern. Also the idea was deemed economically sound by both Keynes and Hayek (throw that in the face of the free market fundamentalists). Philippe Van Parijs is the most renowned supporter of such a policy here is a link that I found very informative on the issue.


I also read a compilation of essays that was published by him entitled "whats wrong with a free lunch". There is also an organisation called the USA Basic Income Guarantee Network, here is the link to their website.


Honestly if I here one more thing about a "resource based economy" I'm going to shoot myself, I think this is something we can really work towards, and is economically sound.

[-] 1 points by Marlen (2) 12 years ago

This is Great! We are also supporting that occupy movement endorses Basic Income Grant as the main petition. We then suggest you take a look at http://www.equalmoney.org which is and will be the point that will generate an overall reform to the current system to establish Equality as Life for once and for all. check our equalmoney videos on YouTube as well

[-] 2 points by mikeydubbs (40) 12 years ago

I'm not sure I agree with the goals of your organization. I think people ought to be rewarded for their labor so 100% tax would take away all incentive to produce. I do believe however that every member of society should be given enough to live independent of the free market. I believe we need an unconditional monthly stipend that will allow each member of society to live in reasonable comfort and not worry about where their next meal is coming from. In this way individuals will have greater bargaining power when choosing a profession, and can allocate their time towards bettering themselves. You would need to raise taxes to do this significantly, and the revenue could easily reach twice the national budget, but this money would then be evenly distributed to all citizens, or all people if done on a global scale. This is actually being tested in Iran, which is one more reason I pray our government doesn't bomb them to oblivion. If they can do it there where the median income is significantly lower it could be done anywhere. This could be done without printing money. All citezens would receive the stipend, even mayor Bloomberg, of course he would almost assuredly loose out on the deal. The USSR was started by people with noble ideals, but it failed because people won't work out of a sense of contribution, and the regime was forced to use fear as a motivating factor. I prefer a society motivated by greed over one that is motivated by fear. But I also believe we need a mechanism that allows us to redistribute the natural resources of society, and the proceeds of mechanization of labor in an equitable way. I would hope that this would lead to more worker friendly types of employment, my favorite being the worker cooperative. However, I believe it should be up to the free market to make that transition, I don't believe it is the governments job to dictate the way we live. This way we can maximize individual liberty, and have a greater degree of social justice.

[-] 1 points by mee44 (71) 12 years ago

If you guarantee something to someone, then you have to take it away from someone else by force.

No one owes you anything. You are not entitled. PERIOD.

[-] 1 points by abundantmind (17) from Siheung-si, Gyeonggi-do 12 years ago

Hahaha. Of course no one "owes" anyone anything. No one's talking about taking loans out from the government. And I don't know from what background you come, but this notion that you have to take it from someone by force is seriously remedial. Is that how you earn your money? To you take it from others at gunpoint? C'mon! Please stick to logical, productive discussion.

[-] 1 points by mikeydubbs (40) 12 years ago

What about rich kids who contribute nothing to society and live off trust funds, do you see a problem with this?

[-] 1 points by Galuel (1) 12 years ago

"Relative Money Theory" give a full demonstration that a 5,75% / year of monetary mass per citizen Basic Income is the full demonstrated consequence of the three economic liberties :

(1) Liberty to access to ressources (2) Liberty to produce values (3) Liberty to exchange within the money


A shorter demonstration explain that time is the key of understanding. Human generations succeed in a Flux of Deaths and Births, that is the base of the necessaty of installing a symetry dimensin in the money system :


[-] 1 points by sato (148) 12 years ago

In my opinion all welfare must be carefully planned and must have a limited time. The problem with welfare is that it creates careers. People who never work because the state gives them everything. I can't agree to that. The state should help you get on your feet but you have to actually want to get on your feet.

[-] 1 points by banksandlackies (2) 12 years ago

Banks and Crony Governments Are Doing the Crime People Will Not Do the Time! Who Ruined the US and World economy? Who is manipulating the money flow and its availability to whom? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URoSs20ImZQ&feature=player_embedded

[-] 1 points by banksandlackies (2) 12 years ago

Banks and Crony Governments Are Doing the Crime People Will Not Do the Time! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URoSs20ImZQ&feature=player_embedded

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 12 years ago

I went and read a few articles. A BI, or even a GBI, has so much potential, I hope it becomes more widely discussed.

[-] 1 points by ithink (761) from York, PA 12 years ago

If we can "give" people 1000 per month, then why can't we give them interest free loans. At least that loan money will come back eventually. It could be set up like social security. People pay into a fund that ensures everyone an interest free loan on a primary house, a single car or transportation, and education expenses. The fund can be used to also provide interest bearing loans on luxury items.

[-] 1 points by Dubby (146) 12 years ago

This idea will turn the 99% into the 0.99%.

[-] 1 points by Space (79) 12 years ago

Don't like this idea. Welfare should be a last resort that peoplevwant to get out of. I think we should provide institutionalized public housing, preventative healthcare, and inkind distribution of food and necessities. I want to help my fellow American, but giving $ is bull shit.

[-] 2 points by jots (3) 12 years ago

Space: it is not welfare, it is a dividend, and it costs absolutely nothing to create. please read this: http://michaeljournal.org/plenty14.htm (ignore the church stuff at the top if it turns you off...)

[-] 1 points by Dubby (146) 12 years ago

Nothing costs nothing.

[-] 1 points by basicincome (11) from Wilmington, DE 12 years ago

The Basic Income Guarantee requires a lot of homework to fully understand the mathematics; however the principle, vast program costs savings, and productivity increases are all very straightforward. It's not a zero sum system, "from whose pocket" etc. We can't fix a failed system within the same rules of the failed system. We can fix fail with FAIL.

A vast educational process is required, and so we need the help of educators to help parse out the curriculum in a way that people can comprehend. So grateful for your work and solidarity, including faithful, sincere questioners who simply want to understand more about how this can -- and in my setting already does -- work.

http://j.mp/BasicIncome contains a sea of information that really needs to be mined and more visually presented in digestable quantities and presentations.


[-] 1 points by ConfusedSceptic (80) 12 years ago

Okay, so basic income (or Basic Income, if you prefer)... As far as I can tell, it means the government pays everyone enough to live on. Well okay.

So the guy working the minimum wage job can quit, he's now getting at least as much just for being a citizen of this country. There go most of the minimum wage jobs. The owners no longer have to pay for their paychecks.

Those going on the government "basic income" without paying any back increases.

The rich get richer.

But some of those jobs NEED to be done. Well, we can always create robots to do them. Then all it takes is one guy getting the bright idea of making robots to do OTHER jobs, maybe so he can pay less to the people doing those jobs.

Those going on the government "basic income" without paying it back increases.

The rich get richer.

Now eventually, all the owners find out that by firing humans, and "hiring" robots, they can gain even more money. Human-influenced products become a luxury, so prices will be driven up, if the demand is there.

Those going on the government "basic income" without paying it back increases.

A FEW people get rich.

The rich get richer.

Eventually, the whole country is split into robot owners, those who own the luxury "human labor" sector and those on the government's "basic income". You are forced to take more from the pockets of the rich, because if you're only paying enough to live, you can't take it from the poor. The mildly and moderately rich no longer have any need to strive for riches, because most of it is going right back out to pay for all of those who just get paid for living. Some of them give up, and within several generations, their descendents are on the government dole, buying things from the companies their parents used to be rivals of.

Those going on the government "basic income" without paying it back increases.

The rich get richer.

Eventually, you reach few enough rich people that the super-rich are paying for everyone else. They realize that maybe other countries won't force them to foot the bill for the entire economy.

Those going on the government "basic income" without paying it back stays the same, at a much too high rate.

The rich move away.

The government can't pay the "basic income".

The entire country is thrown into poverty, starvation, riots and chaos.

Now admittedly, that's a pretty exaggerated scenario. But viable none the less. My personal view of welfare is that the more you promise to take care of people, the less of a reason people have to take care of themselves. And when the system eventually fails (and don't kid yourself, every system will eventually fail), you're left in a much worse shape than you were before.

[-] 1 points by LeFreak (4) 12 years ago

Yup... the current system has failed. This proposal is fairly simply yet also fairly radical. It needs to be discussed and debated but there is quite a bit of well respected though behind it.

Some people might leave jobs they hate if everyone started receiving basic income but they might take jobs that they love even if they don't pay as much. But I highly doubt that there will be a mass exodus from the workforce if everyone got 12k a year that they didn't have to work for.

Actually the big looser in this would be welfare workers and government bureaucrats. Hopefully they will be able to find other work but in the meantime, at least they will be able to eat and pay rent.

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 12 years ago

I would think that most people on state assistance are already getting $12K per year in benefits already.

[-] 1 points by LeFreak (4) 12 years ago

Exactly. What makes Basic Income different is that it is not need based. In fact it would eliminate all the need based programs. Everyone would get it. Even the richest, healthiest and most stable. No one would be stigmatized and everyone would benefit.

[-] 1 points by thoreau42 (595) 12 years ago

They'd pay you a thousand a month, then they'd have the federal reserve print so much money that a thousand dollars is worth a penny, and then you'd be right back where you started.

[-] 1 points by fooligan (30) 12 years ago

It's quite simple really. The BIG is paid to EVERYONE. they keep the money regardless of any other income. It can be fully funded through replacing all taxes with a tax in spending. I.e Government gives me £5. I pass that £5 round a group of 10 friends. By the time the £5 comes back to me, it has been spent 10 times. Creating a turnover of £50. If the government taxes that spending at 50%, it raises £25 in tax. Making a profit of £20. People are then free to do the work they really want to do. The idea that people would just sit around in their arse is pure folly. Ask yourself this. If you were given enough money to cover your basic needs, what would you do with the rest of your time? Bear in mind if you want "luxuries" you would need to earn that extra money. This way the BIG and free market economy can work together. Simples.;-)

[-] 1 points by Divinityfound (112) from Lincoln, NE 12 years ago

Basic Income? I'd imagine that $500 a month per adult person could provide 1) Adequate Housing ($350) 2) Adequate food ($50) 3) Phone ($35) 4) Reinvestment in self/family ($65)

It won't be that much... but it would at least keep people off the streets and give them the freedom to look for work or come up with a creative idea to possibly make more money.

Maybe the amount I suggest may seem high to some, or low to others... but the intention with the amount is simply to keep people comfortable enough to not be angry with the world, but safe enough and free enough to better themself as an individual.

But also, I'm speaking as a single 20 year old living on his own... It sucks to budget so little for living but it is doable.

[-] 2 points by bing99 (71) 12 years ago

Please tell me where you can get adequate housing for $350 a month

[-] 1 points by Divinityfound (112) from Lincoln, NE 12 years ago

Nebraska. The Ghetto.

[-] 0 points by Gimmeyours (-16) 12 years ago

Good point. Now take that information and develop enough motivation to earn it yourself.

[-] 1 points by bing99 (71) 12 years ago

FYI I do earn enough to pay for my mortgage which is $800 monthly plus take care of my 2 children. I was just making a point and see no need for you to take shots at me for it. Okay? Is you life so empty that you need to come to this forum and insult strangers? I feel for you.


[-] 2 points by thisisridiculous (15) 12 years ago

OMG- I'm sorry but you lost me at $350 for adequate housing. I live in NY because that is where my industry is (so I can make more money and pay more taxes). Let's start changing this brilliant idea to fit different living expenses. $1000 for living expenditures, food $200, phone $50. This is absolute basic living expenditures for NY. How about increased food expenditures in Hawaii? Increased transportation costs in California? This is absurd.

[-] 1 points by LeFreak (4) 12 years ago

This is a good point and we may not be able to solve this at the federal level alone. What is considered basic income in one location may not be basic income in another. It may take programs at the state and local level as well. But we already have those programs. The problem is that they are means tested. What happens is that the safety net becomes a snare. Basic Income would eliminate the need for welfare, food stamps, social security, unemployment insurance and minimum wage laws.


[-] 1 points by WorkerAntLyn (254) 12 years ago

Who's going to provide them the money to move to the rural area, buy a house, and the equipment to farm? I've known people who would love to move - but moving costs several thousand dollars. And they're struggling to pay the $900 on their apartment.

[-] 1 points by simplesimon (121) 12 years ago

And here are more websites....occupy a job where you can live for nothing.


[-] 1 points by simplesimon (121) 12 years ago

Here, go to this website..you never even knew it existed. You can live free if you want, but you don't want to.


[-] 1 points by WorkerAntLyn (254) 12 years ago

I'd love to. But my friends will laugh til they cry while they tell you stories of how I managed to kill a cacti and two venus flytraps. You have to have the necessary skills involved. Different people are capable in different areas. I have a job, by the way. And I make my payments, ty.

I also understand that not every job is for every person. That's why people have to interview for jobs.

[-] 1 points by simplesimon (121) 12 years ago

Well, then you can't have it all, can you? So, according to this plan, you get $350 for housing. And you know how to beat it, but you don't want to.

[-] 1 points by WorkerAntLyn (254) 12 years ago

Most medical emergencies cost somewhere in the thousands. Car repairs? The same. Fact is, since I've always worked and enjoy doing so, I'd take the extra $350 in a heart beat, and could probably live quite well with it. But this plan is a one level plan. That means elderly and disabled who can't work have to live on it. So for their sake, no, $350 for housing is not enough.

[-] 1 points by simplesimon (121) 12 years ago

So you agree the plan has a fatal flaw. It's dead.

[-] 1 points by WorkerAntLyn (254) 12 years ago

What I think is that you're numbers are off because you have no basis for them. They do not correspond on a national level and never will.

I have the same issue with a national minimum wage, actually. One area needs higher than another. So if our taxes can fluctuate within 20 miles of each other, why can't we set the minimum wage to what's needed for those working in that area? If the companies want to run a business there, they need to pay people enough to live there.

[-] 1 points by simplesimon (121) 12 years ago

It's not my argument! Read the initial post. AGAIN.

[-] 1 points by WorkerAntLyn (254) 12 years ago

No, it's MY argument. Hence the "I have" before what I described.

Your numbers or solution is not credible. "Anyone who can't afford it move out of the city." Alot of companies would be closing their doors then, because alot of companies don't pay their people enough. And I don't think your solution has room for all of them.

[-] 1 points by simplesimon (121) 12 years ago

You are now officially a dumbass. Tell me how many goddam "New Yorks" there are in Namibia. Tell me how far money goes in Namibia. Tell me the living conditions in Namibia. Tell me the education level of Namibia. D-U-M-B-A-S-S. Is it not obvious to you that the Namibia plan cannot work in the USA? READ.

We discussed this exiting idea in a group this morning, and should consider adding it to our demands (e.g. at Wikipedia, visible for the press). Media bringing the idea up would be a success already. Our movement might be the chance to make them discuss it in public.


An existing experimental project in Namibia: http://www.bignam.org/

Please read it, start discussing it, and spread the idea. It would be a big chance to make the US more humanistic and "free" (doing jobs only to avoid unemployment is -not- "free").

The concept is being discussed in detail in political parties and organizations of several European countries at the moment. Some (including bank CEOs) call it our only answer to increasing unemployment due to automation, artificial intelligence and outsourcing. Also, some African countries consider the introduction since experimental projects have shown that it could be more effective than development aid. A single "official" discussion in the government would be fantastic already.

Best D. Molloy

[-] 2 points by WorkerAntLyn (254) 12 years ago

Ah, I see. You are allowed to offer alternatives in a discussion, thread, but my mentioning my beliefs results in name-calling. Plus, Germany isn't the USA either, but the article discusses plans in Germany to attempt it.

Thank-you for trolling. I will not be responding to you again.

[-] 1 points by simplesimon (121) 12 years ago

When you call it my plan you are a D-U-M-B-A-S-S. Now read this from the poster who actually came up with a number....Am I the author? NO. Dumbass. Why are you arguing with me? Because you can't read. I am a troll because you can't read. Idiot.

Basic Income? I'd imagine that $500 a month per adult person could provide 1) Adequate Housing ($350) 2) Adequate food ($50) 3) Phone ($35) 4) Reinvestment in self/family ($65)

It won't be that much... but it would at least keep people off the streets and give them the freedom to look for work or come up with a creative idea to possibly make more money.

Maybe the amount I suggest may seem high to some, or low to others... but the intention with the amount is simply to keep people comfortable enough to not be angry with the world, but safe enough and free enough to better themself as an individual.

But also, I'm speaking as a single 20 year old living on his own... It sucks to budget so little for living but it is doable.

[-] 1 points by simplesimon (121) 12 years ago

I know of places in Alabama that will give you a free place to live if you pick their crops. What else do you need?

[-] 1 points by WorkerAntLyn (254) 12 years ago

A) Transportation (how am I getting there exactly?)

B) Moving cost (My clothes, If I had a family, their clothes. Do these free places to live provide furniture. If not, I have to take mine there. Etc.)

C) A place to live is great, but do they pay me enough to get food for me (And - If I have one - my family) What about electricity, water/sewage bills?


D) After I've uprooted everyone to Alabama, how long does this free place to live last? After harvest is over - do I have to move again? Will they rehire me next season? What do I do between harvests?

Not so simple. They're also only one place. I haven't heard of any place in my area doing the same thing. Or even remotely close enough to try it. I moved once for a job that didn't work out. I'm still paying off debts incurred by that move, several years later. Moving isn't such a simple solution.

[-] 1 points by simplesimon (121) 12 years ago

A is funded by selling B. C is provided. D is dependent upon whether or not you can do the work, and if you can't you have money in your "credit union" because you worked for it, and you can fund A to find a different farm to work.

This plan didn't say anything about families.


[-] 1 points by WorkerAntLyn (254) 12 years ago

So if I do have a family, I'm out of luck, or I have to continue to pay for their housing in the city. Plus, I have to sell all my things and hope it not only covers cost A, but that C provides enough to buy it back. (Have you priced furniture lately?)

And this is all based on the idea that someone is going to hire me without ever meeting me from a thousand or so miles away.

Yep, simple. A simple way to get into debt, and ruin your life. It's not simple at all. Moving for a job never is. Plus takes away your support group of friends and family if something does go wrong. Some people do it successfully. Others end up in very bad situations, or struggling to raise enough money to move back.

This concept is good if A) it's nearby. And B) It's for a job you have skills in. It's not a solution for everyone, and it doesn't mean people don't want to work. Sorry, but you're oversimplifying everything.

[-] 1 points by simplesimon (121) 12 years ago

Oh no I'm not simplifying anything. I have directly answered questions about the simple U.S. income guarantee plan. The premise is false, and you have pointed that out to all of the suckers who believe it can happen. That plan up there doesn't provide an exception.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 12 years ago

I originally posted this here, but this seems like a better thread to discuss it: http://occupywallst.org/forum/why-do-you-believe-i-owe-you-anything/#comment-68956

Financial obesity imposes costs on society, as does financial starvation. Here is a possible idea to balance things out with justifications as to why it makes sense. Consider a universal basic income of US$2000 per month for all US citizens from birth instead of needs-based welfare and unemployment insurance or age-based school payments and social security (which currently average about US$700 per US citizen per month total). This could be paid for with a combination of various taxes and rents from government assets or revenues from government services. This basic income could be considered reparations for enclosing the ecological commons and industrial commons with land rights, copyrights, patent rights, and so on, as well as health and aesthetic costs incurred from pollution, and risks incurred from nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, and spiritual costs from the violation of the Earth. These are all things the wealthy benefit from disproportionately and may have been "externalities" imposed by any business venture on society, given businesses often socialize costs but privatize gains (the worst form of socialism). A basic income represents a human right to some of the fruits of industry whose abundance springs mostly from our common cultural heritage more than work. This would take about one half the US GDP, or about the same size the GDP was in 1997, and the rest of the GDP was enough back then to motivate people to work (assuming people need financial incentives to work anyway).

See also for justifications:













[-] 0 points by bereal (235) 12 years ago

FAR beyond stupid!

[-] 0 points by Perspective (-243) 12 years ago


[-] 1 points by DMolloy (3) from Northvale, NJ 12 years ago

There are a dozen ideas being -seriously- discussed on how to finance a basic income grant (read about it :) ).

[-] 0 points by opensociety4us (914) from Norwalk, CT 12 years ago

Simply handing cash out to others doesn't usually solve any problems

[-] 1 points by JamesS89118 (646) from Las Vegas, NV 12 years ago

Name one?

[-] 0 points by newearthorder (295) 12 years ago

I had an idea a new way to do Social Security. The numbers might change but it would be something like this. On the day your born the fed issues you a million dollars in the form of a 60 or 65 year T-Bill, all of it out of thin air, the same way they loan money to banks. Then, during your life time you pay it back. At 60 or 65 you cash it in and live comfortably through your end days.

[-] 0 points by atki4564 (1259) from Lake Placid, FL 12 years ago

Many more people will come to your side when you are proactive (for “new” Business & Government solutions), instead of reactive (against “old” Business & Government solutions), which is why what we most immediately need is a comprehensive “new” strategy that implements all our various socioeconomic demands at the same time, regardless of party, and although I'm all in favor of taking down today's ineffective and inefficient Top 10% Management System of Business & Government, there's only one way to do it – by fighting bankers as bankers ourselves; that is, using a Focused Direct Democracy organized according to our current Occupations & Generations. Consequently, I have posted a 1-page Summary of the Strategically Weighted Policies, Organizational Operating Structures, and Tactical Investment Procedures necessary to do this at:




because we need 100,000 “support clicks” at AmericansElect.org to support a Presidential Candidate -- such as any given political opportunist you'd like to draft -- in support of the above bank-focused platform.

Most importantly, remember, as cited in the first link above, that as Bank Owner-Voters in your 1 of 48 "new" Business Investment Groups (or "new" Congressional Committees) you become the "new" Congress replacing the "old" Congress according to your current Occupation & Generation, called a Focused Direct Democracy.

Therefore, any Candidate (or Leader) therein, regardless of party, is a straw man, a puppet; it's the STRATEGY – the sequence of steps – that the people organize themselves under, in Military Internet Formation of their Individual Purchasing & Group Investment Power, that's important. In this, sequence is key.

Why? Because there are Natural Social Laws – in mathematical sequence – that are just like Natural Physical Laws, such as the Law of Gravity. You must follow those Natural Social Laws or the result will be Injustice, War, etc.

The FIRST step in Natural Social Law is to CONTROL the Banks as Bank Owner-Voters. If you do not, you will inevitably be UNJUSTLY EXPLOITED by the Top 10% Management Group of Business & Government who have a Legitimate Profit Motive, just like you, to do so.

Consequently, you have no choice but to become Candidates (or Leaders) yourselves as Bank Owner-Voters according to your current Occupation & Generation.

So please JOIN the 2nd link, so we can make our support clicks at AmericansElect.org when called for by e-mail from the group in the 2nd link, and then you will see and feel how your goals can be accomplished within the strategy of the 1st link as a “new” Candidate (or Leader) of your Occupation & Generation.

[-] 0 points by number2 (914) 12 years ago

no thanks. too communist for me. lets talk about fascism and getting rid of it in America.

[-] 0 points by needforchange123 (9) 12 years ago

It is this point right here that makes me want to avoid this movenment. What you are saying is that people get paid for doing nothing. Wait, doesn't that happen already (welfare, foodstamps, ect.). I have read having a "life wage" to where all the basic needs are met. Who chooses how great the basic needs are. Basic needs are food, water, shelter, clothing. Ok bread, water (tap), a homeless shelter, and donated clothes. Does that count in your "life wage". This whole idea is dumb.

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) 12 years ago

pass this poll around http://blog.richardkentgates.com/ this is not a for-profit site.

[-] 0 points by usapsyops (14) 12 years ago

"Some (including bank CEOs) call it our only answer to increasing unemployment due to automation, artificial intelligence and outsourcing. "

If you agree with Bank CEOs, something is clearly wrong... They are trying to get you to play their game

[-] 0 points by Sofia8 (0) 12 years ago

I came here over 40 yrs. ago as an immigrant and would have NEVER considered asking for a "wage" for doing nothing. Get a lawn mower and go out to clean yards and earn your keep!

[-] 3 points by basicincome (11) from Wilmington, DE 12 years ago

Your feelings are legitimate; with respect, today is a dramatically different situation. We definitely need to reach out to people like you to help share the current situation for today's labor force, immigrants and nationals alike. The changes are more than dramatic.

Good places to start to learn about what has transpired over the past 40 or 50 years include http://usbig.net and http://basicincome.org and https://www.pfd.state.ak.us/ Yes, Sarah Palin's Alaska has long practiced a form of Basic Income called the Permanent Fund Dividend. http://CapitalismPlusPlus.blogspot.com/ is another exhaustive resource for those willing to soberly question the details and engage in informed dialog.

[-] 2 points by michaelfinko (71) 12 years ago

completely AGREE!!!

But more important, this entire thread demonstrates a total failure to understand diversity, which means the need for flexibility.

It's important to understand there is an issue called: statistics The entire insurance industry runs on it.

Of 9 people, 3 will want the government to pay for everything (and 100% taxes), 3 want 50% to pay for everything (and 50% taxes), 3 will want the government to pay for nothing (and 0% taxes). Your arguments automatically exclude at least 50% of the people, therefore this issue will do nothing but POLARIZE people.

br, Michael

[-] 1 points by michaelfinko (71) 12 years ago

also, the immigrant attitude is exactly what the U.S. needs right now.

Immigrants are typically the hardest working people in any country, as they are trying to get some where, trying to improve their lives. It's called keeping your eye on the doughnut, and not (getting distracted by) the hole.

[-] 0 points by derek (302) 12 years ago

I understand you might feel differently about this as a first-generation immigrant arriving probably in good health and good spirits perhaps from coming somewhere worse.

Still, how would you feel about things if there were no jobs available in the USA because all the lawns were mowed by robots? Or, whatever other activity you care to name?



What would be your future competing with a robotic lawn mower that works for pennies a day?

Maybe you'd get a job tending grape plants instead? But see, for a robotic grape vine pruner:


Why should you not have a right as a citizen to some of the wealth in the country that comes from the global culture that you and your ancestors have contributed to?

As is said here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit "Douglas disagreed with classical economists who divided the factors of production into only land, labour and capital. While Douglas did not deny these factors in production, he believed the “cultural inheritance of society” was the primary factor. Cultural inheritance is defined as the knowledge, technique and processes that have been handed down to us incrementally from the origins of civilization. Consequently, mankind does not have to keep “reinventing the wheel”. “We are merely the administrators of that cultural inheritance, and to that extent the cultural inheritance is the property of all of us, without exception.”"

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan "According to the document by Pieter Janszoon Schagen our people (ons Volck)—Peter Minuit is not mentioned explicitly there—acquired Manhattan in 1626 from Native American Lenape people in exchange for trade goods worth 60 guilders, often said to be worth 24 US$, though (by comparing the price of bread and other goods) actually amounts to around $1000 in modern currency[26] (calculation by the International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam). The price was actually paid to the Canarsees, living in Brooklyn, while the true local people, the Weckquaesgeeks, were not party of the transaction.[27]"

So, the very land beneath Liberty Plaza Park was "purchased" from a neighboring Native American tribe who lived in what is now Brooklyn and probably thought it was a great joke to sell their neighbor's land. So the very bedrock of capitalism is very questionable.

With so much history like that (it goes on and on, see Howard Zinn for example: http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinncol1.html ), what is the legitimate basis for just disclaiming you having any rites as a citizen to the fruit of the land?

If you "owned" a farm, would you just say that anyone could use it exclusively rent free if you were starving? Well, as a citizen you in a sense own part of the whole country, even as most of the land in the country has been enclosed through a chain of transactions often with questionable origins (all land being either claimed as "finders keepers" or "might makes right"). Now, even stories and songs are broadly copyrighted so you can be charged a private tax for repeating them, as part of a general increasing enclosure of the commons of the mind.

Certainly the government has no issue with claiming you are responsible for part of the national debt through taxes. Why do you have a problem with making the other side of the claim -- on the assets of the country?

After a lifetime of hard work, it may be hard to see past the "Mythology of Wealth" that has made so many labor-related aspects of the USA one sided: http://www.conceptualguerilla.com/?q=node/402

[-] 1 points by michaelfinko (71) 12 years ago

sorry, it's called change.

Death, Taxes and Change - the only three guaranteed things in life.

My heart goes out to all the former employees of absolutely wonderful buggy whip maker companies. But, the automobile proved more versatile, dependable and practical than horse and buggys.

All the kicking and screaming and crying in the world will never stop change. It's a fact of life. Less emotion, more work, creative thinking, learning, competitiveness, entrepreneurship, etc. for shaping that change in a positive direction.

Take a look at the IT section in available jobs - there are tons and tons of listings, and this is only the beginning of the technological revolution. No need to go for a 4 year degree to get re-qualified. In 6 to 12 months you can get a technical certificate and be working. Promotion for decent people is very fast.

Look at Health Care (read: aging baby boomers), are tons of jobs there, also a growing field. Also, no long, expensive degrees necessary (many times no degrees).

This just off the top of my head. Just hit Google and do a search of 'top fields for the next 10 years' you'll come up with many, many ideas.

br, Michael

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 12 years ago

Well, there are some jobs with often increasingly poor working conditions and increasingly low pay -- the ones not being filled by H1B visa indentured servants or being offshored. Sorry, there are not enough jobs in these fields for the tens of millions of out of work US Americans -- even if most of them could do them or wanted to do them (many take a certain kind of personality).We're already seeing big consolidations in the technology sector (Facebook as replacing lots of small sites). Stuff like Khan Academy can replace endless lecturers. Health care jobs can be replaced in part by better nutrition and better diagnostic testing and information through the internet. This is not about replacing buggy whip manufacturers with car manufacturers. This is about replacing car manufacturer workers with robots, better networking, and better design, reducing the total number of jobs.

Right now, most jobs are essentially about "guarding" anyway -- so they contribute nothing to society.

From: http://idlenest.freehostia.com/mirror/www.whywork.org/rethinking/whywork/abolition.html "I don't suggest that most work is salvageable in this way. But then most work isn't worth trying to save. Only a small and diminishing fraction of work serves any useful purpose independent of the defense and reproduction of the work-system and its political and legal appendages. Twenty years ago, Paul and Percival Goodman estimated that just five percent of the work then being done -- presumably the figure, if accurate, is lower now -- would satisfy our minimal needs for food, clothing and shelter. Theirs was only an educated guess but the main point is quite clear: directly or indirectly, most work serves the unproductive purposes of commerce or social control. Right off the bat we can liberate tens of millions of salesmen, soldiers, managers, cops, stockbrokers, clergymen, bankers, lawyers, teachers, landlords, security guards, ad-men and everyone who works for them. There is a snowball effect since every time you idle some bigshot you liberate his flunkies and underlings also. Thus the economy implodes. "

Besides, whether there are jobs or not, your right to a share of the fruit of the total capital in the USA as a citizen is still there, even without "working". By what right are you prevented from accessing the land? There may be a paper trail backed by police enforcement, but ultimately the start of the paper trail will rest on arbitrary things like "finders keepers" or "might makes right" and backed by the government -- so it is always open to discussion what those property rights should be.

Anyway, change is coming, and a basic income will likely be part of it for a time, until stuff like advanced 3D printing and household service robotics become so good that money will just not be very important.

[-] 1 points by michaelfinko (71) 12 years ago

First: your math is incorrect.

113mn working aged individuals:

  1. 10% official unemployment = 13mn, not "tens of millions"
  2. another 10% underemployed = 13mn working less than their potential
  3. 80% working in their field = 80mn (stats from usdebtclock.org)

Business does not exist to employ people. Business exists to make a profit. Better businesses realize that treating employees fairly (not 'good', not 'bad') is important because that translates to happier employees, longer tenures and the resulting higher quality and happier long term clients. Poor businesses do not, and as a result, go through wild swings until they eventually get eaten up by other companies.

You are making vast generalizations whey you say "so they contribute nothing to society", you should brush up on your GDP figures.

Listen to the total bullshit you are saying - "your right to a share of the fruit of the total capital in the USA as a citizen is still there, even without "working".

This has been tried. Thankfully we have EXPERIENCE to fall back on (something you obviously do not have), it's called not stepping on the same shovel that whacks you in the head 100 times - check out public housing projects of the 1960's, food stamps, welfare, etc. ALL PROVEN FAILURES!!! It ENCOURAGES a WELFARE state, ultimately CREATES a TOTAL a welfare state - hit Wikipedia, happened with the Roman Empire, EVERYONE went on the dole. I'll be the first in line, WHERE'S MY FREE MONEY FOR DOING NOTHING!!! I'm probably going to need a gun as there will be a lot of people in line.

But really, I don't need to waste anymore time on this thread as fortunately, your viewpoint is in the extreme minority (maybe 10%) so it'll never happen. I have to get back to work, thinking about my employees, caring about them, the same as my clients, the same as my business. It's called hard work, attention to details, listening. Working on all of them to make everyone basically happy, so we can all grow together, employ more people, leave a positive and SUSTAINABLE mark on society.

[-] 2 points by derek (302) 12 years ago

Thanks for the reply.

Even by your own calculations, there are 26 million people who are not reliably employed. On unemployment alternative figures: http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

Business is not literally "permitted" (chartered) to exist by the government (the People) to "make a profit". Business exists (morally) as CEO William C. Norris said "to meet society's unmet needs": http://www.minnpost.com/alberteisele/entry_detail_albert_eisele/?blog_post_id=9538



Granted, businesses can't lose money consistently and survive indefinitely.

GDP has little to do with social well being, but sure, you are right that, say, a broken glass window or a job guarding a glass window contributes to GDP -- but rarely to any net benefit to society (other than income redistribution); see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genuine_progress_indicator

Many, many jobs in our society are just about guarding or about zero-sum games. All the intellect going into Wall Street software development, for example, is essentially almost entirely just about playing poker with other people's money. What's the significant value in that? Checkout clerks at stores are mostly just guards. School teachers these days are mostly just guards. http://www.thewaronkids.com/ Medical insurance is mostly about guarding. And so on. The more you think about who is a guard, the more you see how much of what we all do is guarding. A good question for us all to ask ourselves is, how much of your own work is about guarding, or helping people who are guarding?

Poorly implemented welfare policies are not good evidence that humans don't have a right to a share of the industrial commons. What about a generally much happier Europe with a better social safety net? Is Western Europe failing because kids come out of college with little to no debt, or because they have nice roads, or because anyone can go to the doctor if they are sick? Vibrant economies tend to have both a vibrant private sector and a vibrant public sector. Europe may have financial problems, but they are not mainly because of any social welfare aspect, but instead because of the problematical financial logic of various banking institutions and various tax policies. There are different types of welfare states. In general, in the USA, welfare is based on need (young, old, disabled, destitute). In Europe, welfare is based on equity and everyone gets it. So, in the USA, welfare under that model is more likely to create psychological problems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare#Welfare_systems

By your own logic, perhaps rich parents should not be able to give any money above the average to their children, because otherwise it will make them "PROVEN FAILURES"? How do you justify wealthy people giving money to their children, or even just paying for their college, if what you say about welfare is true?

See: "The Mythology of Wealth": www.conceptualguerilla.com/?q=node/402 "Of course, wealthy elites shower their own with benefits – and enjoy a plethora of government benefits and services. ... They talk about “competition”, but they actually fear it, and do what they can to make the playing field as unequal as they can. ..."

Besides, basic income is not public housing. It is more like social security. Has social security destroyed the elderly's will to live in the USA? Has social security meant the elderly are failures? What would be the real harm in extending social security to everyone in the USA (beyond the question of how to pay for it with taxes of some sort or fees for access to government controlled resources)?

Ultimately, in an information age, motivation by material gain just tends to decrease innovation anyway, as Dan Pink says here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

See for an alternative viewpoint C.H. Douglas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Credit

Or ask yourself why all these Nobel-prize winning economists support a "basic income"? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income "Winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics who fully support a basic income include Herbert Simon, Friedrich Hayek, James Meade, Robert Solow, and Milton Friedman."

In thinking about how to create an economy or a workplace, consider what E.F. Schumacher said: http://www.smallisbeautiful.org/buddhist_economics/english.html

What we have instead all too much of in the USA, workplaces that ignore the need to help people grow and reach their true potentials: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-4Hv9pDicA

With all that said, independent initiative and hard work at appropriate times is great. Personal responsibility is a good thing. Yet, if necessity is the mother of invention, laziness is the father. :-) And we need both community and individual responsibility to have a healthy society.

[-] 2 points by michaelfinko (71) 12 years ago

13 million unemployed, of which, it can never fall below 5mn. 13mn underemployed but working. two very different categories.

don't agree with you definition of business, personally, I am in business to BOTH - make a profit and see the fruits of my labor (i.e. quality) grow (i.e. personal satisfaction of a job well done, ethically). You are quoting a lot of people but have none yourself, to me that indicates you have not been in business for yourself (but, it's not for everyone). I enjoy competing fairly.

Warren Buffett said it best: I will give my kids enough money to do anything they like but not so much so they don't have to do anything.

Nobel has degraded themselves by giving them out to unworthy candidates (obama).

yes, "both community and individual responsibility" but if you build a 'house of cards' (either the current system or the welfare state you are proposing) it will not be sustainable.

When you build a house you start with a strong foundation, not the walls or roof. You can ONLY have a strong foundation if you have a surplus budget and and absolute minimal government (i.e. 5% flat tax - only for the absolute minimal: 1) infrastructure, 2) critical defense, 3) emergency services, 4) basic education (K-12 only, or, plus technical trade school of up to 2 years), 5) government administrative employee salaries, 6) assistance to mentally or physically handicapped (if unemployable, under employable or orphaned), 7) correctional facilities (if decided to be on the Federal level)

Only when you have a strong foundation, can you even begin to address the much, MUCH more important issues (or load bearing walls and roof) - (or, from 5% – 100% taxes, all based on individual decision): can be unlimited, but are all optional (i.e. choice of paying in then receiving) – all individual social support (social security/pension), medical support, environmental issues, business support, culture and arts, science and technology, etc.

Or, issues that show genuine growth of a society.

So, if you want social support, put it in non-core and don't force it one me, and we can both be citizens of the same country. It's called Diversity which can ONLY be embraced through flexibility.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 12 years ago

According to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-clemons/real-unemployment-shows-u_b_843783.html "The number of real unemployed workers in all four categories - official BLS, part-time-of-necessity, marginally attached, and discouraged - decreased by 193,000 workers to 28.2 million, which remains more than twice BLS's official figure of 13.5 million. ... The Jobs Gap, in real terms, is 20.2 million."

What are you going to do when a robot gets your job? http://marshallbrain.com/robotic-freedom.htm

Or an AI is your manager? http://www.marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

Are you still going to be saying the same thing (that social security is "optional") when no one needs whatever services you currently offer or whatever services you try to dream up next, because someone is offering them essentially for free through the internet, or via 3D printing, or whatever?



As the cost of computing goes towards zero, it drives the cost of everything else towards zero, too. If I could offer you AIs and robots to replace your employees, for $1000 each with a fraction of that for annual maintenance, would you buy them? Of course you would. And your clients would do the same for your services. Or they will figure out a way to re-engineer their systems so they no longer need so many services. How long is it before that happens?

You may think you are building on a solid foundation -- and it might have been, in the 19th century. This is the 21st. Things have changed. Our technology is so productive, most workers are not needed for everyone to have a good life. We just have not realized that yet. And so most work effort in the USA is just wasted in competition and guarding. http://www.share-international.org/archives/cooperation/co_nocontest.htm

Capitalism advances through competition; competition is driving down labor costs through robotics and other automation, new materials, accumulating infrastructure, new sources of energy, new energy efficiencies, and voluntary social networks (like this website). What is the end result of this, given a law of diminishing returns for more stuff and more services, and a desire at some point of most people to, as you suggest, be more self-reliant? Eventually, why do people still need to keep working?

There is a law of diminishing returns to more stuff and more services. At some point, people move up Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Mainstream economists deny this by assuming infinite demand -- they have to because otherwise all their beautiful equations would have divide by zero errors. Only dividing by infinity can compensate for divide-by-zero errors (as costs fall to zero).

Long hours are a fairly recent invention. This was more what life was like thousands of years ago, and is what humans are adapted for, with people "working" only a couple hours a day, and that work often involved creativity and self-direction: http://www.primitivism.com/original-affluent.htm

I do not think things are so dire as you predict if we return to that way of life. It takes a lot of time and energy just to raise kids well these days, dealing with all the potential addictions. http://paulgraham.com/addiction.html

Buffet can say what self-delusional things he likes, but giving a child a medical diploma, a law school diploma, or in many cases a diploma from a top Ivy League schools to be situated in a non-profit job is like giving him or her a $50K+ a year annuity even if he or she does not work very hard. Or, essentially, a basic income. Paying a kid's stress-free way the first twenty to thirty years of his or her life, with access to any educational opportunity in the universe for free, with a kid later knowing he or she can always run back to parents if there is a big disaster (free insurance) is a good deal, too.

How much does it ruin these kids? Would it ruin them so much if every kid got it? Why do wealthy people make such a big deal about wanting to accumulate wealth to pass it in to their kids if it was so ruinous? Besides, Buffet is one of the saner wealthy people. How many wealthy people really follow that entirely and don't leave a lot of money to their kids?

Budget surpluses make no sense if money is being created as debt. Sure, if you want to run surpluses do so (high taxes would help), but how is new currency going to be created without borrowing, unless we radically change our monetary system? I think we should change that system, but under the one we have, what you propose would create a currency crisis. Some argue that it was actually the fact that the budget went into surplus under Clinton that contributed to the economic problems under Bush.

We already redistribute so much money, just badly. In New York, it costs about US$20,000 a year per child in K-12. Why not give that money to the parents to support homeschooling or to spend in the free market on private education? And if you are going to do that, why not generalize it into a basic income for everyone at any age?

[-] 0 points by Perspective (-243) 12 years ago

Actually Europe is doing a slow burn and the last thing we need to do is be more like them. Half of Europe is bankrupt or soon to be so holding them up as your shining example really doesn't help you. Creating a massive welfare state is not the answer.