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The Almighty Buck Politics

Greece's Former Finance Minister Explains Why A Universal Basic Income Could Save Us (fastcoexist.com) 866

Charlie Sorrel, writing for FastCoExist: Next time you're having a fight with somebody who doesn't like the idea of a universal basic income, you might employ some of these arguments from Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's former finance minister. In an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger, he not only refutes the usual arguments against the concept that the government should give everyone a minimum check every month, but he makes them sound quite ridiculous. The interview was published ahead of the Switzerland's vote on a universal basic income (or UBI) in June. If successful, all Swiss adults would get $2,500 per month, and kids around $625 per month, whether or not they have a job. Here are some of Varoufakis's best answers.

First, on the need for a UBI: "For the first time in the history of technology more jobs are destroyed than created. Technical progress means that more and more high-paying jobs will disappear and thus shrink the middle class. This will in turn cause a further concentration of income and wealth in the upper classes. That's why I fight like a basic income for sociopolitical reforms. The robotization [of work] has long been underway, but robots don't buy products. Therefore, a basic income is needed to offset this change and stabilize a society which has an increasing wealth inequality." Then, on why you need a UBI if you already have a good job: "What good is a well-paying job, if you are afraid to lose it? This constant fear paralyzes."
Good luck convincing many citizens to do actual work.
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Greece's Former Finance Minister Explains Why A Universal Basic Income Could Save Us

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  • by Vinegar Joe ( 998110 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @05:31PM (#51974501)

    Have to pay Greece?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Taking advice from Greece on societal economics probably isn't that smartest choice. Seems like this guy wants to double down on the already failed bet.
      • Taking advice from Greece on societal economics probably isn't that smartest choice. Seems like this guy wants to double down on the already failed bet.

        So are you saying he's wrong?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2016 @06:15PM (#51974779)

        Insightful? Hardly. For one, this isn't the finance minister that got them into trouble. Those took their advice from the US, among others, and implemented austerity to try and get them out. This guy is the one who tried his best to claw them out, but the IMF and others told him and Greece to pound sand and that they would put forward punitive measures to get them to pay, even if Greece collapsed as a consequence. Greece saw great gains under him regardless and he is still well-respected, but banks could care less for his theories as they are firmly stuck in MBA land.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 23, 2016 @07:18PM (#51975123)

          Austerity didn't get them into trouble. Spending like there was no limit got them into trouble. Apparently the solution when you've got too much debt is to spend more!

          • It's not spending per se which got them into trouble. It was being on the Euro, and spending more than their citizens' productivity (valued in Euros) which got them into trouble.

            There's an overwhelming tendency to analyze finances on the national level in terms of a currency. You can't do that because a currency's value isn't fixed (in fact it needs to be free-floating or you can seriously screw up your economy). You have to analyze them in terms of the true fundamental currency - productivity.

            Gree
            • It's not spending per se which got them into trouble. It was being on the Euro, and spending more than their citizens' productivity (valued in Euros) which got them into trouble.

              Yes absolutely this! Single currencies without wealth redistribution are broken, otherwise money always flows one way and the regions losing money have no way of floating relative to the other regions to make goods and services cheaper.

              Single stable currencies can be good, see e.g. the US dollar, but like the Euro must have, there

        • Overspending did. Cutting spending was a proposed solution to them spending too much. Others believe that when you dig yourself into a hole, you get out by digging further down.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Taking advice from Greece on societal economics probably isn't that smartest choice.

        Indeed. Wasn't this exactly was Greece was already doing with half of the population? By employing family and friends into clerk jobs, creating new positions as needed, handing out nifty paychecks and benifits for sitting around... Because of course there really wasn't any serious job to do for 80% of those positions.

        That turned out pretty well... The EU had to bail them out and the Greeks blamed their misery on the Germans.

        In all honesty, I see some sense in a strategy of basic income, if automation contin

        • by Tom ( 822 ) on Sunday April 24, 2016 @03:20AM (#51976489) Homepage Journal

          Wasn't this exactly was Greece was already doing with half of the population?

          Only in the same way that store vouchers and armed robbery are the same thing. Yes, in both of them some items from the store change hands to some other people with no money exchange, but that is where the similarities end.

          Greece had a massive corruption problem and was intentionally thrown under the truck by the rest of the EU to make sure that no left-wing government with actual reforms would survive, because there were similar parties already getting ready in Spain, Portugal, Italy and elsewhere, and the neocons couldn't allow that to happen, it would've interrupted this whole class warfare from the top thing they are doing so successfully to move more money from everyone to the 0.1%

          But the question is, who's going to pay for it?

          Is that a real question? Are you kidding? We have trillions available to save some banks who lost big at the casino, but we're asking where to get the money to pay people a survival income?

          Start taxing the rich folks and they'll just hide or move their money into places where it can't be touched.

          That's why you need to start jailing them for tax evasion so this bullshit stops. Of course you need to tax the rich, at the moment they are the ones who don't work but still get free money, and not exactly $2500 a month.

          But more importantly, where to get the money is actually not so difficult. It's a pretty well established fact that lower income people consume more of any additional income. If everyone suddenly has $2500 a month more, the 0.1% will just burn it on some shit or put it in some investment with the rest of it - no benefit to society. That is the main reason why the super-rich need to be cut down and brought back into productive society - investment today doesn't mean factories and jobs, it means gambling at the stock exchange.
          But the 99.9%, what will they do? Buy better furniture, a new TV, a new iPhone, a new car. Money that immediately goes back into the economy, creates jobs and thus more wealth. Wealth that is taxed. This money will come back to the government in no time.

      • by kurkosdr ( 2378710 ) on Sunday April 24, 2016 @01:14AM (#51976283)
        As a Greek, I agree with that statement. And btw Switzerland had a referendum and rejected UBI to prevent minorities from having too many children and then having those children live on everyone else's back.
        • That is wrong.
          First of all they could fix that by paying UBI only for the first 2 or 3 children.
          Secondly the referendum is in June. Perhaps you might look on a calendar ...
          Oh, I'm to lazy, I guess I have to write it like this: "Secondly the referendum is^H^Hwill be in June!"

  • Robots? (Score:2, Insightful)

    I don't see robots doing work. I see people making pennies assembling iPhones in China, children working in sweatshops in Vietnam making Nike clothing. This man is a fool. The problem isn't robots. People are cheaper than robots are.
    • Re:Robots? (Score:5, Informative)

      by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @05:57PM (#51974675)
      For how long? http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]
    • I see people making pennies assembling iPhones in China, children working in sweatshops in Vietnam making Nike clothing.

      Technically, that wouldn't stop with Universal Income. For instance, giving guaranteed income to anyone who is related to the Saudi family didn't stop poverty in Saudi Arabia. It only created a bigger vacuum for immigrants to fill in. This is already happening to an extent in Switzerland. Over 50% of the workers in Geneva already commute into the country every day. And this "Universal Income" certainly wouldn't apply to those folks.

    • Re:Robots? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @07:23PM (#51975143)

      I don't see robots doing work. I see people making pennies assembling iPhones in China, children working in sweatshops in Vietnam making Nike clothing. This man is a fool. The problem isn't robots. People are cheaper than robots are.

      Because you're not looking. There's a reason the US is the second largest manufacturer in the world, and has grown in manufacturing capability over the last 15 years (except for a dip during the recession), while at the same time continueously employing fewer and fewer people in manufacturing jobs. It's called "robotics". Turns out it's cheaper in the US, where average/minimum wages are relatively high, to use robots than it is people, while in China, with it's much lower wages, it's still viable to use human labor. People are only cheaper if you live in a country with a shit average wage.

  • Uh huh (Score:2, Insightful)

    How about we put a big fat asterisk next to the output of a resigned-in-disgrace former finance minister from a broke, crooked, can't-stop-capital-flight, had-a-coup-in-living-memory, too-big-to-make-Europe-fail country? Just a thought.
  • Greece?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @05:44PM (#51974585)

    Greece's former finance minister probably has as much credibility in financial matters as Steve Jobs had on cancer treatment.

    • Good comparison. I think people do need to work for an income, even if it's part time and doing the assembly jobs now being done in China. Not everyone can work in a fast food restaurant.
      • there's been massive increases in automation and productivity. So much so that China has warned Foxconn not to automate too much to keep from causing social unrest. We already produce enough food to feed everyone. The problem is logistics. What I'm saying is the world doesn't need ditch diggers too.

        Why should we create miserable make work just because a few people are uncomfortable with the idea of someone not being miserable in a job 40-60 hours a week? What, specifically, makes you uncomfortable with t
      • Re:Greece?! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Half-pint HAL ( 718102 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @07:01PM (#51975049)
        Even if I don't need to work for food and housing, I'll still need to work to buy guitars, cycling gear and travel tickets. But I'll also have more time to play guitars, go cycling and travel. In doing so, I'll be paying people to make guitars and cycling gear, and to fly planes. Take a look at the amount of money people who aren't poor already spend on leisure pursuits -- you can have a healthy economy based entirely on leisure and luxury even if the state supplied and paid for food, basic clothing and a minimum standard of housing. Increased leisure time also tends to result in a healthier populace, which means higher productivity and lower healthcare costs. The equation is complex and there's no way of really knowing how it would pan out, but it's certainly not as simple as "basic income = no incentive to work"
      • Re:Greece?! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @09:35PM (#51975727) Journal

        I think people do need to work for an income

        Why?

  • maybe? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    more jobs are destroyed than created

    Is this true? Is it *really* true. Or did we just ship all the jobs to lower wage countries? If it is not true then the reverse is true.

    It sounds right but is there actually any numbers to back it up?

  • by jcdr ( 178250 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @05:58PM (#51974679)

    The Swiss vote on the universal basic income will only take place because it's part of the normal political process here. But even the promoters of it agree publicly that there is no chance at all to be adopted now. There only goal is to force discussion about simplification of the various social income administrations as there is many of them in Switzerland. There also openly admit that the proposed modification of the Swiss federal constitution will not give a clue about how to get the money, and this make the whole affaire just a joke from the point of view of many peoples here.

  • by a0me ( 1422855 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @05:58PM (#51974683)
    It's funny to see all the comments dismissing the all article without even reading it. Oh wait, I forgot this is Slashdot after all.
  • Yanis Varoufakis (Score:5, Informative)

    by smugfunt ( 8972 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @05:59PM (#51974687)

    Yanis Varoufakis is not the man who got Greece into its current mess, he's the guy who tried to negotiate a way out. The EU and IMF eventually refused to deal with him (he is much better at macroeconomics than they are) and forced the Greek PM to cave in to their demands. Veroufakis resigned as a result but not in disgrace; he was offered another government job but declined.

    • He tried to negotiate the way out by basically blackmailing the rest of the Euro zone. Is it surprising that the EU eventually refused to deal with a financial terrorist? Thanks to Varoufakis valuable time was lost and Greece got a worse deal than originally proposed.

  • by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @06:12PM (#51974759) Homepage

    "Good luck convincing many citizens to do actual work."

    It wouldn't be that difficult, given how little "basic income" would pay. Adjusting for the cost of living difference between Switzerland and the US (rent, groceries, etc), their proposal would work out to about US$1500/month, or $18K/year. (This is in the range of what people who are judged too disabled to work get from Social Security.) Yes, there are people who are content to live on that. But not most people. Would you?

    Anyone who aspires to a middle-class lifestyle would at least get a part-time job to supplement basic income (maybe regular freelance work, a half-time office job, gig-economy stuff as needed, a creative project that they never had time for, that business they were otherwise afraid to take a risk on, etc) or a full-time job that they might not otherwise be able to afford to take (e.g. teaching, social work, performing arts). And the kinds of people who are used to taking home $1500 or more every week would undoubtedly stick with the jobs they have already, and treat the basic-income grant as "mad money" to spend on something fun.

    The idea needs to be tested thoroughly, before being tried on the scale of, say, the US, or even the UK. It may not work as projected based on how it's worked in a few small-population experiments so far. The amount definitely needs to be evaluated. But if you're ridiculing the idea based on the assumption that a just-above-poverty-level income is going to be really attractive to the masses... I'm pretty sure you're mistaken.

    • by Ogive17 ( 691899 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @07:52PM (#51975271)
      If I won millions playing the lottery (unlikely because I buy maybe 1 or 2 tickets a year), I would still work. When I'm home for 10 days during our annual shut down, I get bored quickly. I doubt I would stay at my current job, even though it is pretty good. Most likely I'd try my hand at owning a small business... put that MBA to use.
  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @06:29PM (#51974875) Homepage

    The whole idea that people are inherently lazy and won't work without being forced to always puzzled me. Most of the people I know want to do something productive, but more often than not it's either not something they can get enough income from quickly enough to be able to drop their day job and start doing it full-time or it's not something they can get enough income from to keep the bills paid. Give them a guaranteed basic income and they won't sit around doing nothing, they'll start doing what they want to do (instead of the day job they have to have because it pays the bills).

    And on the flip side, what does Donald Trump do exactly? I know he's rich and considered successful, but what work does he actually do? Or Kim Kardashian? It always seemed to me that the more successful you were, the more well-off you were, the less actual work you appeared to do each day. I know there's research involved in say running a major investment fund like Warren Buffet does, but he doesn't do the majority of it. 95% is delegated out to subordinates who do the legwork and write up the analyst reports, Buffet himself just goes over those reports and makes the final decisions. It's something only he can do, but he's not spending 40 hours a week nailed down to a desk poring over corporate reports and newspaper articles and stock trade data, running spreadsheet calculations to figure out what's behind the stock movements and what's likely to happen in the future.

    To quote a mill supervisor, "I don't want the industrious guy who'll clean up the mess with a smile. I want the lazy bastard who'll figure out how to stop the mess from happening so he doesn't have to clean it up all the time.".

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @07:54PM (#51975281) Homepage

      The whole idea that people are inherently lazy and won't work without being forced to always puzzled me. Most of the people I know want to do something productive, but more often than not it's either not something they can get enough income from quickly enough to be able to drop their day job and start doing it full-time or it's not something they can get enough income from to keep the bills paid. Give them a guaranteed basic income and they won't sit around doing nothing, they'll start doing what they want to do (instead of the day job they have to have because it pays the bills).

      Look, I have interests and hobbies and shit that I like to do so I wouldn't just sit on my ass. But would any of that have any payback to society? No, or if it did it'd at least be coincidental. And I wouldn't do any of the boring parts. And not on the days I don't feel like it. And I wouldn't really give a shit about anyone else's requirements, deadlines or whatever. It'd be what I feel like doing how I feel like doing it when I feel like doing it. I don't think "herding cats" would even begin to cover it.

      I like to productive within the context of the work and the hours I put in anyway, no I'm not slacking or shirking as much as I could have. If it's my job to create something I take pride in the quality of my work and I do try to create solutions that'll work for real people in real life, not just the requirements. But I don't think you should underestimate the pay check as the overall framework for why I'm there and why I'm working on it at all. Or to put it another way, if I won' $100 million no matter how much I like my colleagues and the work is nice, I'd quit.

      The other part is that there's shitty work that needs doing, if a sewage pipe burst I'm sure fixing it is not going to be at the top of anyone's list. So if you're paying everyone enough that they don't have to take the job, you have to pay them enough that they want to take the job. That'll drive wages up that'll drive prices up which means the "living wage" from basic income won't be enough. And then you're just right back where you started, if you raise basic income the shitty jobs won't get done again.

      • by Tom ( 822 ) on Sunday April 24, 2016 @03:07AM (#51976459) Homepage Journal

        Look, I have interests and hobbies and shit that I like to do so I wouldn't just sit on my ass. But would any of that have any payback to society? No, or if it did it'd at least be coincidental.

        A lot of the people we admire today for their contributions to art, literature, science, exploration and a dozen other things did not have day jobs that were of any benefit to society. A lot of them were wealthy landlords who were into science because they were curious and had nothing else to do.

        And if we have one Newton for every one thousand people hanging around doing useless shit, as a species we would profit massively.

        The other part is that there's shitty work that needs doing, if a sewage pipe burst I'm sure fixing it is not going to be at the top of anyone's list. So if you're paying everyone enough that they don't have to take the job, you have to pay them enough that they want to take the job. That'll drive wages up that'll drive prices up which means the "living wage" from basic income won't be enough. And then you're just right back where you started, if you raise basic income the shitty jobs won't get done again.

        That used to be true 50 years ago. Today, you have two options:

        a) pay enough money for shitty jobs so that someone actually does it. But there aren't so many shit-shovelling jobs anymore that it would affect prices. How many people fixing sewage pipes do you need in a city? Which fraction of one percent of the population? That will affect prices? Please.

        b) since these shitty jobs will be high paid, there's incentive for someone to invent a robot to do it in the future.

    • by xlsior ( 524145 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @10:08PM (#51975801) Homepage
      The whole idea that people are inherently lazy and won't work without being forced to always puzzled me. Most of the people I know want to do something productive, but more often than not it's either not something they can get enough income from quickly enough to be able to drop their day job and start doing it full-time or it's not something they can get enough income from to keep the bills paid. Give them a guaranteed basic income and they won't sit around doing nothing, they'll start doing what they want to do (instead of the day job they have to have because it pays the bills).

      One catch is that there are a lot of jobs that noone really WANTS to do,but do anyway because it beats starving: untrained menial labor like cleaning toilets or picking crops in the hot sun, as well as backbreaking heavy labor like mining coal, etc. By effectively releasing a somewhat captive workforce from their NEED to continue doing those jobs, expect the salaries in such fields to have to rise dramatically overnight in order for them to remain sustainable when a large percentage of current workers say "screw this!" and quit. This would either lead to significiantly higher raises for some jobs, or could even make entire sectors and industries entirely non-viable when having to compete with other other countries without universal basic income.

      Universal basic income will ripple through the entire economy: prices for a lot of products like produce grown in your own country are likely to increase significantly, while more spending money on the underside of society will also lead to an increased demand for certain goods raising their prices. If foreign-grown foods are a lot cheaper, you may end up killing your own agriculture industry and becoming almost fully dependent on other countries for feeding your nation: a dangerous situation to be in.

      Whatever the determined amount of money would be, it may very well end up having a lot less purchasing power than people would anticipate ahead of time.

      In the short term, i could be VERY disruptive to the economy, but of course only time will tell how this would play out over the long term.. Unfortunately it's the kind of thing that's hard to experiment with on any large scale, since having the revoke it if things don't work out could also have a potentially disastrous impact on many people's lives.
    • To quote a mill supervisor, "I don't want the industrious guy who'll clean up the mess with a smile. I want the lazy bastard who'll figure out how to stop the mess from happening so he doesn't have to clean it up all the time.".

      Great quote.

      As I've always said, "Lazy Engineers are the best Engineers. They manage their factory line in a way that avoids middle-of-the-night phone calls about screw-ups they'll have to fix."

      Same for designs, R&D, etc.

  • by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @07:05PM (#51975063)

    "Swiss adults would get $2,500 per month, and kids around $625 per month"

    That is more than many (most?) small farmers get now. This would mean a basic income of $52K per year for a family with three kids. I've had many years where I made $14K and supported our family fine. $52K would be luxury and that would be above the $14K - damn nice.

    There are many reasons to like the universal income idea. I don't think it will actually make people stop working. People want more stuff. What it will do is give them the chance to do more interesting things. Some won't but many will.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      No, it is not "damn nice", it is barely enough and right at the poverty line. Cost-of-living in Switzerland is among the highest on the planet.

  • by SvnLyrBrto ( 62138 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @07:07PM (#51975073)

    Of course, the article glosses over implementation details like that.

    Sure, I wouldn't mind an extra $2,500 every month. But is it truly an extra $2,500? If the taxes on my normal income will also go up by that $2,500, it's a wash. If inflation makes it so I don't have any real additional purchasing power, it's also a wash. So why add the additional level of complexity in those cases? And won't there be bureaucratic and administrative costs?

    Show me the numbers. Show me where the money will come from such that I really will have an extra $30K take-home every year... that I actually benefit from and that won't be vacuumed away in taxes, bureaucracy, and inflation. Show me real, solid, numbers, and sure, I'll support the idea. But in my experience, things that sound too good to be true, usually are.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @07:31PM (#51975169) Journal
    I don't really care about anybodys arguments for this UBI concept, I know one thing for sure: Somehow, it'll get corrupted, so that I get screwed out of it, have to work, my taxes jacked up, and I'll be paying for some jackoffs to smoke weed, drink beer, and play video games all day long, while I get my pay cut, and as mentioned above, my taxes increased to pay for losers to play all day. I just KNOW it will happen that way.

    You want the government to give us free shit? How about we do away with the requirement for healthcare (or paying Danegeld to the IRS if you don't) and give us basic healthcare for FREE instead!? That would make WAY MORE sense than this UBI crap. I'm dead serious about this: If the U.S. Government can't manage to give every U.S. citizen free basic healthcare, then it sure as fuck can't afford to give everyone enough cash to live on every month. Call it a test case. I challenge the Government and everyone who supports this UBI nonsense to make free healthcare for everyone work, first; if that works for, say, a decade, THEN we can talk about your UBI. Deal?
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @08:25PM (#51975437)

    Ok, since the majority of people here very obviously have ZERO clue about the situation in Greece and what role Varoufakis plays in the whole mess, allow me to clue you in.

    The whole shit started WAY before Varoufakis was more or less pushed into that position. And he was one of the few intelligent people to grace that position with his presence (seriously, his predecessors were duds), but he had very little chance to actually do anything sensible. The IMF was calling the shots. And if you didn't notice by now, allow me to inform you: The very last thing you can use in your country is the IMF telling you what to do. It's almost granted that they will make matters worse, since they have no interest at all to "help" you. Their job is to ensure that whoever you owe money gets it. No matter how. As far as they're concerned, sell the organs of your people.

    To give you an idea what Varoufakis' situation was and how sensible blaming him for the mess is: It's a bit like blaming whoever will be the next president of the USA for the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with the mess with that Cuban prison.

  • Economist in Support (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lynal ( 976271 ) on Saturday April 23, 2016 @08:32PM (#51975481)
    I'm an economist; I recently finished my PhD and am now working in the tech industry.

    I am hugely in favor of UBI. I think of it in 3 ways:

    Is it doable?
    Yes, of course. Existing social programs are very costly, and this will replace many of them. Furthermore, there are a lot of profits that have been created by technology in the last 50 years. And yet work weeks have increased, and many people have a lower quality of life than before. You might ask why this is. I'll give you a hint: the answer isn't population growth.

    What is the cost?
    Social disruption in the short term. Probably a cost to some or many very wealthy individuals. New regulations are required, but these may be less in total than existing regulations.

    What is the benefit?
    Many. Increased social stability. A simpler social safety net for one. A promise that each individual will be better off as technology improves and jobs may be destroyed.

    That last piece I believe to be very important. The looming driverless car revolution has highlighted the risk of technology: jobs lost there have no promise of replacements.
  • by Trachman ( 3499895 ) on Sunday April 24, 2016 @07:01AM (#51976925) Journal

    The universal income has been tried before in Soviet Socialism.

    It has been above and beyond universal income. In a socialist system most of the people had a place to live, a job, education was free, healthcare was free, one or two years maternity and the pay was more or less the same for all professions. Socialism failed miserably and It will keep failing every single time.

    It is called rationing. If healthcare is free, that means a random client/patient will be rationed. Education, even if it is free, is not available to everyone in their selected field. A job that paid something: people on average were non-productive and looking for opportunities to steal. Well, if housing is free everyone wants would want to live in most beautiful place. However there is not enough desirable places for everyone.

    It was tried before. Did not work then will not work now. Imagine in US they make it a basic income, of, say, $2000 per month. Once rumors are confirmed by less fortunate 50% of the world population, you can guarantee that population of US will double in 10 years. Even Trump's wall will not help, for underground high through capacity tunnels will be developed to meet demand.

    Once somebody becomes entitled for $2000 a month, and becomes a voter, it is impossible to change that habit.

  • by seven of five ( 578993 ) on Sunday April 24, 2016 @07:28AM (#51977001)
    If everyone had an extra $1000 a month to spend, I could see prices simply increasing in proportion. For example, housing, which in the US is mostly bought and sold in a competitive market. If you and I have an extra $10,000 to bid on a house, guess what? The price of the house simply goes up, absorbing the UBI and negating its utility everywhere else. So housing becomes more expensive for a person with no other income, reducing the benefit of the UBI for food and other necessities.

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