UBI is Inevitable

Basic income is going to reach mainstream politics.

This is an extremely complex issue.

UBI is not in itself any sort of long term stable solution, and it may be an effective part of a transition strategy from scarcity based thinking to abundance based thinking.

And there are real issues. Giving a drug addict $1500 at one time is probably a death sentence. Putting $18 in their account every 8 hours would probably be survivable. Specifics and contexts matter.

I have been writing about UBI and its many complexities for a long time – one example:

A search on that site will bring up lots of others.

Markets worked reasonably well when most things were genuinely scarce. Now that fully automated systems are making new classes of goods and services potentially universally available at an exponentially increasing rate – markets, with their scarcity generated measurement of value in exchange, fail to deliver sufficiently accurate information for them to perform many of the very complex and necessary functions that they performed in the past – like distributed information processing, distributed governance, distributed trust networks, distributed risk management, etc.

We need new mechanisms to deliver those vital functions, and we need to distribute sufficient material resources and freedom to everyone that a sense of justice is present universally. And freedom must acknowledge the necessary boundaries required to sustain the sorts of complexity present in us and the natural environment, and thus comes with responsibilities. One cannot separate freedom from responsibility without instantiating existential level risk (not at any level).

So I am a yes to UBI, but not to it being any sort of long term panacea, just to it being a useful transition strategy in the short to medium term, as we move beyond the existing systems.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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