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UBI Europa

Listen up, all euro-peeps, I just found out that there is a European citizen’s initiative to implement Universal Basic Income.

If you, like me, agree with this policy proposal, please sign it before the deadline, which is May 25th, 2022.

I strongly agree with this. I hope I’m not gonna make a habit of posting campaigns here, but…

I believe we need UBI.

It’s one of the few policy proposals I’ve seen in many years that has the option to make live drastically better and safer for millions of citizens.

You might, like me, have some long term qualms about this. I’ve long seen UBI as maybe more of a short-term “patch” solution (it doesn’t fix all externalites and environmental problems of market economies), but a desperately needed one.

If it also does end up working out long term, that’d be gravy.

What is UBI?

Universal Basic Income is money everyone gets. It’s what you need to live, which is the “basic income” part. It’s not tested. Everyone can get it. Which is the “universal” part.

That’s also where huge savings can be made for the state finances. There’s a lot of expensive bureaucracy that can be simplified.

Why do we need UBI?

There are a lot of debates and issues and problems that pretty much gets a gordian solution with UBI. Poverty, begging, labor market insecurities, art and copyright, software financing, advertising…

It’s a foundation for a whole new kind of market of ideas that isn’t based on medieval qui-pro-quo market ideas. A world of giving. Comics and apps and music that aren’t dependent on ads and merch.

Academia’s dog-eat-dog backstabbing for tenured positions. Now everyone can think and write. Free to invent new thoughts and tools, unbound by “but what is the business model?” type dream-killing.

Amelia gets it

From one of Amelia Earhart’s speeches:

Obviously, research regarding technological unemployment is as vital today as further refinement or production of labor-saving and comfort-giving devices.

The purpose of tech is to make our lives easier and cozier, but the forces of the quid-pro-quo labor market means that people still need to break their backs or hearts to put food on the table.

Without UBI, at best, we could invent better tools. More efficient shovels and hammers and rakes that let us dig deeper, hammer harder, rake faster. Without UBI, tech would let us get more done in a day, but it would not let us cut into that 40 hour workweek.

With UBI, the cornucopia might finally get within reach. The right to laziness, as Paul Lafargue put it in 1883. The right to dream and work and create and share and give freely without strings.

When do we need UBI?

The time is now.

So many lives have been wrecked by the pandemic and the bailouts (at least where I am, in Sweden) have been haphazard and skewed and geared towards preserving the existing social hierarchy, with more money offered to those who were already making money.