Responding to a Critic of the Universal Basic Income

The following is my reply to Robin Wilson’s article.

My critique in his argument is that a universal welfare state (which he postulates) does not contradict the universal basic income. He is right that the number of jobs is as much a social function as it is a technological function, as the proliferation of “bullshit” jobs (see David Graeber) shows. But that provides no justification for continuing on that path (and even if so, job creation happens too weakly for the less-skilled workers).

What Wilson also gets wrong is to believe that people will live on the hammock once they get the UBI and that that would contradict socialist ideals of everyone working. Yes, working is fine, but not employment for its own sake or capital accumulation, when much of the necessary labor gets automated. It is false to assume that humans will stop working with a UBI.

Humans are creative enough to invent things and try things out except now it won’t be about survival, but about personal pleasure and communal welfare. Put Youtube videos online, write a blog, volunteer in old people’s homes, find the cure for cancer. Whatever. To deny this capacity of human beings in the absence of a paycheck is rather foolish.It is even more foolish to hold onto a coercive laborist political economy at which core lies the exploitation of man by man, which is what his romantic version of “socialism” does not mention.

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One Response to Responding to a Critic of the Universal Basic Income

  1. Pingback: How to Help Low-Income People out of Poverty | Mr Liu's Opinions

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