A universal basic income is becoming a more realistic and cost-effective idea, potentially vital to the new economy as well as society. It should be the only tax-free income, ideally indexed to inflation or cost of living. It would enable the consolidation of many social programs reducing costs involved in the separate supports and rebates while allowing lower taxes, as well as the elimination of some. While equalizing the playing field by providing a truly universal safety-net that also functions as a launcher for opportunity instead of dependence. It would increase productivity while decreasing health, legal, and labour costs along with the general level of stress.
Civilization was formed to ease the individual struggle for survival. This allowed the devotion of time, effort, and education to pursuits that advanced society,improving things for increasing proportions of its membership. A sufficient income achieves this like nothing else, raising everyone without putting anyone down.
However, nature and society focus on survival driving us harder than sex. It is far easier to submit to its demands than think independently. Freedom's dangers are uncertainty, purposelessness, depression, and decreasing productivity. If survival isn't existence what is? What am I? What should I do? The problem is spreading through the Nordic countries and defines the idle rich. Sitting around with thumb inserted, partying to stay mindless, or squandering resources on things, seem the only options.
This is the dilemma of true freedom experienced without any real idea of its unlimited potential for self and social improvement and happiness. This realization demands personal responsibility through self-exploration and knowledge, avoided by most of us as painful when mere survival is the only option. This is not an innate avoidance of improvement and tenancy toward laziness. Some are content with basic survival, but most are more ambitious in the pursuit of some form of improvement whether material, political, social, personal, economic, intellectual, creative, or emotional. Their contribution may be large or small, but every bit helps.
The hardest thing with freedom from survival's struggle is having faith in ourselves, without which we cannot have such in others or our institutions. The powerful have organized many societies to actively discourage this by concentrating it upon themselves by claiming to be its source. They share their social and economic wealth only enough to keep us desperately following. It's time to invest in everyone. We're all worth it. Freedom is something everyone should be able to afford. Facing the fear of freedom is what life is about.
Desperation is the root of most of the world's evils, as easily manipulated as alleviated. Misery and happiness are equally contagious and virulent when encouraged. Freedom isn't meant as bliss or a fortunate, worthy, or chosen few, it is wondrous, awesome, terrible, and for all. It is what makes us truly human and potentially divine.
That's why we're dangerous... and here.
Knowledge of good and evil simultaneously creates Heaven and Hell, but we make it real. Do we do so for desperation or development?
Our choice will be judged by much more than history.
Life with liberty enables the pursuit of happiness. Otherwise it is a two-sided triangle without a point and only one angle that easily collapses into a line all must toe. A flat line.
For the good of all, it's time for us to work for something beyond a living and start living.The luxury time of a few enabled modernity and multiplied luxury time exploded into the developments of the 20th Century. Imagine what the universal luxury of personal development and creative exploration might produce.
Imagine what children going to university on their nest-eggs could do, or their investment in business enterprises. A universal minimum income makes society's capital the basis of the economy instead of debt slavery. That's true economic equality that doesn't punish ambition, preserving the advantages of talent, skill, knowledge, efficiency, timing, and success, while reducing or eliminating such disadvantages as poverty, malnutrition, illness, opportunity, and history.
Democracy is a co-op not a corporation.
Charity can be selfish, entrapping, and dehumanizing. "Welfare" is charity while a guaranteed tax-free minimum income would be compassion. Charity is unpredictable, unreliable, and undependable. Compassion isn't a write-off. It is an investment with great returns, strengthening the economy, society, and the individual, to enable real growth that benefits all.
"Welfare" can force a person to "sit around doing nothing" or they loose their benefits. Some may like to get paid to do "nothing" but most people have more ambition, creativity, curiosity, drive, greed, or self-respect, to sit still for long.
Sunday April 02, 2017
'Jobs are disappearing, and to me that's a good thing': Why we should abandon workListen 35:09
By his rough estimate, James Livingston has had between 50 and 60 jobs in his lifetime. He's been a construction worker, worked on an airport ground crew, sold men's clothing at Sears and been a door-to-door salesman.
These days, Livingston is a professor at Rutgers University. It's a fulfilling job at a prestigious institution. And he got there through hard work, dedication, and keeping his eye on the goal. Right?
Not if you ask him.
"I don't think I worked my way up," he said in an interview with Tapestry's Mary Hynes. "I think what happened was that I got very, very lucky."
Livingston points out that we are living in a time when millions of people in North America find themselves struggling to make ends meet, despite having full-time work.
"We are below six per cent unemployment in the United States of America, and yet — and yet — 25 per cent of employed adults in the United States are at or below the poverty line," said Livingston, who explored the issue in his book "No More Work: Why Full Employment is a Bad Idea."
"Having a job gets you out of bed. It gets you engaged with other people. And therefore it's an incredibly socializing, and perhaps character-building, activity. The problem is that it has now more or less disappeared, so now we've got to look elsewhere for the sources of those things."
And that leaves us at a "spiritual impasse," Livingston said, because our imaginations are stuck in the past and we've grown accustomed to attaching our identity and sense of worth to our work.
"The relationship between effort and reward — between work and income, between work and, shall we say, satisfaction — has never been actually clear," he said. "But we have believed it for so long — that there should be this legible and justifiable relation — that we can't seem to get over it."
Politicians crow about "full employment" and bringing back "good-paying jobs," but Livingston told Hynes there's a better solution — a world without work.
How to achieve that? Livingston argues governments must begin moving towards a model of a universal basic income, where everyone is assigned a minimum annual income they would receive from the government, no matter how much they worked.
The idea has been tested successfully in the past, both in the United States and Canada, he said.
"We have empirical evidence that a subsidy to your income does not necessarily, or even meaningfully, affect your work ethic — what you want to do with your life," he said.