Discover more from Space is a Means of Production: Living Metropolis
We all need time to live, that is why we need the UBI
I have advocated universal basic income (UBI) for over a decade.
UBI would be a monthly dollar amount given to everyone. The UBI would have no requirements other than everyone would receive it.
Universal is a legal definition. It means everyone and not means-tested. Means-tested is a legal term that means that you have to fit under particular criteria. Entitlement is a legal term. It means mandatory funding.
Receiving the income would solely be based on being alive and living here. It would not take away any of the social services that currently exist. It could not be used as income to take away food stamps, housing, or childcare. It isn’t replacing our pathetic means-tested based safety net. It wouldn’t punish the poor. It would be in addition to our sad means-tested based safety net.
UBI would look very different from the guaranteed minimum income, which is specifically for the most economically oppressed. We know how programs specifically for the poor look in the United States. Thanks to Republicans and certain neo-liberals, it looks like a dystopian nightmare.
Some people’s reason for not supporting UBI is that it still lets capitalism be capitalism. I’m afraid I have to disagree with that argument. Being forced to work a job under capitalism is letting capitalism be capitalism. Even worse, it is NOT giving you time to educate yourself, speak with your neighbors, relax, or spend time with your family.
The 40-hour workweek, with housing costs out of control, with no universal healthcare, and a higher education system that forces the average person into debt, will not bring forth a revolution or give you more control.
Do you feel you have control of your life now?
This idea that people will rise up through just the right amount of suffering is not how human behavior works.
Suffering normalizes suffering.
Labor under laissez-faire capitalism is set up to stop people from thinking, socializing, and even critiquing their current situation. You lack time to do anything, but not die. Even the so-called middle class is in this situation.
The writers and philosophers that many people admire were often able to do that writing and thinking owing to inheritances, benefactors, and grants. Most weren’t planning revolutionary ideas while working 40-60 hour-a-week jobs. You can’t because the workweek is exhausting to most. Wealthy abolitionist Francis George Shaw was Henry George's benefactor. Friedrich Engels was Karl Marx's benefactor.
This idea that to feel whole, you need to spend most of your day working or performing a service for an exploitative amount of money is a harmful narrative put out by people who want to oppress us, and we need to stop embracing it.
We need to stop embracing puritanical values from religious texts that justify our oppression.
Owing to technology, many tasks no longer require the entire day to complete. That is a wonderful innovation if we realize that the paradigm of labor needs to change.
We don’t need a $15.00 an hour 40-hour workweek. We need an $80.00 an hour 10-hour workweek. In jobs that require a physical presence, we need job shares. There would be plenty for people to do and a comfortable lifestyle for those doing it with the addition of UBI.
Corporations are making unprecedented amounts in profits. The wealthy are getting wealthier. The money is there to make this happen.
The Feds bestowed Wall Street $1.77 trillion under the CARES Act, Wolf Richter stated “If the Fed had sent that $1.77 Trillion to the 130 million households in the U.S., each household would have received $13,600.”
The labor paradigm in the 21st century does not need to be the labor paradigm in the 20th century. It can’t be unless we like the idea of working for work’s sake. Do we have so little faith in our fellow citizens that we feel that free time will lead to “devil’s work?”
I suspect the imaginary god in the sky is why many of the U.S. public balks at the idea of a 20-hour or 10-hour workweek. Also, a few of us seem to have an inability to get out of the mindset of a kindergartener, who is angry because why does Johnny get 1 more minute on the swing.
Our reality could be great if we had as much faith in our fellow citizens as we did in the market.