The Utopia Mirage: Universal Basic Income, Socialism, and the Future of the Global Economy -

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Maurice Caine

You talkin' to me?
kiwifarms.net
This one's not exactly a news article, but it sparked my interest nonetheless.

Introduction​

I see a great deal of talk on this subreddit about Universal Basic Income (UBI). I'll admit to not hating the idea, since I believe that if implemented correctly it could do a great deal of good. However, after reading the comments under this post, and reading the article that the post is about, I can't help but want to speak my mind on the matter. I admire the author of the article, Alex Vikoulov, for having the courage to mention capitalism and it's deleterious effects directly, but I believe that he falls short in suggesting ways to deal with the problem.

However, I also believe that correct, effective, long-term implementation of UBI is, in practical terms, impossible. Furthermore, I believe that UBI is, at best, only a stopgap solution to the real underlying problems of modern society and the modern economy, the main problem being the very system of capitalism itself.

I shall outline the reasoning behind all of these points below.

Part One: Impossibility​

It's no great secret that the modern global capitalist economy is enormously corrupt and hypocritical. Just a few days ago, we witnessed the Game Stop fiasco, which already has allegations of corruption and market interference flying freely. A fixture of this particular event has been the anger of the rich that poor people had the gall to make their lives slightly less easy.

Large sections of the global economy are controlled by monopolies and oligopolies, such as the American airline industry, which had been repeatedly accused of price fixing.

The company De Beers used to have a total monopoly on the global diamond market, and to this day spends a great deal of money advertising that "real" diamonds, I.E. those that are dug out of the ground as opposed to made in a laboratory, are more valuable or romantic than those which are artificially produced. This emphasis on "real" diamonds keeps their value high, and fuels the intensely violent and abusive diamond trade.

The same story is true of many oil companies.

Elon Musk, our beloved fellow "futurist" has tacitly admitted to having a stake in the coup against Evo Morales. (Some may say he was joking, but... really? In the wake of the overthrow of a government and a brutal military crackdown, Musk would think that it's funny to say "We will coup whoever we want"? Really?)

Infamously, the Ford motor company, upon discovering that its Pinto was quite prone to catching fire in collision and burning its occupants to death, did a cost analysis and determined that recalling and modifying the cars would be more expensive than the lawsuits from the victims would be, and so decided not to modify the cars, leading to thousands of injuries and deaths.

And then, of course, there is the habit that corporations have of lobbying the USA to instigate regime change, such as in Iran and Guatemala, regime changes which were brutal and violent in their means and consequences.

There are even unconfirmed reports that there was a coup plot against FDR, known today as the Business Plot, which was brought to light be decorated Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, who testified about it under oath to congress; there was another supposed coup plot against Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

And, of course, I hardly need to mention the rampant corruption and utter control of the government by corporations in the modern day, to the point where the average citizen has basically no influence at all. And they want to keep it that way. You can see it for yourself in the Medicare for All debate; corporations almost unilaterally oppose it, because keeping healthcare tied to employment give them more power over their workers and society at large.

I say all this in an attempt to impress upon you, the reader, just how utterly ruthless private interests are and can be, and to what extend they will go to to protect their profits and power. Now, with this in mind, imagine attempting to implement Universal Basic Income, a system which not only will necessarily lead to very heavy taxes upon corporations and the wealthy, but will virtually annihilate their ability to control their workforce, since now income will be attainable independent of employment.

They will fight it tooth and nail. They will use every ounce of their very considerable influence over the media to demonize the idea (expect many accusations of "communism" or "impossibility"), and their very considerable influence over the politics of the United States and Europe to strangle any UBI legislation in the crib, and if that fails, then they will resort to more invasive measures.

UBI in the rest of the world would be impossible without such a program already existing in either the United States or Europe, since those are the two major world powers at the moment (excluding China, which, as a hyper-capitalist dystopia right out of Ayn Rand and Austrians' wet dreams, will never implement UBI for as long as the current regime exists), and they hold considerable influence over the rest of the world.

And even if UBI gets put in practice in Europe or America, it won't last. Corproations will regroup and counter-attack, unleashing a swarm of Reaganites and Thatcherites decrying the "onset of Bolshevism" (Nevermind that both Regan and Thatcher were fine with "Bolshevism" when it suited them). It won't matter how popular or effective UBI is, it will inevitably be repealed, and if people protest, they will be ignored at best, disenfranchised if they persist, and shot if they look like they might win.

This is why UBI is impossible: it is but one item in a long list of items that are genuinly good ideas, but will either never come to pass or will be violently cut short precisely because they are good ideas that work effectively, like the nationalization of the British railways or the public housing projects in Red Vienna.

They key failure that makes these ideas impossible is that they face the classic paradox that social democrats, progressives, liberals, centrists, "libertarians", conservatives, reactionaries, and fascists must all contend with: "How do we maintain capitalist systems without the downsides that are inherent in them?"

To be very fair, UBI is a very good way of dealing with those downsides. But, for that reason, it will never be allowed to persist, if it is ever allowed to exist at all.

The failure of UBI lies not in its concept, but rather in its relation to the problems it is designed to solve: the problems of capitalism. It is a stopgap solution to innate problems, meant to be a bandaid over much deeper issues.

Capitalism both requires and encourages poverty, an impoverished population is a population that will take any employment it can get, no matter how shitty. Capitalism is all about profit, and, at the end of the day, solving global issues like poverty, mass starvation (Nine million people die of starvation every year; I feel like too many people don't know that), mass death from preventable disease (1.5 million deaths), mass death from air pollution (4.2 million), and of course, climate change, just aren't profitable on the scale or timeframe that capitalists care about. These problems are innate, and will never go away.

By the way, if you take China out of the equation, the number of people in poverty is actually rising, not falling.

Part Two: The Alternative​

Socialism.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk, I'll be going now.

...

Ok, fine, I'll explain.

The problem I identify in UBI is that it fundamentally threatens the power of people and institutions that react with extreme violence and force to any perceived threat, no matter how small. It's an untenable solution to the ills of capitalism not because it is ineffective, but because it is too effective; because those ills are not seen by the powerful as bugs, but as features.

So, the obvious answer to me is to dismantle capitalism. How would we do this? Well, it definitely won't be easy, for all the reasons laid out above. But we do live in systems at, at their core, are democratic. If enough people want something, it can be made to happen. The problem is making sure that it is permanent.

Nationalization isn't a viable option, people like Thatcher and Regan can just undo that whenever the economy goes south and people need a scapegoat; private interests know that that is a wonderful opportunity to point at the government.

So, what does that leave?

I propose two approaches, a "hard" and "soft" approach.

The hard approach is using a socialist and progressive congressional majority with a socialist president and liberal supreme court to systematically nationalize large businesses (have the government take control of them), and then socialize them (put them in the hands of their workers). Basically making every single large private entity a cooperative that is managed directly by its workers. This solution handily avoids long-term nationalization, which has been the downfall of many progressive or democratic socialist projects before, like in Great Britain.

This is very much legal and constitutional, although it will undoubtedly be challenged and put before the supreme court, and if its a conservative-majority court, then, well, we already know whose pockets they're in. Thus, it would probably require a liberal court.

Alternatively, a National Workplace Socialization law could be passed which would effectively socialize the entire economy, requiring all companies over a certain number of employees to be required to be cooperatives run on a model of workplace democracy. However, it would probably be harder to get this through congress, requiring a more left-leaning congressional majority, and it would definitely be put in front of the Supreme Court, and even a liberal court would balk at something so radical.

The soft approach is much more gentle and gradual, and would probably be less publicly divisive, although the wealthy and powerful would still be paying attention to what was going on. This alternative plan would entail the government nationalizing and then socializing any large or medium sized company that goes bankrupt, by demanding a controlling number of shares in exchange for a bailout, and then using that influence to force the company to socialize. Same result, much longer timespan. There's an article exploring a similar method, albeit for nationalization, here.

Worker cooperatives and other socialized workplaces have significant advantages over private enterprises, such as greater productivity and greater community benefits. They're awesome in a lot of ways, and you can find out more here.

Ironically enough, Universal Basic Income would be more feasible and more beneficial in a socialized economy, since there wouldn't be economic elites to battle against it at every turn, and the general public would already be more onboard with community-benefiting programs basically by default. Imagine a world where every job was well-paying and meaningful, where democracy existed not just at the ballot box, but in the workplace as well. If you didn't like your job, you could quit and live on UBI until you found a better one.

This is my vision of the future. A utopia; a worker's paradise.

Any vision of Universal Basic Income that seeks to reconcile it with capitalism is both morally commendable and highly flawed. That vision of utopia is false; a mirage.

Only by truly addressing the fundamental problem of capitalism that makes UBI necessary can we ever hope to have a world in which UBI is as prevalent as we all hope it will someday be.

Conclusion:​

TL;DR:

Universal Basic Income can never work in capitalist economies because corporations, interest groups, and the wealthy will always oppose it because it threatens their power, and use every bit of power and influence at their disposal (which is a whole lot) to stop it from happening or repeal it once it does.

Furthermore, UBI would only ever be a bandaid over the fundamental problems and contradictions of capitalism, and would have only a limited utility in partially alleviating them, although it would still be better than nothing.

The only way to successfully implement a UBI program is to first abolish capitalism through socializing workplaces, I.E. handing control of businesses over to the workers that run them. This will remove the power of said corporations, interest groups, and the wealthy, and cut off their ability to oppose UBI.

UBI can then be implemented without any bad-faith resistance, and we'll all live in a utopia, happily ever after.

The End.
 

Wingnut

WARNING: Remove before flight.
kiwifarms.net
This is very much legal and constitutional, although it will undoubtedly be challenged and put before the supreme court, and if its a conservative-majority court, then, well, we already know whose pockets they're in. Thus, it would probably require a liberal court.
This fool genuinely believes that the "liberal" side of politics in the US isn't also completely bought out by corporations.

If you didn't like your job, you could quit and live on UBI until you found a better one.
So if I get paid a basic living wage for just existing and not contributing anything to society, why would I ever go to work in the first place?

Imagine a world where every job was well-paying and meaningful
If being a burger flipper or retail clerk pays similarly to being a doctor but only one requires 6 years of study why would anyone want to put in the effort to become a doctor?

This has all the same shortcomings of any of these utopian fantasies, it would never work on principal because you're providing no incentive to further spend the time/effort/stress required to get a more coveted job because other then a sense of self satisfaction there is no benefit. Socialist utopias are always fantastical perfect worlds because they're fundamentally impossible to achieve and are nothing more than just that, a fantasy.
 

oldTireWater

Incompetent as fuck
kiwifarms.net
People who are dependent on the government (US) for subsidies, handouts, or "free" stuff HEAVILY favor one political party over the other. The other party will never be able to offer more handouts than the favored one because of politics. Therefore, is is in the interest of the first party to keep people dependent on handouts, but not to actually improve their situation to the point where they no longer need them. In effect this is buying votes, and codifying it in law.

What Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela is an example of this. The people getting the handouts were happy with their learned helplessness until the oil money dried up. Now they're fucked.

The US equivalent of the Oil money is credit.
 

Ita Mori

💔Turn me into a street💔
kiwifarms.net
Defending Evo Morales, lmao.
These assholes can't pick a side:
-- Noooo! You can't even fathom a positive idea about dictators! They deserve the worst!
- Noooo! You can't stage coups against leaders even if they're dictators!


If being a burger flipper or retail clerk pays similarly to being a doctor but only one requires 6 years of study why would anyone want to put in the effort to become a doctor?
BeCaUsE tHeN oNlY pEoPlE PaSsIoNaTe AbOuT mEdIcInE aNd HeLpInG pEoPlE wOuLd Be DoCtOrS!!
iT sHoUlDn'T bE aBoUt ThE mOnEy!!! Reeeeeee!!!


Even then, I can't imagine who's passionate about waste management, sanitation, construction, and brick laying.
Then again, urban ghouls think all of these these jobs don't exist and buildings and waste just magically appear and disappear at will.
Any fantasy to justify their dream job of being a professional masturbator earning 10k per month in front of their PCs.
 

Neigh

Glue factory enthusiast
kiwifarms.net
"Workplace democracies" create the same issues we see in US politics. People vote for the guy who gives them the most free shit. Some retail stores tried voting for managers and it was a fiasco. Nothing got done and managers were scared of being voted out if they expected work to get done.
It seems to me things are so prosperous for a group of people in the US that they have a warped/sheltered/fantastical view of human nature.

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.”​

 

wtfNeedSignUp

kiwifarms.net
Working on the tl;dr, since I'm not reading this whole thing. UBI won't work because giving people money for nothing will incentivize them to blow it on worthless shit (namely gadgets/consooming/drugs). It will also be incredibly expensive and will fucking destroy the economy by devaluing the coin, especially when the people who already live on gibs will still get the extra money (so there is no way to at least save money on reducing government bloat).
Also the elites fucking love the idea. Like always the middle class will pay for this shit, while the rich will find a loophole to not pay a dime. The government is weaker, the middle class is weaker, and the rich and the corporations will be stronger than ever.

When your country has moved to needing to pay citizens because there are no more jobs, since the government chased away every employment option. The only real step is taking that government and putting its head on pikes and breaking the legs of the competition.
In Bloodborne.
 

helloworld.exe

Sailor Milos
kiwifarms.net
Hello gomrades! XDDDD Dis general is for disgussion of margsism-lebonnism, da ideology of revolutionary socialism and gommunism.

Gommunism is da next stage of guckery following real society.

Wat exagtly is gommunism according to gommies:

>Gommunism is a stage of guckery in which the produgtive infrustrugture runs away from gommie country, and no goods are produced and beeple starve. XDDDD Gommunism in full form is obressive, statist society dat follows maxim "gib gib gib!" : DDDD To achieve gommunism we must replace broduction with murderous obressive rulers liek me, fug working glass beeple. XDDDD Struggle while I liquidate you all lol. When capitalists run away we win and I kill you all. Eventually the functions of state cease and state becomes murderous and indistinguishable from other gommies. Da state withers away liek da people.

GL uses philosphy of gib and starve, see here: https://www.gommies.gom/ohfugme/

Id is regommend you gill yourselb so you gan aboid sdarving.

Resources:

Da sdages of gommunism.
>Sdage one Bourgers aren't allowed to vode : DDD but otherwise da system is digtadorshib of gommies. Everything is stole by digtadors and digtadors rule all.
>Sdade two Withering All beeple who aren't digtador glass starve. XDDD Once glass disabears and we steal everything more beeple wither away. Bolice begome unnecessary as beeple are dead lol : DDDDD Central blanning begomes unnecessary begause sgarcity caused starving. Money is all ours.
>Sdage three Gommunism. No beeple. No food. My money. Much benis.
 

The Shadow

Charming rogue
kiwifarms.net
nfamously, the Ford motor company, upon discovering that its Pinto was quite prone to catching fire in collision and burning its occupants to death, did a cost analysis and determined that recalling and modifying the cars would be more expensive than the lawsuits from the victims would be, and so decided not to modify the cars, leading to thousands of injuries and deaths.
Yeah, about that...

They were statistically safer than the Gremlin or the Japanese imports in the same compact car demographic.
 

Jarolleon

kiwifarms.net
Working on the tl;dr, since I'm not reading this whole thing. UBI won't work because giving people money for nothing will incentivize them to blow it on worthless shit (namely gadgets/consooming/drugs). It will also be incredibly expensive and will fucking destroy the economy by devaluing the coin, especially when the people who already live on gibs will still get the extra money (so there is no way to at least save money on reducing government bloat).
Also the elites fucking love the idea. Like always the middle class will pay for this shit, while the rich will find a loophole to not pay a dime. The government is weaker, the middle class is weaker, and the rich and the corporations will be stronger than ever.

When your country has moved to needing to pay citizens because there are no more jobs, since the government chased away every employment option. The only real step is taking that government and putting its head on pikes and breaking the legs of the competition.
In Bloodborne.
So they want to collapse the economy so they can go full Banana Republic afterwards, bringing American wages and labour standards down to the world average... what are they, accelerationists?
 

Neigh

Glue factory enthusiast
kiwifarms.net
Defending Evo Morales, lmao.
These assholes can't pick a side:
-- Noooo! You can't even fathom a positive idea about dictators! They deserve the worst!
- Noooo! You can't stage coups against leaders even if they're dictators!



BeCaUsE tHeN oNlY pEoPlE PaSsIoNaTe AbOuT mEdIcInE aNd HeLpInG pEoPlE wOuLd Be DoCtOrS!!
iT sHoUlDn'T bE aBoUt ThE mOnEy!!! Reeeeeee!!!


Even then, I can't imagine who's passionate about waste management, sanitation, construction, and brick laying.
Then again, urban ghouls think all of these these jobs don't exist and buildings and waste just magically appear and disappear at will.
Any fantasy to justify their dream job of being a professional masturbator earning 10k per month in front of their PCs.
They think the nonwhites they treat like a slave race will do the work while not voting against their interests.
 

Biden's Chosen

Support your Jewish community Support jewish news
kiwifarms.net
The only way to successfully implement a UBI program is to first abolish capitalism through socializing workplaces, I.E. handing control of businesses over to the workers that run them. This will remove the power of said corporations, interest groups, and the wealthy, and cut off their ability to oppose UBI.

UBI can then be implemented without any bad-faith resistance, and we'll all live in a utopia, happily ever after.
What could go wrong?
 

wtfNeedSignUp

kiwifarms.net
So they want to collapse the economy so they can go full Banana Republic afterwards, bringing American wages and labour standards down to the world average... what are they, accelerationists?
Pretty sure they want to exploit american until it topples over into a third world country and then move to the next country with all the money they made and start over.
 

Whatsup bud?

kiwifarms.net
UBI is a good idea in theory. But heres the thing: it has to only be supplemental. That is it cant be an amount large enough to live off of soley. Nobody's going to work at retail or fast food if they can get just as much by not. So that screws up the economy until everything is automized which won't be until the next decade at least. Maybe.
 
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