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The Universal basic income or UBI is an ambitious social program which has been gaining traction
over the last few years.
Thanks in large part to this man.
Andrew Yang.
He is running for US president though his chances of becoming the democratic nominee
are low because of his low ratings.
Nevertheless, he has proven popular on the internet and especially on the new left if
you want to call it that.
That's because of his proposal of what he calls a freedom dividend.
It's essentially a UBI.
But what's that?
And why does my title imply that I don't like it?
We'll get to that.
Let's first go over the basics.
A UBI would be a set amount of money given to people unconditionally.
For now, we will use Andrew Yang's plan because the specifics like who get's the
money and how much can vary.
Yang's plan is to give every American citizen over the age of 18 1000$ a month.
Yang doesn't advertise this a lot in public but that would probably replace some social
security like unemployment benefits and some healthcare stuff his website mentions something
like that.
It would probably also remove the need for all of the bureaucrats whose job it is to
bully unemployed people into getting a job.
There are many advantages to giving out money to EVERYONE rather than just to unemployed
people.
One of them is that with usual unemployment benefits you may just loose all of them if
you find a job.
Here is an example of someone I know.
She get's 500€ a month in unemployment benefits and she is searching for a job.
She found a part time job where she get's 550€ for working 20 hours a week.
Would you take that deal?
She didn't.
And before you judge her keep an in mind, she didn't not take the job because she
doesn't want to work but because she wanted a full time job in the first place and because
20 hours a week aren't worth 50€ a month.
She isn't lazy she is being rational.
But with a UBI she would always get those 1000$ and even if she got a job, even a part
time one, she would get to keep all of that money.
Work is always rewarded.
This is one of the upsides, another one is the fact that those who have stable jobs could
work fewer hours and still have the same income.
Or they could work the same amount of time and get a higher standard of living.
It would also allow a sort of payment for socially necessary work which is currently
not paid like housework and reproductive labour.
Finally, families could afford to live with one primary bread giver….
again, I guess.
But this time let's not do it in a really sexist way?
I guess?
Alternatively both parents could just working part time.
Now you may wonder who is going to pay for all that and the answer isn't necessarily
easy but it's not as unimaginable as it may seem.
Yang has a whole section of his website dedicated to how he is going to pay for it and it's
not really relevant to my point, so I'll just assume it all works out and it will work
out forever even through all natural and economic crisis, inflation and all the other things
that could prevent the US government from continuing it.
So then why then does my title imply that I dislike it?
You may or may not have noticed that I am a bit of a socialist and I like helping the
working class.
And it really seems like a UBI would be great for the working people doesn't it?
And in the past, I used to like the idea of a UBI.
Hell, there even used to be a video of me defending the UBI on this channel but looking
a bit closer I changed my mind on it.
Now don't get me wrong.
I am not one of those people who want to oppose helping the working class to get them angry
enough to start a revolution.
I think that that's a horrible idea and I think we should do everything we can to
help the people which is why I also support minimum wages and universal healthcare.
But I am still a little hesitant on the UBI.
Let's look at why Yang is proposing it in the first place shall we?
Luckily his website explains it to us.
Essentially automation will make most people unemployed through no fault of their own and
we somehow need to keep people alive even if they can't work.
The video “Humans need not apply” by CGP Grey from a few years back sums that up pretty
good.
So, the goal of Yang is not to improve the conditions of the people now but to secure
a future for everyone.
Seems good enough.
Looks like a noble goal.
And as I mentioned before.
I used to like the UBI as well.
To me it seemed like the only way a future could be secured once most can't get work
anymore.
It was also sort of a socialist dream.
Work becoming entirely optional.
The people no longer being slaves to the economy.
It sounds great!
But now let's approach this differently.
Let's not look at it in terms of up and downsides and in terms of policy proposals.
Let's do a Marxist analysis of the Universal basic income.
Let's set the stage.
We live in a neoliberal capitalist society.
We have our two capitalist classes.
Bourgeoisie, that's cpaitalists and Proletariat who are the workers.
The Bourgeoisie are the people who make money by owning things.
They are our landlords, factory owners and major shareholders, people like that.
They profit by owning.
And on the other side we have the Proletariat.
The people who need to work in order to survive because they don't own enough stuff to live
of their passive income alone.
Those 2 classes have different interests like for example a landlord wants high property
values so they can make lots of money and the tenant wants low property values to be
able to pay the rent and still have some money left for other things.
The state is a tool of the ruling class.
This means that the class in power uses the state to help them in the class war.
For example, by setting a minimum wage or by cutting taxes on the 1% depending on who
is in power.
Right now, we live in neoliberal states and they are very much on the side of capital.
For example, the state provides education for the people and roads, so the Bourgeoisie
has good infrastructure and an educated workforce.
This makes business easier and profits higher.
Of course, countries also compete for businesses via offering them tax breaks or similar.
This is why apple pays only half a percent in tax.
It's because the states aim to please the capitalists in hopes that their wealth will
trickle down.
The state very much serves the economy over the people right now.
In their defense most politicians probably genuinely believe that their support of the
economy helps the people.
As the Austrian Economic Chambers put it after the re-introduced the 12-hour workday: “If
the economy is well, everyone is well”.
Of course 90% of people hated having to work even more and it has undoubtedly made many
people a lot less well but whatever.
Now where does the UBI fit into this Marxist view of society?
Is it a tool of the working class used against the capitalist class?
Not really.
As I mentioned before the class currently in power is the capitalist class.
Andrew Yang himself is an entrepreneur and a major capitalist.
This doesn't mean everything he does it bad, that's not how the world works, but
it means we should question his motives twice.
So, for some reason the capitalist class is in favor of this policy.
Why is that?
Well he told us.
Because automation will make most working people unemployed.
And maybe Yang cares about this because he is a genuinely good person, but we should
also keep in mind that while the Bourgeoisie exploits the working class it also needs the
working class to consume the products they sell.
Capitalists own factories and exploit workers in them to create things which they then sell
to the very working people that produced them.
If all the workers where replaced with machines, then nobody be able to buy the products from
the Bourgeoisie.
That worries the capitalists.
Not to mention that a lot of hungry unemployed people might get the idea to take this whole
class warfare thing a little more seriously than we do today.
So, what to do?
How can the capitalist class keep the workers pacified and able to pay the Bourgeoisie?
With a UBI.
So from a Marxist perspective a UBI would be little more than the Bourgeoisie putting
the Proletariat on life support.
Giving them just enough money to avoid revolution and enough to continue to purchase products
and keep the profit flowing.
Essentially this is another example of the ruling class using the state for its profit.
The state would basically gift the capitalists a big population with money whom they can
sell their products to.
A UBI would be the next costly thing the state would to do serve the economy.
So maybe in the future we would then have 90% of the population being unemployed, dependant
on the state for their survival while the 1% owns all of the machines which hold more
productive power than our modern economy does with only a fraction of the workers.
The UBI may seem like a good thing for the people but in reality, it's just another
hotfix for capitalism.
Let me suggest an alternative.
The reason we need a UBI in the first place is because most would be unemployed while
a few would own the machines that produce everything.
But what if we changed the way the economy was run?
What if we said that things produced by a machine belong to everyone?
Not just the person who owns the machine.
Everyone.
Collective ownership.
This way we wouldn't need a UBI.
Everyone would get what they need.
And we wouldn't have to worry about 90% of the people being poor while the 1% continues
to profit of machines.
There would still be jobs for those who want them but work itself may not be necessary
anymore.
It would be a fully automated economy, build by everyone serving everyone.
But right now, we aren't going there.
Right now, we are sliding towards a future where a few people will own everything that
is produced by machines.
A world in which technological advancement allows a few people not to work by getting
everything the machines produce while everyone else is barely able to survive on government
money.
And if we get a UBI we may very well end up like that.
It is a great idea and I admire that people are so forward thinking.
But the UBI will not save us from a bad future.
To save us from a bad future what we need to do is change the way we see ownership.
Why should the product of a fully automated factory forever belong to the person who once
paid for it?
Or their children or grandchildren?
Why not give it to everyone?
The universal basic income is very much a neoliberal solution to a capitalist problem.
The profit drive of capitalism makes most workers unemployed and if you can't imagine
anything but capitalism your solution will probably not be making useful systemic changes
but relying on the government to fix the problem just as neoliberalism always does it.
But at some point we may have to consider that adding band aids to capitalism may no
longer be feasible.
Maybe it's time to look at change.
So, in conclusion: Should we support a UBI?
*sigh* I don't know.
It is certainly a good step and it would help countless people, but the problem is that
we may slide into a world where the means of production are fully automated and in the
hands of the Bourgeoisie while the remains of the proletariat would be dependant on the
government for survival.
I guess we can say that the UBI should not be our goal.
Our goal should be a world in which products of automation belong to everyone and not just
one person.
And that way we wouldn't need a UBI.
But in the meantime?
Should we support it?
I don't know.
I am genuinely not sure so I will leave that decision to you.
Feel free to tell me your conclusion and your reasons in the comments.
And whily you are scrolled down there leave a like and sub as well.
Oh, and join the discord.
Until the next time c ya.
コツ:単語をクリックしてすぐ意味を調べられます!

読み込み中…

Universal Basic Income, a leftist critique

24 タグ追加 保存
王惟惟 2020 年 1 月 30 日 に公開
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