Universal Basic Income?

UBI means Universal Basic Income, and it is argued for by people across the political spectrum. This came up in a debate in the miscellaneous section of programming forum I frequent.

Another member of the forum said:

welcome to capitalism enslavement program and brainwash session, always living in fear, fear of having nothing, not enough, losing what we got, fear of changes, fear of health issues, buy insurance, buy extended warranty, always subliminal messages to instill fear and more fear

My response:

This is absolute bullshit. What do you think would happen to you in a state of nature? You really think that you'd have nothing to fear? You think that you would have no fear of loss? No fear of health? Living is a constant fight against dying. That is actually how the fucking world is. You run from the predator, find your prey, kill it, eat it, find a safe place to sleep for the night, and hope you wake to see the morrow. We dress it up now. Now, someone else does the killing of the plants and animals, and we do something else, and then we go to a fucking store. We trade our time and labor (which is what money is) for someone else's time and labor. You don't want to work to stay alive? Fuck you. I have zero sympathy. The only reason that you have a variety of choices in what you eat, a variety in health care options, a variety in choices of where you will live is because of this capitalist market system. In the Western world, the number one problem we face is that we are all eating ourselves to death. This is because of capitalism. In those nations that have chosen to turn their backs on capitalism, we see deprivation. There is no greater contrast I can offer. You sit there and say: "this time it will be different!" Do you really think that Venezuela didn't think that? Do you really think that Cuba, Vietnam, the DPRK, Cambodia, etc... didn't think the same thing?

You want to know why things suck and why the rich get richer? People like you call out for more government. You call for regulation. Who do you think writes regulation? Do you really think it's the congress? You think they write a thousand bills a year? No. The mega corps write and then the police power of the state ensures that the regulation is enforced. This raises the barrier to entry, and eliminates competition. This isn't capitalism. This is actually fascism (at least according to the Fascist Manifesto). In the boomer college years, minimum wage was negligible and yet was enough for the average boomer to go to college with very little debt, have a place to live, and a car. Why did that change? First, inflation. The government left the gold standard in '71 which allowed them to simply print the money to pay for endless wars and government expansion. When inflation hits, wages lag price increases. Why else? Government subsidy of education has distorted the price signal the same as it has in health care. When there is a middle man between buyer and seller demand will rise or lower from perceived low or high cost that doesn't truly exist. Colleges can charge whatever they want because they know that you can get a loan from the government for almost any amount to attend school. For cars, you can pretty much say that an ever increasing set of regulations on fuel economy and safety have increased the cost of the automobile dramatically, but you can also point to subsidy of oil companies and the protectionism of oil companies, and wars fought for oil companies... You sit there complaining about the effects of corrupt governments and then you turn to that same government for salvation.

Someone else then brought up the need for a UBI because everything will one day become completely automated, and the following was my response:

As for automation, automation only happens when the cost of human labor rises to a point that is no longer affordable. Automation will not occur in every industry. The cost of automation is insanely high. $15 minimum wage with no increase in productivity? Okay, McDonald's is going to replace people with machines. They are already paying to have the food created and shipped around the world, and to have boxes made and shipped, and to have utensils made and shipped, etc... They cannot afford to pay more and still offer a burger for $4; the profit margin just ain't that high. People are so scared of the fucking machines. Why did England see the industrial revolution before the USA? Why did Rome have a working steam engine in the library of Alexandria but never have an industrial revolution? Slavery. There was no need to automate if you had humans whom you could own. Why has everything not already been automated? Relative cost.

An automated factory can cost over $1 billion dollars. There are not many companies that could actually afford that price tag. So, your iPhone and iPad are assembled largely by hand. We are also going to have to admit that man is a long way off from real AI, so anything that requires creativity is going to remain human providence. Further, there will always be a time lag between the creation of an industry and the automation of that same industry.

Then came my closing remarks:

Now, the hard economic reality of your socialist dream... WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT THE MONEY FOR UBI WILL COME FROM?! If you print it, every dollar is worth less than it was before you received that money. You'll be Zimbabwe before too long. Congrats. If you tax it from the "wealthy" you will see those wealthy people leave. You have this mistaken notion that the rich will tolerate this bullshit. They won't. There is nothing more mobile than a rich person and his/her money. They are already rich. They do not need to work, and they have the money to live anywhere in luxury. More importantly, the money you take from them leaves the banks, leaves the stocks, leaves the investments. Companies like Amazon require that money to be in the stock market as they do not turn profits, and there are many companies in the same boat. Growth will slow if you stop the engine of investment. Every piece of the economy affects all of the other pieces. If you distort the price of anything you will completely destroy that industry. In this case, you are thinking that you can artificially change the supply and demand of money as though you know better than the rest of the people in your country whose economic actions affect the price of that same money. Go fuck yourself you pompous piece of shit. You are not a god, and you cannot simply determine what is better for others. The whole idea of capitalism is that no one can say what another ought to do, what is best for another, or how another ought to live. So, we allow people to do as they wish so long as they do not initiate the use of force against another, and we trade our time and labor with one another value for value. As all of those transactions are voluntary we know that all are better off, as otherwise they'd not have made the trade.


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