“What do you do?”
This is one of the first questions you’ll get asked when you meet someone in America, and it’s a question I’ve always struggled with.
Are they asking how I like to spend my free time, or what my job is?
A: “I like to read, write, make videos, make music, and travel.”
B: “Ok, but what do you do for money?”
A: “I’m a software engineer”
At some point in the 80s, we decided that virtually every aspect of society should be run by business profits and markets.
Can’t find a job? Let the market sort it out.
Can’t find a house? Let the market sort it out.
Having something dictated by a market means that power is in the hands of rich people. It’s a genius way to eliminate democracy and transfer power to rich people because it gives the illusion of retaining democracy. After all, we’re all temporarily embarrassed millionaires right?
The primary flaw of a market is that it doesn’t guarantee access to everyone. There’s nothing in a pure free market to guarantee that every individual has enough money to buy food, a home, education, or healthcare. Naturally people will be left out, unless we interfere to remedy this, such as via a Universal Basic Income.
I’ll repeat myself because it’s important not to mince words. Every aspect of modern life is driven by business profits and markets. Of course there’s a humanitarian aspect, there are charities, but those are voluntary. They’re done by people with the financial means to do so. Everyone else has to sell themselves into part-time slavery to the rich guy to make a buck to pay their rent and feed themselves. And anybody who’s worked at a corporation knows that they’re not driven by their positive impact on humanity, they’re driven by profits, worshiping their KPMs (key performance metrics).
For example, we could guarantee everyone free and/or cheap healthcare. Most other countries already do it. But we don’t because we want “markets”
We could guarantee everyone a home (there are 6 vacant homes for every homeless person), but we don’t because of “markets”
We could guarantee everyone a Universal Basic Income of $1,000/month, but we don’t because we believe your income should be entirely determined by the “market” (ie. the going price that employers are willing to buy you for).
Now of course when I stated out loud like this it sounds absolutely ridiculous. Of course there’s a place for markets, but surely there are domains where markets aren’t enough right?
Even if markets make sense, surely everyone should at least have some access to the market right?
That’s what a Universal Basic Income is. It doesn’t eliminate the job market, it just provides a basic safety net. It doesn’t eliminate the markets of goods/services that can be purchased at your grocery store, it just gives everyone a minimal level of access.
So again, let’s not mince words. Every aspect of modern life is driven by business profits and markets. This is not a good thing. This doesn’t need we need to get rid of markets, it means we need to start having a conscious and realize that markets on their own don’t necessary serve everyone. The easiest way to do that is to give everyone a basic minimal level of money, a Universal Basic Income.