My entire life I have done various labor that's not been recognized.
We're extremely fortunate to have a presidential candidate that's actually recognizing how much labor is unrecognized by the general economy. Of course, $12k a year isn't really a full recognition of various full time labor that people do, whether it's caring for a child or loved one, or doing labor for their family or neighbors or friends. But it's a hell of a lot better than what everyone else is offering, which is zero, zip, nada.
I choose at various times to different labor for free...but as time goes on, the more I recognize how much I'm taken advantage of by people that regard me as worthless unless I am doing something for them.
I, of course, am not alone in this. Whether it's helping with something around someone's house, like a project, or helping to clean, or making food, or kids doing chores, there are millions of dollars of unrecognized labor done every day.
I can feel some probably are going to complain about me including kids doing chores in there. A certain amount of work is expected as part of a household, but I know what it's like to be taken advantage of and no appreciated, so I am going to include it in there. Asking your kid to do hard labor and wait on you hand and foot for free is damn near abusive. Yeah, you take care of them and feed them. That's your responsibility. They do not owe you as their spawn. You owe them. That's the responsibility you take as a parent. Part of that responsibility is also teaching them certain things, like taking care of themselves and a household, but it's not really a fine line between helping around the house and exploiting your kid for free labor because you take care of them.
Part of this problem lies in the nature of our currency. All money, except crypto, is distributed by governments, in a system that makes it far easier for the rich to make money, and your very survival depends on you working for someone that has it.
What's the use in working for someone that doesn't have money to give to you, unless it's for something in exchange, perhaps in the future? Except people work for others all the time with no money exchanged. Maybe they're in the same household. Maybe they don't have much money. Maybe they're a friend.
This is where crypto especially might really even the playing field. Certain coins might allow people to pay individuals for their work, even if they don't necessarily have the money. It would work similar to an IOU, allowing people to pay individuals with crypto that will increase in value based on what people think that individual's value is. That's crazy.
Andrew Yang's Freedom Dividend wouldn't necessarily fully solve this issue, but it would almost completely solve poverty and give a massive boost to the economy while it does it. It sort of recognizes that as a member of the nation, you are entitled to some of it's wealth.
One of the traditional arguments for a UBI is due to the land all being sequestered off by the government. (In the case of America, stolen from the natives.) We are all born into a world where we can no longer really go out and get our own food. There are a few areas where some can, but if we actually tried to do so in large numbers, there would be nowhere near enough food. This is in large part due to them taking all of the land and sectioning it off for overpriced ticky tacky houses.
We could grow our own food to a certain degree, but things have already gotten so bad that it's pretty damn expensive to set up any kind of grow operation that could be considered legitimate. Maybe if you tried to source all used equipment.
If we had UBI, we might have more people choosing to grow a bit of their own food though, to live on less, and spend more time doing what they want to do.
Thankfully, you would also have people using that UBI to invest in themselves and help start modest ventures, perhaps with a bit saved up from a job as well. Maybe they could get a loan easier with the guaranteed income.
Those that it would help the most are those with the least of course, which many don't even realize what it's like to live as. They make decisions every day with cost in mind. They choose not to get items at the grocers that they don't really need. They don't REALLY need that cheese. They don't need extra sauces, even though it's on sale. They don't need a new hard drive, even though they're afraid it could go bad at any moment.
They are so poor that they are making decisions in every moment of their life that lowers their quality of living.
It's not that they can't afford a new phone, which they can't, it's that they have to always consider the cost of everything, and can't get anything for themselves.
And if they ever do decide to do something for themselves, because they are living in an impoverished existence, they're looked down upon for it.
Often the rich talk about programs helping the poorest as just something they'll waste. That they'll use it to get drugs or alcohol.
The saddest thing is that they won't. If you actually lift them up enough so they aren't in a horrible existence, their alcohol and drug use lowers.
Crazy, I know, but if people are worrying less about if they're gonna be able to make rent, or be able to afford their food and medications, then they're less depressed, and less likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
The disgusting fact is that the current safety net is a tattered mess and doesn't help anyone nearly enough.
It helps some, just a bit, while actually keeping others in a state where they are forced to keep themselves in poverty, or lie about their income, just so they can keep receiving assistance that they desperately need.
But I didn't come here to talk about our horrible disgusting system. At least not when it comes to public assistance. I came to talk about "The Theft of Labor".
I've done thousands of dollars of labor...even in just a few projects I've worked on, that was not recognized. I was given nothing for it. I barely even had the help recognized later. Just part of a debt that's not written and will never be paid.
And that happens every day.
People clean and cook meals for their SO, then have their efforts barely acknowledged. Even if they are acknowledged, what's a thanks worth? They certainly won't be paid for their efforts, except maybe as access to a joint account, that they may have any purchases from scrutinized.
I don't necessarily think that the Freedom Dividend will solve all these issues in our current system, but it'll make a dent.
Those in abusive relationships will get their own personal income, even if they're a stay at home parent, or they're disabled, whether or not the government recognizes that they are.
Every single American over 18, that hasn't taken a life, will get $1000 a month, free and clear, to do whatever they want.
That means they can work on art, even if it doesn't quite pay the bills. They can paint or knit or weave or pound steel. They can do whatever they want, even if normally they couldn't necessarily survive on it, and still be able to survive, as long as they can manage to cover rent and food.
Depending on their area, most will likely choose to still work traditional jobs, or have side income to still be able to live a life that they might be comfortable with.
Starving artist shouldn't be literal in America. They should be able to get by of the income from their art, and perhaps a part time job.
Crazy though, but no one in America should be starving.
And they shouldn't be forced to wait in line and beg to be recognized as needing help.
Everyone does work every day that is unrecognized and unpaid.
Many work extra hours to have money to be able to do unpaid labor, as a hobby.
No one's going to pay you to take care of your own kids, or your dying parents, or to cook a meal for your family, or to upkeep your house. Yet all of those things you'd pay someone else to do.
The Freedom Dividend doesn't pay you specifically to do those things, but it does recognize that everyone should get a minimum salary, or dividend, for being a part of this very wealthy nation.
I personally think it's about time that we put an end to poverty, and take steps towards recognizing more of the many types of unrecognized labor.