What is it with far-leftists and Universal Basic Income?


One of the problems I have with modern far-leftists is their surprising aversion to Universal Basic Income. As a supporter of UBI, this always struck me as counter-intuitive. After all, if one of the main goals of leftists is to address the problems caused by poverty, UBI seems like an ideal solution. Yet many of them are outright hostile to the idea, usually for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. They dredge up the old conservative argument that UBI will cause everyone to stop working, leading to societal collapse. But I strongly doubt this will happen, both because people have a natural inclination to work and because people will want a higher quality of life than the bare sustenance that UBI will provide. Hell, I'm the laziest person I know and I still get frustrated and restless when I go too long without a gig.
  2. In a similar vein, they point out that people need to work for the sake of the psychological well-being. This is actually true, but it doesn't change the fact that a lot of people can't find work, particularly now that automation is on the rise. And if your solution is "just give them all pointless make-work jobs," that's not going to bring them any sense of fulfilment.
  3. They claim that UBI won't actually help anyone, because landlords will raise the price of rent and businesses will raise the price of goods and services to ensure that everyone stays impoverished. This argument displays a staggering lack of basic economic knowledge, and relies on a conspiratorial assumption that the goal of capitalists is explicitly to keep people poor rather than to simply make a profit.
  4. They claim that it won't do anything about the fact that a small handful of capitalist billionaires have control over a disproportionately large share of the developed world's economy. And to an extent, I actually agree with them here: UBI will not solve all of the problems with crony capitalism on its own. But it's unreasonable to expect any single policy to solve all of the world's problems at once; the point of UBI is to help better people's lives in a few limited but meaningful ways, not to be a magic bullet that fixes everything.
  5. They claim that UBI is a bandaid solution that won't solve the underlying problems with capitalism, and that it can't last because capitalism is doomed to collapse no matter what anyone does. This argument is basically tautological, since it doesn't offer anything to convince people who don't already believe that capitalism is doomed.
  6. They claim that UBI simply can't work, because it doesn't fit into the paradigm of whichever ideologically-rooted worldview they subscribe to. This argument is even more tautological than the last. The fact that so many of these people are unwilling to even entertain solutions that don't fit in with their preferred ideological prescriptions demonstrates serious closed-mindedness on their part.

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08.01.2020 07:42
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