Nothing stresses people out more than money.
If you’re poor, then you worry about being able to afford life’s basic necessities.
If you’re in the middle class and have a quality education, then you worry about making enough money to lead the type of life that you want.
Unfortunately, the importance of money in our society forces people to make decisions they otherwise wouldn’t. For example, you may take the first job offer you get, even if you don’t like it, just to have an income. You may also be reluctant to leave that job out of the fear of running out of money.
And If you’re rich, well, screw you.
The point is that all of our decisions, and most of our thoughts, revolve around money. You can’t pursue your dreams without it.
Now, it’s pretty safe to say that the importance our society places on money is not going to change anytime soon. However, what may change, someday, is the fear of not having any.
Because one day, we may all be cut a check from our government simply for having a pulse.
And therein lies the beauty of basic income. A salary we all would earn simply for being alive.
Believe it or not, some countries, like Canada, Finland and Switzerland, are actually dabbling with this idea right now. It’s becoming even more urgent when you consider that more and more jobs previously held by humans are now being done by computers, a trend that will only increase.
Even better, the idea has gained traction in the U.S. on both sides of the political aisle. And it makes perfect sense if you think about it. Left wingers believe in social safety nets and greater security for the poor. Right wingers believe in hands-off government that limits spending on welfare.
Both are accomplished with a basic income.
Some quick math done by Newsweek attempts to explain why this would make sense for America. Between Social Security, welfare and unemployment, our government spends about $1.88 trillion annually. If it instead cut a check of $15,000 to every household (some 115.2 million), you get $1.73 trillion — a savings of $150 billion.
And when you take rich people out of the equation — who wouldn’t need a basic income — you save even more.
At the same time, you’ve officially ended poverty, and given people the opportunity to receive an income while they figure out what they want to pursue in life that would actually make them happy. Maybe they finally write that novel. Start a small business. Open a petting zoo in their backyard comprising only alpacas.
Whatever the hell they want.
Critics of basic income say that it will make people lazy and stop them from seeking work. It’s an easy argument to make, except for the fact that there is case studies and historical examples that prove otherwise. The only people who would delay finding work, research shows, are new mothers and teenagers who aren’t under pressure to support a family.
Of course, a system could be set up that provides incentives for people who do make the effort to find employment. There’s no question it would be a work-in-progress and take decades to fine-tune, but the biggest advantage of all, in my opinion, is that it would eliminate the stress and worry that comes with money, and actually give people the opportunity to live.
Heck, I believe in this so much that I’m going to start making preparations now in anticipation of it happening.
Now, where do I find an alpaca …