Sunday, September 04, 2016

Universal

Various innovations have helped us communicate. Words, numbers, culture, travel and common understanding create the links necessary to give life to ideas. A Universal Basic Income would serve a similar purpose. With the buffer of security of a regular basic income, we can all look up from the brutal task of survival to creating lives full of meaning. Welfare is typically 'means-tested' - there needs to be proof you need help. Providing proof is expensive, ambiguous and requires paying for enforcement. A UBI isn't welfare, but it does help simplify the welfare machine. By paying everyone, we all become 'owners of society'. 

The UBI is a dividend on our common wealth that frees our ability to connect to other people, to care about other people. Until you are able to survive, it is perfectly acceptable to focus on looking after yourself. Financial security allows people to connect to the world beyond their world.

You can't ask someone to 'think like an owner' if you 'pay them like an employee'. Perhaps the thing that makes us human is that the story matters to us. If we expect people to make a living by working in whatever job they can find, they are employees of society. They will focus on their interests. They will focus on their job. An owner on the other hand has a vested interest in the future - everything matters to them. They can't just be a specialist. An employee (if they can find a job), can just do their job, take their pay and go home. 

You want voters to feel like owners because they are owners. 

There is nothing quite like desperation to make someone easy to manipulate. Poverty raises the importance of the thing that is absent, to the exclusion of everything else. 

Time poverty means you don't have the ability to think of anything other than the task at hand, no matter how important. Tummy poverty means the person who is hungry can not be expected to think of anything else other than easing that hunger. Security poverty makes fear (of losing a job or not meeting obligations) a good tool to control people, but it is not a good tool to release their potential. 

Fear, hunger and busyness can be manipulated to promise people their particular dream of a unicorn to get them to do what you want. It is harder to manipulate someone who is not desperate.


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