Reviews for "Why Basic Income?"

I completely agree with the people criticizing this notion that you're suggesting; I just can't watch this without feeling as though you're Stefan Molyneuxing all over my tits, so I'll explain my rationale behind that reaction.

The first few points that you made about the job market being incredibly dog-eat-dog and about it being resoundingly fucked up for people already living in impoverished states to be made to feel even more like shit through an encapsulating stigma regarding their position are very valid and I think that these are matters that we should consider resolving; I don't think there's anything wrong with socialism and federal intervention in matters that affect the economy seems appropriate to me, but you're over simplifying this to say that if people were simply endowed the money needed to live sustainably, it would fix the economy. You point to studies in which people have been directly given the money they need to survive and took such as incentive to improve their lives and become entrepreneurs, but what I think you're failing to understand is that if everyone were given a fixed amount of money needed for basic income, it would not simply be a larger example of the same result.

I think a significant part of the reason that people become entrepreneurs when given the money they need for basic income is due to our current systemic arrangements; they're anomalies for being given such an opportunity in life and so they utilize it by creating businesses and taking it further. But, if this opportunity suddenly became the norm, who's to say that the majority of people wouldn't react by turning into drooling ignoramuses that watch Jersey Shore reruns all day? Everyone is is guaranteed the $12,000 a year they need to survive, so why would they feel so inclined to hold this matter to scrutiny any longer? This argument of yours that people will become more entrepreneurial and productive in a society that gives them everything they need seems tantamount to someone arguing that because attendance of grade school is legally required of those in western countries, the majorty will be able to discern the merits of this arrangement and achieve an Ivy League scholarship for their post secondary education instead of dropping out with a GED at 16 to play video games and masturbate all day.

As for your argument that as debt slaves, we've been brainwashed by the rich into believing that humans can be lazy so that their taxes won't increase, I honestly find that absurd. Of course bequeathing pedestals upon the rich so that they might become richer instead of resolving poverty is a corrupt economic practice, but this recurring argument that people are being indoctrinated by the rich and have no agency to critically consider the matter for themselves is ludicrous; you're just gas-lighting the key problem with your argument away by suggesting that it doesn't exist. I'm not saying that homeless people deserve to be homeless; I'm very aware of the nuances behind that situation and understand that a lot of them would relinquish anything they have to offer just to work at McDonald's, only to receive no call back to their homeless shelter, but can't ignore the reality of human incompetence in general. I agree with your argument that the problems you are identifying are indeed problems, but sincerely opine that your solution is trite and oversimplified.

Nice animation style.

adamanimates responds:

Thanks for the well thought-out, polite response.

I can't stand Stefan Molyneux either, so I apologize if this reminds you of him. I'd just like to point out that this is not 'my' solution. I'm trying to get an idea across in a short time that has a long history, lots of research, and the support of thousands of economists.

I suggest reading this article about how basic income was almost passed in America:

I never claimed that people don't have agency. You can always read between the lines and figure out what others are trying to get you to think, and where their motivations are coming from. I'm just saying that not everyone has the time for that. It takes a lot of education and effort, and so propaganda has an effect.

As for the problem of motivation, I don't think that Basic Income is a magical answer. But my opinion is that the threat of destitution is not a just way to motivate people. Better motivation comes from elsewhere... it feels good to contribute to society, to have a role in the community, and to figure out what you can do best. There's a reason people volunteer. And of course, most people would like more than just $12,000 per year. It doesn't get you too far.

I think that we're really uncomfortable about people sitting around and doing things we disapprove of. But it doesn't bother me at all what people choose to do with their time. It's none of my business. If someone chooses to voluntarily drop out of the workforce and live on the minimum, that's another spot opened up for someone more willing to do the job.

But I'll go back to the evidence... in the 70s the basic income studies in New Jersey found, to everyone's surprise, that people hardly cut back their work hours at all. You posit that it's just because it was a small number of people, but every study around the world has found similar results.

money as a concept is flawed. it is a "debt system" so why not just everyone take objects they need or want for free?

adamanimates responds:

It's already happening with digital goods. When 3D printing gets better, it will start happening with physical goods too.

I think that as long as there's scarcity though, money systems prevent fights over resources. Lots of better ways to implement them though.

Decent animation and nice production quality. Fundamentally flawed premise: If everyone is riding in the wagon, who is going to pull the wagon?

1.You say that automation will destroy jobs, then later claim it will help people be more entrepreneurial. What?

2. Also flawed reasoning: the incentive is stripped from the would-be-entrepreneur. Why work when he can have things handed to him? Also, why bother becoming wealthy when his wealth will be taken from him? You are dooming the creative thinker to a life of mediocrity.

Nothing about nature is "equal"; you can't defy the laws of reality. All redistributive economics either fail (see Venezuela) or are currently riding off the success of capitalist countries (see Iceland).

adamanimates responds:

1. It sounds like a contradiction when put like that, but both things are true. My point is that people aren't lazier when you give them money. You were told that by the rich so they wouldn't have their taxes go up. There still will be jobs for a long time to come, and we need innovation and the basis for people to build on their ideas. One example of what I mean by entrepreneurial is that in the study in India, some people from poor villages were able to buy fishing gear and thus have a way to support themselves when they couldn't before.

Automation is also absolutely destroying jobs at the same time. All the repetitive, systematic stuff is getting automated as fast as it can. Maybe In the super long term, even that fisherman in India won't have a job because some machine catches the fish and sells them cheaper than he can afford to live on. What would you suggest then? I'd say that a portion of the massive gain in productivity should go to keeping people alive. In the case if everyone is riding in the wagon, robots are pulling the wagon. Until we get to that point, most of us pull with increasing help from machines.

2. Would you stop working after earning $12,000 in a year? That's the most common number thrown around for Basic Income. It could start lower than that, as it already does in the current system working in Alaska (about $2000). The work disincentive is a fiction. There's a lot of evidence about this, and it's all in the links up there. Basic Income is designed to avoid the current welfare trap, which is when people earn more by staying home instead of working. Once they start a job, a big chuck of their benefits disappear and it's not worth it. Basic income gradually tapers off the benefits until you make a middle-class salary, so there's no reason to not try and better your situation.

As for your ideas about redistributive economics, they are grounded in ideology and probably can't be changed by anything I type. But hey, I'll give it a shot. I think for Venezuela you have the cause and effect backwards. Venezuela's social programs are mostly funded by oil money, which accounts for 95% of exports. So what happens when oil prices go down? I don't see how it's the fault of the average Venezuelan for what the Saudis are doing with oil prices.

You're using the old arguments against communism, but Basic Income is a pretty capitalist idea. It was supported by who I imagine is one of your heroes, Milton Friedman. He wanted a way to simplify the massive bureaucracy of the welfare system. Turns out Basic Income is a more efficient way to do that. It almost was implemented in the States in 1970, but Democrats blocked it.

A nicely done animation, to say the least. The audio, visual appeal, the style, everything is nice.
As for the narrative, I also do support the notion of Basic Income, despite being against globalization and communism, of all things. (I do understand there's not much connection, but the real question is - does anyone else?)

Anyhoe, I've noticed how people in the comment section are worried about the fact that less workers means less taxes, which means less finances that could be allocated for the program, while your sources would state that there wouldn't be such a drastic decrease in workers.

If there's one way of increasing the chances of Basic Income to become reality, that pops into my mind, is to incorporate some sort of a Robot Tax. Human workers are taxed, as a part of their earnings are taken away in form of taxes, so why not do the same for machines? They would technically earn more anyway, considering their higher labor efficiency compared to human labor.

And if human taxes go to stuff like healthcare, then why not take a part of the said Robot Tax and put it into state-funded workshops, as a machine equivalent of healthcare.

Of course I'm not an expert, so maybe the aforementioned idea has already been discussed a lot, or no one's touching the idea for a reason I don't know of yet.

Anyway, I find this submission rather good.

adamanimates responds:

Many thanks. There were articles a few weeks ago about Bill Gates suggesting a 'robot tax' of sorts, but I can't figure out a good way of deciding what the way to tax a robot is. How does it work for software? Does it count the number of workers displaced and come up with a tax based on that? I don't think it's workable, because it would be based on so much interpretation.

I think it's better to have simple, clear policies. A simple tax on capital could do that, and there are other options for debate.

I can't tell who this is targeting. I won't comment much more than that.

adamanimates responds:

Mostly my fellow Canadians, but I'm happy it got featured here too. Message is the same for everywhere, minus the flags.