Unconditional Universal Basic Income

Unconditional Universal Basic Income is the idea that the fundamental purpose of civilization is to support the people who comprise it. We should give everyone enough money to live on simply because they’re human and they’re here. If they were here before civilization arrived en masse, they would have had the skills to live in wild land, and the wild land would have had enough resources to support them. Since we have removed the resources they would have otherwise subsisted on, it only makes sense for us to provide them with comparable replacement resources.

It works by issuing cards similar to current SNAP cards. The two differences are that the card has the recipient’s picture on it, and that it may be used in any ATM or merchant machine like a debit card. An initial amount is credited to the card to act as floating reserve, and thereafter the recipient is credited with a daily amount calculated off the living expenses in the area in which their previous two weeks of charges have occurred.

This enables people to live away from crowded cities which they had previously been forced to work in, and to engage in entrepreneurial adventures that used to be closed to them by the time commitments of scrounging to make a living. Portable income of this type would infuse cash into rural economies. This encourages the establishment of new businesses as well as supporting existing ones. This reverses the long and severe neglect caused by previous economic policies. It will also radically reduce the overhead spent on social programs. It allows people economic participation in their society, and encourages them to further participate in it, as the onus of coercion has been removed.

The usual objections to such a program are that it will encourage people to sit around in useless sloth, and that it will be too expensive to pay for. In reality, people like to contribute to their society, and are usually only prevented from doing so by the poverty this program would solve, and the program would create more economic activity than it costed to fund. Initial funding would come from a wealth tax – Jeff Bezos by himself could fund the entire program out of pocket, if he were so inclined – with downstream funding from the contributions of the people who benefit from the program.