[pp.int.general] Basic income - how does that fit into the pirate ideology?

Jack Allnutt j.allnutt at pirateparty.org.uk
Tue Jul 16 16:50:32 CEST 2013

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On 16/07/2013 14:46, Antonio Garcia wrote:
> Inconditional basic income is the prima facie simplistic solution to make everybody equal without too
much effort, a way highly appreciated by way too many. It is easy to be
in favour of the pretended results of IBI, if one does not bother to do
the math and social engineering. Anyone a little more preoccupied by the
mere logic and really thinking about the benefit for the whole of
humanity should be way more reserved about it.

Anybody claiming that a a basic income is a panacea is evidently wrong.
Yes, it's a simple concept and the outcomes are probably overstated. I
don't think anybody is seriously suggesting that it's implemented
without deep research into the mechanics and effects both good and bad.

> IBI is like the banking bailout... it creates an unavoidable obligation for the nation to cough
up cash...

The same can be said, to a greater or lesser degree, for *any* welfare
system, to be honest. Of course the system needs to be costed properly
before introduction.

> without too much of an idea about how it is going to pay for it. Most people suggest the same money
that is used to provide social welfare now be used for it, without
checking if that same money would eventually keep being available for
social welfare in the near future.
> A scheme that would pay unconditionally will end up paying more in
total than present social welfare, and if income for the state
diminishes, its debt will skyrocket even more.

I don't think this is much different from currently implemented welfare

One benefit of the basic income, in my opinion, is that it's easier to
identify what the cost will be - it's a function of population.
Contrasted with current welfare systems which are means-tested, they
depend on things like the level of unemployment, and other economic
factors, and have administrative overheads. The UBI is a simpler system.

> The strangest bedfellow IBI may find are corporations.

I don't think this is a good argument at all, if the policy is based on
evidence and achieves its aims it doesn't matter who else supports the

Right-wing, left wing, corporations or labour unions. I don't care who
supports our policies.

> Why? Because easy get, easy go... people would spend way less responsibly, and specific businesses
would tap the constant flood of unconditional money providing
psychologically attractive rubbish with the highest possible benefit
margin. Say hi to homo ludicus. Remember what the best example of a
possible outcome would be... The battery cocoons of Matrix? Full of
sensation junkies?
> Nations lacking income to pay decent amounts will be paying less and
less, while corporations providing emotional junk to fill peoples dead
time will mercilessly fight the competition... piracy :( to cope all the
market for bored time paid for by the unconditional income while it
lasts. Corporations wont pay when they take over governing from the
state, they will only cash in.

I also don't buy this argument (although if you can provide evidence to
support it, I may change my mind).

Yes, a UBI would be a profound change to the economy, and the market
will change as a result but what you're stating is that if people have
money is that they will "waste" it because the evil corporations will be
able to sell shiny things to them. That sounds like a very judgemental
position to take.

Some people - including rich conservative politicians - have stigmatised
people who receive benefits in the UK for spending money on things that
their detractors consider improper. Tobacco, alcohol, gambling, fast
food etc. People who aren't on benefits spend their money on these
things as well, including the very rich. The hypocrisy is disgusting IMHO.

If one wants to reduce the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, fast food
and gambling, especially amongst the low-paid and those on benefits,
there are other, better and less hypocritical and class-war based
methods to do it.

I'm not denying that the consumer culture is a problem, but you're
targeting the wrong place to combat it.

> Who will end up playing animated furniture for a living in the Soylent Green we will all have
been begging for?
> Fools.

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at with this one (I
haven't watched Soylent Green).

> There is no simple alternative for the compensation for effort scheme. If nobody makes an effort,
nobody gets compensation. If only some make an effort, there is not
enough to compensate all.

An unconditional basic income doesn't remove the incentive to work. It
just means you don't have to work *to survive*. Obviously it would need
to be set at a level that ensures that there is sufficient supply to
match demand in the labour market.

> If the problem is way too uneven distribution, the solution is not to simply mandate even
distribution... the effort has to be done to analyse why some insist in
accumulating way beyond what at first sight should constitute a fair
share. Try to look at it some other way, and those will go on
accumulating under whatever new circumstances you create, even thanking
you for making it way easier for them to have a guaranteed stream of
steady income.

Like I said at the top, UBI is not a panacea. It won't (and doesn't try
to) completely solve the problem of uneven distribution. It's human
nature that people are greedy and envious of others. No economic policy
in the world will change that.

> What links way too many of those subjects is that the deep thinking about them that we do nears
ZERO, as always the easy way to think about things.

Part of the problem is that we don't have the resources to do in-depth
research behind most of our policies. Thankfully, Pirates don't exist in
a vacuum and we're not the only people investigating policies such as this.

> Too much of what we want or try is too simplistic and too effortless... it may be fun to want it, but
it is hardly realistic to believe you are going to get it... unless it
benefits somebody else who will be doing efforts to get it behind the scene.

One of the core planks of Pirate policies is that we believe in
evidence-based policy. If our policies do not stand up to the body of
the evidence then we should *welcome* the fact that they won't be

> Useful idiots anyone?
> Yes, too many :( .

it's easy to be a cynic :)

We all fall in to that trap at some point or another.

- -- Jack
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