Shock! Horror! Cash Empowers People!

Remember the famous exchange between Fitzgerald and Hemingway?

Fitzgerald – Ernest! The rich are different than us!

Hemingway -. Yes., They have more money!

If having more money is a negative, Hemingway’s answer is a snide comment about them. The rich can afford to be idle, self-absorbed and whatever else you might to say.

But what if having money is a net positive? In other words, what if just having enough money in your pocket so that you do not have to worry about food and shelter, would make you a better person?  What if it is not the work that makes you better, but the security that money provides?

There is a growing realization that having that security has positive effects. And that is the premise behind “universal basic income”. Rutger Bregman is one of the guys advocating for broader acceptance of this provocative idea, and he just gave a TED talk about it. Fred Wilson posts a video of Rutger speaking about it a few years back.

Whether you agree or not, it pays to check this out. Why? There are a number of reasons. First, as automation changes the nature of work, having a secure job will become less and less the norm. In other words, the insecurity from not having work-related income is likely to grow. And we already see that this has negative effects in communities and across nations. Universal basic income directly addresses this insecurity. Second, inequality is growing. I am less concerned that the rich are getting richer than more folks are finding it more difficult to live a normal life. Universal basic income addresses that too. Third, social welfare programmes are expensive. They are less efficient than universal basic income.  Fourth, freedom from the insecurity of losing income frees people from doing crappy jobs just to survive. They suddenly have the capacity to upgrade their knowledge and skills. We are all better off.

In other words, you are likely to hear more about this issue. Dive in now to develop your own views!

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