ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Basic Income

Updated on August 14, 2010

What it is

Basic income is a simple idea. It consists in giving everyone a minimum amount of money or resources which are sufficient for sustenance. This will end poverty, hunger, starvation. All the beneficiaries of basic income will have a minimum monetary welfare guaranteed, no matter what.

A way to combine capitalism and socialism

Is basic income a communist-type idea? Not at all.

Basic income con exist within a fully capitalist market economy. One could even argue that basic income is the capitalist alternative to the welfare state. While in welfare-state economies, the state provides its citizens with services (education, health care, pensions, etc.), a state which implements basic income will provide its citizens with a minimum amount of money, instead of pre-packaged services. This means that basic income is fully compatible with a minimum state endorsed by anarco-capitalists and libertarians such as Robert Nozick.

Interestingly enough, the idea of basic income has been endorsed by many economists and philosophers of very different political orientations. Let me name a couple. The Belgian philosopher Philippe van Parijs, who is a neo-marixist, endorses basic income. The right-wing, capitalist enthusiast, the economist Milton Friedman supports a set of ideas similar to basic income under the name of "negative income tax." Not surprisingly, the philosopher Bertrand Russell held that basic income is a way to combine the advatanges of capitalism and those of socialism. For basic income has a socialist flavour because it guarantees a minimum to everybody. At the same time, it is a capitalist idea because it does not hamper creativity and personal initiative. Besides, as seen above, basic income is fully compatible with the existence of a minimum state.

Open problems and objections

But if basic income is so great, then why don't we implement it right away? Basic income is not a panacea and its implementation is not without problems. Here are some open questions that deserve carefully consideration:

1. Who will be the beneficiaries of basic income? The citizens of a state or the citizens of the world? The latter option is currently impraticable, while the former leads to other problems. Read on.

2. If the beneficiaries of basic income are the citizens of a state, there will be massive migrations towards countries with higher basic income, or from countries with no basic income towards countries providing basic income. As a consequence, immigration laws will have to become even more restrictive than they are now. This means that economic inequalities between rich and poor countries will not cease.

3. How do we the determine what count as basic? The term 'basic' is reminiscent of forms of Communist planning. What counts as basic in one place might not be so in another place. How can a centralized authority determine the amount of basic income for everybody everywhere?

4. How should basic income be funded? Taxation? Printing money? Sharing revenues from the national resources?

5. If everybody will have the same, basic amount of money, wouldn't that basic amount of money become essentially worthless? For instance, if we all receive 100 dollars, wouldn't the prices of everything automatically go up beyond 100 dollars, thus making our allowance of 100 dollars completely worthless?

These are importan questions, but they should not detract us from looking at basic income as a fruitful idea to end the injustice of poverty and inequality. 


Do you like the idea of basic income?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Astute Reader. 

      7 years ago

      "This will end poverty, hunger, starvation."

      No, it won't. We already do it in the US and it just makes things worse. Poverty is no longer defined by not having enough to eat --- the poor in the US have cell phones and cable TV. They are hardly poor.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      I am opposed to this idea. All income is produced by people. To provide a basic income to those who refuse to work (or to make themselves employable) can only be accomplished by confiscating a productive citizen's earnings, which is theft by the state. Plus it puts too much power in the hands of the state, which leads to tyranny eventually. Everyone needs to contribute to the community or the community as a whole will have less and less as more people are paid to produce nothing. Nice idea but a recipe for failure. IMO :-)

    • thinkbefore profile imageAUTHOR

      thinkbefore 

      9 years ago

      Fetty -- thanks for stopping by.

      I am not sure I understand your objection. The idea of basic does not consist in giving everyone the same, but in giving everyone the same minimum. There is plenty of room to get rich for those who want to get richer, much richer than others.

      I might be missing something of what you are saying but I don't think you are correct when you say that the 'plan' would reward everybody equally. Again, everybody would have a guaranteed monetary minimum, but everybody would still be free to work as much as he or she wishes and get richer than others. That's why I say that the idea of basic income is fully compatible with a capitalism mentality, the American dream and the like. Basic income isn't socialism.

    • fetty profile image

      fetty 

      9 years ago from South Jersey

      Anyone who is self-employed will never agree with this 'plan '. This plan rewards everyone equally when most people do not work equally. It is similar to the plan where a group of students are supposed to divide up the work equally to complete a project. There are always the children that do most of the work , then there are the pupils that do some of the work and there are the slackers who sit back and waste time and money. The economic engine in America has always been the brilliance, tenacity and work ethic of the small business man. The guy who puts in 12 hour days to complete the task he loves to do. There is no room in this plan for him.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)