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Universal basic income will kill democracy

Will a population on UBI be motivated to vote? Credit: Getty

June 5, 2023 - 1:10pm

Are we on our way to universal basic income? A pilot scheme has been announced in two English locations, in which 30 people will be paid a lump sum of £1600 a month without conditions for two years, and observed for the effect this has on their lives. This follows a slow but steady groundswell of calls for such a measure — calls that have accelerated since “furlough” effectively trialled something similar during lockdown. 

But while UBI may serve as a pragmatic response to increasing inequality, we should be alert to what such a measure implies: that the majority of citizens are now passive, consumption-only participants in the economic order. And once this is acknowledged openly, expect it to have knock-on effects in the political sphere as well.

One side-effect of industrialisation across the West was the widening of political participation. In England, a key group pushing for change was the 19th-century Chartists, who called for the working-class franchise along with other reforms to rebalance the political order. The threat of unrest, combined with the sheer practical necessity of having a relatively cooperative industrial workforce, ensured that many Chartist demands were eventually attained. In other words: the working class got their voices heard, and formally acknowledged via the vote, because they were needed. 

Today we are looking at the end of that era. The share of British GDP that comes from industry has shrunk from 30% in 1970 to around 10% today, largely replaced by services. There is no longer enough industry to keep an industrial proletariat employed. And even if manufacturing did get “re-shored”, much of it would likely be automated. 

So, too, will many of the service roles that replaced industrial work, thanks to rapid developments in AI. As the futurist Yuval Noah Harari argues, new technologies will replace most jobs, producing a new “useless class” of people whose work is simply no longer needed. Others warn that the looming age of automation will accelerate inequality: in effect, a mass of the indigent and unemployable, offset by a small class of fabulously wealthy tech plutocrats. 

It is not a recipe for political stability. One solution, Harari suggests, might simply be to keep this “useless class” fed with handouts and occupied with drugs and computer games. In more polite progressive terms, this means UBI: a solution to the inequalities now increasingly apparent in post-industrial society, opening the scope for people to pursue individual fulfilment as they see fit. Perhaps echoing the pragmatic willingness of 19th-century British elites to reform institutions in line with the changing political calculus, it’s often the tech super-rich who are UBI’s keenest advocates.

Harari notes that this presents a deep challenge to our belief in the dignity of all human life. This is true. It also presents a deep challenge to the political order we have come to think of as settled. Had the industrial working class simply been passive recipients of handouts and consumers of entertainment, it’s difficult to see what leverage the Chartists might have had for demanding the vote — or what reason elites might have had for granting it. 

By the same token, should the base of net contributors to the Exchequer shrink to a handful of plutocrats, it’s reasonable to expect that in practice, even if not in theory, the political views of those net contributors will weigh considerably more heavily than your average PlayStation-addicted UBI recipient. If your tax base comprises, say, 100 oligarchs, then the departure of even one makes a big dent in the coffers — a threat that can be used to shape policy a long way upstream of official politics.

On current inequality trends, then, it’s more than possible that universal basic income will become a reality. If it does, I predict that current electoral rituals will be maintained — but will steadily lose leverage. (This has, in fact, arguably been under way for some decades.) No doubt, over time, other means will be found for the masses to register their views. Or perhaps, like the 59% of American youth who would rather give up the franchise than their access to TikTok, people simply won’t care. 

Either way, in a UBI state we can expect the industrial-era democratic settlement to persist largely as a toothless ritual, while real political power withdraws into the hands of the new lords and princes.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

Two things spring to mind. The first is the saying “The Devil makes work for idle hands”, and the second is, the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus didn’t prevent Rome from burning. One suspects the future will not turn out quite as our lords and masters might wish.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

The theory (and the hope) is that those on the UBI are not idle and with the comfort of being financially stable they would seek activities, voluntary work and personal development. No doubt some would and some wouldn’t.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Fantasy.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Gerald Arcuri

It’s easy to be cynical, but most people don’t really like sitting on their behinds all day. Well being comes from feeling useful and being a contributor to larger groups and society. Should the UBI ever become a reality, then every single person will receive it, including those inclined to do nothing or to do something.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

People don’t like the results of sitting on their behinds but the immediate gratification from doing so routinely overcomes self-knowledge; hence the need for spurs to action. Anything which wholly removes such spurs is bound to lead straight into the “immediate gratification” trap.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You are making the mistake of projecting yourself onto others. I bet you are at least late middle age… These kids just want to play video games and at most be Tick Tock “starts”.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Sylvestre

It’s not about ‘kids’. The UBI would be paid to everyone, young and old, rich or poor. However, you could be right about me – as a ‘kid’ I was restless and adventurous, I wanted to experience everything life could offer, not laze around in my room playing games, like some.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Paid to everyone by whom?
Please provide financial breakdown of how it will work.
Rich are already reluctant to pay taxes.
Idea that they will pay for basic income is mad.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Paid to everyone by everyone, since everyone pays tax. Admittedly, the concept sounded absurd to me at first, but there could be huge benefits to it. And dangers of course. It would have to be thrashed out and put to a referendum.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Paid to everyone by everyone, since everyone pays tax. Admittedly, the concept sounded absurd to me at first, but there could be huge benefits to it. And dangers of course. It would have to be thrashed out and put to a referendum.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Paid to everyone by whom?
Please provide financial breakdown of how it will work.
Rich are already reluctant to pay taxes.
Idea that they will pay for basic income is mad.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt Sylvestre

It’s not about ‘kids’. The UBI would be paid to everyone, young and old, rich or poor. However, you could be right about me – as a ‘kid’ I was restless and adventurous, I wanted to experience everything life could offer, not laze around in my room playing games, like some.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

This is one of the key problems with welfare. If you replaced everyone’s income with welfare you’d have a lot of unhappy people on your hands. Our happiness comes from engaging in the community.

Ed Carden
Ed Carden
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

That’s old school thinking and isn’t widely applicable anymore starring with Millineals as tgat generation and later have been the products of intense public education indoctrination with upgrading in college. Their minds have so been messed with that a majority suffer from 1 or more mental disorders and many of those disorders are treated like trophy to be admired. What was widely applicable for past generations is no true today so it’s very possible to make these later generations happy in how they see happiness via UBI.

Ed Carden
Ed Carden
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

That’s old school thinking and isn’t widely applicable anymore starring with Millineals as tgat generation and later have been the products of intense public education indoctrination with upgrading in college. Their minds have so been messed with that a majority suffer from 1 or more mental disorders and many of those disorders are treated like trophy to be admired. What was widely applicable for past generations is no true today so it’s very possible to make these later generations happy in how they see happiness via UBI.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Sweden did this and it didn’t increase work force participation significantly.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Good shout. I think they ultimately considered the project a failure.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I think it was Finland, but maybe Sweden as well.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

I think it was Finland and they gave up the experiment early.

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

I think it was Finland and they gave up the experiment early.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

It did however increase the happiness of participants. (Cue hurricane of ‘I don’t pay my taxes for shirkers to be happy’ comments)

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

Good shout. I think they ultimately considered the project a failure.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

I think it was Finland, but maybe Sweden as well.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Isabel Ward

It did however increase the happiness of participants. (Cue hurricane of ‘I don’t pay my taxes for shirkers to be happy’ comments)

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

We have millions of people who are already on UBI through the benefits system (some of my own family amongst them) few, if any, show the slightest inclination to do anything useful

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

“most people don’t really like sitting on their behinds all day”
The entire culture would have to change and it very well might. Right now, to qualify for welfare one must sell one’s Victimhood. It is to one’s advantage to be a helpless, drug addicted, unemployable single mom with 10 kids by 11 different dads. But under UBI this subsidy for failure would disappear. No one is listening to your whining so you might as well stop. Want the latest i-phone? You’ll have to get a job then. Imagine the effects, over a generation or two, on Black culture if getting educated, getting a job and getting married became the cool thing?

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

“No doubt some would and some wouldn’t.” That’s the flaw in Mary’s argument. Many people would use the wiggle-room provided (by what they would see as a supplement to their earnings) in creative and sometimes profitable ways. Many others would consider the amount to be an acceptable income, and then sit on their butts til the ambulance carries them away.
Worst of all, others might take the opportunity to launch a career in politics! Or even activism!!
Any way you look at it, the unintended results are bound to overwhelm anything we can imagine today.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Well, I live in London and there are plenty of lazy people doing nothing.
Mostly imported from shit countries.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew F
Simon Denis
Simon Denis
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

People don’t like the results of sitting on their behinds but the immediate gratification from doing so routinely overcomes self-knowledge; hence the need for spurs to action. Anything which wholly removes such spurs is bound to lead straight into the “immediate gratification” trap.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

You are making the mistake of projecting yourself onto others. I bet you are at least late middle age… These kids just want to play video games and at most be Tick Tock “starts”.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

This is one of the key problems with welfare. If you replaced everyone’s income with welfare you’d have a lot of unhappy people on your hands. Our happiness comes from engaging in the community.

Isabel Ward
Isabel Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Sweden did this and it didn’t increase work force participation significantly.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

We have millions of people who are already on UBI through the benefits system (some of my own family amongst them) few, if any, show the slightest inclination to do anything useful

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

“most people don’t really like sitting on their behinds all day”
The entire culture would have to change and it very well might. Right now, to qualify for welfare one must sell one’s Victimhood. It is to one’s advantage to be a helpless, drug addicted, unemployable single mom with 10 kids by 11 different dads. But under UBI this subsidy for failure would disappear. No one is listening to your whining so you might as well stop. Want the latest i-phone? You’ll have to get a job then. Imagine the effects, over a generation or two, on Black culture if getting educated, getting a job and getting married became the cool thing?

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

“No doubt some would and some wouldn’t.” That’s the flaw in Mary’s argument. Many people would use the wiggle-room provided (by what they would see as a supplement to their earnings) in creative and sometimes profitable ways. Many others would consider the amount to be an acceptable income, and then sit on their butts til the ambulance carries them away.
Worst of all, others might take the opportunity to launch a career in politics! Or even activism!!
Any way you look at it, the unintended results are bound to overwhelm anything we can imagine today.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Well, I live in London and there are plenty of lazy people doing nothing.
Mostly imported from shit countries.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew F
Adam Bartlett
Adam Bartlett
1 year ago
Reply to  Gerald Arcuri

Yup – pure dark fantasy on the part of some of the conservatives on here. This may be the first Basic Income trial in UK, but there have been dozens of trials elsewhere over the past few decades, several of them on a much bigger scale. BI actually boosts various forms of engagement, including low level entreponeurship. The only sub group that tends to reduce their economic output as a result of receiving a generous BI tends to be mothers. Generally, I’d agree Conservatives have a more realistic grasp of human nature than Socialists, but you guys seem to have a bit of a blind spot in not seeing the average human has a need to contribute. Huh, even your hated WEF crowd used to think that BI was an economic disincentive – I used have to explain the results of the studies when I suggested it as a solution after meeting them in my champage socialism. (Hasn’t happened since 2015 though.)
The disadvantages of BI are more on the lines of what Mary explained, plus it’s not likely to help the incel problem. But it’s still the probable future, unless maybe we have a Butlerian Jihad to roll back the (arguable) tech excess.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Gerald Arcuri

It’s easy to be cynical, but most people don’t really like sitting on their behinds all day. Well being comes from feeling useful and being a contributor to larger groups and society. Should the UBI ever become a reality, then every single person will receive it, including those inclined to do nothing or to do something.

Adam Bartlett
Adam Bartlett
1 year ago
Reply to  Gerald Arcuri

Yup – pure dark fantasy on the part of some of the conservatives on here. This may be the first Basic Income trial in UK, but there have been dozens of trials elsewhere over the past few decades, several of them on a much bigger scale. BI actually boosts various forms of engagement, including low level entreponeurship. The only sub group that tends to reduce their economic output as a result of receiving a generous BI tends to be mothers. Generally, I’d agree Conservatives have a more realistic grasp of human nature than Socialists, but you guys seem to have a bit of a blind spot in not seeing the average human has a need to contribute. Huh, even your hated WEF crowd used to think that BI was an economic disincentive – I used have to explain the results of the studies when I suggested it as a solution after meeting them in my champage socialism. (Hasn’t happened since 2015 though.)
The disadvantages of BI are more on the lines of what Mary explained, plus it’s not likely to help the incel problem. But it’s still the probable future, unless maybe we have a Butlerian Jihad to roll back the (arguable) tech excess.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That “hope” strikes me as naive. This piece suggests that at least some proponents of these payments will wish to pacify masses of people. Maybe I’m unfair, but I can’t help but view those involved with researching and promoting such schemes as grifters out to make a buck.

Anyway, do welfare recipients dedicate themselves to “personal development and voluntary work”? Or did pandemic payout recipients?

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

Staggering though you may find the concept, pensioners are also welfare recipients. And the ones I know (like myself) worked all their lives and not only still get what work they can to top up their miserable state pensions, but are also habitual volunteers.
You might also like to consider that many middle-aged people are in receipt of benefits to care for their ageing relatives. Others, having been made redundant in the Brave New World, find that no-one over fifty has the remotest chance of getting any job application past HR – regardless of government rhetoric on the matter.
I think it would not be naive, but (frankly) grittily realistic to consider that ‘welfare recipient’ is not a synonym for ‘wilfully idle shirker’.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

A person who has lived their whole lives in a productive capacity, with education, work and most probably family heading into retirement and living off their investments is not the same as a person born into a system where their only purpose is to live with the minimal amount of distraction and immediate gratification as to not revolt.
Also I am over 50 and while age discrimination is real, if nobody will hire you I’d imagine that doesn’t have to do with age. I’m contracting with a major corporation now and the last 3 of 4 new hires have been over 50. In fact I’d say the younger set are having a harder time getting a foothold. Too many Boomers are not retiring.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

That’s a valid observation. I suspect that people who have earned their money may also be more charitable, where as those on UBI could well be more entitled.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Jesus. Of course there’s no habitual entitlement coming from people who get paid infinitely more than they are worth: media types, finance wonks, university Deans… no no no. Obviously it’s the people on 1500 a month who are really entitled.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Jesus. Of course there’s no habitual entitlement coming from people who get paid infinitely more than they are worth: media types, finance wonks, university Deans… no no no. Obviously it’s the people on 1500 a month who are really entitled.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Ah, now we have it: people who are likely to have the habits I describe are used to having money. Interestingly, the ones I know aren’t. And none of them have investments. Believe it or not, it is entirely possible to not be a high earner and to be both intelligent and talented.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Actually, too many boomers are getting sacked because they cost more than hiring a 22-year-old with no experience. And then finding that despite their experience and skills, no-one wants to know. I’m pleased you don’t work that way, but don’t assume that everyone does.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

That’s a valid observation. I suspect that people who have earned their money may also be more charitable, where as those on UBI could well be more entitled.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Ah, now we have it: people who are likely to have the habits I describe are used to having money. Interestingly, the ones I know aren’t. And none of them have investments. Believe it or not, it is entirely possible to not be a high earner and to be both intelligent and talented.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Actually, too many boomers are getting sacked because they cost more than hiring a 22-year-old with no experience. And then finding that despite their experience and skills, no-one wants to know. I’m pleased you don’t work that way, but don’t assume that everyone does.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

Well, I don’t know how things work in the U.K., but here in the U.S., most workers and their employers contribute to the so-called Social Security system. Were they to instead contribute that money to a private investment account, they would be able to retire with either twice the income or ten years earlier. Social Security “benefits” are NOT government handouts. Those receiving a monthly check paid into the system their entire working lives, as did their employers. This is not welfare for the elderly. It is actually a pretty lousy return for money stolen by the federal government from hard-working taxpayers and the companies who make jobs.
As for the UBI, it doesn’t even pass a basic economics examination. No “social experiment” is needed to understand that, just a willingness to recognize two fundamental facts:
The government (any government) has exactly ZERO money of its own. It produces no equity of any kind. What it redistributes, it does by taking it from some people and giving it to others. As Margaret Thatcher famously quipped, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” That $1,000 UBI has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is not “government”.A UBI simply creates a new, upwardly adjusted floor for value in an economy. If you redefine 0 as 1, the economy will adjust the value everything upward by X + 1. This is called inflation, which is a zero sum game. You do not lift people out of poverty. You’ve simply moved the goalposts.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

A person who has lived their whole lives in a productive capacity, with education, work and most probably family heading into retirement and living off their investments is not the same as a person born into a system where their only purpose is to live with the minimal amount of distraction and immediate gratification as to not revolt.
Also I am over 50 and while age discrimination is real, if nobody will hire you I’d imagine that doesn’t have to do with age. I’m contracting with a major corporation now and the last 3 of 4 new hires have been over 50. In fact I’d say the younger set are having a harder time getting a foothold. Too many Boomers are not retiring.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

Well, I don’t know how things work in the U.K., but here in the U.S., most workers and their employers contribute to the so-called Social Security system. Were they to instead contribute that money to a private investment account, they would be able to retire with either twice the income or ten years earlier. Social Security “benefits” are NOT government handouts. Those receiving a monthly check paid into the system their entire working lives, as did their employers. This is not welfare for the elderly. It is actually a pretty lousy return for money stolen by the federal government from hard-working taxpayers and the companies who make jobs.
As for the UBI, it doesn’t even pass a basic economics examination. No “social experiment” is needed to understand that, just a willingness to recognize two fundamental facts:
The government (any government) has exactly ZERO money of its own. It produces no equity of any kind. What it redistributes, it does by taking it from some people and giving it to others. As Margaret Thatcher famously quipped, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” That $1,000 UBI has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is not “government”.A UBI simply creates a new, upwardly adjusted floor for value in an economy. If you redefine 0 as 1, the economy will adjust the value everything upward by X + 1. This is called inflation, which is a zero sum game. You do not lift people out of poverty. You’ve simply moved the goalposts.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

Staggering though you may find the concept, pensioners are also welfare recipients. And the ones I know (like myself) worked all their lives and not only still get what work they can to top up their miserable state pensions, but are also habitual volunteers.
You might also like to consider that many middle-aged people are in receipt of benefits to care for their ageing relatives. Others, having been made redundant in the Brave New World, find that no-one over fifty has the remotest chance of getting any job application past HR – regardless of government rhetoric on the matter.
I think it would not be naive, but (frankly) grittily realistic to consider that ‘welfare recipient’ is not a synonym for ‘wilfully idle shirker’.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Agreed. I mean, its not like we don’t have generational welfare to point us in the direction of what this might look like. We don’t see mobile parks in Appalachia churning out artistic genius and pristine mental health!

joe hardy
joe hardy
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

If you could possibly stomach an appreciation for American country music one may say that Tyler Childers, Chris Stapleton and Zach Bryan produce some very talented music from Appalachia . It just may not be the genius that you have in mind.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

And your opinion is of course based on personal experience of being skint.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Notwithstanding a tremendous amount of artistic genius has come out of Appalachia.

joe hardy
joe hardy
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

If you could possibly stomach an appreciation for American country music one may say that Tyler Childers, Chris Stapleton and Zach Bryan produce some very talented music from Appalachia . It just may not be the genius that you have in mind.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

And your opinion is of course based on personal experience of being skint.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

Notwithstanding a tremendous amount of artistic genius has come out of Appalachia.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It will create a council estate or ghetto mentality in which everyone knows their ‘rights’ but not their responsibilities. Moreover, UBI can be used as a political tool to enforce unpopular laws and control the population. I’m sorry, I can only see bad in this idea.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

It will create a council estate or ghetto mentality in which everyone knows their ‘rights’ but not their responsibilities.

This is what I alluded to earlier with people becoming entitled, which Coralie Palmer didn’t really grasp. The UBI would quickly become a human right and there would be no going back.
And yes, I agree there is the potential for population control as you suggest.
There’s big problems with the concept, it ought to be explored however, as ultimately I think it will happen at some distant point.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I grasped your point perfectly well. I just don’t agree with it. Not least because the same point has been made, to the point of insane boredom, about ‘welfare’, for 20 years now – always by people who’ve never had to be in receipt of it.
My point was made on the basis of 2 years’ personal experience of ‘welfare’ – i.e. support during unemployment – for which I had paid, through my taxes, every year of my working life. So in that sense yes, I regarded it as a right. My responsibility was to ceaselessly look for work which was what I wanted. It was not to accept the label of idle shirker.

Last edited 1 year ago by Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

I grasped your point perfectly well. I just don’t agree with it. Not least because the same point has been made, to the point of insane boredom, about ‘welfare’, for 20 years now – always by people who’ve never had to be in receipt of it.
My point was made on the basis of 2 years’ personal experience of ‘welfare’ – i.e. support during unemployment – for which I had paid, through my taxes, every year of my working life. So in that sense yes, I regarded it as a right. My responsibility was to ceaselessly look for work which was what I wanted. It was not to accept the label of idle shirker.

Last edited 1 year ago by Coralie Palmer
Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

It will create a council estate or ghetto mentality in which everyone knows their ‘rights’ but not their responsibilities.

This is what I alluded to earlier with people becoming entitled, which Coralie Palmer didn’t really grasp. The UBI would quickly become a human right and there would be no going back.
And yes, I agree there is the potential for population control as you suggest.
There’s big problems with the concept, it ought to be explored however, as ultimately I think it will happen at some distant point.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

When you get it please forward the name of the person who does voluntary work or personal development. Why would you do personal development when you’re being paid more than you ever earned to just sit on your backside.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

What would you do? I know I wouldn’t sit around merely because I have a stable income. I’ll wager most people are the same.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Wylde

What would you do? I know I wouldn’t sit around merely because I have a stable income. I’ll wager most people are the same.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

But basic income is nonsense.
It was already tried in Finland and experiment failed.
What level of taxation would be required to deliver it?
How many people are willing to pay taxes at 70% or more so bums can do nothing?
Most able and driven people will leave unless you imagine that it will happen globally?
No chance of that.
You can pursue what you like as a hobby.
Just do not expect me to pay taxes for it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew F
Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Er, the Finland experiment didn’t fail. It didn’t produce significantly higher productivity from the recipients. It produced more involvement with the local community (volunteering etc) and more happiness.

Last edited 1 year ago by Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Er, the Finland experiment didn’t fail. It didn’t produce significantly higher productivity from the recipients. It produced more involvement with the local community (volunteering etc) and more happiness.

Last edited 1 year ago by Coralie Palmer
Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Those of us lucky enough to be retired already find huge amounts of useful voluntary work to do. I worry that the young who have never had a job won’t have the same need for worthwhile pastimes having never benefited from a daily routine and a meaningful job.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Fantasy.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

That “hope” strikes me as naive. This piece suggests that at least some proponents of these payments will wish to pacify masses of people. Maybe I’m unfair, but I can’t help but view those involved with researching and promoting such schemes as grifters out to make a buck.

Anyway, do welfare recipients dedicate themselves to “personal development and voluntary work”? Or did pandemic payout recipients?

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Agreed. I mean, its not like we don’t have generational welfare to point us in the direction of what this might look like. We don’t see mobile parks in Appalachia churning out artistic genius and pristine mental health!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

It will create a council estate or ghetto mentality in which everyone knows their ‘rights’ but not their responsibilities. Moreover, UBI can be used as a political tool to enforce unpopular laws and control the population. I’m sorry, I can only see bad in this idea.

Mike Wylde
Mike Wylde
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

When you get it please forward the name of the person who does voluntary work or personal development. Why would you do personal development when you’re being paid more than you ever earned to just sit on your backside.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

But basic income is nonsense.
It was already tried in Finland and experiment failed.
What level of taxation would be required to deliver it?
How many people are willing to pay taxes at 70% or more so bums can do nothing?
Most able and driven people will leave unless you imagine that it will happen globally?
No chance of that.
You can pursue what you like as a hobby.
Just do not expect me to pay taxes for it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew F
Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 year ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Those of us lucky enough to be retired already find huge amounts of useful voluntary work to do. I worry that the young who have never had a job won’t have the same need for worthwhile pastimes having never benefited from a daily routine and a meaningful job.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

So true!! Of course UBI will happen!! We have experienced two massive revolutions since 97, both seemingly bloodless, both barely understood. Revolution A saw the UK nation state dismantled systematically – its laws its structures all – by the Leftist Blair. A vast unelected Technocracy took power – as was expected/demanded in all ‘provinces’ of the shiny New Federal EU; objective – shatter parliamentary/national power via NMIs. And this now detached ruling permanent Blob regards all saddo Northern provincials beyond the M25 as oiky racist scum, best drugged up & left to waste away on benefits. Welfarism and high taxation was a disease guaranteed to flourish, for this Progressive New Order was driven by a equality/anti discriminatory credo (hello tax credits). Then comes the Revolution B 2020-22. The Fool Johnson bows the knee to the demented Remainiac Blob and lets their next most mad credo – magic money tree printing – t
happen. Hey Presto; perma inflation, debt bombs, doom loops, broken NHS, mega unrest on horizon. The conditions for UBI are deep set in this arrogant wfh Blob whose sudden wokey anitipathy to ‘conventional’ forms of enterprise and wealth creation is simply astonishing and would even horrify Blair. But its too late to stop.
Remember, THEY all became millionaires without any form of work: they just rigged the property market by inviting 8m in and delivering 800 new homes. Wealth, work, enterprise mean nothing to them. So we have an unelected millionaire, people hating leftist London clique in charge and they have demonstrated – with the (1,749 life saving) lockdown catastrophe and the No Cheap Energy Net Zero mania – that they are more than capable of forcing through far more insane and dangerous ideas than UBI. There is no way ever to stop the zealotry as all parties bow to them, especially The Non Tories. It really is a shabby UKSSR Traumazone we live in now and the Kommissars will pursue Pol Pot degrowth, UBI, Net Zero and more unceasingly till the shop turns turtle and we get marched into the countryside.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Of course UBI could happen. A now wholly detached Blairite State technocracy/Blob which can introduce Net Zero Pop Potism on a 90 min vote, encourage the toxic Critical Race diversity ideology via State media and lockdown the country down for 2 years, shattering our economy and the broken NHS, is more than capable of this lesser madness.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Er, the ‘Blairite State’ ceased to be 13 years ago. And regardless of witterings about ‘the blob’, the entity that actually decided on, and implemented, the two-year lockdown was our current Conservative government.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

If you bothered to read, my point is that Blair effected a permanent revolution. He created a New Order of Governance which was designed to – and has – endure regardless of whichever party wins an election. It appears the Supreme Court, the Equalities Acts, Devolution, the creation of a vast unelected NMI Technocracy with its mitts on everything from interest rates (BoE), PHE, NHS and myriad regulators has escaped your notice. I lambast the idiot Johnson for succumbing to panic in the first lockdown. But it was the entire Lefist NHS First/Public Health and Science ind complex, unions. BBC, State Blob and Labour who shouted even louder for harder lockdown share responsibility for the catastrophe.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

If you bothered to read, my point is that Blair effected a permanent revolution. He created a New Order of Governance which was designed to – and has – endure regardless of whichever party wins an election. It appears the Supreme Court, the Equalities Acts, Devolution, the creation of a vast unelected NMI Technocracy with its mitts on everything from interest rates (BoE), PHE, NHS and myriad regulators has escaped your notice. I lambast the idiot Johnson for succumbing to panic in the first lockdown. But it was the entire Lefist NHS First/Public Health and Science ind complex, unions. BBC, State Blob and Labour who shouted even louder for harder lockdown share responsibility for the catastrophe.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Er, the ‘Blairite State’ ceased to be 13 years ago. And regardless of witterings about ‘the blob’, the entity that actually decided on, and implemented, the two-year lockdown was our current Conservative government.

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

The theory (and the hope) is that those on the UBI are not idle and with the comfort of being financially stable they would seek activities, voluntary work and personal development. No doubt some would and some wouldn’t.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

So true!! Of course UBI will happen!! We have experienced two massive revolutions since 97, both seemingly bloodless, both barely understood. Revolution A saw the UK nation state dismantled systematically – its laws its structures all – by the Leftist Blair. A vast unelected Technocracy took power – as was expected/demanded in all ‘provinces’ of the shiny New Federal EU; objective – shatter parliamentary/national power via NMIs. And this now detached ruling permanent Blob regards all saddo Northern provincials beyond the M25 as oiky racist scum, best drugged up & left to waste away on benefits. Welfarism and high taxation was a disease guaranteed to flourish, for this Progressive New Order was driven by a equality/anti discriminatory credo (hello tax credits). Then comes the Revolution B 2020-22. The Fool Johnson bows the knee to the demented Remainiac Blob and lets their next most mad credo – magic money tree printing – t
happen. Hey Presto; perma inflation, debt bombs, doom loops, broken NHS, mega unrest on horizon. The conditions for UBI are deep set in this arrogant wfh Blob whose sudden wokey anitipathy to ‘conventional’ forms of enterprise and wealth creation is simply astonishing and would even horrify Blair. But its too late to stop.
Remember, THEY all became millionaires without any form of work: they just rigged the property market by inviting 8m in and delivering 800 new homes. Wealth, work, enterprise mean nothing to them. So we have an unelected millionaire, people hating leftist London clique in charge and they have demonstrated – with the (1,749 life saving) lockdown catastrophe and the No Cheap Energy Net Zero mania – that they are more than capable of forcing through far more insane and dangerous ideas than UBI. There is no way ever to stop the zealotry as all parties bow to them, especially The Non Tories. It really is a shabby UKSSR Traumazone we live in now and the Kommissars will pursue Pol Pot degrowth, UBI, Net Zero and more unceasingly till the shop turns turtle and we get marched into the countryside.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Of course UBI could happen. A now wholly detached Blairite State technocracy/Blob which can introduce Net Zero Pop Potism on a 90 min vote, encourage the toxic Critical Race diversity ideology via State media and lockdown the country down for 2 years, shattering our economy and the broken NHS, is more than capable of this lesser madness.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

Two things spring to mind. The first is the saying “The Devil makes work for idle hands”, and the second is, the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus didn’t prevent Rome from burning. One suspects the future will not turn out quite as our lords and masters might wish.

Steve Farrell
Steve Farrell
1 year ago

On principle I’m disinclined to invite the government into areas of my life where it hasn’t already set up shop. I can’t believe that any government would give me “free” money without (eventually) seeing fit to dictate how I spend it.

UBI in the form of government credits is a social engineer’s dream.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

UBI combined with a CBDC. You’ll get your pocket money and you’ll find you’re unable to spend it in certain places and on certain things or even at certain times.

Francis Dawson
Francis Dawson
1 year ago

UBI + CBDC + Decriminalisation of cannabis. O, brave new world!

Francis Dawson
Francis Dawson
1 year ago

UBI + CBDC + Decriminalisation of cannabis. O, brave new world!

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Farrell

UBI combined with a CBDC. You’ll get your pocket money and you’ll find you’re unable to spend it in certain places and on certain things or even at certain times.

Steve Farrell
Steve Farrell
1 year ago

On principle I’m disinclined to invite the government into areas of my life where it hasn’t already set up shop. I can’t believe that any government would give me “free” money without (eventually) seeing fit to dictate how I spend it.

UBI in the form of government credits is a social engineer’s dream.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Nice article. Food for thought. People need to work, to keep busy, do something they consider meaningful. We’re entering uncharted waters.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Work is power. To be a kept creature is to be powerless.
Put it on a t-shirt

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

If you don’t recognise that a wage slave is a kept creature, I have a number of bridges to sell you.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

What is a wage slave?

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

What is a wage slave?

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

If you don’t recognise that a wage slave is a kept creature, I have a number of bridges to sell you.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Work is power. To be a kept creature is to be powerless.
Put it on a t-shirt

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

Nice article. Food for thought. People need to work, to keep busy, do something they consider meaningful. We’re entering uncharted waters.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

The Author is jumping to the conclusion that UBI disincentivises work and yet where this has been piloted elsewhere that is not what appears to happen. Hence some sense in a pilot to test this in the UK context.
What we do know is poverty creates myopia in decision-making. Poor people largely don’t make dumber decisions because they are stupid but rather because in that situation we’d all pretty much make dumb decisions. There is even some evidence poverty supresses IQ.
Let’s also remember the current benefits system mitigates against getting retrained. You lose benefit if you aren’t available immediately for some low wage menial work due to taking the initiative to retrain yourself. Note also in Germany you get an extended period and some funding on a set proportion of your prior wage if you are made redundant to retrain. And good grief do we need something similar here to help solve our labour gaps.
And then there is the explosion in adults having to provide social care, because their family member can’t source it. Essentially it’s therefore saving the rest of us money. This isn’t a problem going away, quite the reverse.
Now we’d need to be mindful that some may abuse such an approach. No public policy manages to work 100% perfectly, but it’s perhaps about a decent balance. And even the likes of Milton Friedman had some sympathy with the concept.
Worth trialling and seeing what happens.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Yes, the argument about power makes no sense. What power do people on zero-hour contracts have? If anything, the choice that comes with UBI gives them a lot more power over their own lives.

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

Because there’s dignity in doing any kind of work, even if you’re not paid much for it. Whereas receiving handouts is demeaning. That’s why people in poor countries in Africa and Asia are so dignified compared to people on benefits in Western countries. And dignity is probably the most important thing for human beings.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

I am reminded of the old soviet workers joke: We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.
The problem with people working on low wages and zero-hours contracts, is a problem created by the government itself. It is government policy to import as much cheap labour as it can get away with. It is not doing it for your benefit. You must learn to compete Monica! And printing “money” to give you the illusion of a decent lifestyle ain’t going to work.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Spot on.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Spot on.

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

Because there’s dignity in doing any kind of work, even if you’re not paid much for it. Whereas receiving handouts is demeaning. That’s why people in poor countries in Africa and Asia are so dignified compared to people on benefits in Western countries. And dignity is probably the most important thing for human beings.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

I am reminded of the old soviet workers joke: We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.
The problem with people working on low wages and zero-hours contracts, is a problem created by the government itself. It is government policy to import as much cheap labour as it can get away with. It is not doing it for your benefit. You must learn to compete Monica! And printing “money” to give you the illusion of a decent lifestyle ain’t going to work.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

You are away with the fairies.
I don’t mind trying – the sooner we achieve bankruptcy, the sooner we can begin the long haul back to sanity.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

To me J Watson shows all the signs of attempting to think ahead for say 30 years rather five. You know, what used to be called ‘long-term thinking’. Though obviously to many people – including all members of all political parties – that is considered so eccentric as to be borderline lunacy.
It also involves sufficient imagination to think beyond typical analyses of how societies work. Or as you might describe it, ‘away with the fairies’.

Last edited 1 year ago by Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

To me J Watson shows all the signs of attempting to think ahead for say 30 years rather five. You know, what used to be called ‘long-term thinking’. Though obviously to many people – including all members of all political parties – that is considered so eccentric as to be borderline lunacy.
It also involves sufficient imagination to think beyond typical analyses of how societies work. Or as you might describe it, ‘away with the fairies’.

Last edited 1 year ago by Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Agreed. I like some of Harrington’s writing but this is not a well-thought-out piece. What’s striking in its absence is any sense of how people are going to cope if and when they (it’s always ‘they’) get dumped by AI and find themselves at the mercy of ‘welfare’. Which means being really, seriously, poor.
That issue is simply… not there in this piece. Not part of Harrington’s thinking obviously. (Well come on, I mean, if you’re poor then you’ve obviously not worked hard enough or been feckless haven’t you? No such thing as misfortune.)
And why on earth drag in voter participation to UBI? Nowt to do with each other. Simplest way to sort that: make voting compulsory, like they do in Oz.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

I rather thought Mary’s quite short piece, was more an epilogue to her earlier ones about the impact of tech and the demise of traditional representative democracy. In that, she is in tune with Joel Kotkin’s recent writing on emerging neo-feudalism. I didn’t read this article as a commentary on the pros and cons of UBI as a specific policy.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

I rather thought Mary’s quite short piece, was more an epilogue to her earlier ones about the impact of tech and the demise of traditional representative democracy. In that, she is in tune with Joel Kotkin’s recent writing on emerging neo-feudalism. I didn’t read this article as a commentary on the pros and cons of UBI as a specific policy.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

You are arguing a strawman here. UBI is NOT about bridging labor gaps or paying a family member to do the meaningful work of caring for an elderly grandparent, it’s literally paying people to NOT participate in meanigful work at all.
Most people here arguing against UBI, including myself, and supportive of measures to provide for the diabled, help families stay together, and care for the elderly. This is not what UBI is.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I think the generous Covid payments in Canada demonstrated that when people are paid money for nothing they will refuse to work. All of our service sector was desperate for workers because no one wanted to work.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Not sure Covid a fair test of what may happen. Many got told to stay home at the same time didn’t they.
My thought is twofold – i) if AI does what many think it might we will face a major employment shock and we’ll have to engage in whether pauperising millions of people good for society or not ii) releasing talent and energy, especially in children, is crushed by poverty

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Not sure Covid a fair test of what may happen. Many got told to stay home at the same time didn’t they.
My thought is twofold – i) if AI does what many think it might we will face a major employment shock and we’ll have to engage in whether pauperising millions of people good for society or not ii) releasing talent and energy, especially in children, is crushed by poverty

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Yes, the argument about power makes no sense. What power do people on zero-hour contracts have? If anything, the choice that comes with UBI gives them a lot more power over their own lives.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

You are away with the fairies.
I don’t mind trying – the sooner we achieve bankruptcy, the sooner we can begin the long haul back to sanity.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Agreed. I like some of Harrington’s writing but this is not a well-thought-out piece. What’s striking in its absence is any sense of how people are going to cope if and when they (it’s always ‘they’) get dumped by AI and find themselves at the mercy of ‘welfare’. Which means being really, seriously, poor.
That issue is simply… not there in this piece. Not part of Harrington’s thinking obviously. (Well come on, I mean, if you’re poor then you’ve obviously not worked hard enough or been feckless haven’t you? No such thing as misfortune.)
And why on earth drag in voter participation to UBI? Nowt to do with each other. Simplest way to sort that: make voting compulsory, like they do in Oz.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

You are arguing a strawman here. UBI is NOT about bridging labor gaps or paying a family member to do the meaningful work of caring for an elderly grandparent, it’s literally paying people to NOT participate in meanigful work at all.
Most people here arguing against UBI, including myself, and supportive of measures to provide for the diabled, help families stay together, and care for the elderly. This is not what UBI is.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I think the generous Covid payments in Canada demonstrated that when people are paid money for nothing they will refuse to work. All of our service sector was desperate for workers because no one wanted to work.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

The Author is jumping to the conclusion that UBI disincentivises work and yet where this has been piloted elsewhere that is not what appears to happen. Hence some sense in a pilot to test this in the UK context.
What we do know is poverty creates myopia in decision-making. Poor people largely don’t make dumber decisions because they are stupid but rather because in that situation we’d all pretty much make dumb decisions. There is even some evidence poverty supresses IQ.
Let’s also remember the current benefits system mitigates against getting retrained. You lose benefit if you aren’t available immediately for some low wage menial work due to taking the initiative to retrain yourself. Note also in Germany you get an extended period and some funding on a set proportion of your prior wage if you are made redundant to retrain. And good grief do we need something similar here to help solve our labour gaps.
And then there is the explosion in adults having to provide social care, because their family member can’t source it. Essentially it’s therefore saving the rest of us money. This isn’t a problem going away, quite the reverse.
Now we’d need to be mindful that some may abuse such an approach. No public policy manages to work 100% perfectly, but it’s perhaps about a decent balance. And even the likes of Milton Friedman had some sympathy with the concept.
Worth trialling and seeing what happens.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“There is no longer enough industry to keep an industrial proletariat employed. And even if manufacturing did get “re-shored”, much of it would likely be automated.” 
This is a fallacious argument: It is like arguing that the movement away from subsistent farming created poverty and starvation – It didn’t – It created wealth for all, on a previously unimagined scale. There is ALWAYS something productive that a human being can do. Just make sure that they are paid for doing it.
By the way, when the plutocrats get bored with their human pets, what do we think happens next?

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

..the youth-in Asia?

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

..the youth-in Asia?

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“There is no longer enough industry to keep an industrial proletariat employed. And even if manufacturing did get “re-shored”, much of it would likely be automated.” 
This is a fallacious argument: It is like arguing that the movement away from subsistent farming created poverty and starvation – It didn’t – It created wealth for all, on a previously unimagined scale. There is ALWAYS something productive that a human being can do. Just make sure that they are paid for doing it.
By the way, when the plutocrats get bored with their human pets, what do we think happens next?

Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
1 year ago

If predictions are correct there will be fewer and fewer jobs for a large chunk of the population in future so it will be either starvation or UBI.
It may become necessary to sterilise the ‘useless’ people if most jobs end up automated
as they simply will not be needed. This raises the question what do people exist for? Are they intrinsically worthwhile or are they simply economic contributors?
When they cease to contribute do they simply become expendable?

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Alice Rowlands

It may become necessary to sterilise the ‘useless’ people if most jobs end up automated as they simply will not be needed.

Maybe you should study the inner workings of Operation Reinhardt and come up with some other useful solutions?

Robbie K
Robbie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Alice Rowlands

It may become necessary to sterilise the ‘useless’ people if most jobs end up automated as they simply will not be needed.

Maybe you should study the inner workings of Operation Reinhardt and come up with some other useful solutions?

Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
1 year ago

If predictions are correct there will be fewer and fewer jobs for a large chunk of the population in future so it will be either starvation or UBI.
It may become necessary to sterilise the ‘useless’ people if most jobs end up automated
as they simply will not be needed. This raises the question what do people exist for? Are they intrinsically worthwhile or are they simply economic contributors?
When they cease to contribute do they simply become expendable?

Stan Konwiser
Stan Konwiser
1 year ago

Two things to consider with UBI:
1. Recipients will vote. And they will vote for whomever promises increased benefits. Thus eventually bankrupting the system.
2. Any system that rewards not working will attract a population that does not want to work. Those with the ability/drive to create value will leave, taking that value creation with them. Thus eventually bankrupting the system.

Stan Konwiser
Stan Konwiser
1 year ago

Two things to consider with UBI:
1. Recipients will vote. And they will vote for whomever promises increased benefits. Thus eventually bankrupting the system.
2. Any system that rewards not working will attract a population that does not want to work. Those with the ability/drive to create value will leave, taking that value creation with them. Thus eventually bankrupting the system.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
1 year ago

I believe we have this in Wales now, reserved for immigrants.
All of these schemes carry a lot of common sense but they depend on people wanting to do things. I would jump at this today and throw a lot of energy into my life. Others will smile and think only about spending the money.
These ideas are old hat. Perhaps the problem is that poor people are not really poor. They are just poorer than a series of officially-defined norms.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
1 year ago

I believe we have this in Wales now, reserved for immigrants.
All of these schemes carry a lot of common sense but they depend on people wanting to do things. I would jump at this today and throw a lot of energy into my life. Others will smile and think only about spending the money.
These ideas are old hat. Perhaps the problem is that poor people are not really poor. They are just poorer than a series of officially-defined norms.

Thor Albro
Thor Albro
1 year ago

If everyone gets X money, then X money no longer means anything, and we are right back to where we started. The mindless materialism of those pushing these daft ideas is breathtaking.

Thor Albro
Thor Albro
1 year ago

If everyone gets X money, then X money no longer means anything, and we are right back to where we started. The mindless materialism of those pushing these daft ideas is breathtaking.

Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
1 year ago

One must learn to question the premise. Quorsum? It seems that’s the one thing progressives refuse to do. Not only do they not examine their own premises – as if to do so is somehow a betrayal of The Cause – they cannot tolerate anyone else questioning their unexamined premises.

Hence the “social experiment”. Give a number of people a UBI and “observe the effect it has on their lives”. Seriously? This is a fool’s errand, and so preposterous that only university professors and government bureaucrats would propose it. The question will not be answered by a necessarily flawed experiment in social science.

Like Einstein, what is really needed is a well-designed thought experiment. Starting with an examination of the premises underlying the myths of the UBI. Included would be a fairly straightforward look at basic economics ( the phenomenon of the stratification of wealth from a fixed floor, i.e. UBI to a theoretical 1% wealthy elite ) and zeroing in on human nature.

Having spent five minutes reflecting in these things, normal people will watch as the UBI goes up in smoke. To be followed in short order by the asinine demand for reparations by people never affected by social crimes committed against generations thrice removed – or imaginary grievances concocted by the victimhood hustlers in British and ( mostly ) American culture.

Th UBI is a Marxist pipe dream.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
Gerald Arcuri
1 year ago

One must learn to question the premise. Quorsum? It seems that’s the one thing progressives refuse to do. Not only do they not examine their own premises – as if to do so is somehow a betrayal of The Cause – they cannot tolerate anyone else questioning their unexamined premises.

Hence the “social experiment”. Give a number of people a UBI and “observe the effect it has on their lives”. Seriously? This is a fool’s errand, and so preposterous that only university professors and government bureaucrats would propose it. The question will not be answered by a necessarily flawed experiment in social science.

Like Einstein, what is really needed is a well-designed thought experiment. Starting with an examination of the premises underlying the myths of the UBI. Included would be a fairly straightforward look at basic economics ( the phenomenon of the stratification of wealth from a fixed floor, i.e. UBI to a theoretical 1% wealthy elite ) and zeroing in on human nature.

Having spent five minutes reflecting in these things, normal people will watch as the UBI goes up in smoke. To be followed in short order by the asinine demand for reparations by people never affected by social crimes committed against generations thrice removed – or imaginary grievances concocted by the victimhood hustlers in British and ( mostly ) American culture.

Th UBI is a Marxist pipe dream.

Last edited 1 year ago by Gerald Arcuri
tim richardson
tim richardson
1 year ago

$600 per month PPP payments during COVID made hiring for frontline workers, including nurses and airline cabin attendants, very difficult.

PPP drove up the cost of labor for all US small businesses, nationwide.

There is a link between increased costs of labor and progressively coercive practices as producers struggle to find workers.

Slavery is a thing today.

There are over 50 million people worldwide living in slave-like conditions at home and at work. This is greater than the number of people in chattel slavery during the pre-Civil War American South.

While this may seem like a counterintuitive conclusion, I believe UBI could lead to an increase in the number of enslaved persons, worldwide.

tim richardson
tim richardson
1 year ago

$600 per month PPP payments during COVID made hiring for frontline workers, including nurses and airline cabin attendants, very difficult.

PPP drove up the cost of labor for all US small businesses, nationwide.

There is a link between increased costs of labor and progressively coercive practices as producers struggle to find workers.

Slavery is a thing today.

There are over 50 million people worldwide living in slave-like conditions at home and at work. This is greater than the number of people in chattel slavery during the pre-Civil War American South.

While this may seem like a counterintuitive conclusion, I believe UBI could lead to an increase in the number of enslaved persons, worldwide.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago

If Universal Basic Income becomes a thing, and those on it cease to be productive members of society, they will have no bargaining power to argue for a raise. It’s a recipe for feudalism.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Why would we assume that UBI means people stop being ‘productive’? They might be more productive and make better societal contribution, albeit the wage system has broken down and can’t remunerate for what they’d be contributing.
Your point though about bargaining power is valid though, albeit the ballot box would remain

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Why would we assume that UBI means people stop being ‘productive’? They might be more productive and make better societal contribution, albeit the wage system has broken down and can’t remunerate for what they’d be contributing.
Your point though about bargaining power is valid though, albeit the ballot box would remain

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago

If Universal Basic Income becomes a thing, and those on it cease to be productive members of society, they will have no bargaining power to argue for a raise. It’s a recipe for feudalism.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago

If your government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have.
ÂŁ1600 British=$1984 USD – coincidence? 🙂

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago

If your government is big enough to give you everything you want, it is big enough to take away everything you have.
ÂŁ1600 British=$1984 USD – coincidence? 🙂

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago

Our world is quickly becoming Logan’s Run, except worse. All the same meaninglessness, lack of intimacy and connection, and loss of productive purpose but instead of a communal hedonistic playground you get a solitary living pod and a sex robot.
If you’re going to consign me to a nihlistic void existence at least let me have my orgies with real live people! I mean, throw me a bone here! (Quite literally.. maybe a few..at the same time.)

Last edited 1 year ago by J Hop
K Arnold
K Arnold
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

If we end up with a very small number of people supporting a great number of the unproductive, it won’t be long before those doing the funding will ask for right to decide whose existence they fund – a very nasty version of Logan’s Run

K Arnold
K Arnold
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

If we end up with a very small number of people supporting a great number of the unproductive, it won’t be long before those doing the funding will ask for right to decide whose existence they fund – a very nasty version of Logan’s Run

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago

Our world is quickly becoming Logan’s Run, except worse. All the same meaninglessness, lack of intimacy and connection, and loss of productive purpose but instead of a communal hedonistic playground you get a solitary living pod and a sex robot.
If you’re going to consign me to a nihlistic void existence at least let me have my orgies with real live people! I mean, throw me a bone here! (Quite literally.. maybe a few..at the same time.)

Last edited 1 year ago by J Hop
Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago

Back in the 20th century lots of people in Australia received the dole and used it for basic support while they formed alternative communities, engaged in creative activities (art, music, drama, writing) and dreamed up new ways of living.
Of course, some lolled about, used drugs etc.
I suppose what you do with any money you receive depends on what you think life is all about.

Janet G
Janet G
1 year ago

Back in the 20th century lots of people in Australia received the dole and used it for basic support while they formed alternative communities, engaged in creative activities (art, music, drama, writing) and dreamed up new ways of living.
Of course, some lolled about, used drugs etc.
I suppose what you do with any money you receive depends on what you think life is all about.

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

The vast majority of humanity reduced to a riotous mob whose only power is in its existence and ability to disrupt society. A mob kept fed and entertained for the sole purpose of preventing them from rebelling against their governments and burning the mansions of the few producers in the society. Sounds familiar. I know I’ve heard of that happening somewhere before and I don’t think it ended well. On its face, this is what UBI is. On the other hand, what’s the alternative? The manufacturing sector will be automated. Much of the service sector will be automated. The only way to stop it would be to start banning new technologies (like AI), adopt some kind of command economy, or perhaps universal civil/military service (though how could any government find something for everyone to do without resorting to the old disassembling/reassembling cars trope). None of these strikes me as an obviously better solution than the one the Romans came up with a couple thousand years ago. It’s not so bad I guess. They kept it going for four hundred years or so. If someone has a better idea, let’s hear it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

The vast majority of humanity reduced to a riotous mob whose only power is in its existence and ability to disrupt society. A mob kept fed and entertained for the sole purpose of preventing them from rebelling against their governments and burning the mansions of the few producers in the society. Sounds familiar. I know I’ve heard of that happening somewhere before and I don’t think it ended well. On its face, this is what UBI is. On the other hand, what’s the alternative? The manufacturing sector will be automated. Much of the service sector will be automated. The only way to stop it would be to start banning new technologies (like AI), adopt some kind of command economy, or perhaps universal civil/military service (though how could any government find something for everyone to do without resorting to the old disassembling/reassembling cars trope). None of these strikes me as an obviously better solution than the one the Romans came up with a couple thousand years ago. It’s not so bad I guess. They kept it going for four hundred years or so. If someone has a better idea, let’s hear it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

When you have a large percentage of the population on the public pay role, another large percentage of the population dependant on benefits and a significant percentage effectively relived of the obligation to pay any meaningful level of tax you have already lost your democracy.
What incentive does this constituency have to vote for any party other than the one that supports higher public sector wages, higher benefits and lifting the tax threshold, since someone else is always paying, and what party would dare propose policies to address the resultant democratic deficit.
On of the unspoken objection to the poll tax was that if everyone had to pay then people would be less apathetic, hold their local politician to account and vote out parties that were profligate with their money.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago

When you have a large percentage of the population on the public pay role, another large percentage of the population dependant on benefits and a significant percentage effectively relived of the obligation to pay any meaningful level of tax you have already lost your democracy.
What incentive does this constituency have to vote for any party other than the one that supports higher public sector wages, higher benefits and lifting the tax threshold, since someone else is always paying, and what party would dare propose policies to address the resultant democratic deficit.
On of the unspoken objection to the poll tax was that if everyone had to pay then people would be less apathetic, hold their local politician to account and vote out parties that were profligate with their money.

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
1 year ago

What value will the elites add to maintain their privilege and justify their wealth disparity?

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
1 year ago

What value will the elites add to maintain their privilege and justify their wealth disparity?

RM Parker
RM Parker
1 year ago

Kurt Vonnegut wrote about this, quite bitingly, in his first novel “Player Piano”, back in 1952.

Unnerving how how prescient it now seems: the devaluation of manual labour, the qualifications arms race, the need to provide state-prescribed “meaning” for the lives of the now-redundant
 and the growing influence of the supercomputer, “EPICAC”, which threatens to make everyone redundant in short order.

To borrow a line from the movie “Human Traffic”, the Antichrist has been with us a long time, and he means business


RM Parker
RM Parker
1 year ago

Kurt Vonnegut wrote about this, quite bitingly, in his first novel “Player Piano”, back in 1952.

Unnerving how how prescient it now seems: the devaluation of manual labour, the qualifications arms race, the need to provide state-prescribed “meaning” for the lives of the now-redundant
 and the growing influence of the supercomputer, “EPICAC”, which threatens to make everyone redundant in short order.

To borrow a line from the movie “Human Traffic”, the Antichrist has been with us a long time, and he means business


Will K
Will K
1 year ago

If I were an AI computer, I’d think “free money. There’s no need for me to work anymore”.

Will K
Will K
1 year ago

If I were an AI computer, I’d think “free money. There’s no need for me to work anymore”.

joe hardy
joe hardy
1 year ago

I think the article has things backwards. With the advent of AI, white collar jobs are much more at risk of being redundant than say, buggy whip makers or electricians or carpenters.Despite Bill Gate’s mystery meat, perhaps the future will be a good time to be a farmer.

joe hardy
joe hardy
1 year ago

I think the article has things backwards. With the advent of AI, white collar jobs are much more at risk of being redundant than say, buggy whip makers or electricians or carpenters.Despite Bill Gate’s mystery meat, perhaps the future will be a good time to be a farmer.

Kathleen Burnett
Kathleen Burnett
1 year ago

Sounds like a proposal ready made for unintended consequences. How about an increase in crime?

Kathleen Burnett
Kathleen Burnett
1 year ago

Sounds like a proposal ready made for unintended consequences. How about an increase in crime?

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago

“I don’t know if I can live on my income or not–the government won’t let me try it.” – Bob Thaves.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago

“I don’t know if I can live on my income or not–the government won’t let me try it.” – Bob Thaves.

Kathryn Dwyer
Kathryn Dwyer
1 year ago

As a retired overworked volunteer among other retired overworked volunteers trying to organise activities in rural France, the idea of having nothing to do or there being no work available seems inconceivable. Work is everywhere, much of it physical (repairing stone walls, monuments, maintenance of the land, organising activities the local communes are not able to do for lack of human and material resources. Local artisans complain of not having enough workers. A universal income may be necessary to prevent poverty but unconditionally? A big difference between a single parent and the young and fit!

Kathryn Dwyer
Kathryn Dwyer
1 year ago

As a retired overworked volunteer among other retired overworked volunteers trying to organise activities in rural France, the idea of having nothing to do or there being no work available seems inconceivable. Work is everywhere, much of it physical (repairing stone walls, monuments, maintenance of the land, organising activities the local communes are not able to do for lack of human and material resources. Local artisans complain of not having enough workers. A universal income may be necessary to prevent poverty but unconditionally? A big difference between a single parent and the young and fit!

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago

Didn’t we already experiment with UBI during the Covid lockdowns – and with disastrous consequences.
The repayment of the ever-increasing interest on our national debt has reached a horrific level. It needs to be serviced with extra taxes, adding to many of our economic and social problems..
.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago

Didn’t we already experiment with UBI during the Covid lockdowns – and with disastrous consequences.
The repayment of the ever-increasing interest on our national debt has reached a horrific level. It needs to be serviced with extra taxes, adding to many of our economic and social problems..
.

Ken Charman
Ken Charman
1 year ago

Looks like Mary hasnt noticed that globalisation, offshoring, automation and mass migration into very low paid work has already left millions disenfranchised – and also stigmatised by the shame of surviving on “benefits”. AI is going to dump millions of professionals and graduates on to the scrapheap. At least UBI has a veneer of respectability.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken Charman

No need for sarcasm against MH. Can’t she write on a specific subject without someone asking why she hasn’t included the whole of human existence within the scope of a Post article?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Ken Charman

No need for sarcasm against MH. Can’t she write on a specific subject without someone asking why she hasn’t included the whole of human existence within the scope of a Post article?

Ken Charman
Ken Charman
1 year ago

Looks like Mary hasnt noticed that globalisation, offshoring, automation and mass migration into very low paid work has already left millions disenfranchised – and also stigmatised by the shame of surviving on “benefits”. AI is going to dump millions of professionals and graduates on to the scrapheap. At least UBI has a veneer of respectability.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago

I like Mary’s writing and some trends she describes are real.
However, how do we create functioning economy if so many are unemployed?
Where does the wealth of top 0.1% comes from?
If we follow her logic, what is the point of importing so many low IQ immigrants if they are soon to become even greater burden on society?
I spent over 35 years in IT and many trends take much longer to develop than people think.
AI is serious problem but it will take at least 20 years before it will replace a lot of jobs.

Andrew F
Andrew F
1 year ago

I like Mary’s writing and some trends she describes are real.
However, how do we create functioning economy if so many are unemployed?
Where does the wealth of top 0.1% comes from?
If we follow her logic, what is the point of importing so many low IQ immigrants if they are soon to become even greater burden on society?
I spent over 35 years in IT and many trends take much longer to develop than people think.
AI is serious problem but it will take at least 20 years before it will replace a lot of jobs.

kevin smith
kevin smith
1 year ago

My reading of the Times article is that the proposers of the scheme are seeking money to fund said trial.
Any donors from below

kevin smith
kevin smith
1 year ago

My reading of the Times article is that the proposers of the scheme are seeking money to fund said trial.
Any donors from below

Richard Abbot
Richard Abbot
1 year ago

UBI + Playstation + Netflix + Deliveroo + Legalised Cannabis. Unleashing of human potential here we come. NOT.

Richard Abbot
Richard Abbot
1 year ago

UBI + Playstation + Netflix + Deliveroo + Legalised Cannabis. Unleashing of human potential here we come. NOT.

David Harris
David Harris
1 year ago

Of course we are already part-way towards UBI. From birth to 22 years anyone can rely on the state to live, via the ‘free’ education system. Then once retired at 65’ish we can again rely on the state plus various other pensions to live out the rest of our lives without work. That means half of our average 85’ish years alive do not require paid work, although many will still engage in it for money and other reasons.

David Harris
David Harris
1 year ago

Of course we are already part-way towards UBI. From birth to 22 years anyone can rely on the state to live, via the ‘free’ education system. Then once retired at 65’ish we can again rely on the state plus various other pensions to live out the rest of our lives without work. That means half of our average 85’ish years alive do not require paid work, although many will still engage in it for money and other reasons.

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago

I’ve always thought UBI is a way of turning poor people into zombies, who gratefully accept charity from the lords and masters. Thanks for the article, I agree with it 100%.

Andy JS
Andy JS
1 year ago

I’ve always thought UBI is a way of turning poor people into zombies, who gratefully accept charity from the lords and masters. Thanks for the article, I agree with it 100%.

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
1 year ago

Can anyone here really comprehend the back breaking, life sapping toil of pre-mechanised farming? Who would in their right mind want to return to that brutal time? Technology freed us from that miserable existence. We think we have come so far, yet most of the service industries now resemble a dark flip of that earlier era- anti-physical, mindless, zombie jobs. If AI can get rid of the plethora of ‘bullshit jobs’ that can only be a net positive for society. Just as with the merciful move away from subsistence farming, we will look back at the break from zombie desk work with equal awe and appreciation.
What people misunderstand about UBI is unlike welfare you CAN work as much as you like and still receive it. This is a crucial rebalancing of the asymmetric worker/employer balance of power. Our empty bellies force us to take work, any work. A corporation doesn’t need to eat. It is time that worker and corporation were put on an equal footing- fully fed as a starting point to negotiations. A choice to work not a bullied necessity.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
1 year ago

Can anyone here really comprehend the back breaking, life sapping toil of pre-mechanised farming? Who would in their right mind want to return to that brutal time? Technology freed us from that miserable existence. We think we have come so far, yet most of the service industries now resemble a dark flip of that earlier era- anti-physical, mindless, zombie jobs. If AI can get rid of the plethora of ‘bullshit jobs’ that can only be a net positive for society. Just as with the merciful move away from subsistence farming, we will look back at the break from zombie desk work with equal awe and appreciation.
What people misunderstand about UBI is unlike welfare you CAN work as much as you like and still receive it. This is a crucial rebalancing of the asymmetric worker/employer balance of power. Our empty bellies force us to take work, any work. A corporation doesn’t need to eat. It is time that worker and corporation were put on an equal footing- fully fed as a starting point to negotiations. A choice to work not a bullied necessity.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Colchester
Jane H
Jane H
1 year ago

If, in the future, there aren’t any jobs for people yet a UBI is handed out without the current condition that work must be sought, how is anyone going to save to achieve their aspirations, for example, see Australia, start a business? Are we all supposed to be delighted to have the burden of work lifted from our shoulders? Sounds like the death knell for aspiration and choice. It seems likely therefore we’ll be a populace who own nothing, no house, no car (they’d all be gone anyway of course), completely homogenised. No physical money, digitised payments from government which could be withheld if you step out of line. A dystopian Hunger Games. Oh and all having to comply with the Gates/China owned WHO dictates during phony pandemics. Hey ho the sun’s currently shining so let’s all enjoy it while we can

Jane H
Jane H
1 year ago

If, in the future, there aren’t any jobs for people yet a UBI is handed out without the current condition that work must be sought, how is anyone going to save to achieve their aspirations, for example, see Australia, start a business? Are we all supposed to be delighted to have the burden of work lifted from our shoulders? Sounds like the death knell for aspiration and choice. It seems likely therefore we’ll be a populace who own nothing, no house, no car (they’d all be gone anyway of course), completely homogenised. No physical money, digitised payments from government which could be withheld if you step out of line. A dystopian Hunger Games. Oh and all having to comply with the Gates/China owned WHO dictates during phony pandemics. Hey ho the sun’s currently shining so let’s all enjoy it while we can

Daniel Ryan
Daniel Ryan
1 year ago

What happens when the small number of oligarchs in Mary’s proposition decide they no longer wish to finance the UBI ?
Maybe pull up the drawbridge and start shooting arrows at the peasants? although they will still need food and people to grow and prepare it . Maybe that fellow is right about the new feudalism. I’m off to buy some sheep!

Daniel Ryan
Daniel Ryan
1 year ago

What happens when the small number of oligarchs in Mary’s proposition decide they no longer wish to finance the UBI ?
Maybe pull up the drawbridge and start shooting arrows at the peasants? although they will still need food and people to grow and prepare it . Maybe that fellow is right about the new feudalism. I’m off to buy some sheep!

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago

I find parallels with parts of this article (published shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union).

https://newcriterion.com/issues/1991/6/fundamentals-of-soviet-civilization

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago

I find parallels with parts of this article (published shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union).

https://newcriterion.com/issues/1991/6/fundamentals-of-soviet-civilization

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago

Last edited 1 year ago by Jonathan Nash
Mark Kerridge
Mark Kerridge
1 year ago

Is this scenario really that different to the current reality. Norena hertz wrote the silent take over in 1992 if I remember rightly .I’m unsure about ubi but it’s good that studies are being done on it’s effects.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Of course were nubritn hewkay to become a proper tax having with old fashioned Swiss banking secrecy, incoming capital and revenue would ensure that the state would be able to put those who did not wish to work on exactly this sort of stipend, but no Conservative government has got the guts to do it!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

haven, not having!

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
1 year ago

please all read ‘Radical’ by Hillary Cottam. At least it is research rather than opinion based.

Giles Toman
Giles Toman
1 year ago

Why do UBI? They can do something that people will pay them to do, or die.

David Graham
David Graham
1 year ago

So if some seek extra income on top of UBI, through their own productive efforts if they are allowed and there are really no strings attached to this proposed system, they would keep that money, or be taxed?

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago

Trials of UBI have already taken place in several countries. Perhaps Ms Harrington should have looked at them, rather than just imagining stuff, and quoting a “futurist.” That might have saved us from her class and intellectual snobbery (“your average PlayStation-addicted UBI recipient”).

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

I see no snobbery in “Ms Harrington.”
Realism is perhaps the word that you should be looking for.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

The reality of poverty perhaps? -But no, I was forgetting. That’s other people’s reality, so doesn’t count.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

Last edited 1 year ago by polidori redux
Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

The reality of poverty perhaps? -But no, I was forgetting. That’s other people’s reality, so doesn’t count.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

I agree this piece is far too much assertion and far too little interest in the evidence available. And yes, the quote you use made very clear just how Harrington sees poor people. She should remember the aphorism of Pythagoras: ‘Anything that can happen in this world, can happen to you.’

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

She was referring to a stereotype, not accusing.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

She was referring to a stereotype, not accusing.

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

I’d love to see links to those trials.

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

I remembered some vaguely, but googled “UBI trials international” to be sure.

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago
Reply to  J Hop

I remembered some vaguely, but googled “UBI trials international” to be sure.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

I see no snobbery in “Ms Harrington.”
Realism is perhaps the word that you should be looking for.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

I agree this piece is far too much assertion and far too little interest in the evidence available. And yes, the quote you use made very clear just how Harrington sees poor people. She should remember the aphorism of Pythagoras: ‘Anything that can happen in this world, can happen to you.’

J Hop
J Hop
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Wilkes

I’d love to see links to those trials.

Geoff Wilkes
Geoff Wilkes
1 year ago

Trials of UBI have already taken place in several countries. Perhaps Ms Harrington should have looked at them, rather than just imagining stuff, and quoting a “futurist.” That might have saved us from her class and intellectual snobbery (“your average PlayStation-addicted UBI recipient”).