I don’t think that basic income is ever going to work in America without a holistic approach.
Graphics and mental models like this make my blood boil. Search “welfare funny” and you’ll find a slew of images like this. They get worse.
Oftentimes in society, we present one solution that “rationally” would lead to a decrease in undesired behavior. But the opposite happens. Why? Because it’s only rational to us from our perspective. And decisionmakers love to avoid speaking with and learning from the stakeholders that matter. For example, low income people do not buy fewer lotto tickets. Why? Because gambling and dreaming create addiction to dopamine. It’s really fucking hard to break a feedback loop in your brain…. a habit. Same with cigarettes. Let’s tax the hell out of cigarettes so poor people won’t be able to rationalize buying them. This doesn’t work either, as cigarettes are insanely addictive, often attached to strong memories and feedback loops, and worst of all, a habit. In fact, the skulls, crossbones, and horrific imagery on packs in other countries have been proven to have little effect on reducing smoking. And all we have is a written warning from the Surgeon General. Who the hell is a surgeon general?
What habits do you have that you’ve found impossible to break? Have you tried rationalizing it away? BE GRATEFUL if one of your habits isn’t smoking. Or eating fast food. Or buying lotto tickets. You may think that you had just as much of an opportunity to become a smoker as anyone else, but reality begs to differ. And Seattle, dear Seattle. We just voted in a soda tax. Let’s just get it over with and steal people’s houses and throw them in the streets. Cause in 2005, we made it legal nationally.
What I’ve described doesn’t do the systemic oppression monster justice. But it must do for now. It is worse than you or I can imagine.
This is a country of dichotomies and extremes, as reflected in American morality and our political parties. Why? Because there’s dopamine in having a stance, especially a staunch one. The result? We’re a country that runs on being right. But I digress.
In the case of basic income, we’d be swinging from one extreme to another. So, it’s no surprise that after treating people like they are undeserving of anything, including an education, we want to throw money at them without any tools. This is a great example of another “great experiment” that is doomed to succeed at increasing systemic oppression. You heard that right. You see, the desired outcome is not what you think. We’ll yet again be able to “prove” that certain humans are untrustworthy. We gave them a bunch of money, and they screwed it up, so they’re subhuman. Just like they did with welfare, social services, and nonprofit support (which, by the way, is another thing that’s being threatened by our current administration). It sounds crazy, but we’ve done stuff like this before.
I’m sure we already have the answers on what specifically to do for the development and motivators. Unrelated but translatable pilots have been conducted all over the world. They just need to be combined into an experiment for testing, including structures that provide flexibility for adaptation to locales. This is the easy part. The hard part is making it reality.
Because at the moment, we aren’t even giving universal income a fair chance even in “rich” countries. In fact, our society and world sees universal basic income as a publicity stunt. How disgusting.