Universal Basic Income: Why did the idea spread in 2020?


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Jason Ghionis, June 13, 2020. Original article published on May 30, 2020.

Saturday, May 30, 2082

Early in the 21st century, the global economy came close to collapse. Financial institutions and markets were out of control. The systemic media kept on repeating the term "trickle-down-economics", which meant "we give to the haves, and they in turn funnel it to the have-nots." People were distrustful and rightly so. Trickle-down-economics failed miserably.

In 2020, during the outbreak of a global pandemic, the same media and several billionaires sided in favour of a "universal basic income." A noble idea, based on the principle that every human by right of birth is entitled to a dignified standard of living.

The people, who felt that they had been deceived during the previous crisis, were distrustful. Conspirany theories abounded. At the same time, many, predominantly prosperous elders, started fighting the idea vehemently, fearing it would cause inflation, thus reducing the value of their fortunes which they were planning on taking with them to the grave.

The explanation of why the idea spread at that point in time, however, was simpler. The economic system back then, was based on hyper-consumption, as far-fetched as this may appear to us today. People, while highly-indebted, kept on losing jobs and incomes due to automation and far more rapidly at that time, due to the pandemic. If they lost their capacity to over-consume, the economy would collapse. The losers' ranks then, would include those that benefited most from this system.

The pandemic simply accelerated the application of an idea that was to be implemented anyway, out of sheer economic necessity.

At once, the proponents of righteousness brought to the fore the systemic injustice of large companies not paying their fair share in taxes, including among others, mass polluters and producers of genetically modified foods. Universal Basic Income was eventually adopted and funded to a great degree by their taxation. In doing so, however, the people's dependency on entities of mass environmental degradation increased.

While striving for what was "good", "ideal" and "just", due to oversight, flawed motives, or plain foolishness, the only thing our ancestors succeeded in doing, was to accelerate a course in the opposite direction. They were deluded in thinking that they knew before-hand, precisely how to implement that which was right.

The idea itself was not to blame. It is worthy, as we well know today. The way in which they attempted to implement it though, threatened to blow everything apart.