donderdag 24 september 2015

Basic Income

At the time – thirty years ago – I would have been helped with a Basic Income, I think. In fact, I was quite desperate then about my ability to earn a living. And then people could say: it’s all not about what you have or what you earn but about what you are. But that sounds sincere only if the funds are delivered with it. And that’s exactly what a basic income does.

So if I call myself a supporter of the introduction of a basic income, I have my own motives.  They don’t, for example, include, as is the case with other supporters, the pursuit of greater equality. I think that’s definitely worth pursuing, but the introduction of a basic income would not help achieving that goal. Because the one person would regard his basic income as no more than a small beginning, and he would, working hard or not, strive to add a substantial supplement. The other would be satisfied with it and devote his time to art or lounging or gardening. On balance, you keep big differences this way.

Neither, in my view, the basic income would be an answer to the take-over by robots, ie the displacement of human labor by robots and computers, as announced by some authors. Because other experts in their turn believe that we are going to have laborshortage on a large scale in the West, an argument that is currently playing a role in the mass admission of migrants.

Indeed, as to me it would be about the possibility to save a inner self that is not fully exploitable. That one does not have, as the liturgy of the Jewish High Holidays says so beautifully, “to sell your soul for bread”. You could make the choice of the poet Mustafa Stitou: “Most of all I would like to read, think, write all day about what it is ... I almost wanted to say: to be human ... but I mean: to be thís man”.

In an interview Stitou tells about the tricks he has to perform to maintain that space for himself. That he does not have a family to support and anyway has few needs, but that yet he time and again has to account for his choice. Perhaps a basic income is exactly that: a break with the economistic thinking which lies behind this accountability pressure.

Also see The dominant economy