Date: 2017-06-05 05:34 pm (UTC)
johnpalmer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] johnpalmer
A guaranteed basic income was one of the ideas that Heinlein entertained, in point of fact. He heard from an economist that, basically, bringing a product to market *never* creates enough wealth to buy all of the product, and so he posited a future US government that took all the wealth produced in the nation, minus money brought in, and gave each citizen a share sufficient to buy up the excess production. This was enough to live on, if a person was frugal.

The main objection people raise is "why should people be able to live without working?" He had a time-traveler to ask that question, and the traveler was asked "well, didn't people in your day sometimes get by without work?" Well, sure, the children of the wealthy could....

Well, that was the point. We are all descendants of extreme wealth. Technology, and science, have led to a situation where wealth is created so easily that we're all wealthy - if those gains are distributed fairly. In some ways, Heinlein's fictional society was ideal. No unions - no one would do a job they thought was too nasty (unless paid enough to tempt them) or too dangerous (ever!) because they could always walk away. People did work - both, as you say, to have something to do, and because they wanted real rewards.

And you know, anyone competent who considers the question knows full well that people work harder for a reward than they do to avoid punishment. But the GOP still works on the idea that "work hard, or starve/freeze/sicken" is best. And that's because that's what the wealthy want. They don't want to have to muck around making jobs safe, and not too unpleasant. They want people who have no choice. And it's a damnfool idea... but it works in the short term, so people keep doing it.
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