I think every person on the planet has a right to a Basic Universal Income, which is a set amount of money provided to a citizen purely as part of their basic right to existence.
In our current economic model, one motto exists: Work or Starve. To say this is outdated would be an understatement. First and foremost, there exists enough resources to clothe and feed and shelter every single person in the world – only we have all been fooled into the monetary system, equating papers and bits of metal with wealth. Thus, we must be “productive” in order to survive, and use the particular tokens we receive from a job to pay for our daily needs.
Seeing as automatons are predicated to replace up to half of all jobs in the next twenty years, leaving millions of people out of work, we need something to ensure great portions of the population are left on the streets, or clogging up often poorly-designed welfare systems.
Now, the Basic Universal Income does not propose handing out exorbitant amounts of money to people. Instead, it is a low, limited allowance, such as $10,000 per annum, that just allows the recipient to survive. It might only allow them to live on beans and vegetables, and share the rent with other people, but it means without a job, all citizens will not starve, or end up on the streets. Based on our current wealth levels, it is feasible to grant every citizen $10,000 (or whatever is the equivalent, depending on the living costs of the particular country), especially if you remove other costs as a result of not everyone having to work to survive i.e. roads, public transport.
Opponents of implementing this economic system have put up many arguments, the most prominent of which is: If you give people free money, then won’t the entire human species, without the incentive of money to get them moving, spend their time lazing about, doing nothing productive whatsoever? And the answer is: No. Sure, perhaps 10% of the human population will become slackers, who do nothing; but those people, even whilst employed, would probably have contributed very little to the productive sum of humanity.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world will actually become more productive. With fear taken out of the equation, people can devote their time to pursuits that truly interest them, and they are passionate about. Think of the art, the inventions and the technologies, that might sprout forth, once human ingenuity is allowed free reign without having to worry about food or rent! Medical researchers could devote their time to studying various diseases and having to combat them, without having to worry excessively about funding; artists could work on their creations without having to worry whether they will get kicked out onto the streets; homelessness would be eradicated; those with disabilities do not have to wade through the red-tape inherent in welfare agencies; the benefits are endless.
What is more, there will still be many of the jobs we have today, such as paramedics and doctors – because there will always be people who want to live above the poverty line, and eat better fare than rice and beans, who want to buy their own homes and go on holidays. There will always be people who are passionate about surgery, or cooking. It is not as if all restaurants and medical clinics will disappear, the streets morphing into ghost towns – most people will still want to get an education and jobs so they can supplement their meager basic allowance. Introducing the Basic Universal Income will simply provide all humans the opportunity to be more creative and adventurous in the absence of a guillotine of starvation or homelessness hanging over their necks, whilst not compromising existing, necessary occupations.
I am just one person, in a pool of thousands across the world, who have jumped onto this bandwagon. I am certain it will happen in the future, especially when robots are able to replace humans in nearly every occupation (think Baymax from Hero 6, the inflatable first-aid Bot), allowing people to work fewer hours, freeing up their time to work on what truly matters to them rather than just for a paycheck.
Our current economic model creates too much suffering, and inequality; it is about time there was a change. Every human has the right to survive – why should millions die in one country because they are cannot afford food whilst others on the other side of the world throw tons of food down the bins each year, simply due to what family or part of the world they were born in? It is not just about freedom, or allowing people to chase their dreams, but also equality: providing every human being the right to exist, to expand and grow, without their lives being cut off short by an arbitrary monetary system.
Here’s to a New Revolution.