Tag Archives: Universal Basic Income

UBI and the Road to Serfdom, by David Gordon

Nothing is ever “free” from the government, especially “free” money. From David Gordon at mises.org:

Many people think that a universal basic income (UBI) would be a good substitute for the welfare state. Under this proposal, each person resident in a country would receive a guaranteed income, sufficient to live at a modest level. People would get the money unconditionally. Unlike welfare payments, the UBI would not be lessened if people earned money in addition to the amount it provided, and, because it is not means tested—absolutely everyone gets it, even billionaires—it requires no complex bureaucracy to administer.

The UBI would cost a great deal of money, but its defenders claim that since it is a substitute for the welfare state, we would also save the vast amounts of money now required for financing welfare programs. Further, if our economy continues to grow, at some point the UBI will become affordable. Charles Murray, for example, in a short book published a number of years ago, says of his version of the UBI, “I began this thought experiment by asking you to ignore that the Plan was politically impossible today. I end proposing that something like the Plan is politically inevitable—not next year, but sometime…. Real per capita GNP has grown with remarkable fidelity to an exponential growth equation for more than a century” (In Our Hands, AEI Press, 2006, p. 125).

The critics of the UBI aren’t convinced and still claim the program would be too costly to implement. In a recent book, Universal Basic Income – For and Against (Rational Rise Press, 2019). Antony Sammeroff offers a very able account of this controversy and many other issues connected with the UBI. He gives an especially good analysis of the argument that automation is liable to make so many people unemployable that a UBI will be needed to provide for them. But what I’d like to discuss this week is another argument that Sammeroff deploys to great effect against the UBI.

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Fedcoin: A New Scheme for Tyranny and Poverty, by Ron Paul

Couple a Federal Reserve cryptocurrency with a government issued universal basic income and you do indeed have a recipe for both tyranny and poverty. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

If some Congress members get their way, the Federal Reserve may soon be able to track many of your purchases in real time and share that information with government agencies. This is just one of the problems with the proposed “digital dollar” or “fedcoin.”

Fedcoin was initially included in the first coronavirus spending bill. While the proposal was dropped from the final version of the bill, there is still great interest in fedcoin on Capitol Hill. Some progressives have embraced fedcoin as a way to provide Americans with a “universal basic income.”

Both the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee held hearings on fedcoin in June. This is the first step toward making fedcoin a reality.

Fedcoin would not be an actual coin. Instead, it would be a special account created and maintained for each American by the Federal Reserve. Each month, Fed employees could tap a few keys on a computer and — bingo — each American would have dollars added to his Federal Reserve account. This is the 21st century equivalent of throwing money from helicopters.

Fedcoin could effect private cryptocurrencies. Also, it would limit the ability of private citizens to protect themselves from the Federal Reserve-caused decline in the dollar’s value.

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Doug Casey on Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income is an idea whose time will never come as long as humans remain humans. From Doug Casey at caseyresearch.com:

Justin’s note: It’s time for a universal basic income (UBI).

At least, that’s what Mark Zuckerberg thinks.

Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of social media giant Facebook. Last week, he spoke in favor of a universal basic income while delivering the commencement speech at Harvard’s graduation ceremony.

According to Zuckerberg, this generation owes a UBI to society:

Every generation expands its definition of equality, now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract. We should have a society that measures progress, not by economics metrics like GDP, but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like Universal Basic Income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.

A UBI would have serious ramifications for society.

After reading about this, I wanted to get Doug Casey’s take on the matter. Below is a transcript of our conversation…


Justin: Doug, what do you make of Zuckerberg’s suggestion? Is it time for a UBI?

Doug: It’s incredibly stupid from absolutely every point of view. He makes statements like “every generation expands its definition of equality,” as if it was a fact. Which it’s not. And as if it’s a good thing, which it’s not. He talks of “a new social contract”—which is code for somebody on high telling you what to do.

If “society”—whoever that’s supposed to be—were to push for any values, equality shouldn’t be among them. Equality only exists before the law. People are unique, and therefore naturally unequal. We’re not like ants or blades of grass. Equality is not only impossible, it’s not even desirable. A proper goal to strive for is freedom, which is possible and desirable.

These people don’t seem to compute that no one has a right to anything just because they exist.

To continue reading: Doug Casey on Universal Basic Income