16 Basic Income
Two looming specters threaten to obliterate the middle class: unprecedented wealth inequality, and automation. If we want to survive a technocratic future, we need to solve for these. One idea is universal basic income (UBI), a guaranteed paycheck — whether you're employed or not — issued with no strings attached. The idea is that most people (especially the working poor) would spend it on housing and food, and that job insecurity would never compromise basic needs. It's the one social safety net to rule them all. This could alleviate the stress of poverty for some, and free middle class people from the drudgery of unfulfilling jobs. We have enough money in our economies to do it. But should we? And would people actually want to stop working if their rent was guaranteed? Do humans really need jobs to feel a sense of purpose, even if those jobs are awful? And could UBI kickstart an entirely new economy full of passion projects and small businesses with room to flourish?