Free money for everyone, says economist Rutger Bregman.

Free money for everyone. That’s the tagline of this ballsy TEDx speaker. This talk is a pretty radical new look at how to do things concerning money and poverty. He thinks we should give free money to everyone.

Watch it here.

In the talk, we learn that Nixon almost implemented this in the 70s. Economists (including Milton Friedman, seriously conservative) think it would be a good idea to do so. Why hasn’t this happened yet? Hell if I know. Some people think it’s a conspiracy.

Strangely, what do MLK Jr, Napoleon, and Friedrich Hayek have in common? All of them advocated a basic minimum income to eradicate poverty. Jesus would have probably backed it, too, even if Evangelicals might not agree.

He mentions a couple common objections near the end:

Objection 1.) people are lazy and won’t do anything if they are paid a minimum income

Objection 2.) It’s too expensive.

He makes references to other experiments and references. I looked a couple up:

Thomas Paine wrote an essay defending a basic income for everyone. It’s called the Citizen’s dividend.

The town of Dauphin, Manitoba tried a 5-year experiment whose purpose was:

“to determine whether a guaranteed, unconditional annual income caused disincentive to work for the recipients, and how great such a disincentive would be.

It allowed every family unit to receive a minimum cash benefit. The results showed a modest impact on labor markets, with working hours dropping one percent for men, three percent for married women, and five percent for unmarried women.[1]However, some have argued these drops may be artificially low because participants knew the guaranteed income was temporary.[2] These decreases in hours worked may be seen as offset by the opportunity cost of more time for family and education. Mothers spent more time rearing newborns, and the educational impacts are regarded as a success. Students in these families showed higher test scores and lower dropout rates. There was also an increase in adults continuing education.[3][4]

A final report was never issued, but Dr. Evelyn Forget (/fɔrˈʒ/) conducted an analysis of the program in 2009 which was published in 2011.[4][5] She found that only new mothers and teenagers worked substantially less. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies, and teenagers worked less because they weren’t under as much pressure to support their families, which resulted in more teenagers graduating.

In addition, those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did. Forget found that in the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 percent, with fewer incidents of work-related injuries, and fewer emergency room visits from car accidents and domestic abuse.[6] Additionally, the period saw a reduction in rates of psychiatric hospitalization, and in the number of mental illness-related consultations with health professionals.[7][8]” -Wikipedia entry for Mincome.

Bolding is mine. So people don’t turn into lazy bastards when you give them a steady income. They keep working. This jives with my own experience. I am miserable when I don’t have a job. I, myself, am looking for one now, and doing this blog/t-shirt gig as my job until I am gainfully employed.

Be well, Popperites.

-David

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