Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. Blog, Internet resources, online reading groups, articles and interviews, Illuminatus! info.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A basic income guarantee

Robert Anton Wilson advocated giving everyone in the U.S. a guarantee of a basic income (in "The RICH Economy" in The Illuminati Papers, probably in some other places that don't immediately come to mind.) I've been intrigued by the concept but haven't found a really good discussion of the idea.

So I'm grateful to Michael Johnson for taking up the topic on his blog, in a posting entitled, "Missing Public Discussions: Universal Basic Income." Aside from his own comments on the subject, and from his discussion with the estimable Sue Howard in the comments, credit Michael for discovering a European philosopher, Philippe Van Parijs, who has thought and written extensively on the topic. Michael links to several pieces; my favorite was an essay, "A Basic Income for All," where Van Parijis discusses his ideas. Van Parijis also has written an entire book on the topic, Real Freedom for All, which I intend to track down and read.

A small minority of libertarian folks mostly go along with the libertarian program, but also favor social justice/a safety net/parts of the welfare state. Those folks are variously called "liberaltarians" or "left-libertarians" or "neoclassical liberals" or "classical liberals." I am (more or less) one of those folks. It's a good way to be alienated from just about any recognizable political movements; the "liberals" don't like you because you are too libertarian, while the "libertarians" don't like you because you favor letting the government help poor people. I think a few people at Cato and Reason may be closet liberaltarians; Will Wilkinson, formerly of Cato, came out the closet and was duly eased out of the organization.

Anyway, nobody cares what I think, but here are some thoughts, anyway (1) A basic income guarantee, coupled with a universal health care system, would provide a reasonable safety net. (2) Almost everyone would be better off, except for an army of bureaucrats who would lose their jobs, if all of the various components of the welfare state, such as Social Security, food stamps, temporary assistance for needy families, vouchers for farmers markets (yes, there is such a program) and so on were eliminated, replaced with a basic income guarantee that covered everyone, and (3) Almost everyone also would be better off if Medicaid, Medicare, Army hospitals, Indian hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Care Centers, etc. etc., were all eliminated and similarly replaced by a universal health care that covered everyone and followed one set of rules. I'll add that anyone who insists that such a system must be funded by the government and run by government employees, as it is in Britain, doesn't know enough about the subject to express an informed opinion.


Chris Tucker said...

i see this as a delightful and interesting paradox in RAW's thought. from my understanding of libertarianism, libertarians wouldn't support the idea of a basic income guarantee.

i'm inclined to think there should only be a guaranteed income. have all our needs met and then pursue our various endevours in the spirit of willing participation and innovation. i don't believe that greed or money motivates anyone to do much good yet that even the laziest of us want to contribute to some degree.

adam curtis (whose documentaries are all worth watching especially as they take a fairly critical look at a lot of the ideas that RAW supported) presents the case of the guy who developed the vaccine for polio who was a doctor and could have stood to make a lot of money off a patent, gave it away freely with the logic that he made enough money from his practice...and humanity benefited as a result. nowsadays the idea of "enough money" doesn't exist.

actually i think that's the fundamental shift required in economic thinking: from economies of scarcity, not to economies of abundance but to that of sufficiency. (see lynne twist, the soul of money for more on that)

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. You are right that most libertarians would not endorse the concept, but the liberaltarians I mentioned in the blog post, if not a huge group, are a recognizable one. Self-described libertarians are a pretty varied group.

Today's "sufficiency" in many ways is better than what the very rich had 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago.

Chris Tucker said...

I realized after I posted it that the idea of not only a minimum income but also a maximum income might strike some people as going too far (especially perhaps americans). This idea seems worthy to me mostly out of the writings of Howard Zinn especially an article he wrote called "On Rewarding People for Talents and Hard Work"

agent smith said...

JOIN THE ILLUMINATI CALL+2348140033827 OR info.

JOIN THE ILLUMINATI FROM NIGERIA, USA, OR ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD TODAY BE RICH, FAME, AND POSSES us on info. OR call us on +2348140033827 for immediate initiation New members registration is now open online now !!!!!


A Cash Reward of USD $300,000 USD
A New Sleek Dream CAR valued at USD $120,000 USD
A Dream House bought in the country of your own choice
One Month holiday (fully paid) to your dream tourist destination.
One year Golf Membership package
A V.I.P treatment in all Airports in the World
A total Lifestyle change
Access to Bohemian Grove
Monthly payment of $1,000,000 USD into your bank account every month as a member
One Month booked Appointment with Top 5 world Leaders and Top 5 Celebrities in the World.

If you are interested call the agent now +2348140033827 or send your e-mail to for immediately initiation.New members registration is now open online

Unknown said...

michael kors handbags
marc jacobs handbags
puma outlet store
pandora outlet
los angeles clippers jerseys
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet
nike roshe
san antonio spurs jerseys
true religion
jordan shoes
the north face outlet store
stuart weitzman boots
cheap nfl jerseys
kate spade outlet
green bay packers jerseys
ray ban sunglasses
hollister clothing
chanel outlet
michael kors uk
mcm backpack
cheap ray ban sunglasses
barcelona jersey
kate spade outlet
jordan 4 retro
cheap jordans
christian louboutin shoes
ralph lauren outlet online
oakley sunglasses
chicago blackhawks jersey
chelsea jersey
louis vuitton outlet
insanity max 30
oakley outlet
zheng123 7.18

Fangyaya said...

ray ban sunglasses
christian louboutin pas cher
ralph lauren polo shirts
toms shoes
louis vuitton handbags
jordan 3 white cenment
ralph lauren outlet
louis vuitton handbags
michael kors handbags
ugg boots
louis vuitton outlet
tods outlet online
burberry outlet
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors outlet online
cheap ray ban sunglasses
roshe run
louis vuitton canada
louis vuitton purses
christian louboutin paris
vans shoes sale
coach factory outlet
kobe bryant shoes
louis vuitton outlet
fitflops sale clearance
mlb jerseys
designer handbags
fitflops uk
canada goose