Sunday, October 30, 2016

A debate over basic income

Will Wilkinson

Many of Robert Anton Wilson's pieces in favor of a basic income were written at a time when the notion was a radical idea, being considered by almost nobody else. Now it's an idea that being discussed widely; I spent this morning reading pieces about it.

Tyler Cowen has written about it again with "My Second Thoughts About Universal Basic Income."  Negative thoughts about the proposal also are available in this essay.

In response to Cowen's piece, Arnold Kling and Will Wilkinson have written rebuttals. Wilkinson has promised a follow-up piece, which I hope he will post soon.

I get Cowen's point that a work ethic is important, but as Wilkinson and Kling point out, UBI is generally considered an alternative to the existing welfare system, which also has disincentives to work. It seems to me that a basic income could promote work, if it made it easier to take a low-paying job.


chas said...

I find that the less I rely on any particular activity to support me, the more free and creative I can be in regard to that activity. I also find that if I don't have anything eating up all of my time in order to support myself, I am also much more free and creative. These little areas of freedom and creativity then often lead to new areas where I actually do bring in income and lead to productive interactions with society.

Manic The Doodler said...

I just happened to stumble upon this little article earlier today:

Psuke said...

The idea that people should "work for a living" becomes increasingly ridiculous in an age when more and more work is being automated. Also, there is a strong disinclination to "work" when those who do actually labor for a living can have their jobs, wages and savings yanked by people who sit on their butts and mess with interest rates and the like. ANd who make more in a week than a laborer does in a year.

This concept of work-ethic is Victorian puritanism and it needs to die, already.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

@charles I know that if I had more time and energy, I would put more time into this blog and related endeavors.