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Providing a basic income for all people, regardless of their merit to the society as a whole, is problematic. It's not enough to just hand over a couple hundred dollars to someone and say "have fun". We need to ensure everyone is getting the proper basic services, first.

I'm talking about shelter, food, water, and a basis for living comfortably. We have the resources to do this, today. We just don't have the distribution infrastructure. Money should be something you spend purely on things you want, not things you need.

Given that we built a distribution infrastructure of some kind to automatically and evenly distribute the total food resources of the country, we would see a dramatic change in how money is looked upon and how we use it. No longer will we require money, instead, money is something you earn and use for things you wish to do. We can focus all of our time and energy on furthering our technology, our minds, and the human race in general.




What you describe seems like the status quo system: the state distributes food and shelter to people directly (through food stamps and council housing). The idea of basic income is that it is much more efficient if the state redistributes _money_, and then everyone can buy food and shelter using money.


Given that we have no distribution system in place, it is true that if the state redistributes money, that is a more efficient way to go. However, you slightly missed my point. I'm not talking about a system that gives you vouchers. I'm talking about a system that gives you FOOD. This isn't food stamps, this is a system that lives outside of the economy. You don't pay for food, you don't have a "quota". Everything is centralized. Basically, this removes the need for brick and mortar grocery stores, and ends our dependence on large companies like Wal-Mart, et. al., to sell us our food.

We shouldn't need to buy food. That's the point.


It is absolutely reasonable, but its way easier to provide BI than to provide that infrastructure. Its cheaper, and allows people to have more freedom to pick between options.


There's some cases where basic services provided centrally at no cost make sense (though in many cases there is room for fairly endless debate over whether a basic services model or a basic income model where the services are purchased makes more sense.)

I think that you overstate the scope of things for which a basic services model is better; really, I think all of the things on your list are things where BI works better than basic services.


I agree. Meeting basic human needs through other means seems to be a necessary prerequisite to basic income.


I kindly disagree. I would prefer a system where a basic income is distributed (simply for the efficiency) and those that receive it are educated on how to spend it to meet their basic needs. This could be integrated into school curriculum, online courses, etc.


That makes sense, though I keep thinking about people who are (for various reasons) fundamentally non-rational actors. Those with mental illnesses or drug abuse issues, etc.


I think you'd find that drug abusers are much less likely to commit crimes once they have a steady flow of money. "Well now we're paying people to do drugs!" But we're doing that in the first place, through welfare and food stamps, etc. And if we don't pay enough, they steal. So in one instance we ignore the problem and it ends up costing us, in another instance we accept that there are people who are going to withhold contributing to society and we give them their check anyway because they'd just end up taking it.

As far as mental illness goes, that is an interesting problem I don't think GBI would solve. Sure you can give a schizophrenic person a check, but are they going to cash it? Or would you still have some sort of public facility for mentally disabled people? I would hope so.


Those are fair concerns. Mental illness is a serious problem as an estimated 1 in 4 adults suffers from some form of mental illness in a given year. Perhaps, those problems could be solved with conservatorships, better healthcare, and private services built around providing basic needs. The latter is done for free by volunteers in many cities already; Meals on Wheels, for example.




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