Hold on now. While I agree that we may need to develop new ways to give people a sense of purpose, where the heck does this idea come from that lots of people will spontaneously decide to become criminals? (Edit: or that being a criminal pays fantastically well?)

Not that $20,000 is a practical UBI amount. Achieving that level of funding would be extremely difficult under current conditions, even if there were no political opposition to it. Also, many, many people (including me, to a certain extent) worry that people will stop working if you give them free money. $20,000 is plenty good enough for a cushy life in many places, especially if we add an allowance to help raise children, so why bother getting a job?

UBI is a risk-mitigation measure. Its main purpose is to make sure you don’t starve for freeze to death when you don’t have a job, and its secondary purpose is to free you from worrying about losing your job. It doesn’t need to be $20,000 to accomplish that, and even $10,000 is more than necessary in places with a reasonable cost of living (I always propose UBI be paired with a program to pay for moving expenses so people without jobs can move out of high-cost areas.)

The jobs will not all disappear — at least some new jobs will appear in place of the old ones, and UBI will allow people to work less than 40 hours a week, which will spread the remaining work over more people. Consequently it’s important that the UBI is not so large that people decide en masse not to work.

We expect there’s a sweet spot somewhere: obviously $100/month won’t eliminate the incentive to work, and $2000/month will for lots of people. Somewhere in between lies the right amount.

Fighting for a better world and against dark epistemology.

Fighting for a better world and against dark epistemology.