TO THE EDITOR:
In “Give Everyone Money,” Claude Wilson makes a claim at the end of his column that is a lot more dangerous than it seems.
First of all, the idea that a Universal Basic Income could ever fit into a capitalist economy is an extremely tough stretch. It’s against the basic ideas of individuality and freedom that are fundamental to capitalism. Although the claim of a UBI is that it promotes the freedom to do whatever you want theoretically, that is not what capitalism is based around. Capitalism promotes the opportunity to pursue an income that will allow said individual to spend how they want.
To give everyone the same amount of basic income does not promote a pursuit of “more;” it promotes an idea that you’ve already got enough.
Secondly, and most importantly, Wilson makes the claim that we must consider a UBI because of a threat of social unrest, likened to the French Revolution.
The idea that those who have earned, unlike the French nobility, a higher income should feel inclined to join the cause of a UBI because citizens who don’t have as much money will become increasingly violent is a dangerous ideology. This leans toward an idea of achieving “good” by force, which Ayn Rand likens to “providing a man with a picture gallery at the price of cutting out his eyes.”
Simply put, no matter if there is room for a Universal Basic Income in capitalism or not, achieving it by threats of violence is uneducated and ridiculous.