The involuntary work system is just as damaging to our freedom as if we were behind bars.
Everyone knows that in life you have to work. But you shouldn't be forced to work for a bunch of parasites while being under-paid, under-appreciated and over-exploited at every turn.
The ultimate answer to ending the forced labour system is providing every global citizen with a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI). With a basic living income everyone would be able to meet their needs. People would be less susceptible to exploitation and forced labour just to survive.
Such a bold move would improve life for the vast majority of humans. Freed from mind-numbing jobs simply to survive, people would be able to follow their passions.
Some worry about what would happen if people "didn't have to work". Would we know what to do? Of course we would. How about: raise children, grow food, volunteer in the community, make music, build things, teach, learn, read, and take naps for starters?
Some people would choose to continue to work. They would get the GAI in addition to being paid for the work they choose to do. Those that take this option might like to start cooperative businesses where they have a say in decision making, and a share of the profits.
For example, Mondragon, Spain has a 50 year old network of cooperative businesses with 84,000 employees and 25 billion dollars in annual revenues. This region has the lowest unemployment in the country.
With a GAI, some people might choose to shift from full time to part time work, and others may leave paid work altogether in favour of spending their time honouring different priorities.
Imagine the innate creative impulse that we all possess unleashed in such a supportive environment. It would mark a major shift in human development and progress as we made the time to improve ourselves, and the world.
There is more than enough money in the world to make this happen, with lots left over for those who feel the continued need to hoard it. As a matter of fact, a GAI has been shown to save money overall.
Let's end wage slavery, take care of everyone's needs, save money and unleash humanity's creative potential on our many pressing global challenges.
“I am now convinced that the simplest solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income. A host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from wide-spread economic security.”
- Rev . Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Imagine being born and society telling you 'Welcome, you will be cared for', and then asks you what you want to do with your life, asks, 'what is your calling?'
Imagine that feeling - that’s a whole different atmosphere “
– Daniel Straub, Co-founder, Basic Income Initiative
Edit: This is an idea whose time has come. Since writing this post I have seen numerous recent articles about GAI. Support is coming from both ends of the political spectrum.
- The Guardian
"The “unconditional basic income” has a long history in economic thinking, with proponents on both the left and the right. For conservatives it is a way of radically cutting the administrative costs of means-tested benefits, and subsidising low-paid work. For those on the left, who embraced it after the 1960s, it is seen as a way to alleviate inequality."
- Basic Income News
"...the Institute released a poll conducted by GBA Strategies amongst likely voters which stated that 59% were supportive of a minimum guaranteed income. The full question read ‘Close loopholes that allow corporations and millionaires to pay less taxes than ordinary Americans, and use the money to expand Social Security to Americans of all ages, so that everyone has a guaranteed minimum income.’"
"In any case, if the economy becomes more precarious and task-based then the yearning for job security and stability will become an increasingly popular sentiment, opening the door for a ready-made discrete solution – the universal basic income (UBI).
With a UBI the volatility and anxiety of task-based employment would be complimented with the security and peace of mind of knowing that no matter how the dice roll in a given month you and your family won’t go hungry or be sleeping on the streets. With those basic needs guaranteed by social security for all businesses will have no problem finding able, healthy, and content workers nor will the nation’s workforce spend their days (as) terrified by and enslaved to the 1%."
- The Tyee
"Charles Lammam, the think tank's associate director of tax and fiscal policy said "there is some appeal" to the idea of a guaranteed annual income."
Hmm, even The Canadian right wing Fraser Institute's Lammam is getting in on it.
However, Mr. Lammam thinks that switching over from our flawed welfare system would be too hard so lets keep on doing what we are doing, even if it isn't working. Because it is easier for the system to do nothing and continue to reap the rewards.