What is Basic Income?
Imagine a world where your basic needs are met, simply because you are born, and because you do what you do. You have the right to shelter, food, and basic hygiene because you are a citizen of Earth. Now this might sound strange, and perhaps unfeasible given the structure of society many of us have been born into. I know that for myself that I was always told “You have to work hard in this world to make it. You have to get a job, and you will probably struggle.” The absolute worst phrase in my opinion is “THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS”. It makes me feel powerless, like I have no control of the circumstances of my life, and that I am bound to be a slave to a society structured to benefit mainly the wealthiest people.
My own experience has led me to the conclusion that all of this is truly non-sense, and that in the beautiful, abundant world that we exist in, there is most definitely another way.
Scott Santens, one of the most amazing promoters of the Basic Income movement has written so much quality information about how basic income could work. He addresses thoughts like:
- Won’t everyone just get lazy and the world lose all productivity?
- Won’t all the drug addicts and alcoholics just keep buying substances?
- Welfare doesn’t work. Why should basic income?
- So many more
This article is about a slightly different perspective, so for now here is the link to learn more from his writings directly (which I definitely recommend).
Advertising and UBI
So how could emerging technologies such as blockchains facilitate the process of basic income? What are the obstacles to be worked through?
Well, I have this theory that everyone, by being alive, is actually already creating the value to provide for their own basic income. Wait, what? The “lazy hippees” just sitting around making art and smoking pot who don’t have a job are creating value for society and themselves? YES (and maybe everyone just doesn’t understand what it is that the “lazy hippee” is actually doing).
I know. I sound crazy. But let’s think about it from a new angle, the most prevalent being advertising. In the case of a Colorado stoner, sitting around doing dabs and eating Cheetos, that person is actually a walking consumer and creator of advertisements, everywhere they go.
Their stoned friends see the bag of Cheetos, and naturally, want some also. You are telling me that that person did not just do Cheetos a service by sharing the product with their friends? On Google AdWords people pay multiple dollars per click for that sort of stuff.
Then the stoner reads a book and tells their homies about how awesome it was. Three friends go out and buy it, spending approximately $75. Doesn’t that initial reader doesn’t deserve another commission?
So let’s summarize here: By doing what it is that you naturally do, you are already creating value by sharing and participating in stuff with your friends. Even “mindlessly” watching TV is creating value, because the networks don’t function without viewers (they shared a bit about this in the show “Black Mirror Season 1 Episode 1”, but we can make it so it’s not so depressing).
What’s the problem then? In my opinion, the problem is how the revenue and earnings are recorded and distributed. Currently large corporations are capturing all of the revenue created by the people, which is unfair.
So, how can this be fixed? How can everyone get what they deserve? How can we distribute the creation of revenue in a way more suitable to everyone? Perhaps with blockchain technology.
What’s A Blockchain, and How Does it Help?
Let’s think of a database that is controlled by no one central party, and entries that are input can never be altered. The info that is input is always verifiable and transparent. Everyone can view the info and confirm it, with no restrictions.
The types of inputs can be essentially anything. So, let’s go back to the Cheetos-Stoner example. Our fellow human, has just acquired a bag of pot from one of Colorado’s finest dispensaries. He then stops by 7–11 to pick up his delicious orange crunchy snack. Now the blockchain records the purchase of the Cheetos. He goes to his friends house where his friend, also stoned, sees the Cheetos. He makes a quick note on the blockchain that the original guy incentivized him to go buy his own bag of Cheetos.
Once the new bag (maybe Flamin’ Hot Cheetos this time) is purchased, a portion of that transaction automatically gets distributed to the original purchaser. Now, everyone who participated in the transaction is included in the transaction, and no one is working for nothing.
Sure, this is a small example. But imagine this happening with everything, everywhere. Again, By being you, and sharing cool stuff with your friends, you can earn. But wait, is this actually basic income? We aren’t getting checks by doing literally nothing. In this case we are earning for doing what it is that we already do. By doing what we do, we should ultimately get what we need. So, yes I think this is a viable structure of basic income that everyone can understand and get on board with.
Obviously, we need to dive deeper. In Part 2, we will break down some protocols that are already making this concept come to life.
Thanks for reading!!