I’m an open proponent of a universal basic income (UBI). I posted on that yesterday on Facebook, when I learned that the U.S. Department of Commerce reported that jobless claims fell for the month of November.
For me, a drop or a rise in jobless claims means very little. The entire system, as we now know it, assumes that mere job growth is a great thing; that our contributions to the GDP are of the utmost importance.
But, as I pointed out in my post, not every job is a good job—one that benefits the whole person, one that benefits society, one that makes a life worth living. Mere job growth, then, is a pretty strange standard for judging how well we are doing as a nation.
A friend of mine retorted on Facebook that forward-thinking businesses hire smart people and tell them to find something interesting to do. While this is a great idea in some ways, it misses a few things, too.
Why only hire “talented” or “smart” people? What is the criteria for this, anyway? That they attended an Ivy League university? That they scored well on the GRE? That they are a member (like me) of an academic honor society?
Why only reward “the talented” with doing what they’d like to do? Why not reward everyone?
I replied to my friend, in essence, that not many companies would hire you to just stop and smell the roses. A UBI, however, would do that. It would also reward everyone—“talented” or not–and allow everyone to develop as many and as interesting skills as they like.
It’s time to seriously consider a UBI for these reasons and more.