Universal Income

People often grumble about “socialism” without really understanding capitalism, either, so here’s a little thought experiment. If every adult in the US was given $2000/mo for the rest of their lives, what would actually happen?

$2000/mo is more than some of the working poor make, even with working multiple jobs. Their status in life would definitely be improved, at least in the short term. But what about yours?

For me, I make more than this, but what impact would $4000/mo, between my wife and I, have? For this thought experiment, I’m going to also assume that universal healthcare is also part of this package, so the stress of being one illness away from financial ruin is taken away as well.

The most obvious result is that I don’t have to worry about rent and other basic needs being met for myself and my family, therefore I don’t have to make what I do from my job. With tightened belts, I probably wouldn’t have to work at all if I didn’t want to. Which would be extremely tempting, but not entirely likely. I’m good at what I do, and work for a great employer, but I would likely quit to become self-employed so that I could set my own hours, spending more time with the family.

What would I do? I’d likely involve myself more in creative endeavors. I love music, but don’t have time to practice as much as I should, and could definitely not make a living at it right now. But with basic needs met, I don’t have to worry about making a living at it, as long as I make something. So doing it regularly would mean getting better at it, which would mean being able to make more at it. Same thing with writing. I don’t write because I can’t make a living at it right away, but without that concern, if I make a little, it’s enough to keep doing it, thus getting better at it, leading to the ability to make more at it.

I suspect a lot of other people are in a similar situation. Imagine a world where everyone could pursue their passion instead of being stuck doing something that they’re good at, but is just a daily grind for them. Is that really such a bad thing?