Discussion: Exploring Basic Income as a Pathway to Sustainability and Poverty Alleviation

A recent study explored the concept of basic income and its dual benefits: bolstering economies and addressing environmental degradation. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. The Concept of Basic Income (BI): BI involves regular, unconditional cash disbursements to either a segment or the entire population. This financial security can (theoretically) help reduce poverty and enhance social resilience.
  2. Economic and Environmental Impact: The study suggests that BI can stimulate economic growth by increasing GDP and reducing economic inequalities. It also highlights the potential of BI to support environmental conservation, citing examples like the reduction in deforestation rates in Indonesia and illegal hunting in Namibia.
  3. Funding Mechanisms: Implementing BI on a global scale is challenging, primarily due to the high costs. However, the study proposes innovative financing strategies, such as taxing CO2 emissions and repurposing environmentally harmful subsidies. These measures not only generate revenue but also encourage sustainable practices.
  4. Challenges and Solutions: While BI promises many benefits, its implementation faces hurdles like governance issues and potential negative social outcomes. However, evidence from existing programs (e.g., Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend) shows that these concerns can be managed effectively.

Let’s dive into these questions for our discussion:

  1. Feasibility: How realistic do you think it is to implement a universal basic income in your country or community? What are the potential barriers you foresee?
  2. Impact on Entrepreneurship: How do you think a guaranteed basic income would affect entrepreneurship and innovation within our community? Would it encourage more risk-taking and creative ventures?



From what I’ve seen so far, it seems that BI can provide a sense of financial safety which drives better behaviour and entrepreneurship. We know that financial stress can reduce IQ up to 15 points, so gaining those 15 points back can only be good for the people and the economy.

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Great points!

Some sources from what Philippe said in case people want to dive deeper:


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And: https://youtu.be/ydKcaIE6O1k?si=IFNEaHcM4eGPwaMq

Worldcoin is already kind of a UBI, just not sure where the funding is gonna come from :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

IMO, a UBI is unavoidable, but it’s also going to take decades because … there will be resistance :man_shrugging:

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Agreed, the money to fund UBI needs to come in first and then that needs to continue flowing for a few years to give everyone confidence they can afford doing it long term (which is still very unproven). So things will unfortunately need to get much much worse before they get better. In this version of the future at least, there are others.


Speaking of: South Africa Could Be First Country to Provide Universal Basic Income - Business Insider :sweat_smile:

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I’m reminded of a story from nonprofits working in 3rd world countries where the hypothesis was that these brutally poor countries would do better once they had more money.

Instead, raised economic fortunes increased the rate of alcohol abuse, tobacco, and prostitution. The absence of a moral component to this UBI question risks the enduring the same lessons. (IMO)

Even trickier, any direct research is going to be skewed. No one is going to admit that they will buy more alcohol, tobacco, etc if they had more money when filling out a survey.

The real problem isn’t about funding, but about resource allocation. We know where the money comes from; it’s created by central banks. Implementing UBI is straightforward. The difficult question is ensuring we have enough real resources and energy, and deciding how to deploy them to meet society’s needs without destroying the planet in the process.

With an aging population, there’s a big demand for more resources like healthcare and social services. Conversely, AI and robotics are increasing productivity and could help balance things out. However, the wealth created by these technologies is ending up with capital owners, not the wider society, under our current capitalist free market system.

We lack a good alternative to distribute the benefits of automation to everyone according to their needs and desires. Without it, the wealth gap will keep growing, and fewer people will have their needs met.

Next step?

Revolution, collapse or “neo-feudal bliss”.

None of these appeal to me so I think we need redistributive policies, like UBI, which create demand by many (as wage incomes and debt increases do now), driven by the price mechanism in free markets, without tying it closely to labour via wages. However, we also need increased taxes on the wealth of the few, in the form of levies, taxes and royalties on land, resources, capital, and energy, to balance the demand created by the combined spending of the wealthy few and the UBI-receiving many, to match aggregate demand to aggregate supply. Alternatively we could eliminate the taxation problem by socialising ownership of means of production, but then people call me a bloody socialist or worse.

Either way, while everyone talks about “where the money comes from”, that’s not the problem. The real issue is ensuring resources and energy are combined as productively as possible to optimise output and then match it with consumption, to avoid inflation or deflation, all mediated through choices made by all of us, living in free markets, using money we in (large?) part derive from UBI, or from our share of the return means of production we own if (largely) socialised.

Only then can we ensure that advances in AI and robotics benefit everyone, not just a few.

PS: there are huge entrepreneurial opportunities here; so many problems needing solutions, it’s a smorgasboard!


Very true, but doing this without causing huge inflation problems is a very real problem, solvable I think, but tricky.

Yeah this is becoming an increasing popular idea. I am just skeptical that it can be done with our current political system and open borders. Ray Dalio lives in Singapore, along with many others, for good reason. Tesla is in Texas for good reasons. We may need some sort of minimum global tax like the one recently passed at 15%. It is a good start but much more would need to be done.

This would solve the taxation problem but yes I agree this is perhaps significantly harder to pull off politically than a global minimum tax rate because you would be thrown out of the room as a commie for suggesting it, especially considering the generation that will be making these decisions still has the cold war on their minds.

Here, here and there is a version of the future where this is true for more than 3 years…

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It’s easy to avoid inflation.

MMT is one key framework for this.

It boils down to ensuring the money supply (macro), and its distribution across the economy (micro), does not create demand in excess of the economy’s capacity to meet that demand by deploying the resources and energy (and once upon a time, labour) to expand production to meet that demand.

The trick is to come up with a new social contract everyone is willing to subscribe to and finding a way to get there. Not easy.

Globally, it’s an (existential) instance of the classic multi-polar trap that the world faces now.

My prediction?

There will be no (effective) minimum (corporate) tax rate. It’s not an effective solution even it there was.


So it’s clear that the future is not one comprised of open borders. Or free flows of capital. Or the current political system. Most people have not yet realised this. They will.


It’s where my head and energy is right now.

It starts with solving the energy problem.

And the politics that enables it.

Yes, I like a challenge.

yeaaah that is a doozy, all the best, I’ll be working waaayy down stream of you