By Lexi Linnell
Center for a Stateless Society
Recently, Vishal Wilde advocated for a universal basic income (UBI) on the grounds that it promotes economic freedom and social justice. Indeed, UBI has long been attractive to libertarians of various stripes. However, this idea suffers from the problem that, to date, UBI proposals have generally relied on the state for a taxation and distribution mechanism. From the libertarian point of view, a voluntary UBI would be highly preferable. As Wilde notes:
Although it’s worth noting that all contemporary, publicly-funded services have coercive origins, a voluntarily-funded UBI would obviously be ideal. Ensuring that a voluntary UBI utilized suitable mechanisms for delivering and enhancing trust is an unenviable but profoundly important challenge. Even if this can be accomplished, the difficult task of convincing people to adopt these mechanisms remains.
That is, while a wide variety of people have an interest in a social safety net — particularly in a freed market economy where there may be more social mobility — nobody particularly wants to pay for it. This is the reason why the state is typically thought of as the source of a UBI: they have the ability to compel people to pay whether they want to or not. There is currently one purely voluntary method of implementing UBI that solves this problem; it’s called Resilience, and it uses the Ethereum platform. The solution involves clever use of human incentives.