The Case for Universal Service Reply

Some quack makes the case for slavery.

By Vicki Robin, Great Transition

In Your Money or Your Life, Joe Dominguez and I present an approach to earning, spending, and saving aimed at liberating the mind (spirituality), enabling creativity in need fulfillment (DIY, resourcefulness), and freeing time from paid employment (early retirement). Granted, it is a very Western, individualistic idea.

My observation is that people who have enough passive income to cover expenses (a self-created basic income) still have not solved side the money economy. Atomized individuals do not instantly gain communitarian values, a sense of service, a purpose. Is a universal basic income merely an income distribution strategy, or is it linked to the challenging, necessary conversation about “the good life”? It is the very amorality of money that lets us get through life still immature. UBI is a mechanism for the right to subsistence. The bigger task today is fostering social cohesion, a desire to participate in building a fair, equitable, sustainable, and liberating society and global community. The hill towards such shared prosperity without limiting entrepreneurship is getting steeper by the minute. Is our future merely coping? Unless a UBI is embedded in a more inspiring project, there will be a lot of quibbling about where the money comes from as well as class resentment toward people on welfare, the dole, and so on.

When I proposed that people on that path to financial liberation take on a shared political agenda that included UBI (which would selfishly shorten the years to liberation from the necessity of paid employment), few liked it because they would have worked hard for their financial freedom, and thought that others should have to pull themselves up as well—a libertarian mindset. However, when I coupled that with universal service, it was very palatable.

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