Let's talk UBI

Submitted by Stolenfromreddit in Anarchism

UBI in general is a bad idea. It's Keynesian theory at it's worst. Don't attack UBI with the "landlord" rhetoric. Attack UBI from a class standpoint.

UBI does nothing to address the power dynamics between the classes. The workers will still be entirely dependent on the capitalists for their necessities. Further, UBI potentially eliminates the one power that workers have over their capitalist overlords - their labor. UBI is pushed as a counter to combat automation and job-loss, and rhetoric around UBI may make people more comfortable with automation and feudalism. If you remove the capitalists need for workers and their labor, what incentive do the capitalists have for keeping UBI or any other social programs? Hell, what incentive do the capitalists have for even allowing the workers to live?

We need a worker led economy. Direct control of the production. Automation + UBI is a worst case scenario for workers and something we should be opposing at every opportunity. Neo-feudalism is the only future of UBI + automation. A society in which the rich control and dictate all matters of state and society, and whatever remains of the working class is left to collect whatever scraps the rich allow them to have.

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zoochotic wrote

The only decent argument for UBI I've heard is from Graeber, who argues it'd be good because it would erode the work ethic & the idea that you need to work to earn a living.

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Larde wrote

While this is true, it would also mean a revolution could never happen because everyone would be comfortable with their allowance.

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bloodrose wrote

If you remove the capitalists need for workers and their labor, what incentive do the capitalists have for keeping UBI or any other social programs?

They should do so under threat of potentially violent insurrection. It is up to the people to prove they are capable of that. It would have to remain a constant struggle. People would have to pour out into the streets if any changes/reductions to the UBI were announced. I don't know if people would do that, though.

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Larde wrote

It would mean people would look the other way when the environment is spoiled because the politicians would be able to say "we need to do this to raise your free money".

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rot wrote

I dont think ubi (at least how it is theoretically outlined) would ever be adopted by a ruling party as It gives up too much to the "undeserving" if capital is even mildly redistributed it would threaten the idea that capital=success= value

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DarkArmillary wrote

I agree with some points you made and disagree with others. As you mentioned, our goal, ultimately, is to have direct control over production (whatever our workplace happens to be); as well as the goal of the abolition of classes (more specifically than a "worker-led" economy, which may or may not get us there).

So direct control is the ultimate goal, but I don't see UBI as some insurmountable obstacle to achieving that goal. In fact they can be complementary.

Where I disagree is all the points of speculation that this argument takes as a given — for instance, if there is a UBI, then of course people will get "comfortable" and lazy and stop standing up for their rights. I disagree. That right there is a conservative / capitalist viewpoint on what motivates human action. There is some truth to it; after all that's why many capitalist social programs exist in the first place. But I think a UBI could help free people from their obligation to capitalist work, which will allow time for other human activities (including revolutionary ones).

"Neo-feudalism is the only future of UBI + automation. A society in which the rich control and dictate all matters of state and society, and whatever remains of the working class is left to collect whatever scraps the rich allow them to have."

I understand the argument that says that a certain type of neo-feudalism is a possible future with a UBI. Yes, it is a possibility. But it's not the only future that could come about. Such statements regarding the inevitability of future events comes from a self-reinforcing (and perhaps self-serving) ideological belief. And it also belies a complete disbelief in collective human action to change circumstances.

We don't particularly need to speculate about future feudalism anyway, as the world you describe in which the rich throw down table scraps to the working class, is already the world we live in today.

"UBI potentially eliminates the one power that workers have over their capitalist overlords - their labor. "

This is old school leftist dogma. That's workerism, or work fetishization. It's a messianic hope in the General Strike (we're still waiting). It is implicitly saying people need to suffer (through work) if we ever want to reach the Good society. There are many tactics and strategies other than strikes that people use to resist, and fight back, and disengage from institutions of power. And there are different forms of strikes as well.

"If you remove the capitalists need for workers and their labor, what incentive do the capitalists have for keeping UBI or any other social programs?"

No offense, but this sounds like a slave mentality to me: 'Let us remain as slave workers, so that we're useful to our overlords and they will have mercy upon us.' What incentive do they have now? Profit, power over others; and to prevent unrest, which is the ultimate point of capitalist social programs.

"UBI does nothing to address the power dynamics between the classes. The workers will still be entirely dependent on the capitalists for their necessities. "

I think it does change the power dynamics between classes, in at least two potentially meaningful ways. As far as the ownership of MOP goes, no it doesn't automatically transfer ownership of MOP to workers, so that element of the power dynamic remains, and the fact that people will still buy food and goods from capitalist businesses means it all gets funneled into capitalist pockets anyway. BUT — a UBI provides an opening for workers to acquire MOP by pooling money together and buying assets — such as automated equipment (or whatever). A UBI could eventually lead to a lot more worker-owned cooperatives. That is one way a Dual Power situation could come about. And that also addresses your argument that people will have to buy their necessities from capitalists — maybe they wouldn't have to, if say, enough food production cooperatives get rolling.

Lastly I'll bring up the most important part about worker-capitalist relations. It could definitely be argued that $1000/month is not a suitable amount to live on, but if you don't think an extra $1000 a month is going to help you or give you more agency to act in our capitalist world, then you must be better off financially than me and a lot of other people. For me, I know it would make a big difference, and it could change workplace dynamics significantly. People put up with so much authoritarian shit from their bosses and employers — because we have to to survive. If workers had a certain financial security, as with a UBI, then they could feel more free to raise concerns about their workplace, and push back against petty authoritarian bosses. You don't have to strike if you can just quit.

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DarkArmillary wrote

In regards to potential futures...

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/24/four-futures-life-after-capitalism-peter-frase-review-robots

"Peter Frase gives four answers to this question in Four Futures: Life After Capitalism. He offers two heavens and two hells: two ways that automation might facilitate a flourishing of human life, and two ways that it might maximise human misery. In all of these potential futures, automation is the constant; what changes is the political and ecological context – in other words, who owns the robots and how climate change affects the resources on which technology depends. ... Technology doesn’t dictate outcomes. Rather, it sets the parameters of possibility."

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