A Basic Income TED Talk

Should we offer a basic income - a minimum payment - to every American? Take a listen to Rutger Bregman at TEDxMaastricht:


(Basic Income at TED)

My firt encounter with this idea was in the work of science fiction writer Philip Jose Farmer. He wrote at length about this idea in his still-startling 1967 Hugo Award-winning novella Riders of the Purple Wage. What is it?

There is no more starvation or want anywhere, except among the self-exiles wandering in the woods. And the food and goods are shipped to the pandoras and dispensed to the receivers of the purple wage. The purple wage. A madison-avenue euphemism with connotations of royalty and divine right. Earned by just being born.

Here's Farmer's prediction of what happens:

"The mid-twentieth-century writers of the Triple Revolution document forecast accurately in some respects. But they de-emphasized what lack of work would do to Mr. Everyman. They believed that all men have equal potentialities in developing artistic tendencies, that all could busy themselves with arts, crafts, and hobbies or education for education's sake. They wouldn't face the 'undemocratic' reality that only about ten per cent of the population -- if that -- are inherently capable of producing anything worth while, or even mildly interesting, in the arts. Crafts, hobbies, and a lifelong academic education pale after a while, so back to the booze, fido, and adultery.

"Lacking self-respect, the fathers become free-floaters, nomads on the steppes of sex. Mother, with a capital M, becomes the dominant figure in the family. She may be playing around, too, but she's taking care of the kids; she's around most of the time...

"Some features of this time could have been predicted. Sexual permissiveness was one, although no one could have seen how far it would go...

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