There’s a lot of talk lately about enacting a basic income guarantee – think $20 grand per year from the federal government whether you work or not. People want free healthcare, free college, free food. 84% of young Democratic voters in the Iowa caucuses voted for the socialist Bernie Sanders.
Socialism is popular! It’s sexy and cool! Hope and change? Forget that. Hope and DOLLAH BILLS!
People on the right understandably react with ridicule to these ideas because in reality nothing is free. Somebody’s gotta pay for it. And if it’s government, you better believe it’s going to be expensive after you factor in the inefficiencies, incompetence and crony fees.
But, what if, instead of polarizing ridicule – I know, it feels good in the moment – we used libertarian ideas to help those nutty leftists achieve their goals?
Take this recent article from Singularity Hub about an almost fully automated Japanese lettuce farm that expects to turn out 500,000 heads of lettuce per day within 5 years.
Wow. Think for a moment about the growing power of automation and its ability to sustain our lives with a minimum of daily work. We can 3D-print homes. Or live in fuel-efficient tiny homes. We can automate food production. Even clothing production is being automated. Food, clothing, shelter – yep, those are our basic needs.
So that future where we’re all watched over by machines of loving grace, or death terminators (your choice), is near.
But do you really want government owning and operating those machines? They’ll decide what to produce, which means they’ll give you what they think you need. Not what you actually want. That’s how government works, after all.
What if governments decided your basic income was contingent on providing service to the state? What if you could no longer get the foods you actually wanted because government officials decided they were unhealthy or inappropriate?
So, leftists, kickstart your capital. Because capital – tho not necessarily capitalism – is how people achieve technological advances and build their ideal lives. Buy up the machines, land and other resources you need. Set up communes. Live in communities. Share. Love. Make art. Even better, make love!
But do it. Get active. Don’t wait for the government. Power over the means of production needs to rest in the local community, where it’s accountable to you, not to a corporate-controlled congress or bureaucracy that costs a billion dollars and a boondoggle of lawyers to influence.