Universal Basic Income?

via A no-strings basic income? If it works for the royal family, it can work for us all (OPINION PIECE)

I’ve come across this concept repeatedly in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre.  And no, it’s not just written about by liberal authors who imagine some high-flying utopia that doesn’t take human nature into account.

In fact, I’ve read some very specific stories that relate directly to this idea.  Robert A. Heinlein, for example, wrote quite a few books that discuss the financial system of our world in great detail.  And while, yes, he was fairly liberal in his youth, and his first few books (including For Us, The Living – which actually is pretty much political commentary barely covered in fiction, and is worth a read) – he became quite conservative as he got older.  In fact, he considered himself to be a libertarian (NOTE: NOT the same actual thing as the Libertarian Party.  Heinlein believed in free-will and responsibility for your EVERY action, not the pseudo-socialism/pseudo-communism, anti-state, anti-capitalism anarchy that the term seems to have become in our world).

If you’re really interested in the concept and how Heinlein treats it, I would advise reading the following books:

  1. Friday – Discusses a broken United States, with multiple differing ways of governing. Financial discussions about, both theoretical and practical
  2. I Will Fear No Evil – Discusses mostly the morality of surgical life-extension, but as the main character is basically a multi-trillionaire there is quite a bit of financial discussion involved.
  3. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Talks about a political revolution on the Moon.  There is a HUGE discussion here about balances of trade, financial responsibility and personal accountability.
  4. Stranger In A Strange Land – Discusses the culture of the United States pushed to an overall global government, and how it would look to a human who has been raised by aliens, but brought back to the Earth.  In the process of discussing and teaching him about current culture, many subjects are discussed in detail including both religion and finances.
  5. MOST of his “Juveniles” have some discussion of finances, and how any human must be responsible for their own.

And before ANYONE starts in telling me how anti-feminist that Heinlein’s books are, let me remind you of something.  Heinlein lived from July 1907 to May 1988.  In the world of his youth, the ideal was that women are to be protected, cherished and respected.  Unfortunately, the ideal is rather less than likely to happen.  But if you actually READ the man’s books (and I do mean ALL of them), you will see that he actually considers the male of the species to be inferior to the female.  I disagree, personally, as I believe that both men and women are equal.  But, his female leads are self-willed, strong, independent women.  Do they sometimes let the men in their lives take over?  Yes, they do.  But, it is often – when you read the books he wrote from the female perspective (Friday, To Live Beyond the Sunset) you will find his reasoning for why he thinks women are better than men.  Additionally, many of his juveniles and other books have very STRONG women in them (The Rolling StonesHave Spacesuit – Will Travel, The Number of the Beast).

But, this is going back to the whole idea of the Basic Income Stipend.  And this is where the book by Heinlein For Us, The Living comes into play.  Being that it is a very thinly covered essay on financial situations, I would encourage anyone who thinks that it would be a bad idea to read the book.

Is it a perfect idea? No.  But we’ve tried pretty damned much everything else.  Why not give it a try?  The biggest thing that pops up in that book is the concept of banking.  And I wouldn’t be alone in thinking that Heinlein pinpoints the correct issue in that book – the bankers and financial institutions in the world have  taken the reins of government, and are the ones actually controlling us.  And all they want is bigger and better profits – screw what it does to the people involved.

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