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Youtopia: The Demand for Universal Basic Income

What would you do if your government provided a basic income that would ensure every human being lived above the poverty line?

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“Utopia is a trend of thought that favors equality for all people. Utopian ideals often place emphasis on egalitarian principles of equality in economics, government and justice.” Unknown

What would you do if your government provided a basic income that would ensure every human being lived above the poverty line? A line that could just be a layoff away for any one of us. Who will have purchasing power when all the grocery stores clerks and assembly lines are robots? Sounds too good to be true but the basic income conversation has been heard before. Basic income was advocated by Thomas Paine in the late 1700s. Martin Luther King Jr. attempted to lead the charge with the Poor People’s Campaign as a means to abolish poverty, right before his murder in 1968. The word on the street is that automation is likely to wipe out all the jobs humans used to do. It only seems right that we bring the conversation back to the forefront and we can do this by challenging the old ways of thinking.

The world we live in is an ongoing system of trial and error. Collectively, as a society, we fall short in creating a process that truly results in liberty and justice for all, making the strides in human evolution seem obsolete. The wheels keep spinning, the hamster’s legs keep moving but the engine seems stuck. In a time when health care costs in America could leave you bankrupt and a higher education could leave you with student loans so high you’ll wish you leave this Earth before paying it all off. It all makes you wonder, if the United States of America is supposed to be the leader of the world what exactly are we leading? Capitalism through sickness and wealth? Could basic income be the cure?

Over time, the wealth of this country has been squandered to benefit a few. We the people have blindly assisted in this transfer of wealth by continuing to elect those who do not have our collective interest at the core of their policies. We have moved further and further from we the people; these United States feel more like we the few.

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims… but accomplices.” George Orwell

On January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States by unpopular vote. Two months after his upset victory against Hillary Clinton, most of the world is still in disbelief. Donald Trump’s voice is the last thing I wanted to hear for the next four years but I found the silver lining. In a Twilight Zone kind of way I am okay with the fact that our government is finally out of the closet and the veil is off. For many, a Hillary Clinton win meant the first woman President to lead in our history and THE woman they wanted fighting in their corner. Hail the Clinton years! But in a world of alternative facts here is a thought of what a Hillary Clinton win really guaranteed: that the masses would go back to sleep. The wealth gap in America did not begin overnight and so, the snooze button is no longer an option. Donald Trump is our wake up call.

(Photo from Inequality for All on Netflix, Starring Robert Reich)

“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.” Thomas Jefferson

Hillary Clinton lost the election in what, in my opinion, was a blessing in disguise. We are still stronger together. Who is going to rise up? We are the United States of America not the United States of Some. It is clear that we have to fend for ourselves and decide what kind of place we want to live in. Where did all of our leaders go? We can be the change we need to see. We are the heart of the resistance and this time of uncertainty certainly seems like the perfect time to start making some demands.

It seems we can always afford billions in tax cuts that always funnel up. Maybe, we need to demand a way to afford a basic income we can adopt into our society. Martin Luther King Jr. never got a chance to execute the Poor People’s Campaign. Maybe we can keep the dream alive? What kind of world do you want to think into existence?

“The thought of a community is the life of that community and if the collective thought of a community is disconnected and fragmentary, then the community is collectively vain and weak.” H.G. Wells

 

Written by Aline Alzime

Aline Alzime

32 years old Haitian-American from Northern VA! I am spiritually fluid and my goal in life is to be free of all conditioned thinking.

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