Opinion: Resistance against Basic Income
Most readers here will agree, that Basic Income would be a good way to solve many problems which exist in our societies, but why is the idea not supported by the populace? Even worse! It seems there is a strong resistance against.
Isn’t it strange, that an idea, which suggest to benefit every individual, cannot find broad support? For instance: more than 311 million people in the United States live, but the USBIG-Network has only around 300 Facebook-fans and roughly 250 official members – and not all of them are from the States. In other countries the situation is similar. The portion of people who are active BI-supporters seems to be in the scope of one thousand or even less…
Of course, we could say, quantity does not equal quality – it is better to have some hundreds of high qualified scholars than millions of followers believing in their personal advantage. But this view misjudges the reality of our democratic systems with their majority voting.
At all times every great thought, every good idea which shook the world later, had to walk a hard and sometimes dangerous way against existing resistances. But the democratic system makes it even more difficult. While to contradict a monarch requires some courage, to disagree with a current opinion, the risk of being considered as insane or in the worst case, to be banned, extends the needed courage ad infinitum.
In the past, Basic Income had many more supporters – for instance in the time of Martin Luther King and the citizens’ movement of the 1960s. But we still have nowhere a country-wide Basic Income scheme and maybe hence only orthodox believers kept the idea alive.
Does it mean we who support Basic Income are all brave and open-minded heroes, because we fight the good fight? Or does it rather mean, we are only too dense to find a way of making people more interested in the idea?
I think, this does not reflect the truth. Of course, it would be great to have catalysts in terms of people like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga or George Clooney who are publicly known for their social commitments and who represent a kind of authority for many youths.
But globally people are searching for alternatives to the current systems. And the number of BI-supporters grows slowly, but steadily. More and more supporters suggest how to bring the idea into the general public, out of the often so called “ivory tower of science.”
One of the main problems is that there is no specific target group which is essential for marketing strategies. Another problem is that those who are affected by poverty are too busy to survive. And other people can choose between countless leisure activities. Most of them do not want to think about social solutions in their rare spare-time. Much less if the idea sounds utopian and for the near future not practical. Furthermore they elected a government exactly for the reason that it would deal with such issues.
Now we could say, it is the fault of governments not implementing a Basic Income scheme. But frankly speaking, governments are not elected to make trials. And there should be no doubt that Basic Income for all would change a lot; it might even cause people to begin to rethink the purpose of their life.
Further I want to question the necessity for governments to promote Basic Income. They got the mandate to maintain their respective society and not to affect the life of millions of potential voters.
As long as their is no insight into the necessity of the end of Basic Income, there is no reason to support this idea. The strongest resistance against Basic Income is the current situation which is considered as unchangeable and while we are powerless it is not wanted, but accepted with all its injustice.
However, the more people get acquainted with alternatives, often caused by their own circumstances, the more they question the given condition.
Maybe we should take this quote from Chekov to heart:
It is unfortunate that we try to solve the simplest questions cleverly, and therefore make them unusually complicated. We should seek a simple solution.