#^Are Universal Basic Incomes 'A Tool For Our Further Enslavement'? - Slashdot
Douglas Rushkoff, long-time open source advocate (and currently a professor of Digital Economics at the City University of New York, Queens College), is calling Universal Basic Incomes "no gift to the masses, but a tool for our further enslavement.
...but his argument
misses the major point of UBI.
Apparently Rushkoff was
in favor of UBI until he gave a talk at Uber and discovered that executives there were also in favor of it:
Shouldnâ€™t we applaud the developers at Uberâ€Šâ€”â€Šas well as other prominent Silicon Valley titans like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, bond investor Bill Gross, and Y Combinatorâ€™s Sam Altmanâ€Šâ€”â€Šfor coming to their senses and proposing we provide money for the masses to spend? Maybe not. Because to them, UBI is really just a way for them to keep doing business as usual.
Um, no, it wouldn't work that way -- because who would drive for Uber if they didn't have to? UBI would decimate the supply of wage-slave labor across the board -- not just Uber drivers, but fast-food workers, Walmart floor clerks, and so on, and completely destroy the plutonomy's ability to control us through our need for "jobs".
Uber is welcome to think this would help their business model, but I don't see how it would. They would have to raise wages in order to continue luring drivers, would have to raise prices in order to afford those wages -- and they suddenly wouldn't be nearly as competitive with standard taxi services that treat their employees like human beings deserving of some security.
Much the same would be true of places like Amazon and Walmart: they would no longer be able to pay people starving wages, and would have to raise their prices to the point where people (especially those with lower budgets) would no longer feel compelled to use their services because of the savings. Smaller businesses would be able to compete better.
The rest of Rushkoff's argument seems predicated on this assumption: that people currently working dead-end jobs out of desperation would continue doing so out of habit -- which misses the entire point of UBI: that it would free us to make our own choices about what work to engage in, and make capitalism live up to its fake promises of "choice" and "competition".