Andrew Yang and the “Freedom Dividend”
A few weeks back I listened to an interview with Andrew Yang on the Joe Rogan Podcast, and an interview with Sam Harris and Andrew Yang. These interviews inspired me to write this post.
Andrew Yang is running for president in 2020. From what I can tell, he’s an honest and intelligent dude. He founded a company called Venture for America, an organization that helps entrepreneurs create jobs in cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.
I am almost done with his book, “The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future”. The statistics and observations presented are unsettling, but the solutions proposed are inspiring.
Here’s my take on the situation. Sorry for sharing political stuff, but I feel like this is more logic oriented than political.
The idea of universal basic income needs to be discussed. We need solutions to the problem that most people will not have jobs in the near future.
All low level cognitive and redundant physical work will be replaced by computers. This notion is visceral in the context of truck drivers, cashiers, CPAs, even programmers. Eventually doctors, lawyers and other high paying jobs will be at risk as well.
We need to zoom out. Stop measuring success by job creation and GDP, instead celebrate the fact that humans are being liberated from the burden of low level, soul sucking tasks.
Let’s find a way to help these people exercise their new found freedom, rather than trying to find a new cage to put them in.
A common line of thinking to solve this problem is education. True education is enormously useful to us as a species, so we propose a solution through the antiquated system we know, college.
“Let’s make it easier for these people to get into college. Then they can take a higher level job and make more money.”
There are many issues with this line of thinking. Although the intention is good, higher education in its current form is a sham. Student loan debt is crippling our young generation.
It’s difficult to come out of school $50k in debt and find a job that covers basic living expenses. This conundrum is amplified by the fact that we need less people to keep our economy and society functioning on a base level.
Factor in the lifestyle our culture incentivizes and we spiral out further. Pay for college with a loan inescapable by death. Finance a car for the max the lending system can legally allow. Get a mortgage on an overvalued house through a lending system which is too big to fail.
Then we have to find a way to get health insurance. We legally must have insurance in this country, perpetuating systemic flaw increasing prices. Health care is stupid expensive in the US. Hospitals, insurance, and pharmaceutical companies are cool with the prices and would like them to remain unreasonably high.
These constant monthly hemorrhages put us in a desperate spot, only compounded by the shrinking job market.
We can say whatever we want about the younger generation’s laziness, lack of work ethic, tendency to hide in our phones, and the like. Truth is, its difficult to find our place in all this.
The corruption is flagrant. It feels gross to even participate in this cesspool of manipulation and greed. Our kids are better off playing World of Warcraft than working for pharmaceutical companies, insurance agencies, marketing conglomerates, media companies and prisons.
No movement can be the best play. It’s often better to hold a stagnant position than slam our head against a pathway that’s not working.
With proper cognitive function and access to information, we can use our minds to dig into things that matter. This is where the internet comes in. We have the world’s information in our pockets.
We have the ability to learn anything we choose, the crux is finding inspiration to do so. The idea of pursuing positive impact and promoting the livelihood of consciousness is overshadowed by our debts.
Universal Basic Income
The idea that money is scarce is a farce. The United States is in a place of abundance, especially financially. Tech companies in this country are generating tons of revenue and paying very little back. The perceived scarcity of money is artificial.
Truly, there is plenty to go around, and if we don’t have enough, we can just print more. As was the case during the bailouts. The federal reserve printed 4 trillion dollars to bail out the banks, and none of us noticed an inflationary effect.
Many people running big companies hoard cash to protect their fragile egos. Money is more of a score keeping mechanism than a utilitarian resource.
The majority of the country is struggling to get by though. These people will spend the money they receive through UBI to pay for car repairs, food, basic resources, healthcare, education and the like. $1000 dollars for every American would be a positive thing for our economy. Most people would spend the money they receive, providing cash flow to local businesses.
Frugality is Freedom
At this point you may be thinking,
“Well Barron, you’re a hermit in the forest. Of course you’d want free money. But what are you doing to solve these problems?”
I am vetting out an extremely financially and ecologically fit lifestyle. It doesn’t cost much to live like this, and our carbon footprint is as low as we can functionally manage.
I don’t at all mean to be boastful, but our way of living makes more sense than the status quo by any virtuous measure.
We’re happy, low impact, financially fit, and learning every day. We are doing our best to help our species find a harmonious place within our fragile ecosystem. Not just for humanity, but to spread the spark of consciousness.