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We Know How to Abolish Poverty. Why Don't We?

Scott Santens
Scott Santens
2 min read

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Everyone should be earning more. Everyone isn't earning more because of globalization and technology mostly. We used to have things called middle class jobs. Those don't exist anymore like we think they do. We lost a ton of them because we no longer need people here to do them. Instead we have cheap labor overseas. Because we have a consumer economy, this decrease in middle class jobs has an adverse effect on the economy through lower spending. Meanwhile jobs have transitioned to part-time work (because profits) and service industry work (because we can't move those jobs overseas for the most part). Look at the numbers. Unemployment may be lowering, but this is due to all those jobs that once paid good wages having been replaced by jobs that pay shit or jobs that only want you for 20 hours a week.

We are only now just starting to realize where we are after decades of structural change. If we want a stronger economy, people have to receive more income, so they can spend more into the economy. Saying shit like people should just work smarter, or get more educated, or that the "free market" will save us all if only we abolish taxes is like clicking your heels together and wishing to go home. Sorry Toto, this ain't Kansas. We're in Oz, where all those manufacturing jobs that created the middle class no longer exist and are never coming back in any substantial quantity. Automation has arrived.

We have reached a pivotal point in human history. Human labor is no longer required to the degree it once was and it never will be again. We're living in a crazy and exciting time where we have to come to realize that we're going to need to pay people enough to sustain a middle class and we have to make sure we have a strong enough safety net in place to catch all those people who can't find the jobs that no longer exist, and both needs can be accomplished through the establishment of a basic income guarantee. Not only would this substantially reduce poverty, additionally it would supplement the incomes of all jobs and so rebuild, even grow, the middle class. No min wage required. No unions required. Just smaller, smarter government.

It's 2014 now and we need to start acting like it. We know how to abolish poverty, reduce inequality, stimulate the economy, grow the middle class, and strengthen our democracy, all through one policy. So what are we waiting for?

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Unconditional/Universal Basic Income (UBI) advocate with a crowdfunded basic income; Founder and President of ITSA Foundation, Author of Let There Be Money; Editor of