Why we should give everyone a basic income


This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Rutger Bregman (1988) studied at Utrecht University and the University of California in Los Angeles, majoring in History. In September 2013 Bregman joined the online journalism platform De Correspondent.

  • Poly (6) November 21, 2014

    Nice idea, but although the issue was taken on in the video I still can’t see it get funded. Where is the money supposed to come from to pay food, living and education for 7 billion people?
    I am confident many people would use their newly-given opportunities and be a valuable member of society but we don’t only fear there would be many who exploit this money to get lazy, we actually see it happening with social security money. The videos tells us all people have ambitions, but what if my ambition is to travel the world? I know dozens of people who would happily go on a state-funded vacation. And don’t forget the loss of tax income when millions of people decide their free income is enough and stop selling their work/service but do it for fun.
    It is a nice utopia but in my opinion social security is the way to go.

    • Martijn Schirp (12,688)A November 25, 2014

      I actually disagree with all your rebuttals.

      The money is already there, but it is just distributed differently. Plus, you must imagine the total costs of poverty itself, which are huge. Giving everyone basic income makes the total cost of living on this planet for all humans cheaper, which is more efficient and cheaper for everyone. (Basic income leads to better education, better healthcare etc. which are great investments with a positive return, so putting money there is actually a smart economic move.)

      Travelling the world is not the same as being lazy. It would be great for a culture in which members could travel freely and explore their own world. This is education at it’s finest, and another great return on investment.

      The loss of tax is indeed a problem, but that is because taxes are not distributed evenly right now. When more and more machines take over more and more complex jobs, people will inevitable run out salaried money to live off. We can either tax these machines greatly, view them as the shared culmination of human knowledge, or we can give the owners tax breaks and let the poor starve.

      I live in the netherlands, based on social security, and while I shouldn’t complain because the standard of living is incredible here, I do see it slowly crumble away to market forces and a impotent political system. Basic income is the way to go.

  • travisbickle (4) November 20, 2014

    It will be taken advantage of. Period. Sure it makes us feel good, but the world is a dog eat dog place.

    • Martijn Schirp (12,688)A November 21, 2014

      Of course it will be taken advantage of, that is the whole point. Many poor people have huge disadvantages, constantly scurrying to make a living. Therefore they are more likely to become criminals, less educated, sick etc. Giving these people a chance to compete with basic income doesn’t do away with a god eat dog world, it actually increases it. Which is a good thing if a dog eat dog situation doesn’t become a life or death situation but actually fosters creativity.

  • Isochronic Bliss (20) November 22, 2014

    Haha “Free money” is never free… It’s usually extorted via theft (“taxes”) haha

  • slowly (3) November 24, 2014

    Or, how about we help fund everyones ability to get basic food and basic tiny shelter if needed – you know, tge shit that makes doing everything else much more possible so persons can focus on making the best use of themselves and dont need to look to mass opinion to validate or determine their value. There are fields that are so underpaid but important that people are forced to wear square peg hole shoes being a round peg just to survive. That doesnt benefit anyone but sours the society with unhappy workers and individuals with stiffled chance to develop themselves. Or at least create more programs to allow this. I see too many people spending all their time and energy to do some stupid thing thats in demand while theyre gifted at something else thats unfairly undervalued to feed and shelter themselves.