Income Inequality, Marxian Economics, and a UBI
When we look to combat income inequality and unemployment with essentially giving people free money we can see the lunacy that comes from that surface explanation. How can just giving people money fix income inequality and unemployment? With a UBI a government is setting a ‘negative income’ for those beneath a certain income line. Capitalists will ask how the government would pay for this and the only answer would be taxing the rich. This will make many people upset and I can understand why. Many people on the right will see any profits as those executives income, but Adam Smith’s Labor Theory of Value would say that the income made by the worker for the company is the material expense and compensation for the work put in. Many other philosophers would disagree however.
Philosophers such as Karl Marx or Edmund Burke would disagree. Edmund Burke would say that the actual value comes from the consumer rather than the labor itself and that the price of a good was the same as the value of the good, while Marx tried to flip Smith’s Labor Theory of Value on capitalists by trying to portray it as an exploitation of workers as the only way business owners could make a profit is to squeeze profit out any way they could. In Kapital, Marx believed that the only way for the worker to earn their true value was to seize the means of production from the capitalists. This line of thinking would lead to a communist society where workers earn their true value and all own the means of production allow for a freer society, however a UBI would not necessarily fall under this system. Within a capitalistic society a UBI would be implemented sort of as a compromise between these two ideologies. A UBI would give the workers more value when it came to the development of goods and decrease income inequality between the different economic classes, while the capitalists still own the means of production and still make a profit, however at a much lower rate and at a more equal rate to the income of the workers. Marx would argue that this would still be exploitative for the worker. The surplus labor value that the worker would make in a given day would still be more money in the pockets of the business owners rather than the workers themselves, but I see it differently.
I come from more of a capitalistic household with a majority of my family on the right wing. I, however, fall on more of the left wing and see things more democratically and see a UBI as the best of both worlds without doing much to change the economic landscape entirely. Capitalism has many problems and a UBI would be a better way to fix capitalism without a violent revolution. Any peaceful solution is preferred over a violent overthrow of the capitalist machine thought process today.
Now am I saying that a UBI is the one answer to fix the issues within capitalism itself? No, but it is certainly the first step to changing the base ideology of our economy. The exploitation of workers within our economy is a serious issue and this all amounts within the income inequality in the United States. It’s just that trying to get a UBI into action within the U.S to combat income inequality will be extremely difficult. Lobbying has held back the advancement of a UBI within the U.S by making donations to candidates campaign fund. This in turn promotes the ideals of whoever is paying the lobbyists which is most likely the top 1% and the top .1%. It would be highly unlikely, but the ban of lobbying and PAC’s within the U.S would help in the progress of more democratic ideals such as a UBI. Without the influence of the richest people in the U.S in our representatives ear’s we would find it much easier to get radical change completed.