Universal Basic Income and Social Restitution

in basicincome •  2 years ago

Over the past week I have been discussing various ideas around basic income. In a perfect world everyone would voluntarily adhere to the objective division our birthright, but we do not live in a perfect world. The world we live in is full of people looking to gain advantage over others through force or fraud. To combat this force and fraud men have created governments and imbued them with power and authority that no individual ever possessed. Government, being comprised of people, attracted to itself those seeking advantage over others. Today the governments of the world are the single largest source of illegitimate force and fraud.

Any implementation of a universal basic income (UBI) will naturally be subject to abuse. The two primary forms of abuse are identity theft and fakery. As a society we must accept that perfect is the enemy of good enough because regardless of how intrusive the identification process becomes, some IDs will be faked or forged. To some extent, the mere presence of a barrier to entry will deny some people their birthright.

Responding to Fraud

In the past I have discussed two approaches to blockchain security. The first approach is to lock down everyone's secret behind increasingly complex multi-signature hardware based solutions. The idea is to make your account bulletproof regardless of how much costs. The bulletproof approach will never be perfect and when it fails you die. The second approach is to make account recovery possible. The idea is to make your body self-healing even if a bullet goes through your brain. Self healing is't perfect because it still takes time, energy, and money. Obviously a combination of the two approaches provides the best tradeoff.

There is a third approach to blockchain security: insurance. Under the insurance model many different people share the burden to make someone whole again. Most cryptocurrency exchanges use a combination of insurance and body armor because only Steem allows account recovery (healing).

With a Universal Basic Income we have new options for dealing with people who violate the rights of others. Two men crash on an island. After they discover a fruit tree that produces fresh fruit each day. They agree divide the fruit evenly. Some time passes and one of the men decides to take more than his share by deceiving the other man. Eventually the deception is caught and the man is forced to pay restitution out of the next day's produce.

When someone steals something today, they typically consume or destroy the proceeds quickly. When they are caught they are unable to make the victim whole let alone cover the cost of the investigation. A Universal Basic Income changes the picture dramatically because all men have a source of income which cannot be disposed of. A thief can have their UBI garnished until restitution is paid.

Behind every identity theft or forgery there exists a real identity earning a legitimate basic income. Someone who is caught forging identities owes all of humanity restitution. Someone who is caught stealing identities owes the victim restitution. Because the lifetime UBI of a forgery must be consumed one day at a time, it would require forging many IDs for a significant period of time to consume one full lifetime of UBI. For example, it would require faking 10 identities for 7 years to consume one 70-year lifetime of basic income. If at any point over those 7 years the fraud is detected, then all 10 fake identities and the real identity could be revoked. Over time restitution would be paid in full.

Obviously some fraud will still occur and go undetected. If this happens then the burden is shared equally by all in the same way that would happen if everyone purchased insurance against this fraud. So long as the rate of fraud is low enough to keep the "insurance premiums" manageable then the system is still functional.

A new Justice System

The mere existence of a UBI means that every man, woman, and child is automatically bonded against bad behavior. If you take the life of another, you lose your UBI for life. If you damage property, your UBI is garnished until the victim is made whole. Everyone will have the ability to make their victims whole unless the number of victims is large or the victim was wealthy. A wealth individual can afford additional insurance.

Collectively all of society can insure against the effects of corrupt individuals by sharing the burden of injustice. This will make victims whole and give everyone confidence that their property rights will be honored and insured.

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Universal Basic Income and Social Restitution — Steemit

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I really like the idea how insurance naturally emerges from the concept of shared economy.

These concepts are the only way for humanity to move forward and not destroy itself and/or the environment. This is one of the reasons I wrote my novel Alarm Clock Dawn. UBI is a very important piece to the puzzle of our evolution. With the coming wave of A.I. making so many of our jobs disappear we desperately need to have this discussion as a society and decide how to deal with it or our social safety net will be completely overwhelmed. It's not a matter of if, only of when.

I really, really love this series, Dan. Thank you. I just updated my post with your latest. So many anarchists/voluntaryists talk about the problems of government, so few discuss potential solutions, let alone code them up into something real.

Who establishes identity? Who qualifies as an individual worth to receive UBI? Only humans? Humans and genetically engineered beings?

You can define identity theft only in relationship with an owner. If there's no owner, there's no identity.

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These are very important questions. Why should "all people" be given an equal share? Why are all people naturally worth something? On what basis can we say that some people should have more or less than others?

The short answer is that we either reach a "peace" with everyone else or we will be at "war" with everyone else. Reaching a peace means either:

  1. both sides agree to the arrangement
  2. there is no perceivable difference in arrangement

So should we count non-people? What if we discover aliens? What if we invent AI. I contend that either we seek peace with all life or we accept war with all other life.

Any life form that is able to comprehend and respect the peace treaty deserves to be a party to it. Any life form that is unable to comprehend or respect the peace treaty is operating separate from it.

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Thanks for the answer, appreciate it.

As I understand this, we should have UBI for every life form that doesn't harm another life form.

Also, we should be concerned with the wellbeing of every life form that's part of the UBI circle. Or at least that's how I understand the "enforcing" of the "peace smart contract".

Incidentally, Buddhism, with the term "boddhicitta", defines in near identical terms your approach: wishing well for all sentient beings.

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there is no life form other that plants that do not harm other life forms...
perhaps a redefiniton would be in order?
Perhaps 'sapient' life form?

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That's the idea: not to harm any life form. At all.

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technically that's not possible...life lives on life. the white cells in your blood destroy other forms of life that seek to harm you.
That's what sickness is...life attacking life.

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the discussion is going in a very complex direction. I would say that "life lives on life" is just one way to see things, not necessarily the true one. Just until 500 years ago, we, humans, knew that the earth stays on top of a giant turtle.

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Thank you for the term "bodhicitta". I'm not sure I ever hear of that term before. I love it. Not having a term to describe something make it less tangible and also possibly less important. We give name to important thing and concept. I don't think compassion is as a strong concept as "boddhicitta". Thank you for term.

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Theft may be a problematic idea. All good questions that we are all thinking about on various levels.
As nothing can really be owned. May have custody of something that one did not previously own and eventually will not own.
Since nothing can be owned and there are not true owners. Then there is an idea that there can not be true identities. More thoughts to ponder on as always...

Dan, if I cut the cake, will you distribute it for me?
I'm truly honored to be a part of this grand experiment. <3

Here Here! Especially in these end-like times!!! :-O Thanks for all your do @dantheman! :D

very perfect way of putting it... seems as its always going to be a struggle of basic income whether its free or not. Food should be as part as human rights no matter what, but to implement this in a real world setting would require to take a few steps back and reconstruct a pure government.

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Food is an OUTCOME. If we landed in a desert planet, food wouldn't be a given. Be very, very careful with respect to any particular expectation of outcome.

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Than land would the the equivalent as food as rights. as a basic income to some it would look almost like a communist country. But as far as sharing the earth as a whole to all its citizens.

regardless though there will always be some that think they should be given more.

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Dan has argued in his recent posts that it is not possible to guarantee food in the same way as human rights. On the other hand what could be guaranteed is a fair share on Earth's resources and consequently on the global economy.

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Yes I figured as much, than we can look at it as a resource to earn your self,

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Yes I figured as much, than we can look at it as a resource to earn your self,

Ive always thought of starting a crypto insurance company. You could even tie it to its own coin!!! Brilliant i know! DAN YOU ARE THE MAN!!! MARK ZUCKERBERG CAN SUCK A #$%!

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Well it wouldnt be a company but its own blockchain. I think it could work idk really lol

UBI is a fantasy, who is going to pay for it?

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Not a fantasy. You are witnessing the genesis right now and dont even know it. This is where you sit down, being distraction free, and think about things. All things you dont understand, look it up, read, and get back to thinking. We are living in wonderful times now, knowledge will set you free. Have a great day!

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You obviously haven't read my recent blog posts. Two men crash on an tropical island that produces fresh fruit every day. They agree to divide the fruit. Each of them has a "basic income" and neither of them paid for it.

8 billion people crashed on this earth....

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With more crashing every day when they are born! So when someone new crashes into our place called Earth we need to be able to provide for them as well. And have work for them to do that aligned with whatever skills and talents they develop and discover in their travels.

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Of course they pay for it. They pay for it with time and effort. Or does the island produce fresh slave labor to pick the fruit every day also? Maybe monkey slaves?

The notion of a UBI depends is dependent on the men are willing (or able to be compelled) to accept some X amount of fruit that is less than they would otherwise get, in order to create this indemnity fund. This might be a tax (the men must give up some fruit every day) or it might simply be fruit that is collected directly by the system making less fruit available for the harvest.

Yes, you can garnish the wages of the evildoers to partially fund this, but you must first catch the evildoers (which takes resources that need to come from somewhere) and also there are some crimes that simply aren't going to get solved. You also have to make sure the system isnt gamable (fraudulent claims).

Also, different peoples' time has different value. If someone costs me one day, does he owe me what I bill out at for one day (spoiler alert -- its a lot) or what he makes in one day.

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It is a typical response by someone who does not understand teh scientific basis of this concept.
I higlhy recomment this video to everyone. This is probably the best documentary out there which well explains and analyzes the concept of basic income.

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Sweet, lets you and me divide our steem, yes?

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We are actively engaging in the process of dividing the steem with every post and vote.

The difference between basic income representing shares of the Earth, and Steem, is that Steem is an abstract concept conceived from my mind and shared with the world. This abstract token, STEEM, is now shared among the collective consensus of thousands of people.

I am not advocating a redistribution of wealth, but a distribution. So I do not advocate taking from anyone which is what you are suggesting.

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I think that the concepts of STEEM and Basic Income are very good transformatory means to shift our world towards social system designed around post-scarcity Resource Based Economy (such as the one advocated by The Venus Project or Buckiminster Fuller).

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I love The Venus Project. Thanks for the link @logic! I feel like everyone should see that movie. However I feel like we must give credit to Dan's post about UBI and Decentralize Identification for being way more succinct and concrete.

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Well sh!t, if it's voluntary. More power to it, and those who chose to participate.

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If you are on a phone or computer you are already volunteering, as of Oct, 1st the internet switched hands and became the property of the "investors", and you became a citizen of NWO- New World Order. From then on everything you do is the property of the owners, and for everyone to see and use, userfruct they call it.

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Oh my, I didn't realize you were talking about Steemit specifically. I thought you may have been making reference to real world fiat currency. Now that I know who you are, it definitely puts your post into better context. Wow, that was ultra special of me. I'm enjoying the experiment very much by the way, voluntarily at that!

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... "from my mind and shared" ...

To expound for just a moment with the first principle of mentalism of Hermes

The mind is all. The universe is mental.

We are all individual and collective minds within the mind of the all. Our thoughts are not purely ours but thoughts shared with thoughts of others.
Think the idea of STEEM is partially in this direction. Although not easy to explain or understand on various levels. I'd be happy to explain more in a post in regards to a question to lend me a direction and starting point of shared understanding.

Wealth on its basic level is an added value that is shared. STEEM seems to be an idea of low barrier / friction entry / start for such shared thought exploration.

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I would have to suppose they both still worked (in some manner) to pick their own fruit. So how does this actually translate to other scenarios?

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I think comments and posts like this are why I'm still here on Steemit. There is intelligence, questioning and the stirring up of new, creative thoughts.

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Who is doing the paying now? After all nobody (in deleoped) countries need to starve or have no roof over the head. Also half of the people are already living on income that they dont generate. (children, retired, sick, housewifes etc.)

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and I think we all forget: if we didn't have someone to care for us as infants, we would not even be alive.

If UBI is a universal basic income, then, by its definition it should only be large enough to provide the basics. (food, shelter, clothing).

So, taking someone's UBI can amount to death. (If all other forms of community welfare are gone) Thus, the taking of someone's UBI as a form of punishment is akin to a death sentence.

And lets be clear, prices will adjust such that UBI is almost exactly what it costs to maintain an apartment, eat and the essentials. No matter how many spending units you give to UBI.

There is no excess to take from. So, this entire post becomes replaced with do or die. You get caught cheating, you die. There is a glitch in the system, you die.


At the bare minimum any form of insurance will have to be fast enough to prevent starvation. Meaning, you have one meal time to get an application in, approved, and have action taken.

I really do not like this form of system.

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First of all, if you lose your UBI it would be like the system we have today, you have to trade labor for food. Most people will earn income far in excess of the UBI simply because the market equilibrium value for UBI will necessarily be low enough that most people will work to improve their own standard of living above what UBI can provide.

Second of all, people should have savings. If you are living UBI payment to UBI payment then you are doing it wrong. People will not let people starve and voluntary charity would still exist.

You response is attacking a strawman rather than reality.

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My response is what I have seen in practice.

We used to have a very robust social charity system. Now it is almost all replaced with legislated things tied in with welfare. If we had a UBI, it wouldn't exist at all. Any failure of people being fed will be look at as a problem of the UBI system, and the system will be demanded to fix it. (Which, in my opinion will never be close to 100%)

...people should have savings

HA!!! People should have savings now... and most live paycheck to paycheck.
You don't even want to know what people on welfare live like. (You have 25 days of food per month... what do you do those last 5 days?)

Yes, those people who work will have far more than those who don't. BUT, the problem that UBI is being brought up to fix is that people are being phased out of jobs. Robots are doing the manufacturing, so there isn't enough jobs for everyone. (in our current monetary system) So, if there is not enough jobs for everyone, telling someone to get a job or die... is telling them to die.
And thus, what is the use of the UBI in the first place?

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The question isn't a matter of whether it is useful or works in all cases. The question is whether it is moral based upon first principles. Whether a UBI can feed someone or just amounts to $1 per day in purchasing power, it is a just system.

If people complain about the UBI not feeding people and attempt to morph it into a slavery system where the productive serve the unproductive then society will begin consuming its seed corn. Production will decline and the revised UBI will no longer be sufficient. The process will repeat until money is worthless and there is nothing left to divide.

The system I propose provides a UBI based upon first principles and does so without specifying the purchasing power the UBI would grant.

The biggest danger is people wanting to reinterpret their UBI as something it is not. Once they reinterpret it, then they will either start enslaving their fellow man or denying him his birthright. There is very little room to deviate from the 1 share per person per day without creating a system that is no longer sustainable or fair.

There is a flaw in your logic. The UBI is tied to a contract not necessarily to an individual. If an individual can fake "Identity" and then gets found out, what will keep him from faking Identity again. It seems that you would create an arms race. The system will then be expending even more value to find cheaters. These seems to me what you would need to implement an IPD. In other words allow some cheating, but keep it below some threshold. So if the system is poor you would want to dynamically adjust your tolerance for cheating downwards and if wealthy then adjust it upwards.

@dantheman, one thing I can say about my poor self, is that I dont try to gain the upper hand. My problem is that I don't care about the material world. I want to lay under a tree after a bicycle ride. probably why i am so against government authority. Thank you for steemit my friend

I feel the reason they have to start from scratch again with a new system is because of us. We as humans are confused. We take the system to seriously. We slave for money, which if you think about it is worthless because it is manmade and puts a price on everything. The UBI is going to level the playing field again. What the whole idea behind it is if you didn't have to worry about the basic needs of life what would you do with your time? How would you create? What would you create? People don't even know that since Octber 1st they flipped the switch so it is in motion and this will be a reality, but they can't just throw it on the people they have to change it a little at a time because people don't take change to well. If you are asking yourself who is going to fund this project, just look at the pope. It's all coming from Rome, they are sitting in the background turning keys and pushing buttons. Rome hasn't come out and directly said it yet but they make the world go around. Sooner or later they will make a claim but they have to do it as suttle as possible because the people think they are still living in countries where they are governed, but in 2008 the pope yanked all of the corporate charters so basically the governments are running around here pretending they still have the power but they don't. The pope is going to close the doors of mercy on 11/20/2016 and from that day forwards no man can open them, so if you didn't forgive your debts then it will be the way it is forever more. They will inherit all of the riches of the earth and then you won't have to wonder how the new system will be paid for, actually Rome has untold amounts of wealth at their disposal already, but their going to go digital and people will stop using cash and digital currency will be used for everything, so they have all of the pieces in place but not everybody has access to it yet.As for people trying to screw the system over, AI will take care of that. Everyone will have one username, one Id number, which will be your cell phone number and that's how they are going to set it all up. They have already tied your accounts together so that's basically the new you, and AI already knows you better than you do so good luck trying to get anything over on it. We're in for a wild ride so hang on boys and girls.

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I never thought I would take UBI seriously. You've given me a lot to ponder on Dan thanks.