My 86-Year-Old Mother Is Proof: Universal Basic Income Won’t Stop Us From Spending Money On More Stupid Sht

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Here’s an interesting story on the history of Universal Basic Income (UBI). “If you have more money in your paycheck every month, then you are less likely to be focused on money all day long, you are less stressed about how to pay your bills and you have more money to go to the doctor if you need to, which creates a healthier, happier population.”

I have never read a Medium story from anyone needing UBI.

Most UBI plans seem to originate from the fantasies of the well-off (at least mine do). The logic is something like this: yeah, I make a lot of money but I could lose my job at any moment. If I had $2k a month, GUARANTEED, then I could live off rice and beans and finish that novel.

I know; I know. UBI is about opportunity for the disenfranchised. Nonetheless, my almost-bedridden Mother knows — getting money, from an inheritance or UBI has little bearing on happiness.

Happiness doesn’t begin after $2,000, $1,000 or even 25-cents.

Anyway, wouldn’t we all rather have free dental?

Lately, every time my mother has tried to walk from bed to computer desk she has fallen. She’s in an old-age (not nursing) home, so they call EMT to pick her up and put her back in bed.

I bought her a used Windows Surface so that she could use it the same way she does on her desktop computer.

After hours of finding all her passwords and setting up all the tabs in the browser I gave it to her. She said she was too tired to use it. She also complained that it was too heavy. Just before I leave she asks about thriftsbooks.com, a site she buys used books from. I ask her, first make sure you can use the tablet with all the sites already set up: Amazon, Facebook, NYtimes, The Guardian, Email and Netflix.

She gave me a look. I’m sure you have a Mother. You know the look. Our 59 year history together — out the window!

She wanted to buy some old paperback NOW.

No need to point out the hundreds of other, still unread books, piled up in her room. No need to point out all stuff she asked for first. She didn’t want to watch some channels I subscribed for her on Amazon Prime. Didn’t want Netflix. Or enjoy her subscriptions to The Guardian or NYtimes.

She didn’t want to play along with me that she’s lucky she already has a form of UBI. That she may not have enough money to buy everything she wants.

What does it say if a bookish, fairly unmaterialistic person spends some of her last remaining energy shopping for books she doesn’t need? How can we have UBI without the money used to purchase more junk? As soon as we put restrictions on what can be bought we’re back to classic social assistance.

The canard is that the West is all about materialism and capitalism. I don’t get why some X amount of money is good and the rest bad. That is, would people really spend their UBI only on necessities, good, and get a 2nd job to earn money for the bad?

Humans need struggle, even when it makes no sense. My Mom wanted to struggle to get another book. It makes her feel alive.

No one wants UBI. They want a good struggle. For most people that is a job they feel good at. We already have 40 million bullshit jobs in the U.S. Why can’t we create 20 million more? Further, in non-materialistic countries prices are not fixed. Why, because the struggle of bargaining is fun for both buyer and seller.

UBI is just a form of telling someone to go to their room and die. No one will do that. Which is why I’m against it and for it at the same time.