6 Jun 2017

Poverty is subjective, not objective

If you didn't know that already, then read this short post on how some people (usually Americans but many economists) credit success to individual effort while others (usually Europeans but many sociologists) see success as a collective outcome.

Remember Obama's "you didn't do that all by yourself" comment? It captures those diverging opinions.

Now watch this excellent TED talk by a Dutchman who really nails it.


I agree with him and that's why I support a Universal Basic Income. I think that people who live without fear of poverty will work rather than lying around eating donuts.* The difference is that they will work at jobs that they enjoy, rather than jobs that "pay the bills."

NB: Finland is 5 months into basic income trials

* An old, but sad, joke is how European colonialists got Africans to work shit jobs:

Euro dude: Hey! Want a job?

African dude: Why? I have land, food, water and shelter. Why would I work for you?

Euro dude: Well, I bought it from another white dude, so now you need to pay rent.

African dude: But I've lived here forever. Why would I pay rent?

Euro dude: Because you don't want my white dude friend to put you in jail for breaking the laws that we wrote saying that you have to pay rent.

African dude: Well that sucks. How do I get rent?

Euro dude: Work for me. Oh, and the rent it a lot, so you need to work a lot, eh?

African dude: FFS.

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