Basic Income & Jealousy

I see a lot of jealousy in many anti-UBI arguments- “I had to work my butt off to have $1000/month, why shouldn’t everyone else?”

You’re right. You did. You pulled weight when other people didn’t. You sacrificed dreams to have food and shelter, instead. You kept going when all you wanted to do is throw up your hands and yell “F**k you!” at the universe.

It sucks that you had to go through that. It sucks that you ground away at a job you hated to meet your bare minimum needs. It isn’t fair that you were essentially indentured to survival, when you wanted to go back to school, or be an artist, or see the world.

UBI should have been there for you, too.

But, imagine if you’d had, say, a medical issue a decade ago, that meant that you suffered a great deal. You lived, but it was hard. And now you hear about some new advance in medicine that means someone diagnosed now, won’t experience the same suffering you did.

It’s normal to feel some resentment at that. It’s OK to be upset by that. But, would you demand that they not get the new treatment? Would you fight against advances in medicine, because it isn’t fair that it wasn’t available to you, and why shouldn’t others have to hurt?

Of course you wouldn’t.

So it is normal to feel resentment that society is developing a new treatment for systemic poverty and inequality. It is reasonable to go “Dammit, where was UBI when I needed it?!” What isn’t reasonable, is saying “We can’t have UBI now, because I didn’t then.”