Left Coast Media

North Bae 016 - UBI and Other Topics

April 12, 2018 Left Coast Media
Left Coast Media
North Bae 016 - UBI and Other Topics
Show Notes Transcript
Comrades Sauce and Tiberius discuss unconditional basic income with Rachel (twitter.com/nyhcmaven84)

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Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening to North Bay, a podcast from the left coast media collective to connect with the show. Follow us on Twitter at left-pad or the hosts at checker informant communal source and our our our, our n. You can email us@leftcoastpodcastatgmaildotcomandourpatrionisatpatrion.com slash left coast media. We love you. Hi. Hello. So how are things doing? Um, that they're okay. I took a completely, completely intentional nap earlier. Definitely intentional, just like fall asleep. Naps are good though. Naps or self care.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

You're welcome. Comrades to another episode of the North Bay. Today we're talking

Speaker 3:

do you know about ubi? Universal basic income, what it is, why we may or may not want to be supporting it and how it can affect people's lives. Today we have our two hosts. We have are two of our hosts. Do we have myself type areas, Krokus

Speaker 1:

and myself, communal sauce. And we are joined today by a Rachel Rachel, if you would go ahead and introduce yourself.

Speaker 4:

Um, yeah, so I'm Rachel Presser, otherwise known as that crazy. Toby, if you, if you spend too much time on Twitter like I do. Um, yeah, so I own, I own US sonic toad media and consulting and I'm, I'm, I'm an Oregon leftist, um, a socialist and an advocate for universal basic income.

Speaker 1:

Cool. Cool. Thanks for joining us. I do have a request from someone I was talking to who would like me to, to ask. Um, they do not know what ubi is and at this point they are afraid to ask. So if you could, uh, explain universal basic income for perhaps people who are scared to us.

Speaker 4:

Of course the most agreed upon definition of a universal basic income is that it's basically a four provided like to go to every circus center resident and it's unconditional universal meaning that everyone gets, you know, so it's without regard to your income level, you know, to your status to whether you're single, whether you're married, whether you have children or other dependents or not, it's completely unconditional. Everybody gets it. What amount of basic income should be is like a whole other discussion. But the amount I keep seeing being kicked around and ubi circles is that, that a lot of experts you'll have proposed would be that like basically everyone should get, you know, a universal basic income of$1,000 a month on conditionally. Oh yes. That also means, yeah, there's no means testing, no nothing. You just, yeah, you just get cash unconditionally.

Speaker 1:

So this would be something that I know I've heard about those from socialists, but I've also heard some rumblings of it coming from what I suppose one would call it the tech Bros. So you've heard it coming from Mark Zuckerberg who definitely is a human and not a robot.

Speaker 4:

No, it's actually even been some traction, like from the right knee, like clinical libertarian wing. There's actually been some who aren't shockingly in favor of it. No, I mean there's been, you know, a lot of traction I think in the discussion on a universal basic income. And, uh, I've seen a lot of interesting arguments both for and against it on the left, but I mean, and that for people, for the libertarian types of way, like the tech Bros discussing basic income, you know, like they're more or west like saying that, oh yeah, we should have, you know, this basic income because automation is just going over to take over too many jobs. But then I see people on the left, you know, saying that, no, we shouldn't have a basic income because all it's going to do is just still get licensed to Zuckerberg and his ilk to keep exploring every body and then everyone's just going to raise prices in response. That's the argument I keep seeing against it. Especially, you know, in the vein of how technology comes into play. Because I've gone to conferences on basic income. I'd spoken at the National Congress on basic income. I did it last year. I gave a talk about the earned income tax credit, which is highly conditional with a lot of strings attached. Why we should have a basic income instead. And then this year I'm doing, um, I'm also speaking at the same conference and a totally different topic just about why adult survivors of child abuse really need a basic income because that's the perspective I'm coming from. I am an adult survivor, a child abuse. And so, yeah. But the technology aspects of it though, yeah. That could be like a whole other podcast in and of itself because yeah, automation is already here. It's going to keep on getting the, Oh, it's going to keep on getting more rampant. Um, I do see a lot of like what I kind of attitudes of people cynic go, we have to fight this automation. People need the jobs. But this is why I'm in favor of basic income with the attitude we need is not, oh no, a robot took my job and now I have no income. It should be hell yes. Or robot took my job. Now I have a basic income. I am free to go pursue something more worthwhile.

Speaker 1:

One of the ways that I've seen the tech embrace of even just slight warming towards ubi described as is that this universal basic income will, I mean it might keep the, all those mass unemployed truckers from writing for a few years, which is good or bad depending on whether you think that this mob of unemployed truckers or other people that have been rendered jobless by automation would be on your side or becoming after you. So you can give ubi as kind of like assault to people who have been forced out by automation. Um, which I think was what you were getting at.

Speaker 4:

That's awesome. The thing interesting like talking point because yeah, a lot of people haven't seen it yet, but like truck drivers, um, you know, because that's the thing is just because it's considered to be a more skilled, you know, trade then say no like retail or like working, you know, fast food or what have you. And as we both know, the whole skill versus own skill thing is just, you know, engineering, all the Shit requires skull. With that said, you know, it's just that, yeah, like truck driving. So he's been like a reliable source of income you owe for a significant portion of the population and with self driving vehicles, you know, coming into play and with you know, things like what was the I was reading about recently. Yeah. Like dimensional waiting other things in the logistics field that are just, you know, becoming much more automated. Yeah. I mean that's a holder talking point yet even of itself because, because we hear it cause here's something I think is like an overweight to one potential issue we have with ubi. With where yeah, you have like some of they get people like the tech right. Starting to warm up to it for like, you know, for people who drive trucks for a living, you know, for people who just don't really think about the type of thing when issue I think we have is just a cultural one and that a lot of people don't know how to like divorce the concept of you know, trading your time for money or that if you get this money without actually working like it was something that you did something bad, you got a handout and that is like one cultural thing which I think it would be remiss and it gives you, I think that there will be some people you who are now out of a job thanks to automation who will definitely embrace having the safety net of a universal basic income it then there's going to be other people who won't get the money. They may not adapt that well because like they may have yet ceilings, you know of low self worth because the money is not coming from work. And that's the thing that I think that we just like need to have like a whole other discussion. On the fact that not, not all work is a job. Um, if you're familiar, if you're familiar with some of the people in the UBI circle, I'd definitely check out Scott Santens and the amazing work he does in the basic income circle because yeah, he, he's written a lot of great essays about this, about why we need to just have like a whole cultural shift that realizes, hey, not all work is a job

Speaker 3:

work and are therefore good and uh, if you are not working your bad and if you are not working and you have things because you're bad, you don't deserve it, you're doubly bad. So there is that cultural aspect to it, which I think it is a problem in getting people to accept the implementation of the, in the first place. And even that I think is more to do with convincing the people who hold power to accept it in the first place. I think that you would find a rather large swath of the population who is already okay with it. And once it actually gets into a, once it actually gets into implementation, I don't think that that would be really that much of an issue. I think the reason why we saw so much of a negative stigma around things like for example like food stamps and EBT and these kinds of things, they are specifically only given to individuals who are below a certain like poverty threshold and so having that is a, a marker of sorts that says you are a poor person and that means that you are a bad person in the society and so it becomes part of that stigma.

Speaker 4:

A form of public humiliation in the Bronx, nobody thinks anything about whipping out a card or EBT card or using a lot of the Bronx is poor. We don't care pure, I mean, look, I'm not poor. I don't care. It's not my business, but still how someone else is putting food in their stomach and fed. When I see a lot of people in my neighborhood know using those cards, that's all I know. We need a fucking basic income. We need change. No one should have to go through such humiliation just to be able to eat. But the thing about a basic income which would, which would make it different yeah. From food stamps is that, aside from the fact that it would be completely unconditional, you don't have to yet go through these humiliating tests, you know, applying for it where, you know, the eighties agencies make it as difficult and humiliating as possible. There's also the delay, you know, getting your card, Denny get rewarded and so on. It's also the fact that, you know, hey, if you're pulling out your cash or a credit card at the store, nobody knows how you got the money. Everyone goes about their business. You don't have yet that black mark on you pulling out EBT card. So that's another thing that also makes a universal basic income. I think just a much more effective approach to poverty alleviation in that, yeah, it doesn't. Yeah, it is. It because it's unconditional. No one's going to pass judgment. And then also, yeah, no one's gonna really know or care how you got the care for using your, your to buy your groceries or pay your rent or whatever again is that you have to do.

Speaker 1:

So that mentioned food stamps got me onto one question or one concern that I do have about ubi, which is what is that to stop ubi from being co opted by neoliberalism, especially as an excuse to cut social welfare spending. So as a convenient replacement for those kinds of things.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, that's what I was just getting into. Yeah. Cause that's also a debate I see come up a lot, you know, and ubi circles and there's a lot of people have different takes on it that ubi should replace, you know, our social welfare programs are that it should just only exist, you know, to supplement them. And I honestly have some mixed feelings about it as somebody who was totally failed by the safety net when I need yet case in point. When I, I lost my very west salary job that I had back in 2014 I was not able to get unemployment despite meeting the salary requirements, meeting the lanes requirements. I was not able to get it just because my game studio was, Joey was in my name. It was all on public record and then the state based said, no, you won't this business, therefore you can't when it, I'm like, go fuck yourself by job has been supporting this business. Um, I'm not Mitt Romney. What are you doing? Give me my fucking money. And they denied my appeal. I did not get my unemployment. And so it was having that unemployment, what have really helped me out when I, when I need it because it took a while and I need a while to get back on my feet after by savings toy right now after that. Yeah. That's the whole other story as you can see. I'm clearly doing are right. I'm one of a few yet who came out. Okay. From that. But there's people, yeah, who really need that money. There's a lot of low wage workers who yeah. Would not meet the length requirements and or the salary requirements to get on employment in my state. A lot of states also or not that generous when it comes to unemployment and yes, that's like why that is why we, we need a basic income because a lot of these programs have just been, yeah, like either an effective or they're not, they're not helping the people who really need the help the most as well. Unemployment is just, you know, one part of the picture because also as like going back to the concept that got into earlier with, hey, not all work is a job. I mean what about people like caregivers, you know like women looking after kids especially really get shifted super hard when it comes to both economic mobility. You know, in the future when it comes to being prone more prone to domestic abuse because you have somebody else controlling the money. Ha. Any of basic income will kit will help give you your own money and give you more power yet to like leave a terrible situation. Which is actually, I, I can't remember what state it was, but I have to, I have to look this up. Um, someone was tweeting about it like the other week about how no, there are actual, you know, basic income experiments in the 70s that were called for this very reason because the patriarchy was afraid that a lot of women would leave their husbands if they had a basic income. So there, yeah, there were trials that were cut short because of this. Um, I know that there were, there was the main comb experiment. There was also the experiment in Manitoba. Um, I believe Ontario very recently just also role as rolling out a basic income experiment. And then there's also been some privately funding efforts. Some of my colleagues from the basic income circle comrade and Dia Schwartzberg, um, they're, yeah, they're putting together a film called bootstraps would, you might want to check out if you're interested in this. I met them at, you know, the basic income congress last year. Um, they've been filming people who they gave pastic income too and some pretty amazing stuff has been happening. Like they helped a woman, uh, basically, you know, escape homelessness and she's working on, you know, like getting, like it would getting her either a degree or a license now because yeah, he has the unconditional cash. And I definitely don't think, I mean, I mean this is just me personally. I know there's a lot of other people with nuanced views on the topic. You'll have more experienced and in public policy and social work obviously, but there has been, yeah, like a lot of debate on both sides of the aisle. Um, in terms of whether a basic income should completely, the safety net is that we just like the neo liberal approach for, you know, it should just serve as a supplement to the safety net. And I think it, I think it should serve as a supplement to the safety net because, yeah. But while, while these programs, I think there wouldn't be as much need for them because means testing costs money, it takes extra time. There wouldn't be as much need for all that means testing, but on the same token, yeah, yeah. But I mean we shouldn't completely get rid of those programs just because people are getting unconditional cash.

Speaker 3:

I think the problem that a lot of the discourse around Gbi is kind of missing is that it is taking ubi almost in a vacuum as a singular policy thing, which w which we should be talking about, but not really sort of getting at the deeper question of what it is that we want out of the UBI. So the way that I kind of conceive of it is, I can't remember where I heard this first from, but the, the entire point is to have a minimum basic outcome. There's a certain minimum standard to which we want everybody, regardless of whether or how they are able to work to have, and then we have to sit down and look at the different policies that allow us to do that. And so, you know, coming at it from, you know, a radical socialist perspective. I think the other thing that we have to do is we have to reject the neo liberal conception of everything is a commodity and every relationship as a, as an exchange or market relationship and so ubi in that framework simply cannot be the replacement for everything. It has to be that that ubi is essentially a supplement for the things that we simply cannot in the short term a d commodify. So you're talking about things like providing without marketplaces, things like education, transportation, housing, these kinds of things. Building

Speaker 1:

that you think of universal basic income as um, as a demand side policy. So if you have this kind of a demand side policy while consumerism and the capitalist mode of income and exchange of money is still a thing, having that policy wouldn't really be that disruptive in the current system. It would be hopefully like a stepping stone, like a way to begin bringing things that are outside of the capitalist mode of income and exchanges of money for goods and services of beginning to eliminate money and wage labor but not as an end goal more as something to begin the

Speaker 5:

process of making that part of our Overton window.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. Well one interesting proposal I've actually seen, I mean this is, this is like a different thing from all of that, but like one way to basic income has been framed because you know, this is based on a program that's been in effect for quite a while was you know, a lot of people being in favor of it. Like are you familiar with the Alaska Permanent Fund?

Speaker 5:

Yeah. That's, that's basically the piece of the revenue of the resource extraction out of Alaska just goes to basically everybody.

Speaker 6:

Exactly. And so, um, it's a, and it's everyone, you know, in a way that's going to get the permanent fund dividend. And so I've seen a lot of, you know, basic income scholars essentially draw the same comparison and that hey, our tax dollars are funding, you know, all the Orange d, the almost trillion dollar companies you know, uh, are benefiting from, you know, it's all that corporate welfare for lack of better word. That is also, yeah. Coming out of our tax dollars. Every citizen should be able yet to have a piece of that that is um, yeah, another form of resource extraction. It may not be as visceral. Yeah. That's what happens in Alaska and that sense, you know, it's not, you know, like oil and gas drilling bum, but it is your hyper p and extracted it is yo yell like your tax dollars being used to paper things that these companies can damn well four. And so basic income has also been framed as a dividend, which I think does sound more palatable to people who may not be that turtle on by getting income from the government. That is unconditional. But when you reframe it as this is your citizen dividend, people can definitely start seeing it differently. That's also funny as been, that's been coming up in a lot of, yeah. Ubi circles.

Speaker 5:

Being a member of the Iww, one of the things that we say is not a fair days work for a fair day's pay, but abolition of the wage system. So from that standpoint you could see ubi as chipping away at the wage system. Yeah.

Speaker 6:

How many things? Um, you know, how many people are like, oh, what we should support x, Y and z because it creates a job for somebody. No, I've seen a lot of terrible industries kicked offended because what will we do about the job? Like that's why people defend these murdering scum sucking health insurance companies. Oh. Because they employ people even though these were Szeto. Yeah. Like highly skilled, educated individuals should be easily be put to work in a single payer system. And then for the ones who aren't going to back to work and help care. Yeah. Basic income we give, uh, give them the resources, you know, yet to be able to like retrain with minimal disruption, be able to start their own business or better yet you work in their community. You know, that needs to be done, which yell if nobody is paying for because that type of, you know, yeah. Like emotional labor and like community work is considered to be your, your oldest noble sacrifice you make. Um, but oh no, you're capitalist wage labor has to get priority. So that's, that's basically, yeah. Like it goes back to the whole thing I was saying about how a lot of people don't know how to deal. Yeah. I don't know how to divorce the concept of work from, you know, work that, um, somebody else's giving you a wage for. I mean, I said, I just see it as it is having my own business. People don't get it, but then they'll look at me at the end of the data to, Hey, I have clients I have sales by depend on, and if, God forbid something happened to all that, then yeah, I am totally with own again, commerce something else, you know, to back that up. And yeah, fuck the waves on the wage labor system. We don't think I do better than this, but a lot of people are still stuck in that mindset that a job is basically like the best thing you can do with your time. It's what you need and yeah, people are brainwashed, dude. That's the best way to put it.

Speaker 5:

Uh, you did, you did mention there that you, that you own your own business, so you are a class traitor. I'm, I'm guessing by being both a small business owner and a socialist,

Speaker 6:

they make more money than I do. I mean, I make a debit middle class salary. I'm not, I'm not rich. I just basically they just, oh my time. But, and they were, yeah, and a part of my waiver, which is where I think like most people want. I mean, I don't have employees. I don't, I don't need any, I don't really want, I don't, I mean, I don't know. I just think too, I don't really fit in with those like entrepreneurship circles because I just, yeah. I had no other choice because I couldn't get a job again after I walked by last financial industry job back in 2014 and then I just had no desire to return anyway. And I don't know my whole, my whole reason why that I don't have to sit at a desk 60 hours a week anymore. And I don't know. Some people like, oh on the left have have like mixed reactions and I don't know, I just, I just don't see what the big deal is one. Yeah. I'm not exploiting a buddy. I don't, I fuck, I fucking want to see you get paid more for your labor rates. What my entire business model revolves around. I'd be like, I fought very hard to get paid very well for my labor when I was not, I was still, you know, basically, you know, working for somebody else. And I think it's the goal that a lot of people have and they should be able to go for it. Like self employment, you know? Yeah. Should, should always remain an option. Um, and more people will be able to pursue that if they had a basic income because yeah, I had significant savings when I cut, like go at least in that gate, you know, that that basically provided my safety net while I was building this business.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. Um, one of the things that type areas mentions every so often is, you know, um, Kropotkin who wrote conquest of bread was, was a prince and the communist manifesto has mentioned of people who are either bourgeoise or petty bourgeoisie, um, joining the proletariat in their fight. So too,

Speaker 6:

I think a lot of sole proprietors like myself are pretty much pros. Missense maybe you just don't want to think of themselves that way.

Speaker 3:

Um, but I do want to say that in, in sort of a, a Marxist sense being a sole proprietor that is, that is not actually, um, uh, a proletarian class that that actually is part of the bourgeoisie, specifically the petty bourgeoisie. It's a, it's essentially a class position that allows you the ability to exploit the labor of others as the owner of a property or as the owner of a business. Essentially. It doesn't necessarily mean that you do or have to or that your class position is secure. Mark's actually talks a lot about how the class position of the bourgeoisie is insecure and therefore they are the class that is given most to reaction in times of capital crisis. Uh, which is definitely born out through history in terms of like the rise of reactionary fascism, these kinds of things. But I, I, I think that's, um, I think that's a kind of an interesting question, but going a little bit far a field in terms of ubi, which I, you know, I appreciate[inaudible] definitely a Rambler, but, uh,

Speaker 6:

no old self employment. No. Like how, like being a sole proprietor should be an option and ubi would definitely enable that. You know, because I'm just thinking of a lot of people I know because as I mentioned, I'm in, um, I'm in the media and the games industry and there's a lot of people who want to enter those fields. They have the talent, they have the passion, but I'm not going to lie. There is a lot of exploitation in those fields. There was a very big culture of entitlement and you know, there if people could actually get like have a basic income and some either like want to make the sacrifice or I said, or if you had a situation like mine where you have no other choice but to go and work for yourself, you know, having like that ubi would like would take away a lot of the stuff that goes to like probably not all, but at least a lot of the stress involved in keeping your bills paid. You know, while you're working on your own media projects or you're trying to like, you'll make connections in the industry. Like I said, all these things are work, you know, like case in point. Like today. Yeah. Like I spent like two hours, like writing a blog, like a new blog post, which I just put, um, it's a little tangential bliss, but it's about, you know, like, Hey, if you're, yeah, if you are in the professional class node, you're considered successful by some people. Like, is it okay to turn to crowd funding or whether it's personal or whether it's just support what you're doing. Um, and I, I might going to like get some leftist concepts in that post a little bit. It's on my blog[inaudible] dot com if you want to check it out anyway, to get back to what I was saying though. Yeah. Like I feel, yeah. Like two hours doing that and then answering emails and just, yeah. Doing other things pertaining to my business. Like none of this stuff, you know, is doable, you know, it's all, you know, but it's all consider like going to pay me to do any of this, but all of his work, um, you know, but for somebody who's still in that, it's like in that vein, you know, of, um, oh no, it's not work unless somebody else's can you do it? Like that's, that's I think a very big problem we have in this society.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Picking up on the, on the fact that you know you are a sole proprietor and as you say, you do, you sometimes just like two steps ahead of the uh, the debt collectors or you know, if something goes badly you could be back in a terrible situation. That's one of one of the definitions of the petty bourgeoisie and, and I'm saying that not because that is my saying that you are a bad person for being a sole proprietor. It's that when we engage with leftism, when we engage with other people and with these movements, it's helpful to know where we come from because our situation may be really different. And I know that this is, this is disconnected really from ubi, but the, the fears that you have a similar to those of somebody who works for a wage, but also you have another different set of fears. And we kind of all are all bringing these different perspectives. I have never owned my own business, so I don't know what is involved in any of that. And so I don't know your perspective, but there's definitely material enough for exploring whether the, whether the traditional divisions of proletariat and bourgeoisie and, or petty bourgeoisie and Lumpenproletariat, whether those definitions are worth reevaluating now that we have like the, the contractor and the Uber driver and the hundred and the pretty decent six, five and a half Figgis, you know,$150,000 a year tech workers, whether, whether there's a need to re examine those definitions and that feels like it could be an entire series. So,

Speaker 3:

right. So, and, and you were talking about how even as a small business person, sole proprietor, whatever you want to call it, you're still at a very tenuous position. And that UBI could potentially help you out, uh, and, and allow you and, and others who would perhaps like to be in, in that kind of position to be working for themselves, to be able to, to have control over their own labor. But you're also talking about how, like one of the things that, that you agreed with was our revolutionary watchword should not be a better day's pay for a fair day's pay for a fair days work. It should be the abolition of the wage system. How do you think ubi actually plays into that? It, you know, revolutionary end goal. How does, how does, um,

Speaker 6:

I'm sorry to keep circling back to the same concept of that not all work is a job that's like what it really boils down to. And I just think that, like I said, when this is Friday, people are just particularly stubborn about the outlook, you know, and that the job is considered like, you know, the old holy thing. It's like the old way. Oh, that's the only way that like you can make money or that you should make money even though the job, it's gotta come from somewhere. No, they're either coming from, you know, our taxes with public programs or you know, or the UN agencies or they're coming from, yeah. Entrepreneurship. There's a lot of these, a lot of these mega corp's like don't necessarily spring up overnight. Actually. No, actually no, I take that back. I think some of them do these days, but you know, it's still, there's a lot of these companies that yes. Started with yet with an idea in Yo. Yeah. Like in your, in your apartment. And then eventually what was the something else? Like I, I've decided I don't want him to do that. I don't want to grow this. I don't want to grow sonic and did this massive operation. I have my reasons. Um, and uh, you know, but, and I think that like having, yeah, basic income would definitely empower more people to make those kinds of decisions. Like actually, oh here, let me just give you a good example of what I'm talking about is I think we could all use some good concrete examples as well. The theory, this is real talk. When, uh, when I was, you know, just getting started back in 2014 when I got let go and then I was basically starting a whole new career from the ground up. You know, cause I did the whole thing that a lot of indie game developers do. You know, where oh I have the job and had slipped supporting my game studio. And like that's the paradigm a lot of people my field go by. Um, what if we had a basic income and either a didn't need a job or be, you know, depending on your needs, your circumstances, you had x, say this extra$1,000 a month coming in or because you have a lot of studio, a lot of any developers who are like couples or friends working together, you have like two or three grand a month coming in unconditionally. I mean that's the money, you know, paying for your living expenses while you're working on the game. You're taking classes to improve your skills, which is yeah, that's money going right into the economy right there. You know, you're making investments in your business. Like a case in point GDC coming up, game developers conference. I don't about two to three grand each here to go to that. Um, and then I said, once again, I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can do so, but there's GDC scholarship funds and there's other initiatives to get people over there because yeah, it is a very cost prohibitive kind of thing. And having, I said that you take someone like a lot of people at my game development collective where yeah, they're doing this, they're falling in the same paradigm of having a job while you work on the game, but then you know, they have like their own personal obligations, um, where like, you know, they may not be able to easily say the kind of money to make the investment in their career to go to GDC. Like basic income would make something like that a lot easier. And then in the case of to forcing that from a job, well, what I did in the summer of 2014, um, was that, you know, I ha I had a pretty decent amount of money saved up. But then once I, it was, you know, basically decided on not, not going back to the financial industry. I sold all of my business suits and then some other stuff that I assaulted, I didn't need. And I had about 3000 toddlers from my ebay sales. That was a nice tile, have fuck you money. Um, I was not, as I mentioned, I was not like making a lot of investments and the company I have now, I didn't force sought at toad until like early 2015 like it was that, it was actually like right after my very first GDC actually in 2015 but I formed Sarc toad and they got it all formalized and whatnot. But it will in that time when I still was pretty flushed with savings. Then you had this fresh cash injection from selling all my old business. It's like God, that felt good. Um, yeah, like doing all that. And then I had, and so then I had this money. Um, I felt like, so there's basically no authority 40 to keep tabs on me, you know, so I basically get made my own basic income for three months. And yeah, I was learning how to work it, you know, in the unity game engine. I was going to classes at play crafting, I was going to local game developer meetup show to meet people. Um, grow my network. Like I said, all things that were there are the, our work, but most people don't think stem as being work. That stuff. That's a lot harder to make time for when you have to go to a normal job. But yeah, like I did everything from like you had started to work more on my, on my, on my own studio. I was also writing a book at the time as well. Um, yeah, the shifting, I hit the fan with my savings running out until 2015 but in 2014 when I still had some pretty good money saved up, had the injection from the Ebay sales. Um, yeah, everyone should have. So that's the thing, if I wasn't able to focus full time on yeah, forming a new career like that. I mean, I don't know, maybe I wouldn't be in this position now. So that's what I'm talking about. I think a nice concrete example there of like how a basic income will empower somebody to pretty much do the same. Like it would just when you're taking away some place, focus on having to pay the bills on having to yell and go to a job, do all the stuff, you just unconditionally give somebody you know the means, you know, to do all that and then yeah, like people just underestimate the potential there is in other people to get that done.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I think in some of that you've kind of really hit on on one of the, I was, I was originally positive on universal basic income. I was, I was really in favor of it and now I'm, I'm kind of neutral to be honest. I have my reservations. I feel like it is extremely important for people who are economically marginalized to, at least in the short term, have ways to be able to survive. But in the long run, I feel like doing that would Neely pushback, privation and social collapse and kind of the necessary reckoning by a few years that we'd be, we'd be kind of pushing stuff.

Speaker 6:

Sounds perspective just because, you know, because like I'm thinking about when I was at, you know, Navy big, you know, the national, you know, the North American, you know, basic income congress and I was at that list summer. Um, I remember one of the panelists, um, who was a social worker and she had been homeless. She went through like, I mean definitely like definitely way we're stuff than I have gone through for sure. And you know, she talked about what it was like, you know, stealing food. Like when she was sleeping on the streets in midtown Manhattan and then talking about like how draconian it was navigating the shelter system, navigating, um, you know, like what, you know, tattered safety net we have. And then she, you know, basically entered her speech with people, you know, people be cash and they need to also be trusted, you know, to know their needs and make, make the wrong decisions like that. Like the food stamps thing for instance. Like, you know, it's like, I think in cal, I think California is the only state where you can use food stamps, like the buy hot food. I might be mistaken, correct me if I'm mistaken on that, but I know that like in most states, so you can't use food stamps and hot food and you can't use food stamps on a lot of things are actually help you, you know, Cook, prepare and then it just, it's kind of like, I think as Scott put it in one of his essays, it's like you're stranded like with a flat tire and they just give you a rubber chicken basically. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

The food stamps program in California is CalFresh. Um, there are some, there are some ways that you can use your CalFresh benefits to purchase prepared food, but it's, uh, there's a whole other layer of means testing. It's not just that you, if you are on CalFresh, you get to purchase hot food, you have to have some extra qualifying stuff and it has to be participating restaurants. So one of the things that you said there was people need cash and I will definitely agree with that. People need cash. And it does. Thinking back to what I said earlier, it does sound like a little bit of harsh. In fact, it sounds very harsh that I'm like implying that we don't need ubi. I feel like what we need is to be able to provide for other people in the short term, but in the long term we need to get beyond cash. And I worry that if we settle for ubi rather than pushing for something that would just obviate the need for income at all. Um, we would be selling ourselves short. That's, that's what I feel is, is my concern with ubi right now. Like I can, I can support it as, as a halfway point, but not as an end destination

Speaker 6:

I guess. I guess there's been a lot of um, yeah, like very positive outcomes for a while. Like the basic pilot programs like I mentioned earlier. And then I said there were also some that were cold on purpose because people knew that they were going to have, you know, a positive, a positive outcome and you know, which, which they actually, yeah, like I think it's a, it was the case of like, I believe the Mincom experiment, which once again, correct me if I'm wrong on this, but I remember reading about the sister a couple of weeks ago on Twitter about how, um, the like in the 1970s it was like that ink, that experiment got, you know, got shut down because the guy is running it knew that a lot of women yeah. Yet would now have the power to leave their husbands. You know, women did not have, you know, the means to sustain themselves. Like they do. Like we do nowadays. We have a lot more options I think. Figured don't think making you like a very good point there, which I hadn't considered. I know that like some people like kicked around the idea of like a resource based economy, which I think you would narrow it more and more. It's more shedding light, you know, just like how, yeah. Like a lot of people don't know what a basic income is. Um, I, yeah, like I think the term year resource based economy also needs to like come to the surface more. I mean I w I don't know. We don't know what the hell's going to happen. Like what a two years from now or five years. I, I'm in favor of a basic income, you know, a waste, you know, for, for the foreseeable next couple of years. Like we need a basic income like yesterday as for like what are we make, you know, a shift to a resource based economy or not. That's yet to be determined but no advice. See the, I see the point you're trying to make donuts. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

It's kind of like the, um, the DSA stuff about DSA pushing for Medicare for all where instead of pushing for nationalized health system, you, you're, you're kind of caught between what's possible to push for and what you really want to end up with. And the danger I, I see is that no matter what you try and go for, it's, it's not going to be perfect. So Ubi as, as something that can improve the lives of people is definitely in my mind.

Speaker 3:

And, and I think, um, you know, one of the, the ways that we might be able to sort of thread that needle is, you know, it's, it's difficult with ubi because it's not about, you know, dispersing resources per se, but rather dispersing currency, which the federal government currently has a, you know, platinum level patent on only it can, you know, print money essentially. Um, but I think that, uh, you know, doing things like d commodifying certain things and you know, providing, if it's not, you know, uh, if a full unconditional basic income, then it's, it's at least sort of like a, an unconditional supplemental income or something like that. So that we can do at a local municipal or or regional level. That is something that could be much more democratically controlled by the people there has a lot more direct community tie in and support can, can mesh much better within the kind of Paul like a radical politics that a national level campaign just fundamentally couldn't. And then, you know, basically in instead of trying to push all at once and expending all of our energy trying to do this one big um, ubi thing at the national level, we, we could instead have a multitude of much smaller programs at much smaller levels that essentially like build the political pressure that would, would essentially like sort of bubble up to the, to the national level and still allow us to pursue much more radical politics than would be possible if we were just focusing on the national level.

Speaker 6:

That's a good point. Cause you're like going back to the Alaska Permanent Fund for instance. Yeah. I mean you know, cause like every state I think has like some radically, you know, different needs, you know, different culture. I mean wall, everybody has, you're the same age. No. For Food, for shelter, healthcare, clean water, education and the, all these things that basically, or human rights, you know, everyone's got the same needs. They'd be economy. You know, in New York is a lot different than the economy in Wyoming. You know, different populations, you know, different Hubble population. Obviously like very different needs like cost of living, you know, here in New York is going to be, you know, like a lot higher than it's going to be in the Midwest. And I think cause like, cause I know that that's also come up a lot in the ubi circles that I frequent. You know, it will, how much, you know, should uh, nationally instituted basic income should be, you know, like should you also have supplement to you'll, if you have children or other dependents. Um, so that's, that's another one that's also, you know, come up and you know, in policy talks on Ubi. Um, I definitely think that, yeah, like the whole, like low Illich state or local level ubi discussion. No should be explored more because it would account for these things like tweaking, um, you know, for, for living costs and for like the economic veo needs and realities of that area, which I mean like, like, Hey New York, you know, like going to a, going upstate, you know, like paints a very different picture then then then downstate does for instance. That's another good point to consider.

Speaker 7:

Okay.

Speaker 5:

I wonder if universal basic income could free people to be able to make honest assessments of the class privilege and you know, other kinds of privilege that are usually tied to money because if you are suddenly released from having to scrabble for everything, bye. Ubi, that's to my mind fairly significantly different from ubi just being another couple thousand dollars in your bank account on top of all of the millions of dollars that you already have. I'm wondering if it could be, if it could magnify the differences between, um, and I see ty various, you are looking kind of doubtful of that, so,

Speaker 3:

oh no, I'm sorry. Um, uh, someone was a damning me on Twitter about some other completely other issue that has been sort of like going through my mind and I'm pulled in like five different directions right now, which is the life, the podcast. Yeah. Well and I think, I think you actually bring up a, a pretty good point sauce that, uh, you know, there, there are, there are a lot of privileges that can be a lighted by the fact that you don't always have, you know, uh, uh, fiscal benefit backing them up. You know, the, the so called like wages of whiteness aren't, aren't always wages that allow you anything other than poverty. There, there's a lot of white people in this country who do experience quite a bit of privilege but don't necessarily have the same level of class privilege that some of their other wealthier white compatriots would have. So,

Speaker 6:

well it doesn't say what I'm, isn't it the mean economic privilege? Like for instance, like, no, cause I used to get swept up in the whole mindset to, I'm like, what are you talking about? White privilege? Like, you know, I'm like, I'm just like, back then I was like, I'm broke. Astia was as a black person, what are you talking about? Something that was like, that was my reality at the time. But no, I mean like white privilege doesn't necessarily mean it's economic privilege. It just means that if you're going, yeah, you're going to a job interview or something, like you're gonna be more likely to get yo taken seriously. Even if like your qualifications or what were Yo then a candidate, you know, who's who, you know, who's a different race or it just means like you can walk into a store and not be only not have doors security think that you were a shoplifter. Like that's just like, that's the thing that people like think like why they get so upset because they hear privilege. They think economic privilege or that you must be economically better off. They don't get like, it just means like privileged because yoga is privileges, very invisible and that's the whole idea of it. I think it's a lot less, it's like economic and more in your face. It's for the most part very invisible like,

Speaker 3:

right. Yeah. No, no, I get what you're trying to say. And that's, that's what I'm saying. Like there, there is, there is a certain sense in, in which, you know, there are some, some levels of white privilege which are elated by the fact that they don't necessarily come with a nice hefty paycheck. So, so that, you know, providing, providing a, a basic paycheck to, to everyone too, to sort of bring the level of bringing everyone's standard of living up to a certain level will then, you know, expose the, the privileges that are left. Because if you can't point to poor white people and say, well, they're poor, they're, they're in poverty and they're struggling. So white privilege doesn't exist, you know, there, there is a, there is a way in which it's possible. I'm not saying it will happen, I'm not saying that, you know, there are a lot of things that could happen but, but it, you know, it's, it is certainly possible that, that having, you know, stripping away that that sort of like, well white people are living in poverty to therefore white privilege doesn't exist. Could then sort of expose the deep, you know, the privilege or the the the privileges that are left essentially. Yes.

Speaker 6:

Did you unit three and yeah, like not have a cop of meat we after you or um, you know they'll like the yeah, like those kinds of things that like yes, someone with lighter skin takes for granted cause they just, they just don't realize it. And you know, not until, no. Like you know, you talked to you and listen to Pto to people of other races and other walks of life and then then, then you'd get it. But no, I think that, you know, yeah. Like having like the economic playing field level, the bid because then you know, yeah. Like the same families getting plenty. Yes. Like a white family is getting like the same basic income is like a black or Hispanic family is and you know, um, then yeah, then suddenly it just like we'll have, we're making it the same amount of money, but oh, now I see that like there'll, these families are getting screwed in ways that I'm not, or like I'm being taken seriously and they're not yet definitely could expose those types of privileges that just, yeah, aren't talked about as much as they as they should be.

Speaker 5:

It's almost like all of these things kind of intersect in, in ways and even

Speaker 1:

removing one wouldn't solve the problem.

Speaker 3:

I wonder if there's a word for that. We keep saying that they'll basically, nobody's ever talked about it before and there was no word for it. Like, no. Um, I think coming up on time here pretty soon. Sauce. Do you want to, uh, do you want to do the last question?

Speaker 1:

Well, um, the last question. Is there anything that you would like to talk on or mention that we haven't given you opportunity to mention or anything that you would like to plug bearing in mind that we have about a two week time between recording and release?

Speaker 6:

Um, no, I mean not if baby premature like way over London daily. Interesting. Interesting points. Like I brought up a lot of the stuff on basic income yet I want to get into like both like the economic and social reasons. You know, why we definitely need a basic income like yesterday. Um, if again some of the interesting takeaways she that I had it like, you know, the basic income congress and some of the other, some other stuff I've just seen, you know, doing, doing basic income activism. Um, one day would end with this that yeah, I definitely think that we should discuss like instituting basic income pilot programs. Then the real deal like, like the state and local level. That is something I definitely don't think gets discussed of. Um, and then yes, for some shameless plugs. Um, yeah, we'll GC we're already be over by the time that this podcast is going to air. So if you were at my party, I hope you have a good time. Um, yeah, it was a slower to be after the GDC party has happened. Um, yeah. And so feel free to yet check out. Um, yeah, my writing. Um, another stuff that sonic toe.com, um, I'm also working on a game, uh, clam chowder hub Ron. Um, it's a very stupid tale about America's crumbling infrastructure told through the lens of a Shlubby hipster can clam chowder all over his neck beer. Yes. This game is based on a true story and I can't wait to be posting more stuff about the game when I'm dealing with some pretty cool called news sites for it pretty soon. And Yeah.

Speaker 1:

All right, well thank you very much Rachel. It's been a thought provoking discussion. I know that will probably be, be talking about some of the stuff that we discussed here and I have a feeling that Twitter will be as well.

Speaker 6:

Definitely.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So thank you. And as always, thank you to our audience for joining us on this episode. I hope that it has been intellectually stimulating, if nothing else. So you know with that as always going and be in solidarity.

Speaker 8:

Yeah.