Socialism works until you run out of other people’s money, or simply out of other people….
Socialism is all fun and games until you run out of other people’s resources. In Venezuela things were going great so long as the state could fund itself by selling oil. Great of course being a relative term. If you’re a relative of someone in the government, then things are great.
In Finland, they are running short of a different commodity: babies. Finland’s social system is similar to US social security in that it is dependent on having a high taxed worker to non-working consumer ratio. In the US, the conundrum we have run into is that Social Security was stable when there were at least three workers for every retiree. By 2030 we expect to see two workers per retiree and Social Security will run out of money.
Finland is facing the same dilemma. They are running out of workers to fund the free-loaders. They are not making enough new workers to keep the socialist ponzi scheme going. This is driving them to adopt new policies such as increased maternity leave. They are even rethinking their progressive stances on family values. Of course, when the purpose of having more babies is to support the welfare state, this strategy can backfire. Additional maternity leave means more labor is needed to fill those gaps.
While some have suggested that nationalism is the barrier to admitting more immigrants, I have a feeling the true barrier is the fear of adding more dependents to a broken system. After all, in a state built on social safety nets and transfer of wealth who wants to volunteer to go there and work to pay for it all?
Margaret Thatcher said that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. In Finland, they have simply run out of other people.
How Universal Basic Income is more dangerous than automation…
I’ve been asked in the past about my views on UBI, or universal basic income. This article does a pretty good job of summing up how UBI creates two classes of humanity. I would go further to say UBI takes a large portion of humanity out of the evolutionary process.
When you lose your job to a machine, you are forced to reinvent yourself and find a new way of providing for yourself in a world of limited resources. That’s why businesses are started in garages, why new things are invented, and why people go back and educate themselves in fields that matter to the progress of humanity.
I see it as the Matrix. For younger readers, the Matrix was a movie about a future age where robots have taken over the world and hooked every human into a computer that feeds off of their biomass energy while keeping them satiated with a false virtual reality.
In the Matrix you live in a fake reality, have everything you need, and meanwhile your body slowly is eaten up and decays. Outside of the Matrix life is difficult. You are fighting the very automation that has enslaved the rest of humanity. For a time the food isn’t as good. The living conditions aren’t as good. But you are free, innovative by necessity, and progressing humanity.
We’ve had UBI before. Instead of having a job, we had large populations who lived in provided homes, ate provided food, and performed tasks required by the free class of society. That was slavery. In my mind, UBI equates to slavery because it’s only a matter of time before the working class requires the UBI class to contribute for their government provided paycheck. That will usually come right about the time the Socialists get the difficult reminder that resources are not unlimited.
When the resources to provide UBI run out, the question usually comes down to whether people should be forced into labor camps or systematically starved. Just ask anyone anywhere socialism has actually been tried. When robots figure out how to solve the question of limited resources, then let’s give UBI a shot.