On Business: UBI

By | Monday, July 24, 2017 Leave a Comment
Judge Dredd, as you may know, was created to showcase a future dystopia. And like any dystopia, it largely reflects the fears and concerns of the time in which it's written; in this case, it's primarily a reaction to the late 1970s and early 1980s and thus a good chunk of the planet is largely uninhabitable thanks to nuclear weapons. Overpopulation is another key concern -- at it's height, Mega-City One (where most of the Dredd stories take place) was home to 800 million, or a little more than double the current U.S. population. Combined with AI and automation, most of the population is unemployed. Which is what, in turn, leads to many of the Dredd plots -- these vast collections of unemployed have nothing to do with their time and so embrace whatever crazy fad happens to catch their eye... which then gets out of hand and the Judges have to intervene for the safety of all involved.

Here's the thing, though... if all these people are unemployed, how do they get the money to afford basic food and shelter, much less the ability to take part in whatever the current fad is?

It's clearly shown in the Judge Dredd universe that not only are most people unemployed, but most people live their entire lives without ever being employed! It's generally assumed that, as a citizen, you will never hold a job of any kind. Trade schools are unheard of, and higher education is all but extinct; what education is given is mostly in the form of teaching kids how to grow up and not be bored out of their skulls. Which I note to emphasize that people don't work for a little while to save up some money, or live off whatever their ancestors saved. The idea of working to earn money essentially does not exist.

So, again, how can they afford food, shelter, and whatever else they get?

Universal Basic Income.

Not surprisingly, the stories don't go into a lot of detail about how UBI was/is set up for people or how it's funded and/or managed, but they do make clear that everyone gets a stipend of some sort from the government in order to live.

So my question, then, is: if one of the most famous dystopias created for comics has, as part of its very foundation, incorporated Universal Basic Income into its overall structure, why is the concept anathema for us here in the US?
Newer Post Older Post Home