The crisis of optimism

Source: IPSOS MORI

The world is undergoing a crisis of optimism. Citizens especially but not only in developed countries are losing their hope for a better future. After decades of growth and prosperity following the world wars, now stagnation, loss of purchasing power and fear of decreasing wealth are the new default. That’s why seductive authoritarian strongmen are gaining support – once again. They promise a better future. Certainly only “better” in the sense of “for those of you who have always lived in this country and share a certain zero-sum worldview”, but nonetheless. The group is obviously big enough to make someone U.S. president. Continue Reading

Why I hope that the Unconditional Basic Income will become reality

If you follow the weekly reading lists on this site, you might notice that I frequently express my sympathy for the idea of an unconditional basic income (UBI). In fact, the UBI is the single most socio-economic and political idea that I am passionate about at the moment. I explicitly don’t state that I “believe” in the UBI, since that would make me sound too confident in its feasibility. I prefer to use the term “hope”. I hope that the various experiments and initiatives that currently are ongoing (e.g. Finland’s experiment, Y Combinator’s research, the Swiss referendum) will lead to positive results that eventually make one country become the first mover in introducing the UBI for its citizens.

While the concept of the UBI currently has a momentum and receives a lot of attention within certain circles, mainstream politics in the majority of countries have, for the most, not acknowledged the UBI as a serious undertaking. Also, many people are sceptical when they hear about the idea of giving “free money” to people. Which is fully understandable. It can be a strange thought and provoke all kinds of associations. Continue Reading