After Universal Basic Income, The Flood – Simon Sarris – Medium

Source: After Universal Basic Income, The Flood – Simon Sarris – Medium

What if we implement UBI and it makes everything worse?

Large systems have difficulty adapting quickly, or at all, and miss the nuance of local conditions. Large systems failing could fail millions or billions of people.

If your small hippie commune fails, you can always rejoin the capitalist hellscape, or whatever everybody did in the 80’s. On the other hand, if UBI has been running for 20 years and fails…

How do you make it flexible and easy to replace if it isn’t working, a few decades on? You don’t build a nuclear power plant (or even a dam) without a plan for what to do if it goes critical. Any serious UBI plan needs the same thing, a contingency for what to do if they run out of money, or cannot distribute the money, or need to somehow draw down and close doors.

The absence of contingency is a fatal design flaw. Top-down complexity has a cost. If UBI fails 10–30 years into the future we may have a non-trivial population percentage that has never done any work and suddenly needs to. Since any UBI program failure would mean something like “we ran out of money”, failure may be catastrophic for some communities which produced nothing and have no means of even trucking in subsistence food.

For grand schemes, good intentions are not enough. Contingency plans are a must and robust or anti-fragile plans are preferred.