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UBI ... just only to save their capitalism until the next Dark Ages

by system failure

Recently, the so-called Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been intensively debated in the United States. On the occasion of the pandemic, many progressives are calling for the implementation of a form of permanent UBI, as millions of Americans are facing the nightmare of unemployment and poverty.

Indeed, according to the most recent data, the unemployment rate, due to the lockdown, climbed at 14.7%, while only during April, nearly 20.5 million jobs have been lost. Furthermore, at least 33 million people lost their jobs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in the US.

These utterly extraordinary figures have forced - for now - not only Trump administration, but almost every government, to implement a first form of UBI by giving a check to the people who form the so-called middle class layers.

In most cases, of course, this type of UBI is completely inefficient to help households cover even their most fundamental needs. And not only that. It could be characterized as a mockery against the middle class, as, on the other hand, the big banks and corporations received, again, billions in bailout packages.

Nevertheless, UBI is one of the central subjects in various economic forums for many years now. And the reason is that the new technological developments, especially in the computers, artificial intelligence and robotics sectors, have penetrated dynamically in many sectors of the economy. Thanks to the so-called fourth industrial revolution, these sectors of the economy are being rapidly automatized. And this means massive loss of jobs, of course.

Therefore, the biggest banks and corporations examine the implementation of some form of UBI in cooperation with the political elite which they control. This is the part of the capitalist elite, which is benefited most from the globalized economy. 

This liberal faction of the big capital - which dominated in the West for the last fifty years through the neoliberal doctrine - is probably seeing the implementation of the UBI as a defense against the threat of a rapid collapse of the consumer base due to hyper-automation and the subsequent massive loss of jobs. That's because a significant portion of the huge profits, and therefore, the power of the liberal capitalist faction, comes from the consumer base. Its rapid collapse will put in danger the capitalist system itself.

Yet, things may not be that simple.

As mentioned previously, what we see now in the United States with Trump, is a counter-attack by the part of the American capital against the globalist faction. The faction that is primarily consisted by the liberal plutocracy. Therefore, as the capitalist class splits, the capitalists around Trump are now taking with them the most conservative part of the American society, as they need electoral power.

And it's quite possible that UBI will become another battlefield in this peculiar civil war between the capitalist factions.

Indeed, we live in a type of capitalism which favors the enlargement of all kinds of monopolies. And naturally, the biggest companies will have the advantage in the competition race by gaining full access in the most advanced technologies prior to the competitors.

So naturally, the gap between the capitalist factions will grow, as the liberal part - which highly benefits from the globalization - starts to form a more and more closed cabal, which separates itself from the rest of the capitalist class. This club attempts to monopolize the production and utilization of any new technology, in order to eliminate competitors at the same time.

As a consequence, the most conservative part of the US big capital, which is far behind in this ruthless competition race, still needs human labor force and it's probably against the idea of a permanent UBI. That's because a permanent UBI will probably increase significantly the cost of human labor, which means significant loss of profits for this capitalist faction.

Perhaps this explains to a high degree the recent anti-lockdown protests by Trump supporters who, were declaring their right to go to work.

The recent pandemic outbreak may force the liberal faction of the capitalist elite to accelerate its plans for a broad and permanent implementation of the UBI.

However, such a prospect should not be considered a victory by the real Left. UBI will be used only as a tool for a smooth transition from capitalism to a type of 21st century corporate feudalism. And this type of feudalism could be proved far more ruthless and eventually destructive for the planet itself.


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