One of the largest national discussions in the United States right now is centered around wealth inequality. Wealth inequality doesn’t just refer to money though, it also refers to wealth of resources. Aside from the fact that three families now have more money than the bottom half of the population in this country, the main issue with not having money is not being able to get what we need. The main idea behind the rising revolution of the bottom half of the population is the realization that we, as a species, now have enough resources and the ability to maintain the necessary level of resources to make sure everyone on this planet has what they need. Because so many people have grown up being told that we live in the greatest time in history and that we have made so many advancements to make life better, people have started to wonder why they aren’t seeing those benefits directly. Why is it that in the greatest moment of human prosperity in history only 1% of the population is enjoying it? Of course, we all know the answer to this question: greed. Because this is such a terrible reason though we have seen people start to act and work towards changing this. This has brought up all sorts of ideas, some better than others. While we are clearly moving in the right direction by asking this question and by trying to solve the issue, I can’t help but feel like we are on a collision course with the system of money itself. Here I want to talk about the two options we will have with money going forward and why there is so much contention about the current proposed solutions.
Minimum wage increases, Universal Basic Income, a federal jobs guarantee, a wealth tax, these are just some of the proposed solutions we are encountering to deal with this problem. While one of these ideas, namely UBI, could actually end up helping the situation none of these solutions are the complete solution to the problem that, in reality, is a world-wide issue. To illustrate this let’s look at where the world is currently headed. While the current discussion is focused around the U.S., eventually, as a species, the goal is to reach a point where we can make sure that everyone in the world has what they need to live a dignified and healthy life. To do this with money we would have to make sure that everyone has enough money periodically to purchase what they need. In this article the author discusses how much one would need a month to live in 2019. While obviously rough and variable calculations the main conclusion is about accurate: you’d need about $1000 a month to live a life with living conditions Americans would approve of without getting much more than you absolutely need. This means having a place to live with working utilities, food, transportation, and maybe a phone and internet (which are arguably necessary to get by in an average American life.)
If we pursue this goal to its end, meaning getting $1000/month into the hands of every adult in the world we’d be looking at cycling roughly $5.5 trillion each month from the market back into the hands of the people. Unfortunately, there is not that much money currently in circulation in the whole world. This doesn’t mean this idea is dead in the water though, instead it means this money would have to be stagger-cycled, in other words, some people may get their money at the beginning of the month, some the middle, and some at the end. Now, instead of using a solid number of money in existence, using GDP would be a more appropriate number for this model. Based off of the projected world GDP of 2019, whether we do this through a UBI or letting it appropriately trickle down, we would be returning about 75% of the world GDP back to the people immediately. In other words, 75% of the money spent in the world each month should go directly back into the hands of the people evenly distributed simply so we can survive and life a dignified life. Of course, a portion of this should be spent on infrastructure and other necessary government spending to keep our day-to-day lives functioning. After all of this we’re left with a very small amount of the GDP to be directed elsewhere, essentially this amount would be pocketed and spent on wants by those who made the money. Taking this math to its end we realize that there is not enough money in the world for all parents to support themselves and their children while still leaving money to be spent on non-necessities. In other-words either everyone simply survives or some people survive and thrive while others die and struggle.
Up to this point my efforts have been to display how the current system simply logically fails and how we are quickly running towards living out this conclusion. The next question is how to fix this, our money ultimatum, and there are three possible solutions I want to go through from worst to best:
Option 1: Create more money
The first possible solution we have is to simply create more money so everyone has a better chance at getting more. The problem with this option is inflation. As we have seen throughout history, if you put more money in the system, the ones already on top will charge more to suck it into their wealth. This means that prices have increased, wealth inequality has gotten worse, and each portion of currency is now worth less than it was before because you can get less with it. Obviously, this is not the answer which leads to..
Option 2: Get rid of money by automating everything so no one has claim to more
This solution is extremely appealing to those who have just heard about socialism and are obsessed with equality. This is a solution people on today’s far left might be very drawn to for a number of reasons. First, it solves the main problem: now everyone has enough resources to live. Additionally, it means no one has to do a job they don’t enjoy and on the other side, people are now free to do what they love all the time and pursue their individual dreams and passions. Unfortunately, there are two huge problems to this idea. First, people like and need to work and feel like they’ve earned or achieved something. This doesn’t mean that automating away basic jobs is a bad idea because in reality, no one wants to do those jobs anyway, it simply means that we need to allow the capitalist system to exist on top of people having their necessities provided. The other problem is that there will always be new, better ideas and if people don’t get recognized or rewarded for them people will stop inventing. So, while automation is okay using it as a way to get rid of capitalism isn’t.
Option 3: Massively increase the GDP by constantly circulating money with new products and services
This solution is the best and the only one that works for a few reasons. First, it solves the main issue of making sure everyone has their necessities by circulating enough money monthly to take out and give directly back to everyone without taking out the possibility of having extra for those who work for it which brings me to the next reason: It still allows people to work for nicer things. As I covered in Option 2, people like and need to have something to work towards. This system allows for goals and dreams while not taking away from others while achieving them. Lastly, it helps push human evolution and progress forward. Because we will need new products and services there will be a larger demand and a larger possibility than ever for people to come up with great ideas and to succeed with them. This means new inventions, new breakthroughs, and great improvements on existing things. Additionally, this means that everyone now has an equal and great opportunity to succeed.
While this proposition is undeniably the best it doesn’t come without its issues but we must take this step first and come to those issues when we reach them because we don’t have a better way forward. The issues that could arise from a system like this would pale in comparison to what we would have achieved if we reach this point. At a point in humanity where we have enough to sustain everyone in a dignified and healthy way, it is immoral not to do so. We must start looking at ways forward to this goal and stop letting stupid excuses let the greedy and narrow-visioned persist in their ways.