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Roadmap to Universal Basic Income project

David Wood, the founder of Transpolitica suggested a collaborative project for writing a white paper with the title “Roadmap to Universal Basic Income”.

Here’s the initial description of the white paper from its Google Docs document:

This document outlines a series of steps that could be taken, worldwide, towards the realisation of a UBI (Universal Basic Income) of sufficient level to provide the foundation for a “universal prosperity”. The document considers obstacles to these steps, and makes a number of specific recommendations for political action.

Furthermore, there are some preliminary notes to contributors:

This document will be collaboratively reviewed and improved by Transpolitica researchers and supporters over the next 3-6 weeks. The intent is for the document to reach around 3,000-5,000 well-crafted words by around mid August. When it is ready for wider publicity, it will be published on the Transpolitica News channel.

This document will be self-contained - that is, it will not be necessary for readers with a good general education to refer to other articles in order to follow the basic arguments it contains. For example, this document will overlap in some analysis with the content of the Transpolitica book chapter “The Case For Universal Prosperity”, but readers won’t be expected to read that chapter first.

Since I’ve written the chapter “The Case For Universal Prosperity” it seems quite natural that I should lead this project in coordination with David Wood. It’s also a fair suggestion for contributors to read that chapter, though it may also be a good idea to brainstorm some thoughts on how to get to a UBI prior to actually reading my chapter.

If you see the need to create a new thread to discuss a certain aspect of this project, please feel free to create another thread within the Transpolitica category. Debates about UBI in general, which are not necessarily tied to this white paper project are best posted in the Basic Income category of this forum.

This is an open project in which people can collaborate freely, but it should be noted that it will be released as Transpolitica publication. Of course, all active contributors will be mentioned as co-authors.

Work on the white paper will primarily be done on Google Docs. This thread and others can of course be used to discuss aspects of the white paper.

If a more dedicated project management tool is requested, contributors can use the Transpolitica Slack instance.

If you want to contribute to this project, please just contact me, or reply in this thread.

Have some questions and thoughts on this.

First some questions. Hope you see these as constructive and apologies if I’ve missed the answers to these somewhere:

  1. Who is this document aimed at (target audience)?
  2. What part does this document play in the wider Transpolitica strategy?
  3. Is this doc part of an even wider strategy?
  4. What are the goals of the doc - and how will its success be measured?

Some ideas.
I’m new to this and do not have any real depth of knowledgable in this specific topic. That said, I still would like to throw in some ideas/thoughts:

The following are meant at the vision for the universal basic income:

  1. Am wondering if it would be worth deciding the goals to be achieved before determining the steps to achieve them.
  2. Maybe the goals could be determined in the form of some sort of UBI balanced scorecard? e.g.

Product
The product could be the results of the UBI initiative with indicators to measure things such as:
Crime rate
Poverty Indicator
Consumer Demand (measure for both luxury and essentials)
Innovation
Economic Growth
Motivation
Sexual Activity (and other indicators such as divorce levels, domestic violence, etc)
…and others


Finance
Goals and indicators to fund the initiative:


Resources (including People)
A large amount of resources would need to be secured to deliver the UBI vision. A balanced scorecard section could be used to determine the goals to be achieved to ensure the right capabilities are organised to deliver UBI. A set of initiatives could then be determined to deliver these goals.


Processes
What goals do we need to put in place to harness the resources to deliver the end product to meet the needs of society. Could we leverage lean & agile techniques to deploy UBI? For example a goal could be to ensure the people who are going to receive the UBI are actually pro the initiative (since they are key stakeholders in the success of the UBI and they are also key resources in its deployment). They also need to be trained in it.

Ok. This is just a start. Won’t spend a lot of of time on this yet until I know if the above thought process is deemed useful or not.

Am also wondering if anyone has extracted all the various goals & indicators from all previous UBI type initiatives and put these into some sort of central database?

Ken

Might also be useful to leverage (or connect UBI with) the sustainable development goals which seem to be ramping up support. They are also producing goal indicators - see a list here.

I don’t want to give definite answers to these questions right now, but here are some thoughts:

  1. The target audience is a relatively wide range of political agents with the goal to make the transition towards a UBI look more desirable and feasible, and thus increase political support for that policy.
  2. It certainly aims at raising the profile of Transpolitica and gather more attention. The best case would be that it influences real policy makers to implement proposed policies.
  3. The even wider strategy is probably the popularization and subsequent implementation of “futurist” policies.
  4. The document has no specific goals, so far. At the moment it just looks like a really beneficial tool for the strategy mentioned above. If you propose specific goals, we can of course discuss those. :smile:

The problem with that is that it’s quite difficult to set clear goals for UBI, since it’s an idea that has supporters from many different philosophical and political factions, for a multitude of different, and even opposing reasons. For example, some want the UBI to lower wages, while others hope that it will increase wages. Both movements are plausible and will probably happen in different areas.

I think taking both together points towards the best strategy for defining a clear and inspiring goal of UBI: To further sustainable development goals (which can be seen as balanced scorecards for economic / ecological / social policy). There are already some interesting metrics like the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), which could be used to measure the efficacy of a UBI in relevant areas.

The central wish one can have about the UBI is that it enables faster GPI growth than a world without UBI. Stated like that, this turns into an experimentally testable hypothesis.

Couple of further questions:

  1. Is there a database or master list of the various UBI influencing initiatives in play from various organisations globally?
  2. Is there any recognised leader in UBI, or any sort of recognised body, that is helping to orchestrate UBI influencing initiatives worldwide?

Here are my answers to the questions from @Ken_Carroll. My answers seem closely aligned to those already suggested by @Radivis:

Who is this document aimed at (target audience)?

Politicians, people who advise politicians, and people who influence how politicians think

What part does this document play in the wider Transpolitica strategy?

The document should help to make it clear to readers and observers that transhumanism has something useful and important to say about a pressing real-world social issue.

Is this doc part of an even wider strategy?

The overall goals of Transpolitica are listed on http://transpolitica.org/. This document helps these goals by focusing on one particular aspect of “the better politics of tomorrow”, that is, whatever measures are needed to enable significant steps towards universal prosperity.

What are the goals of the doc - and how will its success be measured?

The document will be successful if:

  1. It is widely quoted by political advisors and, in due course, by politicians
  2. Positive changes in legislation and/or taxation, that accelerate universal prosperity, can be traced back to this document.
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Thanks @dw2 and @Radivis for the answers so far. Have some additional thoughts given the above:

  1. For the document to be successful would it be an idea to target a specific political demographic first rather than creating a generic document. For example would it be worth targeting politicians in the EU initially and seeding ideas for the audience with respect to current (or planned) EU legislation/taxation. This might make it easier to trace back policy changes to the proposed document directly.
  2. Would it be worth creating variants of the doc (maybe a second stage) that targets specific political policies - for example create a variant that describes the impact of UBI on healthcare in western countries, or impact on pensions, etc. These documents could then become very useful reference for politicians, advisors, and lobbyists. If some sort of generic doc template was created this could be reused by an alliance of authors to create specific docs for target verticals.
  3. Which established systems have the most to lose/gain from the UBI? This might indicate where best to focus efforts and win hearts & minds. Might be an interesting exercise to conduct some sort of SWOT analysis for the UBI initiative.

Your initiative is certainly very interesting and I want it to be successful - I’m hoping my questions are useful and seen as constructive and that such questions can will ultimately help you achieve your goals.

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  1. There is the Basic Income Earth Network which has a large list of national affiliates: http://www.basicincome.org/about-bien/affiliates/ and a lot of resources about UBI.
  2. I don’t know about an organization that would act as definite leader in questions of UBI. It seems to be more of a grassroots team effort than an idea that is pushed from one clearly identifiable center. Which is quite interesting in its own right. UBI seems to be an idea that catches on with certain “susceptible” people which then however don’t go on to create huge fanatic groups of followers, but simply find other like-minded people with which they share this basic idea. It’s like very unlike the basic ideas of transhumanism. There’s also no definite recognized leader in questions about transhumanism, even though the transhumanist parties now gather more media attention.

In principle, that’s is a good idea, but the downside is that this is a very narrow audience and one that is probably chronically deprived of time to actually read papers and reports, rather than their executive summaries. I guess it might still be worth as an experiment for the future, but at first targeting a larger audience seems to be more promising to at least gain some attention and momentum.

This sounds like a very useful follow-up project :smile: I’m all for it!

That is a very interesting, relevant, and difficult question. Since there’s a large uncertainty about the actual effects of a UBI, there’s also a large uncertainty about which established systems will actually gain or lose from a UBI. My own stance is that in the end, about every individual will profit from UBI, while the same cannot be said about systems. The systems we have in place are adopted to a world without UBI. Transitioning to a UBI system means that we will probably have to revamp or even dismantle a lot of our current systems. This is of course seen as problem by those who are aversive to change. But I see that more as emotional or psychological disposition, not as a rational evaluation that those people would actually suffer from UBI, at least once they will have coped with the transitioning phase.

Thank you! Your questions are certainly very good, and also come from interesting perspectives. :smile:

To be honest, this project hasn’t had a very much high priority for me lately, which I why I neglected it for a few weeks. I want to focus more on spreading the idea of a digital abundance economy, creating a movement around it, and facilitate the establishment of platforms which implement it. However, I feel that I should carry this basic income paper project to completion, since I’ve agreed to lead it. It has the potential to become quite important. However, I don’t want to be associated primarily with being the “basic income guy of Transpolitica”, even though I would be at least somewhat honoured by that association.

The reasoning behind this is that there are multiple very important catalytic developments, which would create much better conditions for the future, as explored in the thread Which radical innovations will boost economic growth in the future?. In my view, basic income is certainly one of those developments, but so is the digital abundance economy I want help to establish. However, while there are many very intelligent and knowledgeable people writing about and promoting basic income, the task of working on the digital abundance economy falls mostly into my hands, since I have devised the probably sophisticated system that could be used to establish that futuristic economy. Nevertheless, both areas are not unrelated, since the Quantified Prestige system, which I’ve developed, can be used with, or without, an integrated basic income. So, promoting the benefits of a basic income makes sense, even if I focus on the digital abundance economy, because I am convinced that a really flourishing digital abundance economy requires some form of basic income, be it centralized or decentralized, paid in conventional currencies or cryptocurrencies.

What this long-winded intro means is that I would be very glad if someone could take over my role as Transpolitica writer in the area of basic income. I fear that I will spread myself too thin, if I invest too much time and energy into writing about basic income, instead of focusing on the digital abundance economy. This means, that I don’t plan to really follow up on this basic income white paper. If others want to continue in this direction, good. If nobody is ready to do it, then I will simply wait until someone is ready to do it.

Having said all of that, I want to complete this project by the end of August. For that purpose, I’ll set up some deadlines:

August, 16: On this date, a first complete draft should exist.
August, 23: The polished publishable version is finalized
August, 24-30: During this week the white paper should be completed with fitting images and graphics, and be published on the Transpolitica site.

I will soon go on to invite a number of people to work on this paper collaboratively. This of course includes all Transpolitica researchers, and all interested members of the Fractal Future Forum.

In the meanwhile, we can continue to discuss what we want to see in this paper. There has been a recent article by Scott Santens about basic income, which is impressively well researched and presented. My hope is that we can somehow build on that. Any ideas?