Expanded Geopolitics of an Online Basic Income
As covered previously, a digital basic income could be a potent geopolitical advantage, for both strategically “offensive” and “defensive” reasons. As a “defensive” measure, the benefits of UBI are well-documented and thoroughly covered, but there is also some other aspects of it.
Increasingly automation and robotics threatens the traditional livelihoods of even white-collar employees. A basic income would allow them to survive, as well as up-skill and apply their skills and experience to generate new economic sectors.
In an increasingly unstable global economy, a basic income allows a strong domestic market. One government (typically) cannot control global demand and supply for their key imports and exports, so a basic income backed strong local economy can act as a fallback to such instability.
Finally, there’s the “nuclear option,” if you will: Use of a digital currency pegged to a neighbor’s currency, but still able to operate due to the decentralized nature of digital currencies (heedless of said neighbor’s policy). It would mean that the “targeted” country’s residents have a reliable source of income (perhaps a directly democratic way of deciding how to spend said income’s surplus), independent of the current government. This means that such a government (and their currency’s value) would be at the mercy of the country initiating such a project.
The last case is particularly interesting, because it could be considered either a humanitarian project or a more cynical attempt to solidify economic relationships or both simultaneously. As such, I nickname an “offensive” basic income the “Hemlock Approach.”
The natural defense against the Hemlock Approach is in fact a domestic basic income. It means that independently of foreign efforts, you can offer a better service than your would-be rivals can. If both are engaged, inflation could result, but multiple sources of income are likely to mean citizens are more robust and prone to starting businesses, consuming, and raising living standards on their own.