Further, it will leave people behind; JG does not eliminate poverty. It’s UBI with a work requirement, even if it theoretically supplies those jobs. The US has plenty of evidence that work requirements for other safety net programs reduces their rolls, and it won’t only be elderly people or people with disabilities who decline the make-work, maybe because they prefer to be with their family even if that means poverty. Gyrations are always exclusionary.

The Soviet Union’s anti-parasite law offers another warning here:

Full employment, achieved in the course of the First Five-Year Plan (1928–31), was widely celebrated in the Soviet Union as indicative of the advantages that Soviet workers enjoyed over their counterparts in the capitalist world. But what about able-bodied citizens who refused to engage in socially useful labor or evaded work? The 1936 Constitution embraced the moral precept that “he who does not work shall not eat,” but it was only towards the end of the decade that workers who were absent from work without excuse or who quit their jobs without authorization were made criminally liable and subjected to imprisonment.

Written by

Economist. Founder and president of the UBI Center. Studied at MIT and UC Berkeley. YIMBY. Former Google data scientist.

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