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A Letter To Mike Hosking And His Attitude Towards UBI

If one mind is speaking about “not losing our minds” it may as well prove a very narrowed point of view of the same. Mike Hosking is eagerly bashing an outspoken pondering about an universal basic income (UBI) by finance minister Grant Robertson.

Hosking is defending the status quo of an economic system that resulted in dramatically reduced healthcare in many places in the western world such as Italy. Before the financial crisis Italy’s spendings on health care was on the same level as Germany’s. Since then, the spending has declined by 32% as a result of European politics. These politics aimed at privatisation of the health system, pushing responsibility away from the government to the market. This resulted in less intensive care units, in fact from 10 beds per 1000 inhabitants to a mere 3. The Italian government went this way in order to pay back debt. This is a result if the state gives up control over essential services. A point that Mike Hoskins apparently supports when he states that “it’s about the control by the state, it’s about everyone being reliant on the government.”

Hoskins says the Finland experiment on UBI “flopped”. What he didn’t mention is that according to BBC “employment levels did not improve, participants said they felt happier and less stressed”. There is apparently another dimension but employment and money. The question arises what a job is for, which opens up a stream or more questions to what life is for. A narrow mind clinging to the paradigm of the economic trickle down effect that pays for everyone. Especially in the current situation, Mr Hoskings should be able to grasp that there is no money helping during the pandemic. It’s people who are not substitutable working to their limits so anyone can live a healthy and content life. We currently call them heroes and give applause.

I have tried to follow Mr Hoskins simple logic on why an UBI is not a good idea. One of his arguments is that UBI would be squandering the money on (rich) people who do not need it. However, at the same time he condones the fact that people in need shouldn't get anything either. Logic of reverse conclusion obtrudes. This is a fine example of the ultimatum game where Hosking sees himself unfairly treated. Interestingly is he one of those who might not need an UBI. Not everyone needs the “free” money, which is correct. The idea of an universal basic income however is its universality. People not reliant on it could give the money away instead. Either to the government - which would work flawlessly in a balanced and fair tax system - or directly to people they find in need.The money could even be invested to those who start up after having finally the time and rest to bring their ideas and creativity to life. But Mike Hosking seems not to trust either the rich nor the poor.

Mike Hosking clearly shows himself as one who follows the neoliberal dream of freedom. Freedom to work. People are not lazy, neither “so stupid” as some believe. Given the actual economic paradigm however, the UBI may not work just like that. It seems probable that with a basic income for everyone, all goods are raising in price which would just increase inflation. So there is more thought needed indeed. What New Zealand does not need are people who stifle new ideas and developments in their early stages.

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