Guaranteed income (was capitalist religion)

From: Chris Rasch (
Date: Sat Jul 21 2001 - 18:00:09 MDT

Barbara Lamar wrote:

> I still favor the unqualified guaranteed minimum income as the option that
> would involve the least
> regulation of human behavior (by unqualified, I mean that everyone gets it,
> regardless of income level, health, etc.)

An unqualified guaranteed minimum income may be better than our (U.S.)
current welfare system. However, if such a program were tax supported, it
still involves forcibly taking assets from one person to fund another persons
lifestyle. It's obvious to see how the person who receives the subsidy
benefits, as well as how the people from whom the money is taken lose out.
But also keep in mind the cleaning man who isn't hired because the extra cash
that would've been used to pay for his services is instead paying for some guy
to play pinball all day. Or the scientific researcher who can't get the
capital to commercialize her research, because the money's instead funnelled to
people inscribing the Koran on toothpicks. (I know, many (perhaps most)
recipients wouldn't engage in frivolous activities. However, if you can't
persuade others to pay enough to finance your work, then from their
perspective, the capital is being misallocated, no matter how deserving you
believe yourself to be. )

In addition, unless the recipient is responsible, wouldn't they simply lose the
money anyway? By gambling, for example, or purchasing goods on credit (using
their guaranteed income as collateral). Then they will be as impoverished as
before (except that they will have misallocated capital originally earned by
someone else). Ultimately, I think that unless an individual has learned to
handle money, external subsidies will only temporarily relieve financial

That said, I think becoming financially independent on one's own is a quite
worthwhile goal. I've come across several resources that may be of interest
to those who want to develop their own voluntary "guaranteed minimum income":

The Retire Early Home Page by John T. Geaney
Geaney, a civil engineer, provides lot's of good stuff: spreadsheets, "why
retire early", career tips. Links to the Motely Fool Retire Early bulletin
board, which I highly recommend.

John T. Anderson, carpet cleaner/philosopher. A number of thoughtful essays on
the virtues of thrifty living.

Cashing in on the American Dream: Retire at 35. by Paul Terhorst Bantam Books,
New York, NY, 1988
Former CPA retired at age 35 with a nest egg of $400,000. Money magazine did
a cover story on him in 1988 You can read
about what he's doing now at

Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. Explains how to
calculate the cost of goods in terms of how much of your life they require to
earn. Detailed plan for tracking your expenses and saving money. Despite
environmentalist cant, quite a good book. More related resources can be found

Getting a life: Real Lives Transformed by Your Money or Your Life by
Jacqueline Blix & David Heitmiller
Viking Press, 1997 Follow-up to Your Money or Your Life. Tells the stories of
28 families that had achieved financial independence through the Your Money or
Your Life program. Reviewed here:

The Complete Tightwad Gazette : Promoting Thrift As a Viable Alternative
Lifestyle by Amy Dacyczyn

Lot's of creative tips for living thrifty, culled from the author's
newsletter. Well-designed book (the author is a graphic designer by

These books I haven't read, but seem interesting:

How to Survive Without a Salary : Learning How to Live the Conserver Lifestyle
by Charles Long

Retire Early and Live the Life You Want Now : A 10-Step Plan for Reinventing
Your Retirement by John F. Wasik

How To Retire Early and Live Well With Less Than a Million Dollars by Gillette

Get a Life : You Don't Need a Million to Retire Well by Ralph E. Warner

Unjobbing: The Adult Liberation Handbook by Michael Fogler, Free Choice Press,
Lexington, Kentucky, 1999

Yankee Magazine's Living Well on a Shoestring : 1,501 Ingenious Ways to Spend
Less for What You Need and Have More for What You Want

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