What do Martin Luther King Jr, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek Have in Common?

If you read Monday’s post (or if you have any idea what this blog is about) you can probably guess that the answer is that they all supported UBIs.

Those last two, by the way, are very famous (and very conservative) economists. Which might seem strange, but there’s actually a very strong case for supporting a UBI among conservatives. Although often supporting lower levels of government intervention, they both assumed that in a society where there is plenty nobody should be without food and shelter, and UBI is a much more direct and liberal way of achieving this than the current welfare system.

In fact, Friedman went so far as to design a form of UBI called the “negative income tax” and it was this system that Nixon used when, at one point, he attempted to legislate a UBI. This ultimately failed, not because people were opposed to it, but because opponents thought it was too low. Although it might seem surprising to us now, the idea always had strong support among conservatives.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr., on the other hand, is a less surprising feature on this list. He’s known for having fought for human rights and supporting a UBI fits right in with that. In fact in 1967 he wrote a book called Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? In which he talked about poverty, its devastating effects and how to end it with a UBI.

Of course these people all lived in a different time but the fact that the idea of a UBI has persisted is a testament to its enduring and timeless nature. It’s time that we did what all these people and more believed was right and enact a UBI for everybody’s sake.

JD

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2 thoughts on “What do Martin Luther King Jr, Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek Have in Common?

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