Introduction to Guaranteed Livable Income -- First the Facts of baby


No one is independent, we all start life dependent and must be given what we need to stay alive. Throughout all our lives we are dependent on other people, other forms of life, matter and energy. Sharing is the basis of all humanity. If mothers didn't share there would be no humanity at all.


What we all have in common
Everyone needs to eat, everyone needs shelter, everyone needs clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. Before we can engage in anything: politics, art, philosophy, spirituality, leisure, etc, we must have all the things our bodies need to stay alive. Our bodies are little dictators, they must have good food, clean water, clean air, shelter sleep... or they will die. The body will not tolerate a diversity of opinion on meeting these demands. These demands are non-negotiable and it is what we all have in common.

shopping cart full of groceries

Today people use money to meet the non-negotiable
needs of their body.



plate with dinner plate with money and coins on it

People used to live without money, so why do we need money? After all you can't eat money. Most people today use money to meet their needs because they can't get what they need directly from nature. Direct access to natural resources are blocked. Private property protected by trespassing law is the foundation of the free market. More about money here



"[Private property] means that some have the right
to prevent others from living."
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911


Theft of the Commons

In England in the late 1700's, seven million acres of common lands were seized, fenced off and given to private interests. By 1876, 1% of the population owned 98.5% of the agricultural land. Silent Theft by David Bollier, 2002



Starting in the 1500's entire continents of rich natural resources were stolen from the world's indigenous people all over the world. In North America, an estimated 100 million to one billion bison provided food, shelter, clothing, tools and fuel to millions of indigenous people. Military policy demanded extermination because "every buffalo dead is an Indian gone" (General Philip Sheridan, 1873, US.) Access to nature used to be a guaranteed income for all.

Some people are growing more of their own food and doing subsistence work. However to get rid of the money system without a transition like a Guaranteed Livable Income, would mean there would be a struggle between those with access to land and those without, between those with health and ability and those without. The elderly, the very young, the ill, and the less mobile would have to hope that someone would guarantee them a share of things they need to stay alive. There is no evidence that this would happen.

War on the Poor

When people try to meet their needs directly, they are stopped. In many cities there are laws against sleeping in parks, in your car, in doorways, against sitting on the sidewalk... there are laws against begging, selling crafts, squeegeeing car windows for money... garbage dumpsters are locked up, empty buildings are guarded. Most poor people don't have any bit of ground they can call their own.

Photo: Sign on Dallas road near the Breakwater in Victoria BC.

Why we need a Guaranteed Livable Income

Today people use money to meet their needs. Right now people who have money have power over those who do not. People who can live with less money -- the young, the healthy, the childless-- have power over those who cannot. Not having money is poverty and poverty kills without bombs or bullets. The only way to neutralize the exploitive power of money is to give everyone money though a guaranteed livable income.

person with big sandwichHowever, money only has value because you can trade it for something that comes from nature. Even people who provide a service, like teachers, high tech workers and those in "information" industries for example, need to eat real food, need real shelter made out of and heated with real natural resources.

If we destroy the world's natural resources money will mean nothing. And the fastest way to destroy the earth is to demand that everyone must "get a job!" or live and die in poverty.


Next: The Jobs Paradox: How jobs impoverish people and the planet