What would happen if, instead of the current economic system, all nations were set up so that every individual automatically received a monthly allowance?
A decree might state that everyone would receive the same amount. It would be up to each person to budget and ensure they put each dollar to good use. Entrepreneurship would be encouraged, as would the ability to make a profit, hire staff and invest. There would still be taxes to pay, as a means to support shared infrastructure and services and promote a sense of responsibility toward the well-being of the community.
Of course, for this to work, it might be helpful to put in place programs to train people in effective money-management skills. For while everyone would be assured consistent income, not everyone would necessarily manage it in their own best interest. This is true with the current system. Regardless of how money is earned and regardless how much is earned, guaranteed income, whether on a temporary or ongoing basis, does not guarantee financial shrewdness.
One might argue that guaranteed income would create generations of lazy people who do not feel there is any reason to contribute to a work force. I would argue that the majority of people have creative minds that beg to engage in society, projects, work, development and community. I would also suggest that many brilliant entrepreneurs and dedicated workers at heart might strive under such a system, because they might feel secure enough to dare to act on their dreams and visions.
In the end, the source of income does not matter and the guarantee of income may not matter at all either. What matters and what makes a difference in how successful we are at living and sharing in the activities and prosperity of a community is our attitude, and our willingness to take action. In the end, we create our own ability to support and fulfill ourselves.
We “earn a living” by taking action, sharing our strength, skills and creativity with colleagues and ultimately with an entire community. In this sense, it is likely that a system that guarantees income for all would in fact rob many of the incentive to go out on a limb and develop strength, skills and creativity.
An engineer who earns thousands putting together a proposal that is finally accepted may feel great sense of accomplishment and meaning. Likewise, a waiter who sees clients return, specifically asking for his table and leaving a good tip as a token of appreciation, may feel a great sense of accomplishment and meaning. The dollar amount and means of earning it are irrelevant.
Money does not give value to our lives; how we live our lives gives value and meaning to each dollar earned. Ultimately, how we live our lives give values to far more than that.