Erik on Basic Income

I’m so excited! My daughter, Kristina, is in town until Sunday. I just picked her up at the airport early, early this morning, and while en route, I was reminded of another funny story showcasing the patheticness (new word) of my tiny brain. Above one of the highway signs, there’s a picture of a bear with the word, “zoo” on top of it. Did I put that together in a logical way? Nope. I thought it said, “200 bears” and wondered where the hell they’d keep that many and why they were advertising it. Sigh. Okay, check out this interesting concept, the basic income.

Me: Good morning, Kim. Hi, Erik. We just had a very interesting discussion about stuttering, and now we’re going to go on to the next topic. Are you ready to hit the ground running, Erik?

Kim: He’s wearing boxers and he went like ba bing ba on the drums.

Me: He’s wearing boxers?

Kim: Yeah, he’s just sitting in boxers, playing the drums.

Kim chuckles.

Me: Oh, my god. Well, he was a boxer, not a briefs man, so that makes sense.

Kim laughs.

Me: There are a couple of things I want to talk about, and I think the first thing I want to talk about is something somebody brought up about economic approaches for the world. There has been, at least in Finland, an experiment of doing something called basic income where everybody gets a basic living wage from the government. That does away with welfare because that pretty much replaces it. Here’s what this blog member says: “The model of ground basic income, getting a certain amount of money without doing anything, is being discussed in Europe more than ever before. There are many advantages but also many concerns about this model. Can it serve as an instrument to stop the ever increasing gap between the poor and the rich? Will it bring people back to their real needs like spirituality? Can it be financed? Can it be introduced to the world where states still work separately? Will it be the future? If not, what is the best economic approach?” You know, people are becoming more and more dispensable because everything is becoming more automated, and it’s going to be more and more like that. So what happens when there are not enough jobs for people? Anyway, basic income. What’s your take on it, Erik?

Erik: I have a soft spot in my heart for –

Kim: This is the part that caught him, that really hooked him, energetically: when you said things are becoming more automated. He even said, “convenient” and “over-convenient.”

Erik: But it’s in perfect balance, though. That’s the part we need to acknowledge, so we’ll get to that in a minute. Partially, we’re creating a world that adheres to our needs, basically making us lazier.

Me: I know!

Erik: The less work we have to do, the better, or so we think. But it’s in perfect balance. Don’t forget that part. There is a universal tug of war, a universal pull of energy that is a tug of war. So if we pull over here, someone experiences it over there. For every action , there’s a reaction.

Kim: He uses that word, “balance” with hesitancy almost because he really doesn’t like to use the word since balance is an illusion.

Me: Ah.

Erik: Everything is as it should be. Although it seems like we’re fostering a world that continues to wipe away jobs and the need for people to work, we’re still creating more work for ourselves. It may not be in the form of employment, though.

Me: What do you mean, “It may not be in the form of employment?” Will there be other work like personal spiritual work? Is that what you’re saying, for example? That doesn’t pay too well! (monetarily.)

Erik: Let’s say we create this huge factory that wipes out 10,000 jobs because now all of these machines can do it. We’re making it hard for ourselves in the long run because we’re going to have to work harder.

Kim: He’s talking more about maintaining our environment and our own health and well-being.

Me: Okay.

Erik: So, even though we think we’re being more productive, we’re actually making life, in the big picture, harder for ourselves.

I’m so confused.

Erik: I want to get into the financial aspect of it and the employment aspect of it. I don’t know if we’ll ever know true equality where everybody gets the same base income. There are a lot of reasons why, Mom. First, greed.

Me: Wait. They’re just talking about everybody getting the same—I’m just going to make up something–$13,000 a year, but there will be people who have a job who do get that $13,000 but also make more. But there are some people who only get $13,000 because they don’t work. I just want to make sure that Erik understands that.

Erik: That’s why we’ll never know a system like that because of greed. The man that does work will have this sense of entitlement. There’s too much polarity in that.

Kim: Oh, this is where he shows that a great war could break out because of entitlement. “I work, so I’m entitled to this and you’re not!” So then the men fight. He also talks about income being territory based so like if you live in this part of the world or this part of the U.S., income is different. It’s based on where you live and the cost of living there. He wipes that away, too.

Erik: That would be more likely but it’ll probably never fly.

Me: No.

Erik: It’ll never last.

Kim: He’s getting into the political side of this.

Erik: For us, in the U.S.—talk about the Canadians.

Kim: Okay, so maybe we’ll get into that later. Yeah, that was random.

She chuckles.

Kim: He’s showing me that the income is equal but equally earned.

Erik: Basically, you earn what you work for, and we’ll come back to a time where we all work hard, like physical labor, for what we earn. It’ll be more primitive.

Me: Why? Will there be some big disaster that will break everything down, and then, so—

Kim: That’s kind of what I was thinking, I as like, ‘We’ve got these great machines now that can build and create. Can’t we just keep replacing the parts or won’t they last?’

Erik: We will exhaust our resources. Here on Planet Earth, we’ll exhaust our resources so we’ll have to rely on ourselves.

Kim: Oh! That’s where it comes full circle.

Erik (flicking Kim in the head): Duh!

I laugh.

Kim: So that was what he was talking about earlier when he said that we’re actually making it harder for ourselves.

Erik: By creating all this machinery to do the job of mankind so that all is automated, in the long run we’re making it harder for ourselves because we have to relearn how to live off the land and how to live for ourselves to sustain life. When we exhaust our resources, which we will do, we’ll have to relearn how to rely on ourselves, our physical bodies and so on to sustain life.

Me: When will that happen?

Not next Wednesday, right? Because I have plans. Gulp.

Me: Will it happen in our lifetime, my lifetime?

Erik: No.

Me: Hundreds of years from now? Thousands?

Kim: I’ll have him come to that in just a second.

Me: Okay.

Erik: When that occurs, money is going to be different. Money, as we know it now, won’t even be important. It’ll be more about food and items that you can make a life with.

Kim: Can you give a timeline? When will this happen?


Kim: He pulls me out at least a hundred years.

Erik: You won’t know it in your time.

Me: That’s good! That makes sense. What is the best economic approach now? So the basic income you’re not a fan of? You don’t even think it’ll ever take root?


Me: Or maybe you don’t think it should?

Erik: Oh, I didn’t say I wasn’t a fan. I’m just saying it won’t fly because people carry such a sense of entitlement.

Me: Oh, I see.

Erik: People are so different and battles or wars will break out because of it. It’s just too much chaos. I wouldn’t last.

Me: Well, would it be good if it weren’t for greed and ego?

Erik: Of course.

Me: Okay.

Kim: He was saying something, but he’ll have to give it to me again because memory doesn’t work in this process. It was pretty cool, whatever it was!

Me: Give it to her again, babe.


Me: You’re going t make her fight for it!

Kim: Yeah. No, he’s giving it back.

Erik: Well, duh. If she would just listen!

Kim: You asked some question that triggered this response. It was just two seconds ago. I don’t know what you said, but…

Erik: I want to encourage you people (He knocks on the camera and goes, “Hello?” Tink, tink, tink.)—

Kim: I can hear him knocking!

Erik: You hear me? I want you to think about something. This is along the thread of exhausting our resources. We are such a wasteful people. Things are too automatic and convenient. When you buy something, whatever it is, first ask yourself if you’re going to still use it 6 months from now? Are you still going to be using it in a year? I’ll bet you 50%, probably 70% of you won’t. You’ll buy something now, and then 6 months from now you’ll be done with it.

Me: Yeah.


Erik: That’s what I’m talking about when I talk about exhausting our resources.

Me: We’re so wasteful. So what do you think the best economic approach is? And then that’s all I have for this subject.

(Long pause)

Kim: This is interesting and kind of difficult.

Erik: This is what would work the best.

Kim: He’s showing what he just described where ego and self-entitlement are wiped out and dissolved.

Erik: That’s because when one has to rely on themselves to sustain life, there is no ego or entitlement. Everyone has to come down to a level playing field. So the best economic approach is self-reliance, relying on yourself, not other people, other systems or other things because that creates a pigeonhole that you fall into and don’t get back out of. That’s because you create an attachment and you rely on it. That perpetuates the existence of it and so on. For example, welfare. At least for right now, these systems are going to change. Either the time you’re using the program is going to shorten or the amount of money you’re going to get is going to be capped.

Me: Are you talking about welfare?

Erik: Yes.

Me: Okay.

Erik: So like the time you use it is going to be capped like you can only use it for 6 months or the monies you can get from it is going to be capped out. There’s a lot of energy behind this, capping out these systems, and that will start the transition where people will have to slowly have to rely on themselves again.

Me: Instead of the government. Ah. That makes sense.

Erik: It’ll be a very slow process because there are a lot of people that just can’t. They don’t understand how to make things work. They don’t understand how to make things happen. It’s just not at their soul level yet. That’s why we have this thing called consciousness, and some people are down here (Kim puts her hand down low.) or way up here (She puts her hand up high.) But it’s all in perfect motion. The timing is perfect, too.

Me: Well, we’ll help them evolve. We have to help people who have been on welfare all of their lives and maybe from generation to generation. We’ll have to help them get off of it. We can’t just pull the rug from under their feet.

Kim (to Erik): Why did you bring up the Canadians? What does that have to do with anything?

Me: Oh, yeah!

Erik: They got it right.

Me: Okay.

Kim: Whatever their government or financial system is, it’s a smooth operation. There’s a balance.


Kim (laughing): When I said, “smooth operation,” he started playing that song.

I start singing “Smooth Operator.”

Kim chuckles.

Erik: There’s a lot more balance and less chaos.

Me: Okay.

Erik: We could learn a thing or two from them, but as far as us mimicking what they do, it’s like, ew, I don’t know. Things are really hairy right now!

Kim: He’s talking about our economic system. He’s showing us weeding through all this gross hair.

Me: I know. Oh, my god. All right. Anything else?

Erik: Just that I love you, Mom.

Me: I love you.

We close in our usual way.

If you missed last night’s radio show, here it is!


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About Author

Elisa Medhus

  • Patrick

    The concepts and application of income equality, a “basic” minimum, have already been well explored and tested. Anybody ever hear of Karl Marx? Friedrich Engels? Vladimir Lenin?
    The chaos and armed conflicts have already happened. For example, anybody ever heard of The Khmer Rouge, Cuba, Red China or the USSR?

    • Léon Vrins

      The concepts and application of income equality, a basic minimum have never been WELL explored and tested. There is some difference between theory and practice, you know? The way you put it is a little bit demagogic. Too many people in this world are working practically as slaves for almost nothing, included many young children.
      Take a look at the U.S.A. and see how many people live far below an acceptable level of income.
      In my country, the Netherlands, the situation is far from perfect, but there is a minimum income guaranteed by law for everybody.
      I read a book about a civilisation in the Inner Earth (I forgot the title and the author) in which everybody can take what he/she needs and everybody contributes to what is needed, based on one’s talents and skills. So in that society everything is available for everyone and everybody is aware of what has to be done. Utopia?

      • Patrick

        No demagoguery at all; just a reference to history. Are there guarantees of employment in the Netherlands and protection for employees who do an unacceptable amount or quality of work?

        Who decides what “well” explored and tested is? That’s also been investigated & applied in many places, the outcome is almost universally bad. Look at Venezuela at the moment; as much crude oil as Saudi Arabia, Texas or Iraq yet citizens are abandoning the country like refugees because they cannot get enough to eat, in a nation where crops grow like weeds.

        The problem with minimum incomes is: absent controls on prices, purchasing ability still fluctuates. What keeps prices in line are free markets and voluntary consumer & producer choice.

        The notions of contribution by ability and consumption according to need, are WONDERFUL and will work magnificently under a VOLUNTARY system.

        That scheme exists; capitalism. It isn’t perfect but who among us should decide what the are ideal conditions or . . . impose them? THAT would true demagoguery and historically has decayed into tyranny. Josef Stalin, for example.

        Very few people in the USA live below an “acceptable” level of income, About 12% of the population is given free food, and about 5% receive very inexpensive or even free housing. There are guaranteed salaries in the USA by hour of work.

      • Robin Kincaid

        Very well articulated, Patrick! Thank you! The poor in our country are still affluent compared with the poor in many other countries of the world, so we are doing something right (even if it is not perfect). However, there are way too many freeloaders and the middle class here in the US is very tired of supporting them.

      • Léon Vrins

        It seems to me that you look at capitalism through rose glasses. See what the consequences are of that system, all over the world. Slavery, raping of our planet, pollution, extreme poverty, little children working all day without any opportunity to play and go to school, etc. I advise you to read some books by Upton Sinclair to learn something about capitalism in the U.S.A. ‘The jungle’, ‘Oil’ and ‘Co-op, a novel of living together’.
        You mentioned Cuba. You must know what big part the U.S.A. had/has in frustrating the development of prosperity on that country. Punishment for all the countries and companies that had the evil courage to do business with it. By the way, I’m not a fan of Castro. His biggest mistake was not to allow freedom of speech.
        And there are more countries where the U.S.A. have frustrated/stopped a development in a direction of more righteousness, Chili, Nicaragua, or tried to do so, Bolivia.

      • Patrick

        Léon: Capitalism is a voluntary system. What PEOPLE do is what matters. Same with Communism, socialism and mixtures of each.

        Examine all economic systems we humans have created, then compare where the greatest prosperity and freedom have developed.

      • I thought capitalism has brought more people out of poverty than any other system.

      • True, Elisa, particularly the Chinese during the past 2 decades.

      • Robin Kincaid

        In your country, sir, who are the people that are contributing all that money for everybody else to have the “minimum income guaranteed by law”? That’s the scary part – when the government has no one contributing, freely, into that system anymore, no one gets any money.

      • Léon Vrins

        Part of the bruto wages is used for the payments. Employers and employees contribute. It’s all regulated in several laws.

  • Robin Kincaid

    Good subject matter in this blogged article. I’d have to say, coming from generations of farmers in this country, that the farmer who is helping to feed our nation (and globally) is not going to be okay with a “basic income” idea. Many farmers still have to work very hard and long physical hours, even with mechanization. The farmers would be the first to revolt; already they cannot stand the no-working welfare folks who have their eyes, arms and legs (therefore, can work and should).

  • Rog

    I like the idea that we come down to basic needs met, no matter what. Healthy food/water, home, healthcare. (Did I miss any important ones?)

    This could have less to do with money and more to do with just being able to agree on those basic minimums that support life in a free and healthy way. I think getting out of ‘survival mode’ (hah, autocorrect tried to change that to ‘stuck mode’ 🙂 would free people to be more interested in their life paths, make the level contribution they want to make, and get paid equally for it after that.

    Some people may not want a lot. A small apartment and enough money to feed their pet, have a bicycle, and a TV might seem like a bit of heaven for some. Others obviously want way more, more experiences, more stuff, bigger houses with pools and weekend BBQs etc. Some people may not want to put in the time to be a doctor, and if they’re work/time/contribution is respected who cares if they’re a dishwasher or maintenance person or whatnot. (Just using the usual stereotypes here.)

    Some people could be totally lazy and just take the bare minimum of food and shelter allotted, and who cares if they want to do this. They don’t get to do the fancy frivilous stuff. But they’re also *free* to find the contribution they want to or feel capable of making in order to enjoy some of the more exciting things.

    There’s probably something wrong with this concept in application (although I guess this is basically socialism, and works in other countries actually…) but I like the idea at least in theory.

    Also, I’ve worked in grocery/food industries in the U.S. and it’s absurd the amount of good food that gets thrown away. It really makes you think there’s no reason at all anyone should have to be starving anywhere or unable to have clean water supply etc… Anyway, here’s hoping. 🙂

    • Léon Vrins

      I agree.
      The best system possible is described in the book I mentioned before. I remembered the title and author: ‘Agartha, the earth’s inner world’ by Mariana Stjerna. If it really exists.I don’t know but I think it’s possible, because it’s written…

  • “200 Bears” lol, Elisa.
    I once drove by a roadside stand that I read as “Free Peaches,” when it actually said “Fresh Peaches.”
    Wishful thinking.”)

  • M&M

    Very good post and discussion. I still think the problem that needs to be solved before real change for the better could ever happen is people not having meaningful employment opportunities and/or not being valued as an employee/human being. This is a huge and growing problem in this country. People need to feel valued and have a sense of hope and purpose. Until we fix that problem, and so far it seems we are headed in the opposite direction, we are going to continue to have an over-run of social service needs by people who would otherwise be capable and willing to work. No amount of political bantering and law making is going to fix that. It’s back to our roots as human beings first.

  • Maxi De Mus

    when you think about the paradigm that was installed by a culture. you need money ,you need a job . always in the needy mode . we were learned to be needy .its so boring . think about life when we where more in tune with nature and life itself instead of running after something because you,re supposed and trained or learned to do it by your culture to your sense of wortyness. that reward(prestige ) and punish(guilt) tactism .sustainability to make the best out of the human expirience true the human vessel . stresses towards the needs and then when they get met the ease . the structure and the beliefsystem in our minds to the created structure and beliefsystem present and created on the outside or fysical world and what it is rooted in . our survival fear or stresses to the present and created establishment or joy for living . then its not a question of whos right or wrong but what lies at the very core of the present and created beliefsystem in mind governing or leading our lives. just thinking . there is something of an animal present in our minds or brain and its strive for survival . i dont take language serious or true as it there to just bring something over . our measure in words and numbers to ones worthiness.mindgames to the matter and to our lives.

  • Alphonso de Barbo

    Look! Let’s face it, we come to earth to have a bit of excitement! It must be pretty boring always being nice and spiritual and empathetic! …but, I will be campaigning very strongly to stay… when I get to the other side!

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