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What's Wrong with Free Money?
A Critique of Demands for Universal Basic Income

Fri 12 May 2017

Caught Learning presents:
What's Wrong with Free Money?
A critique of Demands for Universal Basic Income

After a forever of austerity and the violence of the benefits system the prospect of a Universal Basic Income - a.k.a free money for (not quite) everyone - seems too good to pass up. But those calling for UBI come from different political perspectives, so why do they share an interest in the policy? And in any case, why would the state, a key agent in austerity, give us free money? Caught Learning invite London-based Critisticuffs plus Variant Magazine's Leigh French and Neil Gray to discuss these questions and explain their critique of the proposals.

Critisticuffs: 'What is wrong with free money?"

Proposals for Universal Basic Income (UBI) are popular with people with very different ideas. We want to discuss what the different visions of a UBI share and why those with different politics can share an interest in the policy. We will do this by discussing how these different proponents of a UBI understand society and what these understandings fail to criticise. Our claim is that, on the one hand, these proponents want to achieve opposing aims under the same name. On the other hand, despite these opposing aims they share more than just the name: they are not interested in why in this society productivity gains produce poverty and why the capitalist state attaches conditionality to its welfare regime. As a consequence, they put forward a wrong and idealised understanding of what it means to produce for the market and the role of the state. We will spend some time discussing why the left puts such big hopes in a UBI and why we think this strategy is a bad way of dealing with capitalist produced poverty.s.

Variant: "Concretising UBI"

"An introduction to some further UBI themes for discussion, intended to ground current urban experiments and proposals, such as UBI as a mobile policy script, a biopolitical subjectivisation process, state fetishism and exclusionary populism, vanguardism."

The talk will last one hour with time afterwards for discussion.

'What is wrong with free money?', the text by Critisticuffs, on which their talk is based, can be accessed here

More information: caughtlearning.wordpress.com