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Punk Rock HR

Mar 30, 2018

Living wages are a topic of high controversy. Why should someone get paid just for being alive? How can society and business thrive in such an environment? It’s not as hard as you might think and some of the benefits are surprising. Today, Laurie talks with Scott Santens, a proponent of the living wage, and he’ll make you think twice about it.

  • If you’re not familiar with the term ‘basic income,’ Scott lays it bare. It’s where you create an income floor for everyone, universally, that will cover their basic needs. This would remove the need for many welfare programs, but it would do so in a way that supports work. How is this possible? Scott explains the difference between welfare and basic income. He also talks about why welfare punishes you for working and how the people who truly need it are often overlooked.
  • Basic income isn’t just a pipe dream. It’s already happening in one of the United States in the form of a yearly dividend. It’s one of the closest examples of Scott’s idea of basic income and he explains how it works. The most striking bit of data is how it’s increased employment.
  • So who’s going to pay the basic income? Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates? Not entirely; basic income would remove the need for welfare programs, tax credits, and loopholes. He also talks about why figuring the cost of basic income isn’t as simple as multiplying the dollar per person by the number of people in the program.
  • When you talk about redistributing wealth, you’ll hear arguments that the wealthy are being punished for being successful and similar. Scott defends basic income against many of the common objections, including how innovation and investment in America could be stifled by it.
  • Laurie and Scott get to the heart of the matter: if you give people money to live, why would the bother going to work? Scott’s fresh take on the subject might change your mind if you’re against the basic income. The important part to remember is that while there’s a floor to cover your needs, there’s also no ceiling to what you can make. In addition to that, the ability to say no as a potential employee puts power in the employee's hands. It’s no longer an issue of being forced to take a poverty-level income.
  • Scott talks about his experience living with a basic income, which he crowdsourced. What was the single biggest thing he gained, other than the money? Peace of mind and emotional stability. Imagine what $1,000 per month, per person in your household would free you up to do. Would you pursue your passions and do what you were meant to do?
  • The last question is a doozy. What do you do with people who won’t contribute and only ever take from the system? Scott’s answer is priceless. It’s also backed up with science. It’s called the Einstein Effect.

Find Scott Santens on his site, and on Twitter @ScottSantens. If you want more info on basic income, visit

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