Digital monopolists drain all their markets at once and more completely than their analog predecessors. Soon, consumers simply can’t consume enough to keep the revenues flowing in. Even the prospect of stockpiling everyone’s data, like Facebook or Google do, begins to lose its allure if none of the people behind the data have any money to spend. To the rescue comes UBI. The policy was once thought of as a way of taking extreme poverty off the table. In this new incarnation, however, it merely serves as a way to keep the wealthiest people (and their loyal vassals, the software developers) entrenched at the very top of the economic operating system. Because of course, the cash doled out to citizens by the government will inevitably flow to them.
Meanwhile, UBI also obviates the need for people to consider true alternatives to living lives as passive consumers. Solutions like platform cooperatives , alternative currencies , favor banks , or employee-owned businesses , which actually threaten the status quo under which extractive monopolies have thrived, will seem unnecessary. Why bother signing up for the revolution if our bellies are full? Or just full enough?
If we’re going to get a handout, we should demand not an allowance but assets. That’s right: an ownership stake.