What would I do with free food, housing and $55k/year in basic income?
I don’t think this question is fair to ask of myself today. I spent my entire working career trying to find work that was interesting and fun and rewarding.
So, for me, today, I wouldn’t change anything. I’d keep doing my job and living in NYC.
But if I was graduating today with that deal? That’s a much more interesting way to answer this question.
I wouldn’t be able to afford NYC without feeling poor. I wouldn’t choose that — I’d choose a cheaper place to live.
I graduated as an exercise addict. But I was also tired of the snow. So I’d probably want to go somewhere active and warm. Those are places like San Diego, north of San Francisco, or Austin.
I imagine that I’d make exercise my first priority because I’d have unlimited time and would wonder what my body was capable of.
I like cycling, swimming and running. Those things are time consuming and tiring. In this world, my 20s would probably be consumed by the act of exercising or recovering from exercise. So, my most honest assessment is that the earliest chunk of my life would mostly be about fitness, followed by television and video games.
But fitness becomes less fun as your ability to set personal bests diminishes. That’s when the freedom of a high basic income would kick in.
Without the need to work, I’d still want to work. I’m addicted to building things. I have ideas and I want to see how those ideas realized.
But the need to make massive amounts of money has corrupted a lot of the things that I’ve been involved in building.
I think I’d be more drawn to building mission driven products. That’s where a group of people say: this should exist in the world and we want to make it happen. In this structure, there’s no need for the product to ever make money.
I grew up in tech in the heyday of Open Source. That’s the world that I am most attracted to: communities of smart people working together for passion and pride.
So, that’s what I imagine my corner of the renaissance to look like. I’d be a rural fitness geek building innovative products, but doing so in a way that was mostly disconnected from financial capitalism.
I wonder in this world how I would judge success. We have all sorts of social capital. I’m sure I would find a leader board somewhere where I could compete. Maybe those would be smaller, local triathlons. Or app installs. Or coding challenges. But I think that drive would stay with me — just not be financially motivated.
Thinking through this — the biggest question I have is whether I would ever care to make more than the basic income. That’s something to think about.