Can Evolution Evolve?

I read a really interesting post on Live Otherwise the other day. It was talking about the idea of basic income, an economic theory where every adult is given a fixed yearly income, for example £10,000. This is in lieu of unemployment benefit, state pension etc. read her post for more on it here.

I like the idea, and it is a fairly radical and different suggestion. Yes, some people may choose not to work, but most people like to be occupied. Even most lottery winners stay working, even if they completely change their approach or start their own business. Most of us would be bored doing nothing, but it would give people freedom to pursue different ways of working – start that business you always dreamed of, study for a vocation you always yearned for but couldn’t afford, or simply carry on, knowing that you will always have that basic fall back.

Higher earners would still get it, but higher taxes at that end of the scale would see it clawed back that way. It is not about making everyone richer, just about guaranteeing that everyone has a certain income level.

Me and my OH were having one of our regular rants discussions in front of Question Time last night, and this time we veered down the route of evolution. I proposed that the system we have, where 85 people have accumulated half the worlds money, is the inevitable conclusion of survival of the fittest.


Until fairly recent times, survival has meant that the natural drive has been to fight for resources for you and your family. This would have once meant the strongest had the best living area, the best food, and the best chance of fighting off a sabre toothed tiger.

In the first world perhaps this drive for the best resources has become slightly skewed into the drive for the most money. Money effectively equals resources these days, so are those 85 money greedy, incredibly wealthy people just the pinnacle of Darwin’s theory?

And if that is the case how do we shift evolution to a different path? Not just survival of the fittest, not just survival of our own genetic line, but the survival of humanity. Can we just over ride the fundamentally selfish drive of evolution by using our consciences to think of others? I would like to think so. And something like the basic income would be a good starting point wouldn’t it? Everyone gets at least a piece of the pie, and then it is up to them to decide if they want to increase that share and how they want to do that.

Of course, it is hardly socialism at it’s purest, there would still be huge gaps between rich and poor, but I like the idea that it would remove the ‘scroungers’ label. I like the idea that it may free up creative minds to magic up wonderful things that add to our culture, I like the idea that parents would have more freedom to decide when and how much they work around their families, I like the idea of everyone having dignity.

Of course really what I like is the idea that half the worlds population pop on highway men’s masks and turn up on the doorstep of those 85 with the famous ‘Your money or your life’ offer, and then we share the whole damn lot out fairly. 3 billion odd versus 85 seems like reasonable odds to me, but maybe they have spent all their cash on a robot army?! Plus, you know, robbery is against the law of the land, even if hoarding all the money for yourself isn’t.

I haven’t actually read Darwin, have you? Can evolution evolve too? I should hope so, then perhaps it can shift its aims a little now the rules have changed a bit. I spend half my day telling my two year old to share, he is learning the lesson, even if his genes tell him to keep everything for himself, perhaps we should send Super Nanny to the secret lair of the super rich (come on, if I had that much in the bank, I would totally build a hidden hang out in the basement of a volcano), and she can put them on the naughty step until they learn to share too.

Enough rambling, am off to hunt mammoths, and find a new cave – this one is very 1990s.

Love Miss Cisco XXX



  1. February 21, 2014 / 10:01 am

    I don’t think I actually “get” the idea of a basic income. Why should people be given something for nothing?
    I like the idea that everyone is on equal footing and if it gets shot of all the other benefits then maybe it’s a good thing, especially if it ends up saving money, I just don’t understand how it would work and what would they class as a high income?

    • February 21, 2014 / 10:15 am

      The specifics such as high wages are something that would have to be figured out, it’s just an idea as opposed to a fully fledged proposal. I don’t think of it as something for nothing, but as a platform for people to launch themselves from. Most people would continue to strive to work and better themselves, it would just level the playing field a little for those in low income jobs, and remove the stigma of benefits for the majority who need them are genuine claimants.
      Sonya Cisco recently posted…Can Evolution Evolve?My Profile

    • Louise
      February 28, 2014 / 12:00 pm

      “Why should people be given something for nothing?” … That’s a great question that we should ask those people who inherit lots of money, and/or own properties that provide them with rental income!

      I inherited a property and so get quite a lump of free money every month, and would still get it even if I stayed in bed every single day thinking about how terrible ‘benefits scroungers’ are.

      But I never did anything to deserve it, so I’m not sure how to answer your question. Sorry!

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  3. February 21, 2014 / 12:43 pm

    I hope evolution can evolve too. It seems, for some, survival of the fittest has just evolved into acquiring more than they can handle. I don’t mean those that are genuinely earning a lot of money but those that are always looking for ways to buck the system in very which way possible without any care that their actions have an impact on the poor (like some of the government policies out there).
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  4. February 21, 2014 / 1:21 pm

    I like this idea, I hate the labels that are given to people on benefits, we were debating how to make it fairer. I watched the Dimbleby lectures and it was discussed that governments need to act to make a level playing field for all, mentioning women But I do imagine as with all of these ideas it would be somehow abused, (very pessimistic I know) most probably by the greedy that is one area that really needs to evolve.
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  5. February 21, 2014 / 1:31 pm

    It is an interesting idea – I think as long as people are doing SOMETHING it could work, even if that was volunteer work. I hate being stuck at home being a SAHM and I hope that when my daughter starts school I can start doing something again.
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  6. February 21, 2014 / 1:33 pm

    Loving the idea of Super Nanny making bankers share. I am not sure if evolution needs to keep evolving to make changes but something needs to that;s for sure.

    Great post.
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  7. February 21, 2014 / 1:46 pm

    Love this post. So intelligent and well written, not to mention thought provoking. Capitalism will continue but it’s over at the same time, it’s not working, and has created a horrible world of haves and have nots. The next evolution? Has to be one of consciousness and empathy (what Russel Brand is currently popularising, although these ideas have been around for thousands of years – it’s just a basic wisdom). An evolution needs to physically take place in the brain too; the reptilian part of the brain – the amygdala – is alive an well, it’s the part that governs the fight or flight instinct, the survival instinct; to protect you and your own from danger… governs instinct and selfish desire. X
    older mum in a muddle recently posted…Cakes In CocoMy Profile

  8. February 21, 2014 / 2:28 pm

    Oooh tricky one… I am not sure where I stand on this.. I guess a basic income in lieu of other money, would force people to take responsibility for their own financial affairs? And maybe make them more independent?
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  9. February 21, 2014 / 4:04 pm

    Such an interesting and thought provoking post. The only thing I have heard recently about evolution is that thanks to phones and ipads etc. our thumbs will change eventually. I can’t remember how though. Maybe they will just grow really really big? 😀
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  10. February 21, 2014 / 5:24 pm

    I am not sure that there is an easy or simple answer, hell I am not sure there is an answer at all. It seems as soon as we solve one issue we create another.
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  11. February 21, 2014 / 6:26 pm

    You can remove the label of ‘scroungers’ but scroungers will still exist. You can’t paper over human nature with political correctness. There will always be those who see nothing wrong with putting themselves first and being out for all they can get. That’s the very nature of evolution – adapting to secure your advantage.
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    • February 21, 2014 / 7:52 pm

      Which is why evolving past selfishness would be a good thing. Although as selfishness must be part of the ‘survival of the fittest’ mechanism of evolution, I am not sure it will be possible! One could label the extremely rich as scroungers too, taking and not giving enough back is bad at either end of the scale.

  12. February 21, 2014 / 7:00 pm

    I like the idea of basic wage – there has to be a more even distribution of resources and wealth – given how immorally they gained their share of the wealth and how illegally they keep hold of it – something has to change!
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  13. February 21, 2014 / 8:11 pm

    I completely agree that there should be a basic income. In my view, practically everyone is inclined to try to get the best for themselves, their family and friends, so I don’t think it would promote laziness – people will always aspire to more. What it WOULD do, is reduce the anxiety that so many people suffer, when they fall on hard times and don’t know how to make ends meet. I’m sure that this would have a beneficial effect on all our society – reducing crime, mental health problems, etc etc. This is a fantastic post. recently posted…Review: Dr Seuss’ Cat in the Hat, Greenwich TheatreMy Profile

  14. February 21, 2014 / 8:19 pm

    So everyone gets a bit of money and if they want they can go and earn some more?
    Yes, please… where do I sign in for system like this?
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      • February 21, 2014 / 9:11 pm

        Switzerland and Sweden handle things so well. Their pregnancy boxes ect are a brilliant idea I think our government needs to make friends with their government more.
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  15. Angela Spicer
    February 21, 2014 / 9:05 pm

    sadly I think some people would just sit there and do nothing
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  16. February 21, 2014 / 10:07 pm

    I agree with Angela and think there are people who would just do nothing. Some people don’t want the best for themselves and not everyone has get up and go and the desire to work and improve their situation x
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  17. February 21, 2014 / 10:39 pm

    I think the world has gone sadly awry and that real problems stem from lack of Education. That’s a shocking statistic about those 85 people – they could be educated about how best to serve the world with their wealth and I fear that, in this country particularly, generations of people are evolving without a work ethic, which worries me greatly tbh anyway and it’s these people on whom this principle would be wasted.
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  18. February 22, 2014 / 7:40 am

    Fantastic post, really thought provoking. I love the idea of Super Nanny telling the super rich to share!
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  19. February 22, 2014 / 2:22 pm

    I have a very socialist approach to life and believe in equality for all. But I believe you need to earn a living, not live off somebody else’s money. I would rather have the very rich turning to philanthropy rather than a highwayman’s approach to the problem.
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  20. February 22, 2014 / 6:44 pm

    I would like it that those who work feel the benefits a bit more than just the independence, I remember yrs ago when I had nothing but an old settee to sit on, someone suggested I go and ask for a grant, the man behind the counter asked if I worked, I said yes, he said ‘No then, give up your job and we can give £1000’ I said no ‘I would rather keep my sanity than have the money’
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  21. Mummy Glitzer
    February 23, 2014 / 11:34 pm

    I love the idea of basic income.

    Of course it won’t remove “scroungers”, there will always be (as there always have been) people who are quite happy to sit back and do nothing yet ultimately they really are few and far between. Due to my own illnesses we have been reliant on benefits for some time and will continue to have to be until my operations have been completed, quite simply because there isn’t truly flexible work out there for my husband. Whenever I enter a benefits related discussion I get told “But you’re not a scrounger, you are sick” or words to that effect which imply that there are those that deserve to be poor and those that don’t.

    I do like the idea of rounding up the 85 and robbing them the best but as you’ve already pointed out, that’s illegal.
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    • February 24, 2014 / 9:38 am

      We shouldnt let a tiny percentage of “scroungers” effect our decisions that are good for the vast majority. What basic income would remove is the feeling of people in genuine need that they have to defend themselves against the “scroungers” label!

  22. February 25, 2014 / 10:40 am

    This is communism/extreme socialism by the back door really. It’s advocating “Big Government” and pushing the idea of a patriarchal society which removes a huge chunk of individual responsibility. The (necessary) welfare reforms post 2nd WW and the formation of the NHS demonstrated the MASSIVE impact removing responsibility has on society. This was especially true amongst the young, who were relatively affluent ivy the 1960s, more likely to be in education longer which was State funded, able to be more “free” with the arrival of the Pill and no longer frightened of sickness and old age in the same way,. Positive social reform had unforeseen revolutionary social change and precipitated a Youth Culture which displaced the older generation for ever. The way society treats the elderly now, and the arrogance of youth with this expectation of “rights” from an overly centralised government has a lot to answer for. I’ve been on benefit for a short time, a single mum with low income and needed the Welfare State so I can see its importance but the psychological dependency it creates causes as many problems as it solves.
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    • February 25, 2014 / 11:12 am

      I don’t know that I agree that the youth today are arrogant, that may have been true a generation ago, but as a parent of an almost 18 year old, I see a generation of young people who have no guarentee of a living income-no matter how hard they work or how highly qualified they are, I see a generation who are labelled as lazy or thuggish- which is undeserved in the majority of cases. I see a generation who are told they are adults at 18, but will have no right to welfare support until 25, despite high rates of unemployment and low wages, and not all parents are able to provide a roof, and not all young people have parents they can rely on for a whole range of sad reasons.

      I see many in my generation (I am 40) who cannot get on the property ladder, who rely on housing benefit because rents are high and wages are low. I see many of the 1960s generation who are very comfortable in old age (although I am also fully aware that there are many who this is not the case for).

      I see no need to divide society by age, would rather see everyone treated fairly and by need. But then again, I do like socialism…..I have no idea if this basic income idea would work- but liked the idea of a level playing field, no accusations of scrounging, and the totally different perspective if its approach. The economy is working for a smaller and smaller percentage these days, and I do enjoy hearing different suggestions as to how to make things fairer for all.
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    • March 13, 2014 / 3:52 pm

      Actually, basic income is promoted by economists and philosophers from both sides of the political divide. For libertarians it’s seen as a chance to reduce the size of the state, as you don’t need all the bureaucracy that goes along with means testing, across the board payments remove that issue. For those on the left it is supporting people in need, so can be seen as broadening the welfare state. It’s not socialism though – that requires communal ownership of the means of production, basic income has nothing to do with that.

      Far from being patriarchal, this would reduce womens’ dependency on men and the state as there are no hoops to jump through to get income to live. It increases individual responsibility by giving people the means to make choices.
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    • Ruth J
      March 13, 2014 / 4:59 pm

      I’m trying to see the connection between guaranteeing people enough to live on, and the patriarchy, and I’m not able to see it. Perhaps you could elaborate?

      Basic Income would certainly trigger a rebalancing period – relieving people of the struggle to survive might well create a reaction, just as the introduction of the Welfare State created a reaction. It would need a long-term evaluation to see the long-term impact.

  23. Roy
    February 26, 2014 / 11:21 pm

    There have been a number of pilot test schemes for Unconditional Basic Income
    They have clearly shown the many positive benefits.
    Many Western people (me included) have had an upbringing where a strong work ethic
    is the accepted norm and this can make UBI a real challenge to even debate if you can’t let go off
    your predjudices. I’ve supported UBI for a while now and notice many people cannot bear the thought that some people might choose to not work if they recieve UBI.
    The vast majority of folk would choose to continue working, would be able to have more choice over their type of work, could afford to work part time and do voluntary work, be more creative and
    maybe start their own business etc and generally stand more chances to reach their own potential.
    For those who choose not to work – that’s their choice and they should not be judged for it – ‘Unconditional’ should mean just that.
    I see the implementation of UBI as a crude but neccesary starting point in the evolution of a better
    human society.

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