Karenization of the World and Universal Basic Income
She is always bitchy, hateful and entitled. She will never blow away a chance to complain. She complains about anything and just about everything. She has a very toxic personality. She takes pride in being confrontational. She believes she is right, all the times.
She is socially-ignorant and emotionally-unintelligent. She gets satisfaction from belittling the minimum wage earners who are there to serve her (Her Majesty, the Paying Customer). She is downright mean and hateful. She is the reason why trainees in retail rush to the storage area behind the store to cry. She demands excellent service, all the times. And oh, they say she has a folder in her phone where she keeps sadistic inspirational quotes from Facebook. How can inspirational quotes be sadistic. The truth is , you will know them when you see them.
You all have encountered someone who is like that in real life. She is a real pain. Apparently the internet personified her as Karen. And there is a stereotypical picture of her too. She looks like this!
There is the glare, the attitude, the haircut and the anger in her look. The most prevalent stereotype is that she is white, middle-aged, and lives in the suburbs. However, in real life she can actually be black. She can be young or old. And there is a male-equivalent too.
Perhaps the most definitive attribute of Karen, according to the internet is that, She would like to speak to the manager. It doesn't matter if her complaint is valid or not, if its a tiny mistake or a big one, Karen really wants to speak to the manager. Its her right. If the manager does not take her side, she takes the issue up to the next layer of management.
Karen is rude to people who help her because they are beneath her. There are many reasons why Karens are Karens. Some behave that way because life put them through a fire and they came out tough like nuts. That is a minute proportion though. The basic Karen is a Karen because she is spoiled. She is privileged and she weaponizes the privilege.
The origin of Karen’s problematic behavior is not a deep-seated psychosis. The problem is simply being spoiled.
Now the process of creating a Karen is Karenization. Its bad parenting; parents spoiling a child to an extent that the child becomes self-centered and entitled. This phenomenon is taking place in the world economy right now but started a while ago.
In 2008, instead of allowing bad investment banks that had mismanaged billions of dollars to fail, governments and central bankers rescued them by buying billions of toxic assets and thus pouring humongous liquidity into banks. The US Federal Reserve and the ECB bought all the toxic assets that were responsible for the crisis. They termed the process “Quantitative Easing”. It is Karenization.
When banks lend badly, when consumers take too much credit and the economy is in a bad shape, central bankers lower rates in order to stimulate the economy. When the economy is overheating, they raise interest rates in order to choke-off excess demand and allow the economy to cool off. This interest-rate based monetary policy tool is good parenting. Its knowing when to give sweets to the kid and when to use the rod. Its not Karenization. It is a good old way of parenting the economy.
However, with interest rates near-zero, central bankers have run out of tools and do not believe that the economy can be left alone for it to recuperate and grow. They are experimenting with a tool even more Karenizing than Quantitative Easing. Its Helicopter Money and COVID19 has brought it to the fore. Stimulus packages that involve transferring funds directly to citizens and companies is basically Karenization.
USA, Japan, Germany, South Africa , the list goes on, are all doing it. Masses of people are getting used to the idea that the government can pay for their living expenses with no questions being asked. People are first getting acclimatized to free money and are subsequently developing an entitlement mentality. Long after COVID is gone, masses might still demand this level of service from the government, otherwise they would like to speak to the manager. Where will governments find the billions needed to feed the Karen Nations?
Automation was already killing jobs before corona virus. The mass layoffs triggered by corona virus might give companies an opportunity to replace human workers with robots. Robots and automations will not only take away blue collar jobs. White collar jobs are threatened too.
Artificial Intelligence, 5G and the Internet of Things will then complete the circuit for the new automated economy with minimal human intervention. Entire supply chains will be automated. Value will be generated by machines.. A few companies (think of the Tech Unicorns) will emerge as winners and will be able to control entire industries. The new economy will be characterized by winner-take-all and winner-takes-most firms. There will be very little space for the few small businesses that survive this pandemic. The trend towards consolidations was already underway before corona virus hit the world.
The supply side of economics is brilliantly solved. However, the demand side of the equation is unclear. Millions of people will be out work and not able to up-skill. They will not be useful in the new economy. Small businesses will not be able to compete. How will people be able to pay for the cheap goods and services supplied by the automated economy if they are not working?
Enter Universal Basic Income and Robot Taxes
Universal Basic Income is a living stipend given to citizens of a country for simply being alive and living in that country. In its purest form there is no other qualification criteria than being a citizen or resident of a country. Its unconditional money, absolutely free and is actually a right entitled to every citizen. The basic income must be sufficient enough to enable a person to cover the most basic needs.
Governments will be able to tax the few corporations making trillions and distribute the money as a UBI payment to every citizen. The middle class will be gone. Hunger and extreme poverty will also be gone. There will be a few super successful tech-prenuers and billions of people earning UBI .
There are so many issues with Karenization. There are so many issues with Automation.There are so many issues with the idea of a Universal Basic Income. COVID19 has started the Karenization and accelerated the Automation trend and will leave the world at the point of adopting Universal Basic Income.