Not only … but also

To be both in favor of minimum wage and of a universal basic income can be difficult to mediate in the logic of the declining patriarchal symbolic order, where minimum wage and basic income belong to two different ideologies; and are thus considered to be contradictory and hence incompatible.

The demand for minimum wage is very important within the existing system. The wish to install a universal basic income for all expresses the effort to create a different system. How can a person support both ideas at the same time?

Examples like this show that thinking „not only… but also” is a way of freeing oneself from the existing patriarchal symbolic order, and from thinking in dichotomies. If you constantly have to decide between good and bad, dependent or free, or even minimum wages and a universal basic income, a constricting mental structure is set by which certain kinds of ideas are perceived as confused, crazy, and off-the-wall.

In the process of renewing the symbolic order, a kind of tension arises from alleged contradictions. These can be reflected upon by thinking „not only… but also.” When the world is considered as a market (rather than a household) the market-economic rules and manifestations are seen as given. Within this logic, it makes sense to claim minimum wage in order to achieve a fair distribution of resources, ensuring that there is enough for everyone. However, if we start looking at the world as a household and thus the principal dependency of everyone on everyone is seen as given, the idea of a universal basic income can be envisioned. Thinking „not only… but also” makes it possible to approve both, minimum wage and basic income.

Thinking „not only… but also” makes sense, precisely at the margins of existing discussions. In general, there is always a certain discourse, a mindset, that dominates an era. Good examples of these are the Enlightenment, or, in our times, the discourse of economy. However, there are always other modes of thinking and perceiving for which to notice the „not only… but also” can be helpful. 

Another example is the notion of „work.” Thinking „not only… but also” makes it possible to consider work neither negative as a burden nor positive as fulfilment. In fact, the many possible meanings of work can be seen: it is not only being active in a meaningful way but also a means of maintaining a livelihood.

It’s not about denying the contradictions and difficulties that arise within a certain discourse. Nor does it imply considering everything to be „equally fine.” In fact, thinking „not only… but also” can be a liberating way of seeing the world and loosening up fixed mindsets.

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