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Universal Basic Income

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tombos21@gmail.comtombos21@gmail.com (PRO)

A Universal Basic Income: is a periodic, unconditional, automatic, guaranteed payment given to all citizens; regardless of their income. Universal basic income is one of the most ambitious social policies of our time. Dozens of countries are running UBI feasibility trials [1]. The next question you should ask yourself is "Why are so many scientists, politicians, and economists are spending their time researching this wacky-sounding idea?".

The key benefits of a Universal Basic Income are as follows:

  • A UBI would completely eliminate poverty
  • A UBI might pay for itself by creating a massive economic boost
  • A UBI encourages people currently living on welfare to work
  • A UBI reduces bureaucracy
  • A UBI makes the population smarter and healthier
  • A UBI reduces crime rates

It's not all altruism though. A UBI also addresses a dangerous threat to our world: The job insecurity created by automation.

Job creation can't keep up with automation. While it's true that innovation creates new jobs, These don't compare with the number of jobs being eliminated by the same technological advancements. Automation has been blamed as the key reason why factory workers and miners are losing jobs.

Job growth is tied down by corporate structures and politics. Technology doesn't care.

As technology advances, it makes things more efficient. This efficiency means employers can produce more stuff with less workforce. In a world where artificial intelligence can diagnose better than doctors, compose classical music, beat professional players at starcraft, poker and go, people are worried that the pace of job growth will not be able to keep up with the advancement of technology.

Take the self-driving car for example; transportation is one of the largest industries in the world. Imagine the jobs lost and economic catastrophe if this industry became fully automated overnight. This might not be long off. self-driving cars have already shown to be at least as good, if not better drivers than humans in most road conditions.

A UBI would completely eliminate poverty
By providing all citizens with a basic living income we could end homelessness, hunger, and poverty overnight. 

A UBI could pay for itself by creating a massive economic boost
In a recent study, A UBI of $1000/month in the USA was estimated to grow the GDP by over 12. 5% in 8 years [2]. Allowing poor people to spend more will increase overall economic demand. More people buying things means more tax revenue is generated and a stronger economy. This would offset the long-term cost of the program.

A UBI encourages people living on welfare to work
The modern welfare system disincentives people from getting jobs; unemployment insurance and welfare cheques disappear when you get a job. UBI doesn't discourage jobs, because people get to keep the money either way. 

A UBI reduces bureaucracy and paperwork
Modern welfare systems are immensely complex. The UBI is simple. It doesn't require income verification, tax departments, eligibility checks or any other bureaucratic labor.

A UBI makes the population healthier
By providing everyone with the means for basic shelter and nutrition, We can reduce (the currently overwhelming) strain on most health care systems. With increased economic security, people are less prone to stresses, disease, and self-destructive behavior. A UBI experiment in Canada saw hospitalization rates go down 8. 5%[3]. 

A UBI makes the population smarter
Studies have shown that the stress of poverty makes people much worse decision makers. The effect is not subtle, this study compared the effect to a 13 point drop in IQ [4]. By eliminating the distress of millions we can create a smarter more rational society.

A UBI reduces crime rates
What is the root cause of crime? It is not ethnicity, or culture, or status. Most crime is born out of desperation. Desperate people take desperate measures and are much more likely to do something rash. By lifting society out of poverty we would greatly reduce desperation, removing one of societies biggest incentives for committing crime. This has the potential to greatly reduce crime rates everywhere.


In conclusion, a universal basic income is not only good for society and the economy; it may also be the only realistic solution to the near-term threat of automation.





Return To Top | Posted:
2019-03-25 22:03:18
| Speak Round
JKingJKing (CON)
    Let me start by saying that I completely understand that our welfare system is broken.  I would be all for the reforming of our current system.  However, I DO NOT agree that UBI is the way we should do it!

    Most of the examples you listed (in your sources) were trial runs within the first 1-3 yrs.  Some hadn't even started.  The one example that made it to approximately 4 yrs was Dauphin (the Minecome experiment).  And though it was successful in showing that having more money came with better physical,  psychological,  and emotional health, it showed how it was economically unfeasible. 

    Dauphin is a small community in Canada with a population  of less than 10,000 people.  They tried the UBI of $1,000/month to every citizen.  At around 4 years, they "abruptly" cancelled the program due to an "underestimation of costs".  Not only that, there was no analytical data gathered until 20-30 years later.

     America has 209 million people over the age of 18. (So, that's not even taking into account those with large families.)  At $12,000/year,  that is a price tag of $2.5 trillion.  

     It didn't last more than 4 years in
Dauphin, and the more the population goes up, the less feasible it is.


Return To Top | Posted:
2019-04-01 21:37:20
| Speak Round

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Let's debate the merit, feasibility, and necessity of a Universal Basic Income.

I am defining a Universal Basic Income as a periodic, unconditional, automatic, guaranteed payment given to all citizens; regardless of their income or state of employment.