The Case for Universal Basic Income — A Response

Kurzgesagt — Universal Basic Income Explained — Free Money for Everybody? UBI

While looking for solutions to the wage stagnation problem, many different policies are considered to help alleviate the struggles of the working class. One of these is the idea of a Universal Basic Income, in which the government provides a baseline salary to provide for an individual’s basic needs.

A fellow medium blog poster, StartWithUniversalBasicIncome recently posted a blog urging readers to support Universal Basic Income. In it, he addresses a main concern with Universal Basic Income.

“Universal Basic Income Will Make People Lazy as there is no incentive to work”

StartWithUniversalBasicIncome responds to this idea by stating that people want to work for reasons that are more complex than just avoiding starvation and death. He goes on to say that we as humans have desires, far more than just having enough food, water, and shelter, and most of us give up or compromise on these dreams because of monetary needs to sustain our basic needs. He argues that by having a Universal Basic Income, those basic needs would be subsidized, and we as humans could have more freedom in following those dreams.

Experimental UBI shows the way forward.

The blog writer also backs up his claim by citing an article by researchers at the University of Ottawa, which spoke about a study conducted in the 1970s. In it, researchers found that when a universal basic income was implemented, then there were minimal withdrawals from the labour market and only 13% reductions in working hours on average. This helped to show that even when their basic needs were financially supported, most people would still work.

StartWithUniversalBasicIncome ends their post with a call to action, urging readers to support the UBI cause. He states that the positives outweigh the negatives, the benefits outweigh the roadblocks, and leaves off with this note “How much longer do we need to wait for the world to change?”

The idea of a UBI would help alleviate many of the problems with wage stagnation. If basic needs were subsidized, then workers could have more freedom to deal with other stressors in their lives. Poverty at the bottom level would be propped up, and issues such as hunger and homelessness would certainly be reduced. However, there are some problems that might arise with a Universal Basic Income. If it were implemented, then there might be pressure for salaries to be reduced to compensate for it.

References

https://medium.com/@nkle/the-case-for-universal-basic-income-9623c919592

https://youtu.be/kl39KHS07Xc

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