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< Back to question Is Universal Basic Income a good idea? Show more Show less

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a program in which all people receive a regular sum of money unconditionally, regardless of employment or current wages. Proposed UBI programs vary across the world. This allows different UBI programs to align with both progressive and conservative goals. Several UBI pilot studies have been tried throughout the world, but the interpretations of results vary. UBI proponents consider many questions about logistics, economics, and human behavior: How will UBI be funded? Who will receive the income, every person or every household? Will people stop working or will greater economic stability allow them to better contribute to society?

Yes, UBI is a good idea Show more Show less

Universal basic income programs can work and should be explored.
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UBI enables everyone to better participate in society

Proponents of UBI believe that a guaranteed income will allow everyone—even the impoverished—the freedom to participate in society.
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Proponents


The Argument

Lack of resources prevents people from participating fully in their society, especially if it is a capitalist society. Because income is unconditionally given, people can use their money with freedom and dignity without the hassles of spending documentation that conditional welfare programs require.[1] UBI allows people to pursue more fulfilling lives because they have the freedom to pursue work they are passionate about without the need for immediate economic returns. They may be able to create art, return to school, take care of loved ones, or raise children. People can work without the fear and stress that come from economic instability. Results from preliminary studies to test the effectiveness of UBI suggest that people who received a guaranteed minimum income used the extra money to improve their lives, which helps society in the long run.[2] For example, a study done in Canada showed that people pursued part-time work more flexibly and some pursued education.[3] Another study taking place in Kenya found that regular unconditional income stimulated the economy of the recipients' village and neighboring villages.[4] UBI can give all a chance to invest in themselves, participate in society, and thus improve their society.

Counter arguments

UBI proponents argue that a guaranteed income floor would allow more people to contribute to society. But it is not guaranteed that people will seek jobs or contribute skills to their local community. The Finland study cited in this argument found that UBI improved mental health and well-being, but UBI had no effects on recipients' employment.[5] The government should invest in providing jobs, or more ways to be productive,[6] rather than providing cash unconditionally. A better way to ensure that everyone can participate better in society is not universal basic income but universal basic employment.[7] Economist Pavlina Tcherneva argued that the government should invest in filling the gaps of needed work in communities. There is so much work to be done in a community: community gardening, community theater, caring for the elderly, beautifying a park, documenting historical sites. Again, the government should invest in paying for jobs, which provides people with both work and an income.

Framing

Participation in society is an important factor for social cohesion.

Premises

[P1] Lack of resources hinders people from participating in society. [P2] When people have resources, they can better contribute to the community and surrounding economy. [P3] The government and higher taxes should distribute their money so all people can better contribute to society.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] It is not guaranteed that people will use their money to contribute to the surrounding economy. [Rejecting P3] UBI is fiscally irresponsible; the government and higher taxes cannot pay for UBI.[8]

References

  1. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/09/who-really-stands-to-win-from-universal-basic-income
  2. https://rooseveltinstitute.org/what-happens-when-people-get-cash-no-strings-attached/
  3. https://academic.oup.com/socpro/article/64/3/373/3089762
  4. https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/11/25/20973151/givedirectly-basic-income-kenya-study-stimulus
  5. https://www.impakter.com/universal-basic-income-why-not-solution/
  6. https://www.yesmagazine.org/issue/good-money/2018/12/10/why-universal-basic-income-is-not-the-solution-we-think-it-is/
  7. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2020-06-24/forget-ubi-says-an-economist-its-time-for-universal-basic-jobs
  8. https://www.parlia.com/a/ubi-financially-irresponsible

This page was last edited on Monday, 31 Aug 2020 at 23:11 UTC

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