I’ve written about UBI before:
- Universal Basic Income: It’s All The Buzzword
- Gimme My Basic Income
- Why Switzerland Should Pay People For Being Alive
It’s one of those utopian-style ideas that seems to be gaining greater traction in the world of welfare: if only because it’s a rebellious attempt to move away from the traditional non-PC Trumpetarian approach of treating poor people as dumb fools who can’t control themselves or their money, so best they get food stamps instead of cash.
Interestingly, that particular idea of poor people as ‘freeloaders’ seems to have developed straight out of the Protestant work ethic handbook – and its Prosperity Gospel offshoot – in which the Wealthy are the hardworking, righteous and thrice-blessed participants in God’s plan while the Poor are lazy reprobates experiencing their just rewards. For more on that, I strongly endorse “The Godly Edition” episode on the Slate Money podcast. I’ll eventually get round to writing about it – but speaking as a committed Christian myself, it was eye-opening.
But back to UBI, here is a magnificent infographic from Futurism.com that is an awesome summation of the concept and its history – I wish I’d found it sooner. Also – I’m hoping you can see this, because WordPress was not happy with this image for some weird reason. If not, the link is here.
Rolling Alpha posts opinions on finance, economics, and the corporate life in general. Follow me on Twitter @RollingAlpha, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rollingalpha.
Mark July 28, 2016 at 10:44
how much more feasible is UBI in countries with declining or stable growth rates vs countries with rapidly growing populations?
How does the state respond if someone use all their UBI on a bender in Las Vegas or on their crippling Heroin addiction? do you let them starve? or is there a safety net under the safety net?Reply
Jayson July 28, 2016 at 20:48
I don’t think anyone has empirically-proven answers to those questions! My guess is that economies with both stable or declining population growth rates and high wealth inequality are probably most in need of UBI – if only to keep the flow of income going.
And as for situations where UBI could be misused – I don’t think that UBI is there to replace rehabilitation centres and homeless shelters. I listened to a podcast recently where a homeless guy was pulling in $2,000 a week to fund his drug addictions (I hope he didn’t use his real name, because that guy has a massive IRS audit due to him). But the point is: even if you gave everyone a basic income, I don’t think that’s sufficient to eliminate poverty or homelessness. Some of those situations are due to life factors other than ‘not enough money’.
It’s not perfect, agreed. But I guess the real question is: is it perhaps better than doing what we do now?Reply