December 29, 2017

Growing support for unversal basic income

CNBC - Tech titans in Silicon Valley like Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are some of the biggest advocates of universal basic income. They say free money could provide flexibility for workers who could lose their jobs to robots or automation. But the idea has been around for centuries. Philosopher Thomas Paine proposed payments "made to every person, rich or poor" in his 1797 work "Agrarian Justice."

In 1967, Martin Luther King Junior proposed a "guaranteed income" pegged to the median income level of society as a way to combat poverty.

Free-market champion Milton Friedman also advocated for a negative income tax, similar to basic income, as a way to simplify welfare and reduce bureaucracy.

Today universal basic income has support across the political spectrum. Senator Bernie Sanders has called it a "very correct idea" to address income and wage inequality, while some libertarians say it would provide a more efficient, simpler alternative to the existing welfare system. Has it ever been done?

According to the Organization for Economic Development, no country has instituted universal basic income as a "a principal pillar of income support for the working-age population." But several countries are experimenting with the idea in a small sample of the population.

Finland launched a trial at the beginning of 2017 where 2,000 unemployed people will receive 560 euros (about $665) each month for two years. Researchers will assess how the free money affects recipients' incentive to work, and the Finnish government hopes it might reduce bureaucracy in the existing welfare system.

Other basic income experiments are underway in the Netherlands, Kenya, Canada, and the United States.

There is plenty of debate over the costs of universal basic income.

1 comment:

Tom Puckett said...

Again, “We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living.

It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest.

The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren't any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn't be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life's challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.”

“Humans beings always do the most intelligent thing…after they’ve tried every stupid alternative and none of them have worked.”

“The minute you choose to do what you really want to do,
it's a different kind of life.”

― R. Buckminster Fuller

Cheers, Tom