Reasons For and Against Universal Basic Income
Arguments For UBI
Ten Reasons to Support Basic Income
- Basic Income will help people rethink how and why they work – A basic income can help you do other work and reconsider old choices: it will enable you to retrain, safe in the knowledge that you’ll have enough money to maintain a decent standard of living while you do.
- Basic Income will contribute to better working conditions – Workers can challenge employers if they find their conditions of work unfair or degrading.
- Basic Income will downsize bureaucracy – Because a basic income scheme is one of the most simple tax / benefits models, it will reduce bureaucracy surrounding the welfare state thus making it less complex and costly.
- Basic income will make benefit fraud obsolete – Benefit fraud will vanish as a possibility because no one needs to commit fraud to get a basic income: it is granted automatically. Moreover, an unconditional basic income will fix the threshold and poverty trap effects induced by current means-tested schemes.
- Basic income will help reduce inequalities – It is a means for sharing out the wealth produced by a society to all people thereby reducing the growing inequalities across the world.
- It will provide a more secure and substantial safety net for all people – Most existing means-tested anti-poverty schemes exclude people because of their complexity. With a basic income, people currently excluded from benefit allowances will automatically have their rights guaranteed.
- Basic Income will contribute to less working hours and better distribution of jobs – People will have the option to reduce their working hours without sacrificing their income. They will therefore be able to spend more time doing other things they find meaningful. At the macroeconomic level, this will induce a better distribution of jobs because people reducing their hours will increase the jobs opportunities for those currently excluded from the labour market.
- Basic Income will reward unpaid contributions – A huge number of unpaid activities are currently not recognised as economic contributions. Yet, our economy increasingly relies on these free contributions. A Basic Income would recognise and reward theses activities.
- Basic Income will strengthen our Democracy – With a minimum level of security guaranteed to all citizens and less time in work or worrying about work, innovation in political, social, economic and technological terms would be a made more lively part of everyday life and its concerns.
- Basic Income will end extreme financial poverty – Because we live in a world where we have the means to end the kinds of suffering we see as a supposedly constant feature of our surroundings. Basic income is a way to join together the means and the will.
Arguments Against UBI
What are the best arguments against basic income?
- Some people simply won’t work and a universal basic income provides less incentive to do so.
- The price of very low-end goods and services would rise.
- Universal Basic Income is expensive and has to be paid for.
- Some people will mismanage the payment and not spend the money wisely (i.e. some will use it for drugs and alcohol). *However, this is about personal choice and the same could already be said for people on benefits.
- Will some people need more than others i.e. disabled people, people with long-term illness, etc?
- If a UBI is guaranteed to children, will some people have children to ‘cash in’ on this benefit?
- Should criminals receive UBI – would there be exemptions and what would/should these be?
- Will there be pressure to increase the amount of UBI paid and would this become a political issue?