Why universal basic income?
Change in working environmentWe go through a huge change at labour markets and in working environment. Digitization and automation increasingly work instead of us. One machine can work for one hundred people. More value gets created with less humane work-input. But without new social policies, the gains of machine work go fully into the machine owner’s pocket. The hundred people who did the work of the machines earlier, go away empty-handed. Already today we live in a world, where the richest 62 people own the same as a half of the world (source: Oxfam-report 2016). An unconditional basic income can provide equal participation at a minimum level of the earnings from automation and digitization to everyone.
Redistributes money from capital to labor
Even if technology doesn’t lead to high unemployment, it may well lead to lower wages and greater inequality. Capital – equipment and machinery that helps to produce things – is now creating a greater share of output compared to labour – human workers. This allows business owners, who own the capital, to pay workers the same or less while more is produced, so they make more profit for themselves. We are already seeing that output per worker is increasing, while workers’ wages are not. In the long term, this will mean that business owners make more and more money, while those who don’t own capital will make less and less. Basic income alleviates this by taxing the rich (who will probably own capital) and giving money to the poor (who probably won’t), even if they can’t find a job.
Reduces the gender "pay gap"Women, on average, make less money than men, and debaters of this issue fall into two camps: (1) those who want to reduce that gap to help women achieve financial freedom, and (2) those who want to prevent the harmful effects of government pay-mandates and micromanagement. Basic Income is capable of satisfying both camps by giving all citizens a base income, making women (and people in general) less dependent on their work-income. And it does so without removing any of the beneficial capitalistic incentives to work and provide value.
Prevents generational theft.Most western countries already provide basic income to people of retired age. But, if a nation or its socialized retirement program goes bankrupt, or the socialized retirement program otherwise becomes unaffordable, in 20 or 30 years (due to fiscal mismanagement or simple birth rate demographics) then it is to the great advantage of current benefit recipients, and at the total cost to those who pay into the benefits today with the false promise of receiving them in the future. If entitlements are unaffordable/unsustainable, then the only fair solution is to provide the funds equally today.
Increases number of people in jobs they enjoyAs people will not be forced to take on a job, they will be more able to find a job that they enjoy (or that pays well enough to offset their lack of enjoyment). Having people in jobs that suit them better will help to improve mental health, as well as leading to an improved quality of goods and services.
Improves mental and physical health and securityMental health is one of the largest public health problems in most developed countries. The knowledge that the basic income will ensure a basic standard of living in any circumstances will provide a sense of mental security, especially when the economy is performing poorly. The removal of various dehumanising tests and stigmatisation of anyone who receives welfare payments will also serve to improve mental health. There is also evidence that poverty itself reduces cognitive capacity, comparable to a loss of 13 IQ points, or chronic alcoholism as compared to sobriety. A basic income would remove this cognitive impairment. The rising cost of health care is a cause of great long-term concern, and basic income could lower this cost. In the Dauphin, Manitoba pilot experiment in Canada, an 8.5% reduction in hospitalization was found to be a direct result of the minimum income. This was attributed to the reduction in workplace injuries and family violence resulting from the rise in incomes.
More room for negotiation, more market, less survival anxietyA Basic Income creates a real labor market, because every employee gets more options. Everyone is free to decide where and how he wants to bring in his manpower and expertise. This strengthens the bargaining power of employees. With basic income companies are called upon to take their employees seriously as free people and employees so that they can develop best. That means win-win for employers and employees.
Increases bargaining power for workersWorkers will be able to afford to refuse a job if the employer abuses its oligopoly or the workspace has poor conditions, so firms will be forced to improve the employment conditions and wages for their workers. This will happen as a natural result of negotiation between firms and workers, and will not require government intervention or unionization.
Lowers need for government regulations on the labour marketPolicies, such as the minimum wage, will become less necessary with the basic income, as people will already get enough money to live in dignity. Thus the power of workers in negotiations will increase as they are more independent with a basic income. This will allow the government to remove some of the regulations on the labour market: This would free the market-mechanisms and provide benefits for both: employers and employees.
Increases charitable work and academic research.
Much work in the charitable sector and other vocations (e.g. open-source programming, academia, or the arts) is socially beneficial but not profitable, so people have to do it in their spare time, along with a traditional job. A basic income would allow these people to spend more time on work that is socially beneficial but unprofitable for the individual.
Less bureaucracy, more options
With basic income the jungle of bureaucracy and rules can be diminished. This reduces the influence of the state and strengthens citizens.
- National workplace regulations become partly obsolete
- it takes less job protection
- statutory minimum wage is unnecessary because everyone can negotiate confidently
- state pension can be rethought and reorganized
- state interference is no longer through social programs into personal rights
- people are treated mature
- the state doesn’t need to define criteria and check upon them before it grants money. This streamlines the bureaucracy
- all state welfare systems can be eliminated up to the amount of the basic income
A basic income promotes the economic performance
- People who like to work, work more productive and are less sick
- There is more incentive to develop good robots to take over the unloved work
- People can increasingly devote creative, coordinating, planning, artistic, solidary or manual work, which they love to do and that can not be done by robots. This increases performance and improves results.
Thanks to digitization and automation working time declines and sets lifetime free. A basic income can enable people, to fill these open spaces with their innovative ideas. While today the paternalistic state usually checks the individual needs before any financial assistance is granted, a basic income promotes the autonomy of the people and makes that part of the income unconditional, which is necessary to live and be part of society.