Study of UBI — Stuart
Universal basic income will most likely be required for the future because of the increasing disparity between jobs and the rising number of people struggling to make ends meet.
This is not a crazy theory. The argument could be made that this is already happening. In the UK, the government is planning to cut welfare payments for the disabled by £30 a week. It could be argued that the government is essentially punishing disabled people for being unemployed. When you hear of a disabled person getting a job, it’s often seen as a remarkable achievement. It’s no longer about whether they’re capable of doing the job. It’s about whether the job is capable of being done. It’s not only those with disabilities that are affected. In the US, the government is planning to cut thousands of disability benefits, yet they’re still planning to give a tax break to the top 1%.
Solution to joblessness
Basic income is something that has been discussed for a long time, but it’s only recently that it has been taken seriously as a potential solution to the problem of increasing joblessness. The idea is that every citizen should receive a regular unconditional payment from the state. They’re not meant to be a replacement for benefits, but rather a supplement. While they won’t make a huge difference to the quality of someone’s life, they will provide an income that will go a long way to lifting people out of poverty.
The idea is that you would continue to receive them even if you got a job. So, for example, if you earned £700 a month, you would be entitled to an additional £300 a month on top. You would be able to use this money to buy food, pay bills or just save for a rainy day. The hope is that once people are freed from the worry of day-to-day survival, they will be more inclined to take risks and be entrepreneurial. They’ll be able to take a job that doesn’t pay as much, but still gives them the security of basic income.
In this way, it’s hoped that the basic income would help to create a more entrepreneurial workforce and spur innovation. Basic income is not a new idea. It’s been around for centuries and was even implemented in the US in the 1970s, albeit on a very small scale. The idea has seen a resurgence in recent years due to the increasing amount of automation. As machines become more sophisticated, more jobs will be lost to automation. This is already happening.
Robots taking over
Cars are being built by robots, while Amazon is planning to open a supermarket where there are no checkout counters. If you ask a casino owner, they’ll tell you that the changing habits of their customers are forcing them to change their business model. People are playing slot machines less and going to the buffet more. The reason for this is that the machines have become so sophisticated that you need to be a lot smarter than a machine to beat them. If you don’t have a lot of money, you can still go to the buffet. It’s just that you’re not going to be winning as much. So, it’s easy to see why an increasing number of people think that basic income is the way forward. Governments are planning to cut welfare and tax benefits for the poor, but they’re also planning to cut taxes for the rich. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, the basic income would give you some security.
But it’s not just the poor that are in danger of losing their jobs. If you’re a truck driver, a taxi driver, or any kind of delivery driver, you could be out of a job soon. When driverless cars become a reality, millions of drivers could lose their jobs. It’s even possible that we’ll see the first driverless car in the UK within the next five years.
The idea of a basic income isn’t a new one. It’s just that it’s being debated more seriously now than ever before. It’s an idea that is gaining support from both sides of the political spectrum. For the left, it’s a means of redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor. For the right, it’s a way of removing the stigma of unemployment and creating a more productive workforce. Regardless of how the distribution happens and taking into consideration how things are looking, it should only be a matter of time until some sort of supplementary dividend finds its way into our pockets. Maybe we need driverless taxis, or semi-trucks, or workerless supermarkets? Time will tell…
I wonder if the 1.9 trillion stimulus package will be the beginnings of UBI? What do you think?
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