Basic income — now, in 20 years or never?
Debate continues as UBI goes mainstream.
In the ongoing war against poverty, a modest UBI to many looks like a safe tool to combat wealth inequality and ease the fear of unknown.
With the likes of Musk, Zuckerberg and trials happening all over the globe, its now official that this 500 years old concept will go mainstream in 2018. Despite the great efforts, some still fail to see this system as a solution.
Never : Education over basic income
Prof. Jonathan Berk from Stanford University thinks we should prioritize education over basic income :
It is not the first time in the history when we will see many people loosing their jobs to technology, think about ; washing machine, dishwasher etc. It has put a lot of domestic servants out of jobs.
Many of them are now doing much better jobs. The important thing is that people are retrained and have access to good education.
Berk is not alone. Marc Cuban for instance thinks UBI is “one of the worst possible responses” to changing job market.
In 20 years : Resources are too limited now
Barack Obama said in the WIRED interview : “Whether a universal income is the right model — is it gonna be accepted by a broad base of people? — that’s a debate that we’ll be having over the next 10 or 20 years.”
Bill Gates also doesn’t think that the time is right to implement it “resources are too limited to make it happen now, and instead more targeted programs need to happen first” .
10 or 20 years? Many think that we should start now.
Now : Basic income to fuel markets
Karl Widerquist, vice-chair Basic Income Earth Network currently writing a book on Basic Income for MIT’s Essential Knowledge expressed his views on why we need basic income right now on Micgoat video app :
People are thinking about the relationship between automation and UBI in a wrong way - thinking that we might need it someday when automation will eliminate all the jobs, but we need it right now. Even if it doesn’t eliminate jobs it disrupts employment and basic income will cushion those blows.
Automation makes it possible for people to work less and consume more, yet most working people are working more and consuming less than 40 years ago.
And there is more to it :
Scott Santens, writer and member of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network claims that “basic income is fuel for markets”. In his recent article he explains that markets containing people who don’t have enough money to signal their demand can’t function properly.
Now : Basic income to combat poverty
We can eliminate poverty in the US for the cost of $539 billion per year and that’s only 2.95% of GDP and less than 25% of the cost of current U.S. entitlement spending.
Basic income in definition stands for periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement.
If only 13% of population will receive it, is it still basic income or just another welfare system?
Basic income is about humanity not automation
Will the history repeat itself? Enno Schmidt — co-initiator of ’Swiss Citizens Initiative’ and author of documentary film “Be as You are” thinks that basic income is about evolution :
UBI is not just determined by technological advancement and its not just a reaction of it — its a new land. Unconditional basic income gives the right to live. Basic income is inevitable not because of tech but human development.
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