Is Universal Basic Income Being Applied Today?
I just wanted to briefly mention that though I've brought up a number of technologies that are fighting the corona virus. Few Times on this podcast of course as this fits into the main theme of this podcast. I absolutely wanted to say that. It's obviously the medical professionals that are putting themselves on the line and working incredibly hard to battle this pandemic. I think that technology is really cool. But it's clearly in this case the real work that's being done by humans but maybe to look at things a little bit more. Positively here Along with Italy here in Spain you may have heard that every night at eight or ten PM. We all go to our roofs or balconies and cheer on and support the staff in hospitals and clinics. I really hope that. This trend continues As well as starts in other countries as this global problem continues. I really think that the acts of solidarity like this along with seen innovative community actions like a free fitness class given by a personal trainer on his rooftop to his surrounding neighbors or a saxophone and guitar. Gem applauded by surrounding neighbors has been really great to see shared all over social media. But I think that this is also a very interesting time for different reasons so two episodes ago. I started talking of universal basic income or you. Bi as one of the first solutions to a future where automation eliminates a large proportion of jobs yet. Only in this last week did this future solution get thrust into the present or at least parts of it did so for today's episode. We will look at a few things surrounding. Ub I I the main criticisms of it secondly some alternatives and thirdly the current manifestations of it that are possibly starting to come about across the world in response to the economic crisis that we are so perhaps the most frequently used point against you is the laziness argument so it comes in many forms but ultimately says something to the effect of if you give people free money. They won't be incentivized to work but rather to be lazy as well as losing the meaning in their lives that were provides so this would appear to be almost common sense. I think that the examples provided in the previous episode on New Guy Really. Show a different story. There have also been studies that look at the results of several basic income programs together and they answered this question specifically one of these studies in particular found overall. The program's analyzed suggest either. No effect on labor market supply or a slight reduction in work and earnings so the evidence does not suggest an average worker will drop out of the labor force when provided with unconditional cash. Even when the transfer is large so they'll of course all pilot programs that have had some form of UPI have not been permanent and are thus not perfect examples. The findings do tend to lead one to think that the first critique doesn't necessarily hold up so the second main argument against you. Bi is usually connected to the price tag of such policy for this point. I have confess that I'm actually on the fence about it. There are really several arguments reports on both sides that I think I won't be able to make a solid argument for one case or the other in this podcast I will definitely have to invite people In the future who have more expertise in myself on the subject but this is also why there is so much debate around this issue and why there are so many alternative programs presented so as mentioned previously one of the main propose alternatives is for a UB I program that replaces all social welfare programs like food stamps housing subsidies etc. The argument typically made for this is that doing otherwise would be too expensive and that a nation couldn't absorb all the extra costs so the usual price tag is that a universal basic income or a guaranteed minimum income would require some thousand dollars per month to essentially end poverty so if we use America as an example. Some two hundred ten million people are above the age of eighteen and thus eligible for most forms proposed. Which would cost the American government two hundred ten billion dollars per month so this is about two and a half trillion? Us dollars a year which is really no minor some so whereas on the other side of the argument with a UB. I in place. Many societal expenses would be reduced or even eliminated like those connected to petty theft The prison in justice systems mental as well as physical health care costs talked about in the previous episode homelessness etc. Poverty has also been shown to be one of the most expensive things in our modern society so their across different Western countries that show that he's single homeless person cost the taxpayer an average of some twenty to thirty five thousand dollars per year. It's really no wonder. Then why those who promote UPI claim that the estimated costs are usually not very accurate. So the thousand dollars per month example also happens to be the amount proposed by the recent presidential candidate. Andrew Yang who I would argue really has been one of the main people pushing you. Bi into the public awareness at least in the US so Andrew. Yang's UB program better known as the Freedom Dividend was going to be mainly financed through new taxes on the wealth. Generating large corporations like Amazon facebook and Google as well as a value added tax and consolidating some welfare programs and I think that he did a great job pushing the idea that it was financially feasible to implement such a program but moving on with the other critiques of one of the more obvious points. I think against it is that it is in part wasteful in its approach so if everyone over the age of eighteen for example is to receive these payments then this includes people absolutely do not need it. Think of for instance Bill Gates who has an estimated net worth of some ninety six billion. Us dollars so an extra thousand dollars. A month amounts two point zero zero zero zero zero one percent game which is absolutely unnecessary and should be distributed to those who actually need it or so it is argued at least by those who propose a UPI so of course those who do not need a you guy could refuse it but in principle this can be seen as a valid argument against such a policy and finally one of the main arguments against you be. I is the dependency on a government for your survival can really bring along with it. Many connected problems so we might not even know the psychological impact of having an entire nation completely dependent on government. It might create a less innovative or more complacent society and one as well who would be unwilling or even unable to stand up to corruption for fear of being cut off from their main means of survival. I think that is something that is really worth keeping in mind especially as conversations about implementing. Ub Take place over the next couple of