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Half of All Americans Favor Universal Basic Income

Half of All Americans Favor Universal Basic Income

Half of All Americans Favor Universal Basic Income
Half of All Americans Favor Universal Basic Income – image via shift.newco.co




Universal Basic Income or UBI is something that we will start to hear more often as time goes on. Universal Basic Income is, in a nutshell, a sum of money people will receive for simply existing. And while this idea might seem to some as being a sort of “neo-liberal nonsense”, it does have its merits.

The reasoning behind UBI is strongly linked to automation. As time goes on, fewer and fewer jobs will exist in the world. This is because automated machines and AI (artificial intelligence) will exist to do those jobs. Self-driving cars, for instance, even though they’ve just now made a shy appearance onto the world stage, are going to take over a lot of jobs from people – mainly in transportation.

Just imagine any businessman who owns a transportation company! You can be sure that he or she will be delighted in not having to pay any drivers. Insurance companies are the same when it comes to this subject, since these self-driving cars, even though not perfect, are far better than human drivers. And the transportation industry employs some 70 million people worldwide. Those jobs will be gone.

Self-driving truck – image via money.cnn.com

In any case, self-driving cars are just the tip of the automation iceberg. Online bots do today a multitude of jobs such as record keeping, fact checking, filing, and all sorts of other jobs that were all done by people not that long ago in fields such as accounting, law, the stock market, journalism, and the list goes on.

The point is that jobs will, sooner or later, become obsolete, and if we’re not careful and prepare accordingly, unemployment will become a very serious issue all around the world. Here is where the universal basic income comes into play. Automation will provide humanity with an abundance of things for which we will not have to work for, thus freeing us to follow our dreams. A great idea in principle and one towards which we are heading, regardless of how we are feeling about it.

The first problems arise with the implementation of this automation and AI. As you can imagine, it will not happen all at once and everywhere around the globe, and thus, huge discrepancies will arise. Things like the unemployment issue we mentioned before, among others. Universal basic income will be a way to address that issue.

The Universal Basic Income Survey

Now, in a recent study carried out by 50+1 Strategies and David Binder Research on behalf of the Economic Security Project, over 500 participants from the US, it was revealed that 46 percent of people are in favour of the idea. The remainder were 35 percent opposed and 19 percent undecided.

image via leanwords.com

There are hands-on tests which will be carried out in this regard, studying the effects that universal basic income will have over a prolonged period of time. These programs will be carried out in Canada, Finland and Kenya, among other places.

“There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” tech industry titan Elon Musk has said. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”

When asked about the prospect, former president of the United States, Barrack Obama said:

“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,”

Criticisms

The system is, of course, not perfect. For things to turn out perfectly, however, money would have to disappear, becoming, in a sense, useless. If everything will be automated and there would be abundance for everyone without needing someone’s time or energy to produce it, then money will lose its entire meaning. But we can all agree right here and now that something like that will never happen. So, the next best solution is a universal basic income – at least until something better comes along, and until the implementation of automation is full across the planet.

If money will still exist after a worldwide implementation of automation, then its sole role will be purely for society class distinction and nothing else. This is because it will lose its entire purpose of being a purchasing power medium – the very thing money was created for in the first place.

Some critics of UBI also cited the notion that, like welfare programs, it will promote laziness among people. Here, however, we have to take into account the fact that there is no empirical or direct evidence of a correlation between welfare and laziness. It might make sense in our minds, but studies have not shown this connection.

As Misha Chellam of the startup training company Tradecraft explains to CNBC,“The laziness argument is one that has hamstrung welfare and safety net efforts for decades.”

image via weforum.org

The money necessary to fund an UBI program would come from taxes. Bill Gates proposed the idea of actually taxing the jobs done by robots so as to pay for the program itself.

Now, whatever the case may be, universal basic income is something we should seriously consider and is something that will most likely happen in the foreseeable future.

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