With coronavirus causing more talk about Universal Basic Income, here’s a little rant from me about why everyone should get something like £1,000 per month.
UBI is cool because people who don’t want to work can sit at home and play video games and drink beer and still *support the economy by doing so*. They will still buy shit. People who do want to work and start businesses will have more options and the ability to take some risks, since their minimum living needs will be met. Employers will have to offer better jobs to attract workers – no more exploiting people who are struggling to get by.
UBI also need not diminish personal responsibilities. It could be tweaked to encourage certain behaviours. Finished highschool? You get slightly more. Doing some volunteering work to help your community? Here’s some extra UBI money.
I don’t believe at all that it would be bad for the economy if the parameters are tweaked correctly. Poor people spend literally all of their income, while rich people spend a tiny fraction, and invest/hoard the rest. All of that UBI money will still go back to businesses, one way or another – they’ll just have to work a bit harder to get it! Capitalism exists to encourage competition (not to make a small number of individuals very rich), and I think UBI would achieve that very well by giving workers and consumers more options.
As a game developer, I think UBI would be amazing for our industry. We’d probably have many more customers, and niche game developers could make their obscure products without starving to death.
Most successful business people started with something similar to UBI (me included). Their parents paid for everything while they were free to get a good education, try out different hobbies, and take some risks starting a business. Imagine if everyone had those opportunities – if they could take as long as they wanted to figure out what to do with their life, and to build some skills before jumping into the workforce. Imagine if making niche creative products was a viable way to make a living, but you’d still consider stacking shelves at a supermarket, because the pay would be a lot better than it is now.
And from what I understand, UBI doesn’t even cost very much to implement due to how simple it is. There’s not a lot of paperwork, no means-testing. It would be much more efficient than existing welfare plans. Everyone who’s over 18 gets it. Some rich folk may pay more taxes. But who cares? The advantages for the other 99% massively outweigh that.
Edit: I even forgot to mention automation! Robots will take all of our jobs sooner or later, might as well get ready for that too. No, there won’t be new jobs. There will be one guy overseeing 10 robots that replaced 10 workers.