UBI Universal Basic Income. What is your take?

Hi guys, lately I am noticing that the political debate, especially in the US, is shifting towards the UBI.
So…I was expecting for it to be a byproduct of the automation process, but pandemics seems to hit the social humus in a faster and wider way.

Both US parties are exploring the possibility as for instance Mitt Romney (Rep.) and Bernie Sanders (Dem.)

This was actually one of the first thing I envisioned right after the COVID contamination grew in my Country (ITALIA). I actually said to myself:“Is this maybe the right time to talk about the UBI…?”

What is your opinion?
Are you PRO about a means-tested UBI, an UNCONDITIONAL BASIC INCOME (no means-tested) or CON any kind of it?
Is it the right time to introduce this measure?
How the society could benefit from this or NOT benefit from this?
What could be the failure points of that kind of economic policy?

An Italian guy gave a TED talk about the subject in an few years ago:

6 Likes

@Tradelta I think is a good option, for the countries that can afford it and make it work though. Countries that have appropriate working cultures, politics, long-term tax revenue, demographic dynamics, etc. If they tried to implement something like it in my country (Mexico), with the past government administration or the current one, it would be a disaster :rofl:. Although it’s true that coronavirus has forced a sort of reckoning with this, and will definitely have to be implemented in some places because of the magnitude of disruption. Pay now and sort it out later.
This policy is obviously left-leaning and more of the solidarity type of government action, and now it’s precisely the type of politics that is necessary. If not now, when? hahaha. I think the crisis was mishandled very badly for over a month (by humans, in general… I won’t say it was the fault of one or two countries :joy:), and now for governments and societies, this has become a kind of war-like scenario. Intrepid politics are needed, and something like UBI is basically economic oxygen at the moment.
Possibly in the US the taboo is broken, the policy is successful and becomes more widespread?

7 Likes

On paper, UBI does seem the panacea of economic inequality.
Although I do think general living costs will rise as a result of everyone receiving free money, just as the speaker in the YouTube clip mentioned about rent increases.
This would probably just dilute the initial benefit of the policy, your cost of living has increased alongside your increase of income more or less giving a net neutral benefit to the recipients. Worse, it could increase the capital to the very people you’re trying to improve inequality with, as they are the ones renting properties, selling commodities, selling services etc.

Without more Government involvement setting price caps for essential services, which in its self would cause price increases elsewhere, I couldn’t see it working.
I’m a big advocate of Social Government, done right, and I’ve always supported the idea of UBI, but I’m sceptical it could ever work as intended. That saying, if even after the increase in living expenses, if that money truly did lift the worse off in society onto improved living standards then although it defeats the point generally, it’s still helped a section of society.
But then you could argue just give the worse off a leg up instead of UBI, so doesn’t help the argument.
In the cases of Government bail outs to Corps, I think dropping the money directly to the people instead of the banks etc to “trickle down” to the people would definitely improve liquidity in the economy, but that’s another topic.

Great topic @Tradelta, interesting policy for a new :earth_africa:

8 Likes

that’s funny @Tradelta because I was honestly contemplating the same thing just the other day.

Im kinda on the fence with UBI to be honest though. I mean looking at it from purely a socialist point of view and applying the filter that everyone is equally hardworking and productive under a system which provides UBI then, on paper at least, I’d agree with it. But I suppose I have a few concerns with it:

Would it stifle productivity and innovation?: I think there’s a reasonable argument to say that if you make the ‘safety net’ for people too high then you might induce a sort of societal lethargy, people who do not have the fear of falling tend not to take risks.

What’s the cost to the country as a whole? Not withstanding the point about about a potential drop in productivity there’s other issues to consider. Would it raise taxes to an unacceptable level for hard working people. Would it discourage employers from setting up shop in your area because of higher taxes, business rates etc.

I suppose a big part of it is the finer points of how it would be implemented, would it just be a flat fee to everyone. Would it just provide a basic bottom line to out if work people and what would that bottom line be. I mean, I am 100% behind protecting otherwise hard working folks who have stumbled into financial difficulties due to redundancy or cannot find work or are tasked with looking after a sick child, partner or relative. Something akin to that. What I’m not so keen on is the idea of handing out to everyone which then encourages them to sit at home because UBI is working out financially better for them than a job.

7 Likes

Well guys, i was silent because I wanted to know your opinion.

I didn’t have the chance to dig deep into the subject even though I am interested in it.
I hear it coming out from time to time in past and watched few vids.

For sure I am fascinated from the possibility.

This is true, but it could be even the opposite…it could allow people to try new business, new approaches and induce people in risking more, right because there is always the safety net. I guess it is very much dependent about the individual mindset. My thinking is that reality is in costant change and it puts humanity in condition to NOT fall in letargy, letting face us new challenges for every new generation.

This would happen for sure if the UBI does not come in couple with a brand new set of economical rules.
This is actually where the things should become interesting and the things turning upside down in respect to what we know today.
I mean…our economic rules, today, are set in a way that humanity revolves around it. In many ways, the economy was developed to allow the human gender to prosper. In reality, it feels like it ended that economy is made to let economy itself to prosper, despite human misery and sufference.
I’ve never been a conspiracies fan…i just say that we tried and things got out of hand in a bad way. Is it the case maybe to put things in order with a new set of rules, where we try to put things in balance, so to let prosper both economy and humanity? This crisis could be very much where the opportunity lies.

5 Likes

I am quite passionate about UBI.

I really believe in this as a solution. Especially as I am now looking at some companies who have behaved with shady morals being bailed out with no consequence.
I agree with the above that the ‘trickle down’ is questionable.

I don’t believe it would create social lethargy. Especially if those crippled by socio-economic situations have room to breathe and funds to make non-reactive decisions. Education and retraining might be an option, relocating away from a problematic area or closer to a support network so that good jobs can be found, tutors for children that have the talent but not the school to support them as examples off the top of my head as to how innovation will continue.

With regards to the impact on government - let’s use the NHS as an example. Is it possible that, with time, some illnesses relating to poverty and living situations lessen the impact on that service? Especially considering how many children are currently living in poverty and relying on school meal vouchers.

I hate to be that person, but worrying about the effect on business etc is difficult when there are some major companies (and their respective owners) not paying appropriate tax. Which would help relieve the burden on the ‘hard working people’, an understandable fear. I understand that tax breaks bring in a significant amount of revenue and employment, but the working conditions and the impact on the locality and environment also need to be considered.

Ultimately, this needs to be evidence based. Running a robust pilot, with data driven studies would really answer these questions.

6 Likes

Instead of bailing out investment banks every 10-20 years, give the people money. The money never trickles down. Its hoarded for no rational reason other than to be influential and retain some sort of power status.

7 Likes

I’m pro-UBI. My opinion of it is primarily informed by the book - Utopia for Realists. It makes a strong research-based case for UBI. It debunks popular myths that are used as arguments against UBI, with examples of research studies.

On poverty: What do people in poverty need? Who is likely to know best what people in poverty need? The answer to the first question is money, simple. Not housing stipends, food stipends, case managers and a whole variety of bureaucratic organizations determining what they need, and what they need to do to get it. The answer to the second question is the people in poverty. There is as much diversity of people in poverty as there are in other social classes. No blanket policy can provide needs for all people to get out of poverty.

On innovation and creativity: Having a safety net is one of the things that drives innovation and creativity, doesn’t suppress it. How many among us have had a business idea only to be stifled by not having enough financial security saved up to take a risk? Include me among those. Working paycheck to paycheck doing the same thing over-and-over, day in-and-out is more stifling to creativity and innovation than financial safety nets.

On laziness: Humans are not inherently lazy, no matter what you’ve been told by media, movies, and politicians. That is all I’ll say here.

On universality of the benefit: Routinely people don’t use welfare programs, even if they qualify for them because they don’t want to be one of “those” people. Taking restrictions away ensures that people will utilize the benefit. Additionally, people in poverty aren’t the only ones who could use a basic income for the common good. Research studies on UBI routinely demonstrate that people with an added safety net: Spend more hours with their families (parents spend more time with their kids), spend more time taking care of physical, emotional, and other health needs, and, as mentioned before, people are more likely to take more initiative to try out business ideas or other creative pursuits. Additionally, with additional expendable income, people put more money into their local economy.

For my needs, this is enough evidence to support UBI. I have additional thought on how it relates to Pynk, which I’ll save for a future post.

6 Likes

All of this! Amazing, really well written and thank you for providing a source.
I look forward that post!

4 Likes

Yeah I agree with you @tgibbsz32, I kind of think this is why UBI is being touted by the central banks and governments, not because of any benevolence to the people but because they have to.

Q.E measures never trickle down but stay within the banking systems and corporate balance sheet, This causes a low velocity of money, which is bad news in recessionary times, like the very near future.

Injecting currency directly to the economy, as UBI will do better than any other acronym they come up with, would probably combat deflation.

Then again, maybe the central bankers and government bureacrats really are good guys with our best interests at heart? :man_shrugging: :innocent:

5 Likes

@KD8482 thanks for the feedback.

I’ve been following a blockchain UBI project - GoodDollar.com (G$). they were highlighted in an early PynkTank episode, and I’ve been keeping tabs on their progress. It’s a very simple program from the user side - anyone is eligible for a daily 1G$ claim. They use facial recognition to assure each profile is created by a unique, live person.

To me, there stands out to be potential synergy between a UBI project like GoodDollar and Pynk. I’m concerned about maintaining a stable price valuation for the good dollar token/coin, and where they will receive their funds. I could see good-hearted Pynksters as a potential source of investment or donation to the GoodDollar fund (depending on what their tokenomics looks like). Perhaps Pynksters could allocate a portion of their quarterly conversion or a portion of their profits to GoodDollar. In turn, GoodDollar recipients might allocate a certain portion of their unused G$ coins to their Pynk fund investments.

Another point of connection, is the bigger picture. The goal of UBI is to ensure no one lives in poverty and has a sufficient income for basic living. With new digital assets rising in popularity, I think there will be more digital platforms like Pynk, where a daily micro-task earns you a small amount that grows over time. I think of it as like UBI-adjacent. Anyone can earn, they just have to do a bit of work to produce useful data. So instead of social media, search engines, and other digital products that are the current centerpieces of our digital lives, the future digital experience might be one in which people use their unique skills to complete tasks, produce content, etc, to produce meaningful – and valuable – data to earn supplemental income. That can happen as long as platforms commit to benefit the many, rather than the few.

I’m aware this idealist vision will require the toppling of current corporatism that has ruled the business environment throughout all of modern history. So reaching them won’t be a small task, and won’t happen overnight. I also think the current moment is ripe for change with less distractions (sports, concerts, theaters, bars all inaccessible for most of us), more time on people’s hands (unemployment), and a bit more tarnish on the old ways.

If anyone would like to sign up with GoodDollar, I’m posting my referral link below, which I’m not really comfortable doing, but with a couple referrals I’ll get early access to the live version. I intend to donate or allocate any funds I receive from the live version to socially beneficial ventures for an indefinite period of time. Please be aware, the current version is a demo, no real funds yet.
https://gooddollar.org/invite/SKI3JdztR

6 Likes

I think UBI is good when we focusing solely on the financial bit of citizens. It would have little or no influence on output or level of work done by people

4 Likes

Side Note: GoodDollar is now live. Just go to gooddollar.org to get started.

If you sign up for it, please note the terms and conditions. It is not intended for use for U.S. citizens at this time. They doesn’t appear to block claiming, but I have chosen not to claim anything to avoid any potential legal consequences.

6 Likes

UBI certainly gained attention in the U.S. during 2019 with Andrew Yang’s idea of the Freedom Dividend, & March of 2020, both Yang & Romney began advocating for direct Stimulus payments…which happened, and it worked.

However, as with any bill in the United States Congress that will mobilize large sums of money, an untold number additions were made by lawmakers with their own personal projects in mind. They also wrote into the CARES bill a Federal UI program for $600/wk for Americans, but, unemployment is 51 different bureaucracies. Add to that the PPP, and businesses didn’t seek assistance & in many States, Federal Unemployment is just not compatible with their UI programs. I for one, didn’t receive it; I don’t know anyone that did. Albeit the banks, members of Congress, they utilized the PPP & some agreed to release UI benefits for employees. But, by and large, that program was a failure.

So too was RomneyUBI…over time (it worked, but its effects are long gone). Not because it was one payment only; ROI seemed rather impressive. It’s because UBI never happened. And following Yang’s concept, UBI was never really a suggestion in any coherent form.

UBI, as I understand how it would work comes from John Rawls’ formulation of it as a safety net. Not something that is automatically just given to everyone, but as a net that saved you if you fell from the economy. You could sit on the net as long as you wanted, but he preserved markets to motivate people to jump back up and begin climbing again. The safety net was also tied to those at the very top of wealthy society. Rawls even preserved Locke’s unlimited accumulation of wealth in a Free Society. The catch was that for any individual at the top to gain further, they could insofar as that gain also, proportionately, resulted in a gain for all of those least well off (or, those held by the safety net; the place where society collectively understands, for anyone in their Nation to fall below that safety net would be an utter disgrace–Society’s Social Contract is sacrosanct. Rawls’ example was the veil of ignorance. If you were behind the VOI and your position in Society would be determined by a roll of the genetic dice, knowing you could possibly roll the absolute worst off, what minimal protections would you think to be fair as the worst off? And he built his theory from that).

No suggestion in the US ever came close to Rawls; and I think that reveals how disingenuous the Freedom Dividend really is/was. Delivery of that much money month after month to everyone (even if income capped), is too insane to understand its purpose as a safety net that ensures people are enabled; and Yang wasn’t stupid to just throw inflation into overdrive. His claim was a Value added tax. But I don’t think that was the goal. That money came after social benefits were deducted, and he would be fully aware of consumer debt, student debt, housing debt. As I see it, it was intended to service debts; or interest on debts; a way to calm the ledgers of banks holding government secured debt. He just never provided much substance on it; therefore, I assume his intentions were far from beneficial to Americans stressed by significant debt, pushed onto people aggressively to stitch up the crisis of 2007-2009, to where they could eat, clothe, and house themselves. $1k in the US will not do that…not even close.

Now… what was enthusiastically entertained at the onset of the crisis is now a topic of avoidance. It seems reckless now to avoid even RomneyUBI’s one stimulus check, two if needed. That’s not a safety net…at all. That’s a tip of the hat to the riots that have grown every single month since lockdown if “needed” is not understood by Politicians; usually they’ve been escalating somewhere toward the end of the month to somewhere several days into the new month. So anywhere from tomorrow to the middle of next week; escalation is likely to occur as more people lose everything and then just lose it.

UBI has solid grounding and substantial literature has been written on the subject. The subject of Philosophy though, with Education in disarray and Philosophy too often mistaken for some sort of religious mysticism, a hatred of science, …belief in witches and warlocks, …necromancy(?), and a whole host of conspiracy theories, it’ll be a while before Americans are slugging through any of that literature. Those that give it a go…they then go further with some of that knowledge I presume and they become lawyers (i.e., the antithesis of a Philosopher…if memory serves…).

7 Likes

Been following this project for a while, like it and seems promising

6 Likes

Without a doubt, Yang’s plan had many flaws. Personally, I’m a fan of UBI, but targeted. I don’t believe it’s of any real use to those who already have the means to provide, and an acceptable level of economic security. A targeted UBI towards victims of the poverty cycle would be, I believe, extremely successful. Many studies conducted in the UK and Europe have shown is invariably produces a high proportion of economic and social benefit to recipient. That all translates into reduction of the skills gap between no income, low income and medium income. That in itself would produce significant ROI for Governments who adopt the policy (I believe).

I think in Yang’s case, it was a solid Hail Mary for a person never really likely to get far in the race. It’s fairly easy to call for ‘free money’ for all, and try and win over the popularity of the low/no income left. With the typical demographics within the poverty cycle, it mad him popular with minorities which is a win-win for him.

His approach though, directly conflicts with reality. I don’t believe that UBI disincentivizes people from working, in fact from what I’ve seen the opposite is true. But, un-targeted, aggressive UBI in the way he described would have been particularly expensive (given the national debt is already laughably high), and would have quite simply been absorbed within the economy by inflation. You see it every time Government’s bring out fiscal policy around certain or all groups benefiting from some type of incentive, the corresponding end-benefit will increase in cost to account… Equilibrium is always restored.

The Freedom Dividend is standard American Politician speak. Annoyed me more than excited me (standard for a Brit).

As far as Rawls’ considerations, I quite like how it seems to reflect much of Pain’s thoughts. Personally, I’m an advocate for Land Value Tax, as in the UK there is considerable inequality around housing, both commercial and private. Much of the solutions to that seem to be hidden within LVT. The typical question never far behind conversations about UBI is how do you pay… As far as I’m concerned, that’s how. And that seems to resonate with Pain’s approach. You build a sovereign wealth fund, paid into from those taxes, and others. That fund provides much of the social care needed for the elderly, some initial incentives for young people, and a targeted UBI safety net for those who fall on hard times and need help.

The COVID stimulus package in the US was nothing short of an abomination. Its entire purpose was to inflate the stock market and give Trump some record-breaking stats to real of during the Presidential debates. Ignoring the fact that it’s pretty entirely served businesses, with the US’ continued obsession with trickledown economics still failing, it was always going to fail. You can see the Russell 2000 as an example of that. Annoyingly, it could have been a really effective mainstream demonstration of how much, when done right, it can really do some good. Alas, Politicians can never be trusted to perform when the chips are down.

I think of Ernest Benn in this case… “Politics is that art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.”

In sum, a targeted, well thought out UBI plan could be the way to break the wheel in the cycle of poverty. But, then it wouldn’t be universal… TBI would be what I would go for… Doesn’t sound as catchy though. In essence… Take all of the principles of UBI, and apply them to anyone in the US making the average wage or less. How you combat inflation, and secondary/tertiary beneficiaries from moving back towards an economic equilibrium, I guess Government regulation… But that never pans out!

Sorry I’ve waffled, it’s hard to properly compose your thoughts when you haven’t given the topic enough recent consideration!

7 Likes
Disclaimer: any information found on the Community platform does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by Crowdsense Ltd. and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making (or refraining from making) any investment decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision.
Copyright © 2020 Crowdsense Ltd.. All rights reserved.