Ten Reasons to Support Basic Income

1) Basic Income will help us rethink how & why we work

A basic income can help you do other work and reconsider old choices: It will enable you to retrain, safe in the knowledge that you’ll have enough money to maintain a decent standard of living while you do. It will therefore help each of us to decide what it is we truly want to do.

2) Basic Income will contribute to better working conditions

With the insurance of having unconditional basic income as a safety net, workers can challenge their employers if they find their conditions of work unfair or degrading.

3) Basic Income will downsize bureaucracy

Because a basic income scheme is one of the most simple tax / benefits models, it will reduce all the bureaucracy surrounding the welfare state thus making it less complex and costly, while being fairer and more emancipatory.

4) Basic income will make benefit fraud obsolete

As an extension of (3), benefit fraud will vanish as a possibility because no one needs to commit fraud to get a basic income: it is granted automatically. Moreover, an unconditional basic income will fix the threshold and poverty trap effects induced by the current means-tested schemes.

5) Basic income will help reducing inequalities

A basic income is also a means for sharing out the wealth produced by a society to all people thereby reducing the growing inequalities across the world.

6) It will provide a more secure and substantial safety net for all people

Most existing means-tested anti-poverty schemes exclude people because of their complexity, or because people don’t even know how to apply or whether they qualify. With a basic income, people currently excluded from benefit allowances will automatically have their rights guaranteed.

7) Basic Income will contribute to less working hours and better distribution of jobs

With a basic income, people will have the option to reduce their working hours without sacrificing their income. They will therefore be able to spend more time doing other things they find meaningful. At the macroeconomic level, this will induce a better distribution of jobs because people reducing their hours will increase the jobs opportunities for those currently excluded from the labor market.

8) Basic Income will reward unpaid contributions

A huge number of unpaid activities are currently not recognized as economic contributions. Yet, our economy increasingly relies on these free contributions (think about wikipedia as well as the work parents do). A Basic Income would recognise and reward theses activities.

9) Basic Income will strengthen our Democracy

With a minimum level of security guaranteed to all citizens and less time in work or worrying about work, innovation in political, social, economic and technological terms would be a made more lively part of everyday life and its concerns.

10) Basic Income is a fair redistribution of technological advancement

Thanks to massive advancements in our technological and productive capacities the world of work is changing. Yet most of our wealth and technology is as a consequence of our ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’: We are wealthier not as a result of our own efforts and merits but those of our ancestors. Basic income is a way to civilize and redistribute the advantages of that on-going advancement.

and one more….

11) Basic Income will end extreme financial poverty

Because we live in a world where we have the means (and one hopes, the will) to end the kinds of suffering we see as a supposedly constant feature of our surroundings. Basic income is a way to join together the means and the will.

Showing 37 reactions

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  • commented 2016-12-28 12:38:48 +0000
    Basic in comevwill require a new tax system. Present tax system is based on centuries old Land owner / tenant farmer systemwhere work producing reward of goods is taxed by the land owner or ruler. Taxes are gleaned on what a working person has. No one has a value and is essentially a liability, except for nobility. The wealthy today are nobility. It is not about earnings, but control of money that builds wealth, hence the rich will,always get richer.
    All people are creative resources. Tax needs to be generated by tapping the flow of money. The greatest flow of money is the purchase of monetary instruments. Stocks, shares, insurance, derivatives, financial exchange. The total amount per annum is around 1.5 quadrillion US dollars worth of trade in financial instruments. Charge 0.5% on each transaction as a fee and no one; company or individual needs to pay tax.
    Governments needs to earn their income from services they provide rather than be allocated an arbitrary amount of tax. Fees on transactions is the way to go.
  • commented 2016-12-28 10:56:22 +0000
    In reply to Michael Hopkins. £600 a month would cost £420bn gross, but the net cost would be much less because it would replace pensions; it would replace some benefits; and with a basic income as a safety net, there would be no need for tax allowances so all income could be taxed at a single rate, raising more money to pay the basis income.
  • commented 2016-12-28 08:22:31 +0000
    As robots become more pervasive and the distribution of income becomes more and more unequal, there is a clear call for change and action. The owners of technology, such as Uber, Apple, Google etc will become richer and richer. This will lead to gigantic sums of money floating around the world to be picked up for investing in bigger and bigger construction projects by the likes of Trump and friends. These latter, spotting the danger, will reduce taxes on themselves and their corporations as much as they possibly can. A basic income in the UK would cost GBP420 billion if each received the equivalent of the monthly pension of GBP600 or about 25% of the UK’s GDP. Some may say this is affordable. But if robots take over, GBP600 per month is pretty small and maybe near to starvation levels. Thus what will be needed is a mechanism to transfer the huge profits of a few to the incomes of the many. Politics, as noted previously, is against that. Thus I think a basic income for all starts a useful discussion but is a pretty low target. We need to be talking about Basic Redistribution! How to move toward that I leave for readers to start debating..Thomas Picketty recently had a useful article on that. One thing I know is that neither Brexit nor Trump will take us an inch toward Basic Redistribution!
  • commented 2016-11-30 05:23:33 +0000
    I am completely for this. I also feel that we value everything from commodities to non tangibles like insurance etc, but we have no intrinsic value of a human being – none! We are just waking up to the fact that every human being has value for merely existing. It can be positive or negative, but mostly because we continue to thrive, we can assume we are positive. A Basic Universal income would be the first step into acknowledging the value of every human being as a creature of creativity and contribution, and this should be encouraged in every way possible.
  • commented 2016-11-24 07:32:45 +0000
    But David Brittain…………..the living wage is already working well in some countries already………your dogmatically negatively view that people do not want to contribute in life is misplaced and cynical………………unemployment is dull and is inherent under capitalism without a support net
  • commented 2016-11-11 16:40:20 +0000
    It’s an interesting idea but a pipe dream. Where is the billions going to come from to pay for it? And if it was ever introduced, the system would soon be abused by those that would seek to take advantage of it and sit idly by while others actually do the work to pay for it. I see nothing on this website that explains exactly how it would work, just how great it would be. The essence of Socialist utopian thinking that I have been hearing and dismissing for decades, I’m afraid.
  • commented 2016-10-19 10:53:10 +0100
    You have missed the following benefits:
    1. Basic income will allow the ecomomy to work fluidly. It will allow minimum wage legislation to be withdrawn creating millions more low paid jobs subsidised by the basic income. This in turn will reverse the outsourcing of low paid jobs caused by globalisation. (However this benefit is at the expense of third world countries).
    2. Basic income, if given to a country’s citizens but not to immigrants, would reduce the attractiveness of developed countries to unskilled, lowly paid immigrants but not to skilled highly paid immigrants. This would dampen, but not crudely block, immigration, and relieve housing and other infrastructure shortages. (This benefit iwould be at the expense of unskilled would-be immigrants.)
    3. If the basic income were broken into national and local elements, the local element could be used to boost regions (by giving a higher basic income to all residents in an area thus allowing labour costs to fall and attracting investment), or to help poorer residents of high rent areas to remain with their families (by giving a higher basic income to long-term residents in such areas).

    The basic income is at the expense of the tax-payer, i.e. rich people, and it is phenomenally costly, so it is important to ensure that the culture created by a basic income policy is positive to the rich as well as the poor and makes the rich willing to pay more tax rather than to leave. Basic income is the simple element that allows the best parts of socialism and capitalism to be combined. It allows goverment to concentrate on making its territory a place where everyone, rich and poor, wants to live and where poor citizens can afford to live.

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