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 47 reactions

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  • Amir King
    commented 2018-04-20 21:02:01 +0100
    I like this idea, if we can understand motivations and what people enjoy in life, and may change. Technology with openness and impartiality can create strides towards prosperity without problems. A public owned agreement of fair wealth distribution may help. Knowledge of tree to note, metal to coin or simplified cable to data of virtual numbers could help. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this page and has given me food for thought. You have my respect and I believe in this. :)
  • Courtenay Inchbald
    commented 2018-03-18 20:19:40 +0000
    There are some benefits that could not be abolished.
    Negative income tax has much the same financial effect as a universal basic income if you remove the minimum wage and basic rate income tax allowance, but it is more difficult to tweek and for some people to understand. With UBI, if the basic tax rate is TR, one’s net income would be UBI + E(1-TR). With a negative income tax below a threshold TT, and the same tax rate above, it would be E – TR, which is E(1-TR) + (TTxTR). The effect is identical if UBI = TTxTR. Having thought about this, you will conclude that the threshold should be low, to reduce cost, and the (negative) tax rate below the threshold very high, to avoid destitution for the lowest paid. This tends towards a UBI.
  • Richard Blaber
    commented 2018-03-18 15:45:39 +0000
    Echoing at least one commentator here, I’m very much afraid that UBI would turn out to be very ‘basic’ indeed – bare minimum, in fact. If the UK adult population of 65,648,100 (mid-2016) ALL received weekly incomes of just £180 (£9,360 p.a.), regardless of whether they needed them or not, that would cost £614,466,216,000 p.a. UK GDP in 2016 was ~£2.63 trillion, so that would have been ~23.364% of GDP. UK Government spending was 42.1% of GDP in 2016 (~£1.107 trillion), so spending on UBI would have constituted ~55.5% of total Government spending! A negative income tax would be a much better, and more practical, idea: it would avoid the stigma of benefits means-testing, but would ALSO not entail paying out to people who don’t need the money, and should be paying tax instead. Chronically sick and/or disabled people who were unable to work could have their needs assessed, and their negative income tax topped up appropriately. The negative income tax would act as the State pension for everyone who retired, but whose income fell below the positive income tax threshold.
  • Richard Blaber
    commented 2018-03-18 14:39:37 +0000
    How will UBI deal with the problem that some people’s needs are greater than others’? For example, disabled people have needs which very often entail spending much higher sums of money per week than average. One UBI wouldn’t fit all, and would be inequitable, especially if ALL other welfare payments were to be abolished.
  • David Dollywoods
    followed this page 2018-03-11 20:34:19 +0000
  • William Kendall
    commented 2018-02-21 12:56:53 +0000
    With the rise of Blockchain technology, AI and Automation, the next 15-20 years are going to bring about more unemployment and redundancy in many working sectors, than has ever been seen before…this could have long term positive results but short term problematic effects.

    This will bring about a lot of changes in the way everyday people appreciate having worthy tasks within their lives – a purpose, a meaning. With the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bernie Sanders all proponents of a universal basic income (UBI) model – Jeremy Corbyn may even be looking to introduce the idea of a ‘Robot Tax’ so companies don’t take all the gains from these technical improvements.

    If you would like to have an idea if your job is replaceable one day, a Job Automation Index was created by Oxford University to show how likely it is that your working sector could succumb to AI and Automation you can see this Index below:-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/…/jobs-risk-automation-accordin…/

    Further to this, Right now in January 2017, the Nordic nation began paying a random but mandatory sample of 2,000 unemployed people aged 25 to 58 a monthly €560 (£475). There is no obligation either to seek or accept employment during the two years the trial lasts, and any who do take a job will continue to receive the same amount.

    So the tests are already starting, and I expect this will be a scheme looked to be rolled out across the westernized world to tackle the inevitable bleak futures some may be facing and help certain working sectors adapt to a new world where AI, automation and Blockchain technology carries out faster more efficient work as society moves onto a a new era.

    One idea that has also been set up is a project called SWIFT DEMAND; an attempt at basic income – which will start off as a sign up service, centralized on a website but will quickly move to a Crypto-Currency over time and become a de-centralized Blockchain, meaning no Government, Company or Entity owns it or can shut it down.

    You can sign up with the link below, (which will give me a referral of 500 Swift) But then you can start collecting 100 swifts credits each and every day – by just logging in and ‘claiming’ the credits (to prove you’re an active, real person, not a bot). and these will eventually be transferred at a 1:1 ratio onto a Blockchain – which is when the next phase of project starts with instant, international payment, built in security and free for everyone to claim and use at their own will.

    And the best thing is, no additional swifts can be created or bought, so this does away with the 1% idea of a few investors with lots of money buying up a large portion of the new market… the only way you can earn more is by spreading the word to get this platform some exposure (500 Swift referral, which is 5 days of credits) and eventually with more users it gains more legitimacy.

    At the moment, it has no real $,£,€ value, but this may change overtime.. and you can already purchase services with your free credits on the Swift Demand Store.

    So, if you’re interested in trialing and being part of a Universal Basic Income Project, (completely free of charge), why not sign up below and be part of the next evolution of society and then spread the word over Facebook, Twitter and social media for others to sign up to your own referrals.

    (Feel free to share this post with your own referral if you wish.)

    Thanks for reading and let me know what you think of the project/idea of Universal Basic Income (UBI).

    https://www.swiftdemand.com/?referred_by=wdk408
  • Belinda Otterson
    commented 2018-02-20 19:05:05 +0000
    This is something desparately needed. Most people are miserable having to work the AMOUNT of time they do just for a low wage. If we can reduce this via basic income and fewer hours required, the world would be a happier place.

    Economies are a complex living breathing thing, but this CAN be made to work. The difference between now and before, for those yelling that “this all has to be paid for” and they don’t want to pay for it out of there pocket, is the fact that technology will be our worker bees to provide food and power on a much larger scale. AI is coming faster than you think. What once took 100 people to produce, is now produced by one person and a machine or two.

    The only thing that must be figured out is to allow two systems to operate. The one that people intelligent enough to understand can have, and the others who hate change. They can stay in their limited intellectual view of what the world can be . Then we can prove the new system works without a huge battle at every turn. Two systems operating within one country or indeed the world.

    Figure this out and we launch this system a whole lot faster!
  • Courtenay Inchbald
    commented 2018-02-16 11:54:37 +0000
    Replying to Michael Mcghee
    Much like Brexit, people support this idea for different, sometimes opposing, reasons and would like to see it implemented in different ways.
    In the version that I propose, it would give to you with one hand, which would make your income more secure, but take away with another in that your hourly rate of pay would probably drop because I advocate eliminating the minimum wage to make the economy more fluid, and you would be taxed on your pay at the basic rate, perhaps 35%, because tax allowances are a form of benefit. Basic income, in isolation, is very costly, so it has to be paid for somehow. I advocate funding it by eliminating tax allowances, which the basic income will replace, and taxing excess use of space, which will raise money disproportionately from areas with high property prices. This is more of a bedroom tax than a mansion tax. I would expect the lower paid to benefit both financially and in terms of security. I advocate setting the basic income partly according to local costs of living, so, for example, a central Londoner would receive more basic income than someone from, for example, mid-Wales. Otherwise poorer people would be driven away from more costly areas and from their extended families. However, I advocate stimulating areas of lower economic activity by offering a level of basic income to those areas which is more comfortable relative to their costs of living. This would, in effect, transfer money from richer areas to poorer areas and spread prosperity more widely.
  • Courtenay Inchbald
    commented 2018-02-16 11:54:35 +0000
    Replying to Michael Mcghee
    Much like Brexit, people support this idea for different, sometimes opposing, reasons and would like to see it implemented in different ways.
    In the version that I propose, it would give to you with one hand, which would make your income more secure, but take away with another in that your hourly rate of pay would probably drop because I advocate eliminating the minimum wage to make the economy more fluid, and you would be taxed on your pay at the basic rate, perhaps 35%, because tax allowances are a form of benefit. Basic income, in isolation, is very costly, so it has to be paid for somehow. I advocate funding it by eliminating tax allowances, which the basic income will replace, and taxing excess use of space, which will raise money disproportionately from areas with high property prices. This is more of a bedroom tax than a mansion tax. I would expect the lower paid to benefit both financially and in terms of security. I advocate setting the basic income partly according to local costs of living, so, for example, a central Londoner would receive more basic income than someone from, for example, mid-Wales. Otherwise poorer people would be driven away from more costly areas and from their extended families. However, I advocate stimulating areas of lower economic activity by offering a level of basic income to those areas which is more comfortable relative to their costs of living. This would, in effect, transfer money from richer areas to poorer areas and spread prosperity more widely.
  • Michael Mcghee
    commented 2018-02-16 11:01:22 +0000
    Explain this to me in layman’s terms please.
    I work between 32-40 hours per week and I get paid £7.80 per hour to run a small convenience store in Glasgow.
    How will this effect my standard of living(if I can even call it a living)
    Will I be better off if it becomes available or will it be give with one hand,take with the other.
    I currently receive no benefits but was on UC which put me in debt with my rent because it’s a very flawed system.
  • joe daki
    commented 2017-12-29 20:16:19 +0000
    £100 PW would not even pay my £600 rent, if I became unemployed for a time ATM I would get my rent paid and money to live until I found a job but on ubi I would become homeless as undoubtedly will many others if this socialist nightmare is allowed to happen. Think about the real reasons they want us living in this type of system.
  • Courtenay Inchbald
    commented 2017-10-17 21:31:15 +0100
    Reply to Duncan J
    If what you suggest were to happen the rich would have to pay a vast amount of tax to pay for government spending including everyone else’s BI (which the rich would need them to have to be able to buy whatever the rich’s automated factories were producing) and the poor would vote for a bigger BI. The system would only be sustainable as long as it suited the majority and whilst the vast majority were being productive.
  • Duncan Jóhannsson
    commented 2017-10-17 20:13:32 +0100
    I really like the idea of basic income, however I fear you would have an extremely polarised society where 95% of the population are on BI and potentially unemployed (assuming automation replaces most jobs), and the remaining 5% would be super rich (those with the few jobs left), earning extra income on top of BI.
  • Richard Burden
    commented 2017-09-23 00:31:50 +0100
    Late to the party, but I have this to add on basic income (BI), as some commenters have suggested, abolishing tax free incomes, currently £11k in the UK, and using BI instead led me to do a quick ‘back of the envelope’ calculation of my own (please forgive the rounding!) assuming a person, of age 25, worked, at the current ‘minimum wage’ of £7.50/hour, 33 hours a week, earning £12k a year (before tax), and paid 20% tax on their income, they would pay £2400 in tax for a total earned income of £9600.

    With BI set at £600/month (£7200/year) that person would in total have an income of £16,800. (of which £2,400 would be the equivalent of a tax rebate or tax free earnings under the current system, but with zero paperwork).

    Compare this to the current situation, where the same person would earn £11,000 tax free, and pay £200 tax a year, giving a total income of £11,800, a full £5,000 less than under BI.

    This effectively means that everyone earning under £36,000 will have their income topped up by BI, which can only be a good thing.
  • Victoria Sanders
    commented 2017-06-03 08:11:27 +0100
    Yes, yes, yes, to all of the above. A universal basic income paid for by a straightforward land value tax would an extremely empowering decision.
  • Maxine Bithell
    commented 2017-05-21 08:11:38 +0100
    It’ll never happen, because it would mean more choice and autonomy for everyone…and Governments don’t like that for us minions…they want us to be scared, obedient robots
  • Redcountessa
    commented 2017-04-18 09:38:40 +0100
    I agree. Can’t understand why this idea isn’t catching fire. It would make so many anomalies in the Welfare system and tax system just fade away and give people so many more life opportunities as well as acknowledging everyone’s equal status as a citizen!
  • Angus Bearn
    commented 2017-04-16 16:38:31 +0100
    Thank you for your interesting points, Courtenay. By, ‘accountability for the super rich’ I did not necessarily mean any more tax, only that a fair share of tax is paid. That is to say, the Amazons of this world, and the non-doms, and those with wealth hidden off-shore, all make their contribution along with the rest of us. That seems to me a more vital approach than – as you say – tinkering with VAT on school fees…
  • Courtenay Inchbald
    commented 2017-04-10 22:46:30 +0100
    Child benefit are a flat rate benefit in the same category as other flat rate benefits like free healthcare and free education. Tax allowances are another flat rate benefit not often recognised as such. Their impact on the super-rich must be considered in the context of the tax paid by the super-rich whether paid through income tax, sales tax, corporation tax or any other tax. Discussion about the parts can never advance sensibly if one addresses issues as though costs and revenue are unrelated, or in isolation as though everything else remains unchanged, or by spuriously linking two independent items in isolation. An example of the latter is the Labour Party’s foolish new proposal to charge VAT on private school fees and hypothecate the income to school food (which, apart from other shortcomings, “always tastes like Peason’s soks, as any fule kno”, as Molesworth would have written). Getting the super-rich to pay tax is always an issue. A wealth tax would be ideal but impossibly complex to measure and would drive the super-rich away. As a proxy, I suggest a tax based on the value of a property and the excessive use of space per head within it – i.e. not a “mansion tax”, which is a ludicrously clumsy idea. By all means allow, and encourage, billionaires to occupy 20,000 sqft in Mayfair, but ask them to pay for clogging up the country’s most commercially useful space. But these are not issues directly related to this discussion.
  • Angus Bearn
    commented 2017-04-10 19:43:36 +0100
    There is already UBI for nippers in the form of Child Benefit? Most people now think paying rich people £13 per week for having a kid is a bit soft, but it has at least established the principle in a long-standing institutional benefit.
  • Angus Bearn
    commented 2017-04-10 19:38:50 +0100
    For equality, well, yes I suppose so. A 2-million-on-minimum-wage kind of solidarity-in-poverty. But it will do nothing to stop the Bezos of this world avoiding corporation tax to spend uncountable billions on space toys. It is accountability for the tax-dodging super-rich that will do most to bring inequality back down to earth.
  • Angus Bearn
    commented 2017-04-10 19:32:39 +0100
    Really? No more fraud? Wild assertions like that undermine the credibility of the whole proposal. The scope for fraud based on misrepresentation of personal circumstances might be reduced (once the income level is higher than any top-ups) but the scope for identity-based fraud will remain as cheerfully high as ever!
  • peter white
    commented 2017-02-07 09:20:10 +0000
    The great Money Trick https://youtu.be/yB7OUHbK1BE
  • Michael Power
    followed this page 2017-02-04 14:13:39 +0000
  • Robert Searle
    commented 2017-01-09 13:44:38 +0000
    Also, just one thing more to add. Computer science is progressing exponentially, and TFE will become increasingly “doable” rather than remain as some “fantastic” fantasy.
  • Robert Searle
    commented 2017-01-09 10:35:38 +0000
    Yes, Thumbs Up for Basic Income…..

    We are not talking about printing new money as something which is physical. Most of the money in the world is created as electronic, or digital money….and hence, it can be controlled, and monitored en direct for any inflationary changes, and the relevant ELECTRONIC “remedies” can be undertaken instantaneously with the right algorithms at the time of any transaction. Morever, we could also create a “map” of the entire GDP in Real-Time, or near Real-Time. TFE is utterly revolutionary compared with BI. However, the advantage of the latter is that it can be easily set up, and I am all for it but it does NOT represent a complete economic system. So, I wish those supporters of BI all the best, and hopefully it will become reality all over the world!! I rest my case!
  • Courtenay Inchbald
    commented 2017-01-07 17:07:54 +0000
    In reply to Robert Serle

    We seem to be departing from the Basic Income discussion. However, having read the extract you quoted, I must point out that, amongst many other problems that I see with TFE, compensating consumers for inflation by printing more money to give to them would create even more inflation, and would completely short circuit supply and demand. It can never work.
  • Robert Searle
    commented 2017-01-07 14:58:30 +0000
    What is important to understand in connection with inflation is that banks creates new unearned money daily as something which is repayable. They do not lend existing funds. For those not in in the know it would be advisable to go to Positive Money which is a respected, and trusted site.

    http://positivemoney.org/how-money-works/how-banks-create-money/
  • Robert Searle
    commented 2017-01-07 14:27:32 +0000
    Replying to Courtenay Inchbald,

    Thank you for your response. The answer to your comments is as follows.

    There would be no serious inflation, and no serious devaluation of currency. This is explained in the later sections of the TFE “paper”. It involves something something similiar to “price controls” but ones which are superflexible, and electronic….The following comes from the “paper.”

    …………..With the continous electronic monitoring of the Free Market Prices of the transaction of most goods, and services the data which results is transmitted to the inflation authority where supercomputers are programmed to notably check any inflationary problems.

    However, economists would recognize the direct electronic controls mentioned above as being like “price controls,” but a far more advanced version of them. The key feature of them is that in Advanced TFE they are super-flexible, and instantaneous. They are also notably super-sensitive to the changes in Real-Time to inflationary pressures in ways unimaginable to the old clumsy, and “rigid” price controls of the past.

    Ofcourse, their correct programming using algorithms is absolutely vital, and this could be based with likely modifications on existing formulas, and equations known in Econometrics. Naturally, such an arrangement could take into account many factors in Free Market Pricing such as the value added to a product, or service. It should also be said that a producer of goods, or services would have to register online by law to ensure that their offerings can be correctly identified at the point of transactions by special barcodes, or like means.

    Such electronic, or digital transactions would occur in the main with smartphones, or indeed, by debit, or credit cards, or something similiar. These can transmit, and receive money electronically. Ofcourse, to a growing extent, this already happens in many parts of the world.

    Anyhow, there are a number of things which the electronic controls (open to further modification, and development) could do, and they would naturally enough require specific algorithms to be programmed carefully, and properly :-

    i) Above Inflation Adjustment

    A Free Market Price of a product being bought at a checkout is found to be above the inflation rate. An example, should make it clear as to what happens. Lets say that the price of product X is instantly checked by the inflation authority using supercomputers at the Point of Sale. It is found that X is 2p above inflation. As a result, the 2p is instantly added to the customer’s bank account electronically (ie. Inflation Interest). However, the retailer still retains the 2p on product X. The extra 2p for the customer is an adjustment, or instant subsidy created electronically with newly created money.

    Ofcourse, an instant electronic inflation tax could be created to deduct the inflated value of money. This though is avoided unless it is absolutely necessary. TFE aims to be as business friendly as possible otherwise attempts to introduce it would be blocked by certain commercial interests.

    ii) Below Inflation Adjustment

    This is when a price of a product may be below the inflation rate, and an instant subsidy, or adjustment is created electronically. Again, to take a simple example. A customer wishes to buy product Z at the Point of Sale. The price is checked instantly by the inflation authority. It is found that Product Z is being sold below inflation by 2p. As such, the retailer, and not ofcourse, the customer gets 2p straight into their account.

    What is described above is deliberately “simplistic” as there may well be many aspects to all this that are beyond the scope of our presentation.

    iii) Instant Price Drop Subsidy

    This may be necessary if the Free Market Price is rising too quickly. If so, a price drop may be undertaken instantaneously. At the same time, a subsidy, or adjustment is instantly created with new money which creates a “progressive” profit to a certain level for the retailer instead of a profit “loss”. In effect, it creates an incentive to drop prices if, and when necessary.

    iv) Electronic Price Capping.

    Here, a maximun price may be set by a government, or by an FB in certain circumstances. If the price of production starts to exceed the maximun price, the producers would recieve instant financial help, or compensation where necessary as long as they stick to the temporary “control” price. Ofcourse, electronic price capping should be avoided at all cost as it could in certain instances lead to serious shortages, and price distortions.The aim in TFE is to allow as far as possible for the laws of supply, and demand to be maintained naturally.

    It should again be added here that similar methods to the above could possibly be used to help control “bubbles” in the economy (eg.“runaway” rising prices in the housing market being the classic example).’

    (PS. The ideas of Transfinancial Economics concerning super flexible electronic price controls are more advanced than the Compensated Price known to Social Credit (similar to TFE). The latter presents a Just Price, or “Control” Price for a product set at a certain level which covers production. This is paid for by the customer. The rest of the price including profit for the retailer is paid for by new non-repayable money, or Facilitation Finance acting as a kind of “unconventional” subsidy)
  • Courtenay Inchbald
    commented 2017-01-07 12:03:27 +0000
    Reply to Robert Searle

    From what I can glean from the TFE page, it proposes to eliminate taxation and instead to fund government spending entirely by printing money (or electronic money). Since government spending in most countries is a large proportion of GNP, I cannot see how that would not cause inflation, which would effectively tax net holders of cash. Holders of assets, the value of which would inflate with inflation, would be unaffected. Rich people tend to be holders of assets, not cash, so they would avoid the underlying cost (i.e. inflation) of this policy. Effectively they would not be contributing to government spending. Commercially active rich people tend to be financially leveraged, i.e. they hold assets funded by loans. They would benefit enormously from inflation as the real value of their assets remained unaffected whilst the real value of their debts plummeted. The description also talks of eliminating interest rates. The Government’s interest rate would be meaningless if it was just printing money, but commercial interest rates would still exist, and they would rocket with inflation. The economy would become very unstable.

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