The Instigator
MrMaestro
Pro (for)
The Contender
Filipe
Con (against)

Universal Basic Income is a good thing

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/29/2019 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 584 times Debate No: 121099
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (0)

 

MrMaestro

Pro

Let's debate the merit, feasibility, And necessity of a Universal Basic Income. Heads up - this first post is quite long. My future arguments will be more succinct. It's a big topic so I'm looking for an opponent who's willing to put some time into this debate.

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A Universal Basic Income: is a periodic, Unconditional, Automatic, Guaranteed payment given to all citizens; regardless of their income. Universal basic income is one of the most ambitious social policies of our time. Over 15 countries are currently running UBI feasibility trials [1]. Why is it that so many scientists, Politicians, And economists are spending their time researching this wacky-sounding idea?

The key benefits of a Universal Basic Income are as follows:

  • A UBI would completely eliminate poverty
  • A UBI might pay for itself by creating a massive economic boost
  • A UBI encourages people to work, Unlike welfare
  • A UBI reduces bureaucracy
  • A UBI makes the population smarter and healthier
  • A UBI reduces crime rates

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It's not all altruism though. A UBI also addresses a dangerous threat to our world: The job insecurity created by automation.

Job creation can't keep up with automation. While it's true that innovation creates new jobs, These don't compare with the number of jobs being eliminated by the same technological advancements. Automation has been blamed as the key reason why factory workers and miners are losing jobs.

Job growth is tied down by corporate structures and politics. Technology doesn't care.

As technology advances it makes things more efficient. This efficiency means employers can produce more stuff with less workforce. In a world where artificial intelligence can diagnose better than doctors, Compose classical music, Beat professional players at starcraft, Poker and go, People are worried that the pace of job growth will not be able to keep up with the advancement of technology.

Take the self-driving car for example; Transportation is one of the largest industries in the world. Imagine the jobs lost and economic catastrophe if this industry became fully automated. This might not be long off; self-driving cars have already shown to be at least as good, If not better drivers than humans.

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A UBI would completely eliminate poverty
By providing all citizens with a basic living income we could end homelessness, Hunger and poverty overnight.

A UBI could pay for itself by creating a massive economic boost
In a recent study, A UBI of $1000/month in the USA was estimated to grow the GDP by over 12. 5% in 8 years [2]. Allowing poor people to spend more will increase overall economic demand. More people buying things means more tax revenue is generated and a stronger economy. This would offset the long-term cost of the program.

A UBI encourages people to work
The modern welfare disincentives people from getting jobs, Unemployment insurance and welfare cheques disappear when you get a job. UBI doesn't discourage jobs, Because people get to keep the money either way. Studies show that while some people initially quit their jobs, They often use the freedom UBI provides to find jobs that they are better suited for (increasing productivity), Going back to school, Or taking care of their family.

A UBI reduces bureaucracy and paperwork
Modern welfare systems are immensely complex. The UBI is simple. It doesn't require income verification, Tax departments, Eligibility checks, Identity checks, Or any other bureaucratic labor.

A UBI makes the population healthier
By providing everyone with the means for basic shelter and nutrition, We can reduce (the currently overwhelming) strain on most health care systems. With increased economic security, People are less prone to stresses, Disease, And self-destructive behavior. A UBI experiment in Canada saw hospitalization rates go down 8. 5%[3]

A UBI makes the population smarter
Studies have shown that the stress of poverty makes people much worse decision makers. The effect is not subtle, This study showed it was equal in a 13 point drop in IQ[4]. By eliminating the distress of millions we can create a smarter more rational society.

A UBI reduces crime rates
The root cause of crime is desperation. Desperate people take desperate measures and are more likely to break laws. By lifting society out of poverty we would greatly reduce desperation thus removing one of crimes biggest motivators. This has the potential to greatly reduce crime rates everywhere.

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A universal basic income is not only good for society and the economy; it may also be the only realistic solution to the near-term threat of automation.

Filipe

Con

I would like to start by saying that I agree with the motivations of this idea, They are noble ones.
Technological unemployment => Less jobs => Less pay => Freezing cold economy => Scarcity + Inequality => Crime.

But. . .

At this very moment a UBI would prove to be more than prejudicial to our economy and society.
To not distinguish between the working and the criminal in a world where work is the main source of value IS DANGEROUS. I understand that a salary is still due to the ones who choose to work under a UBI but it would cease to be a good enough motivation since you are allowed to be lazy and still live fairly well.

More, If the UBI exists does the welfare end? If yes, Are people who are just lazy living well to the detriment of those with disabilities that require more funds to control or cure?
We are not at the point where we should be handing over our hard-earned money to the state to feed possibly unmotivated and disconnected people who might not be contributing to our development as a society or to our eventual future of abundance yet, This is precisely why welfare exists.

Markets are marvelous engines for figuring out how to do things and transfer value really well and they will continue to be until the ones on the rich side reach "climax" abundance and turn tyrannical against the non-producing counterpart.

A UBI would be a good idea only when and if a TRUE job crisis arises, Where something like 50% or so of the population is in fact unemployed due to the advancement in technology and welfare is not enough to provide a good and dignified standard of living to this half.

It is in fact a good idea for when the paradigm shifts, The fact is the paradigm has not shifted and doesn't seem to be in crisis yet. As we stand, We still need much more technological advancement and abundance inequality for this to be a remotely plausible idea making it a "bad thing" for the moment.
Debate Round No. 1
MrMaestro

Pro

So we both agree that a UBI would be a good thing if automation takes over the job market. Good, Then let's discuss the pros/cons of a UBI on modern society.

The average wage has remained stagnant worldwide while the cost of living has skyrocketed. We are already feeling the effects of automation. Modern welfare in most countries doesn't even cover the basic cost of living. This is why it's imperative to explore massive changes to our social nets with ideas like UBI.

I think one of the best effects of UBI is that directly addresses wealth inequality. We all know that rich corporations are only getting richer, While the poor seem to be getting poorer. A UBI empowers poor employees to demand better working conditions and higher wages. Lower income employees enter the middle class at the expense of large corporations, Effectively bridging the wealth divide.

Rebuttals


"If the UBI exists does the welfare end? If yes, Are people who are just lazy living well to the detriment of those with disabilities that require more funds to control or cure? "

Yes, UBI replaces welfare. The problem with welfare is that it discourages work - welfare payments stop after someone gets a job. UBI payments do not. For this reason, A large portion of these "welfare bums" actually reenter the job market.

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"I understand that a salary is still due to the ones who choose to work under a UBI but it would cease to be a good enough motivation since you are allowed to be lazy and still live fairly well. "


Do people quit their jobs after given a UBI? Well we've tested it. It turns out that most people would rather be wealthy the lazy. A portion of the population does initially quit, But most of them go further their education or find better jobs that are actually in their field.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend program has been in place for the past 25 years, With money distributed from the oil reserve royalties earned in the state. The unconditional cash payments amount to $2, 000 per Alaskan resident.

"The researchers found that the unconditional payments to residents had no real impact upon full-time employment levels (whether positive or negative), Although they did find that part-time work increased by about 17%. " [4]

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"A UBI would be a good idea only when and if a TRUE job crisis arises, Where something like 50% or so of the population is in fact unemployed due to the advancement in technology"

The problem here is that technology advances exponentially, while politics and the job market advance slowly and linearly. I would argue that something THIS DESTRUCTIVE, Cannot be dealt with reactively, It must be dealt with proactively. If we wait until half the population is unemployed we've waited far too long. That's why we're running early trials now.


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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Filipe 3 years ago
Filipe
"The inflation rate would be outweighed by the supplement in money to workers"?
The additional inflation caused by the possible UBI would be precisely corresponding to the supplement in money to workers.
Posted by SickInTheHeadz 3 years ago
SickInTheHeadz
"Good old overinflation"
The inflation rate would be outweighed by the supplement in money to workers, Along with employers who now can produce things at lower cost since they will get supplement too, Along with the fact that there would be more room for competition when there is more demand, Which would drive the prices down.
Posted by Filipe 3 years ago
Filipe
@SickInTheHeadz
Printing money for UBI = Good old overinflation = Effectively slowing down a pulsating economy to give cash back to the people, Which wouldn't be needed in first place if you weren't devaluing every USD in their pockets.
Useless loop introducing inefficiency to the economy and aproximating it to one of a socialist state. Would rather stay as we are.
Posted by billsands 3 years ago
billsands
Because of automation and technological changes it will become a necessity
Posted by MrMaestro 3 years ago
MrMaestro
[4] https://www. Nber. Org/papers/w24312. Pdf
Posted by SickInTheHeadz 3 years ago
SickInTheHeadz
U. S. A. Already prints/borrows 900 billion dollars every year. If we borrow/print just 600$ billion more, We can ensure that everyone in the U. S. A. Receives 1800$ a year, And if we count only adults, Then 2325$ a year. This won't be "wasting our hard earned money" as most of this money will go to the hard working people.
Posted by SickInTheHeadz 3 years ago
SickInTheHeadz
"While keeping welfare? Is this affordable? "
My point is to just give basic income to those with jobs and not to those who can work, But refuse to, And this is only if "lazy" ever becomes a problem.
It is affordable, As government can easily borrow/print money for it. Like they do for almost everything else.

And of course that we should keep welfare for people with disabilities, Who are unable to work or are unwillingly out of workforce.
Posted by SickInTheHeadz 3 years ago
SickInTheHeadz
@ Thoht
I agree with your argument, But that is in the future.

Right now, The point of basic income should be to increase living standards of the workers.

And we can test it in two ways:
1) Give everyone a basic income
2) Give workers a basic income

If we see that the first one creates too much lazy people, We can easily abolish it and introduce a second one.

So the solution to the lazy problem can be found without completely abolishing the basic income, If the "lazy people" even becomes a problem that is. I doubt it would, But as I presented, There are solutions for that too if it occurs.

However, I do completely agree that universal basic income in the future will be an absolute necessity.
Along with government printing money and giving it out to it's citizens. Right now, The government prints money to give it to the military. Over 600 billions of it, That is.

So to summarize: I agree with the universal basic income. If it creates lazy people and that becomes a serious problem, It can be redirected to only people with jobs. But it should be introduced, As wages of the average american worker didn't rise for the past 40 years. There is rise in productivity, But no rise in wages. That's obviously a mistake in a system that should be solved.
Posted by Thoht 3 years ago
Thoht
Automation will remove most jobs out there. A statistical majority. To say that all able bodied humans will be able to find jobs in the next few hundred years is a position you cannot support. Who will want human doctors when AI doctors are hundreds of times superior? Who will want a human lawyer when AI lawyers blow them out of the park and have the laws memorized and can comb through them and cite them at will?

The perspective of giving basic income only to those with jobs destroys the entire point of basic income.

Capitalism can only exist in the future of automation when we have a UBI to keep all citizens participants in supply and demand. Even then, It is capitalism supported by socialism. People on the right just need to get used to this.

When 1 capitalist business owner can own thousands of automatons that run for pennies or a few dollars a day compared to a human that wants at LEAST minimum wage and probably healthcare etc, And he can reap all the rewards of it, And that level of automation becomes widespread, What can people who can't possibly get a job do?
Posted by Filipe 3 years ago
Filipe
"Just give basic income to the people who have jobs and are working. "
While keeping welfare? Is this affordable?
If you don't plan on keeping welfare, How are people with disabilities and equivalent cases going to be treated? Left for dead?
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