What are the benefits of Universal Basic Income?
Fighting technological unemployment
With advanced technology taking over more and more blue and white collar jobs, UBI would act as a sort of security net for the millions of people who will be left jobless by the tech revolution. Research shows that the longer you are unemployed, the longer it takes to find employment. If the jobless had a small source of income to help them back on their feet, they could find new jobs and start contributing to the economy sooner.
Those who suffer domestic abuse, mainly women, become trapped in violent situations because they don’t have the means to leave them. UBI would make leaving an abusive partner easier from a financial point of view, at least, and would unleash the working potential of countless people who are constrained - professionally, physically and emotionally - by domestic violence.
Supporting unpaid care workers
Those with ill or differently abled relatives are often forced to quit their jobs to care for them full-time. UBI would allow care-workers to support themselves, encouraging care work within the home and relieving pressure on public services that provide care to the sick and elderly.
Expanding the middle class
The economic growth of high-income countries is making the rich richer, but having very little effect on the working classes. The research of economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty showed that 'the bottom half of earners went from making 20 percent of overall income in 1979 to just 13 percent in 2014. The top 1 percent, on the other hand, have gone from making 11 percent to 20 percent. The pie has gotten vastly bigger, and the richest families have reaped bigger and bigger pieces from it'. UBI would help to balance this inequality and expand the ever-shrinking middle class.
Advocates for UBI believe that in some of the richest countries in the world, no one should be too poor to live. UBI would bring everyone’s income above the poverty line.
Eliminating the need for social security
There exist countless governmental organisations responsible for helping those in poverty, handing out unemployment benefits, food stamps, subsidised housing, etc. UBI would cut a country’s spending by eliminating these organisations.
Discouraging low wages
UBI would give employees enough security to have bargaining power. As Annie Lowrey says, 'why take a crummy job for 7.25 an hour when you have a guaranteed 1,000 dollars a month to fall back on?'
Think of it like Monopoly
Most people intuitively think that jobs lead to financial wealth, but the reality is that having money actually leads to jobs. Without the privilege of wealth, it is more difficult to build a life that makes landing a job easier. In order to get a job, you need to have a house with a shower, a set of approrpriate interview clothes and the funds to cover the cost of transport and food during the working day. If you want to contribute to the economy on an even greater scale and start your own business, you’ll need even more money. In the game Monopoly, everyone starts off with a little bit of money – without it, the game wouldn’t work and no one would be able to become rich or successful. UBI is like Monopoly – everyone starts off with a little bit of money, and uses it to fuel a thriving economy.
Successful implementation of UBI would mean improvements in food security, stress, mental health, physical health, housing, education, and employment.