Since the early ’80s, the global number of people who live in poverty is declining. But up to this day over 595 million people can’t cover their basic costs of living and provide financial security for themselves.
What if everyone’s income was taken care of by government support? An income as a human right.
Hooray for the Universal Basic Income!
Unlike social assistant benefits, the UBI is an unconditional income that’s sufficient to meet every person’s basic needs. A fixed amount regardless of a person’s gender, family composition, employment status or income. Since the 60’s there has been a number of pilots and experiments.
Derived from this research, some results are very clear. Homelessness and hunger can be eliminated and people’s self esteem will rise. Nobody is dependent on another person anymore and parents can focus primarily on raising their children. People will start working fewer hours which means more room available on the labor market. People will become higher educated. Prosperity in developing countries will rise and economic migration will decrease.
But the latter only applies when the UBI is implemented on a global scale. Otherwise, countries that are able to provide a UBI will become more attractive for economic migration. So how realistic is a UBI? Well, some governments just can’t afford a basic income without the support of wealthier countries. Other governments might need to cut on other expenses like healthcare, education or defense or raise taxes since the UBI is slightly more expensive than systems currently used. Within UBI countries the role of the government will increase and their citizens will become more dependent on the state.
As for now pilots and experiments are conducted in several countries only on a national or local level focused on specific groups. Will we be able to work together as global citizens in order to realize a Global Universal Basic Income? That’s the challenge that lies ahead of us!
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