There is growing interest in the idea of a Universal Basic Income. And with good reason. Inequality is exploding, automation threatens more and more jobs every moment, and people are working harder but still falling further into debt. Even the wealthiest countries are unable to end poverty.
Clearly, something is failing. That's why we need a new approach. We need a Universal Basic Income (UBI). A UBI would be a payment from the state to all individuals, ensuring that they could not fall below a certain level of income. It's an idea with support from across the political spectrum and among historic, well respected figures, including Nobel Prize Winners Martin Luther King Jr. and Milton Friedman.
For a more detailed look at how a UBI could actually save us all money, Check out my recent post. (https://spencerfernando.com /2016/06/15/a-universal-basic-income-could-actually-save-money/)
So many people stay in jobs where they are overworked, underpaid, mistreated, or a combination of all of three. The fear of having no income keeps many people stuck in jobs they desperately wish to leave. Some employers exploit that fear to get away with treating people horribly.
That's where the Universal Basic Income can help. While a UBI wouldn't make you rich, it would give you the security of being able to leave an exploitative work environment. It would also give you more bargaining power when starting a new job, since your employer would know that you have more freedom to leave if you were mistreated, and would be incentivized to act fairly.
As reported by CBC, a study by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Toronto's Ryerson University shows 42 per cent of Canadian jobs are at high risk from automation. Stats in the United States are similar.
This is a huge threat to job security in the future. With machines and automated systems getting more advanced by the day, you deserve some security from the chaotic job market.
That's where a Universal Basic Income comes in. The security of knowing you always have a certain income you can count on will be a big help in navigating the changing economy and providing a cushion during employment changes.
Stress is a huge health problem, and so much stress revolves around work and finances. As I explained above, a Universal Basic Income would give you more leverage with your employer, and more protection from the negative effects of job loss due to automation.
By reducing the fear of falling into poverty, a UBI would relieve alot of stress, which would increase the health of our society. This exactly what a study of the 1970's Dauphin Mincome Experiment (A Universal Basic Income test), showed.
As reported by VICE when they discussed the results of the Dauphin Mincome, "Doctor and hospital visits declined, mental health appeared to improve, and more teenagers completed high school."
A healthier life, fairer treatment at work, and protection from the chaotic economy. Those are 3 big ways a Universal Basic Income would benefit you.
A UBI would bring many more benefits and I will be writing about that in future posts.