Unconditional Basic Income (UBI), also known as Citizen’s Income, Universal Basic Income or simply Basic Income, is a basic income ideology in which every adult in the economy receives a guaranteed income, no matter if they have a job or are unemployed. While many European countries have already adopted a variety of Minimum Wages Schemes, UBI is very different from such schemes. For starters, UBI is a universal approach which is not limited to a particular region or a country. It is unconditional and for every individual. Moreover, the income amount should be adequate to make sure that the individual is able to participate in society and live with dignity.
While the proposal has been receiving some strong support across a number of political spectrums, especially among the libertarians and socialists, there are many who oppose it.
Let us try to understand whether UBI can actually be good for the world by comparing its advantages and disadvantages that have been very commonly pointed out by people across the world.
-Advancements in Technology
With the increasing automation and technology across industries, the requirement for labour is falling. However, it is important to note that the technology will not be able to accelerate further if the public is not able to afford the products that automation and technology creates. If the basic needs of public are met with UBI, they will be better able to invest in these advanced products and thus, driving the technological advancement further.
UBI can be an excellent way to redistribute wealth among the masses as the need for expensive and massive bureaucracy to test the recipients will no longer be required. By simply verifying whether or not a recipient is a citizen of a particular state and whether he/she is an adult, there can be a substantial reducing in the overhead costs of the government.
-Falling Crime Rate
UBI would also be able to reduce the crime rate as it will eliminate the problem of absolute poverty. As a result, economic desperation, which is the major contributor to criminal behaviour, like theft, will fall considerably.
One of the most common disadvantage of implementing UBI is that is a person will receive guaranteed income and all his/her basic requirements will be met, it will be easier for the individual to get inclined to idleness. However, this criticism has been well-tackled by the fact that even multi-billionaires do work hard to earn more money. Humans don’t just earn to cover their basic expenses and idleness wouldn’t be a problem if UBI is implemented.
Another problem that can arise because of UBI can be inflation. For instance, tenants will know the people living on their property will receive payment on a monthly basis to cover their expenses. So, with this in mind, there will be no stopping the tenants from increasing the rent of their property. They might take an individual’s entire basic income and even more. This is just an example to demonstrate how UBI can lead to inflation. So, if UBI is to be implemented then it should have multiple caps on the cost of basic needs, like food, shelter, etc. to avoid inflation.
While UBI does has its advantages and disadvantages, actual implementation if need be, can only be done with detailed analysis and research. This is where qualitative and quantitative research capabilities of companies like Seminal Research on social as well as political front can come in very handy. The company with the help of Online Surveys, Focus Group Discussions, Face-to-Face Research, Desk Research, In-depth Interviews, etc. can work out the smallest of factors that can work in favour or against the implementation of UBI.
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