Universal basic income trials being considered in Scotland


#1

theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/01/universal-basic-income-trials-being-considered-in-scotland

**Universal basic income trials being considered in Scotland

Scotland looks set to be the first part of the UK to pilot a basic income for every citizen, as councils in Fife and Glasgow investigate trial schemes in 2017.

The councillor Matt Kerr has been championing the idea through the ornate halls of Glasgow City Chambers, and is frank about the challenges it poses.

“Like a lot of people, I was interested in the idea but never completely convinced,” he said. But working as Labour’s anti-poverty lead on the council, Kerr says that he “kept coming back to the basic income”.

Kerr sees the basic income as a way of simplifying the UK’s byzantine welfare system. “But it is also about solidarity: it says that everyone is valued and the government will support you. It changes the relationship between the individual and the state.”

The concept of a universal basic income revolves around the idea of offering every individual, regardless of existing welfare benefits or earned income, a non-conditional flat-rate payment, with any income earned above that taxed progressively. The intention is to provide a basic economic platform on which people can build their lives, whether they choose to earn, learn, care or set up a business…

The idea has its roots in 16th-century humanist philosophy, when it was developed by the likes of Thomas More, but in its modern incarnation it has lately enjoyed successful pilots in India and Africa.

Despite its utopian roots, champions believe that this is an idea whose time has come, particularly in Scotland where the governing SNP voted in support of a basic income at their spring conference (although the proposal has yet to make it into their manifesto).**


#2

Seems like a great way to create a class of people completely dependent on the beneficence of government for their needs.


#3

The concept of a universal basic income revolves around the idea of offering every individual, regardless of existing welfare benefits or earned income, a non-conditional flat-rate payment, with any income earned above that taxed progressively. The intention is to provide a basic economic platform on which people can build their lives, whether they choose to earn, learn, care or set up a business…

Inevitably, this sort of open-ended support makes one uneasy for a plethora of reasons but rapid developments in AI are going to force us into finding imaginative solutions for a world where the economic relevance of considerable sections of the population is very likely to be seriously disrupted.


#4

If by class of people you mean everyone. With a universal basic income program, every citizen receives a check from the government. Since I already depend on the government for police, fire, and military protection, I can’t say a basic income check is going to make me completely dependent on the government. And I think Kanichen is also right, advances in AI and robotics are coming the next few decades that will render HUGE portions of the population unemployed and underemployed. Since I think banning such advances is infeasible, something else must be done.


#5

Unless universal basic income is linked with universal financial literacy and universal personal responsibility, the results will be pretty much the same as now. Utopia is always beyond our reach for the same reasons it has been since the fall of Adam.


#6

Creating a huge body of people completely dependent on the government for the basic needs is a bad thing. It is a huge waste of human potential. I’ve worked in areas where the majority of the population is dependent on a government check, and those areas are rife with crime, drug and alcohol dependency, and family breakdown. Police, military, and fire are poor analogies for several reasons, among them, most people don’t have much occasion to use fire, military, or police services. I’ve never had to call the fire or police department in my life, and I’m over 50. The only interaction most people have with the police is getting a ticket, which is mostly just an alternate form of taxation.

I understand that automation is going to create some major issues, but paying people to sit at home, drink beer, and watch TV is pretty bad too.


#7

That was my first thought.

Mary.


#8

Do you have any scientific studies to back up your claim that a UBI would create a huge body of people completely dependent on the government for basic needs? You provide only your own experience, which is anecdotal at best. At the moment, I am actually neutral on this proposal (actually, proposals as there are different ways to implement UBI) but I’d like more than “it’s bad” or “I don’t really use the police so…”


#9

When social security was implemented the labor force participation rate of those over 65 plummeted. Just goes to show that if you give people money for doing nothing, there are those who are going to take it.


#10

You’re surprised that lots of elderly people who had spent decades working decided to accept the government’s offer to retire?


#11

Okay, it’s affordable… but wouldn’t people stop working?
We studied this question in the 1970s here in the United States, back when Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) was a goal of President Nixon and the House even successfully passed a bill for it. The findings from the accompanying large-scale experiments done in cities like Seattle and Denver found that surprisingly, hardly anyone actually stopped working, and instead reduced their hours slightly, with men reducing their hours the least — by a maximum of 8%. This slight reduction in hours was then replicated to even less of a degree in Canada’s Minimum Income (Mincome) experiment, with men choosing to work as little as 1% fewer hours.

See the rest here: huffingtonpost.com/scott-santens/why-should-we-support-the_b_7630162.html


#12

A very brief discussion at Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_income#How_will_people_behave.3F_.28Will_they_work_less.3F.29

From what I can gather, I’d like to see more research conducted before a universal basic income scheme were implemented.


#13

Read the article. The whole point of the UBI is to change the relationship between the individual and the state, to create dependency on the current political class.


#14

I have read the article. You didn’t answer my question about scientific studies on the issue, which what I am most interested in. You also did not address my comment that there are different proposals for UBI, so the effort to create dependency on the current political class does not necessarily apply to all UBI schemes.


#15

Like I said, if you give people money for doing nothing, there are those who are going to take it.


#16

This is going to end badly. Where does that money come from?


#17

Instead of being resentful of people,who have worked and paid into SS for the entirety of their working life,by law,direct your resentment towards the political powers that be,who misused and mismanaged these funds.


#18

At least in so far as your example of elderly people accepting retirement, I am unconcerned. They’ve more than earned it. As for UBI, I remain neutral but will say I am not particularly concerned if a small number (and the studies I’ve linked to do indicate only a small number) choose to stop working all together.


#19

I second this sentiment.


#20

Who said I am resentful? I am just bringing up the problem with welfare programs.


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