10 Reasons You Should Support Basic Income

10 Reasons You Should Support Basic Income

The basic income offers something for everyone.
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The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has been around for a while, but it has been gaining attention recently. It is a fairly simple idea. Step 1 is to regularly give every citizen a check to cover basic expenses. There is no Step 2.

Despite —

or perhaps because of —

its simplicity, implementing a universal basic income would solve several problems in American economic policy and ultimately be beneficial. Here is an overview of some of the reasons why.

1. UBI appeals to both ends of the political spectrum.

UBI is one of the few economic policies that free-market capitalists and socialists agree on since it has something for everyone. It has plenty of supporters, including top economists as well as activists and philosophers:

There are plenty of other UBI supporters, but those are some of the most well-known.

2. UBI would make the welfare system more efficient.

One common criticism of the current welfare system is that it is inefficient. Money is lost to bureaucracy and administrative costs instead of going directly to the people it needs to help. However, in principle, the UBI is the most efficient welfare system possible because it skips the bureaucracy and gives the money directly to people who need it: "The most efficient way to spend money on the homeless might be to give it to them."

3. UBI would eliminate the welfare trap.

One of the problems with the current welfare system is that means-tested welfare programs have cutoff points. Someone with an income below the cutoff point could actually lose money if they tried to increase their income. With the UBI, there is no cutoff point, preventing any kind of welfare trap.

4. UBI could end poverty.

UBI ensures that everyone has enough money to afford basic living expenses. So, implementing a UBI could lift everyone out of poverty.

5. UBI would encourage innovation.

Let's say that someone has a cool new idea for a product, but they don't know if it will take off. Under the current economic system, they might be too worried to even try to invest in that idea. If their basic living expenses are taken care of, they will be less worried and more likely to put out new ideas.

6. UBI could improve your health.

In two separate instances, citizens had improved physical and mental health after a UBI program was implemented.

It would make sense if UBI was the cause since it helps financial security.

7. People who receive UBI don't tend to waste it.

A fear that some might have about UBI is that recipients would waste it all, that the poor cannot be trusted with money. However, a meta-analysis of 19 studies showed that, when poor people are given money, they actually spend less on alcohol and tobacco.

8. UBI can handle technological unemployment.

As I have mentioned about once or thrice before, automation will increasingly surpass human ability to do any given job. UBI will provide a stable, livable income for the increasing number of people who become technologically unemployed.

Even if automation somehow never ends up causing unemployment, though, UBI is still a good policy. It just so happens that UBI can insure us against the likely possibility that automation replaces human jobs en masse — and our current system cannot.

9. UBI works.

A UBI pilot program launched in Namibia in 2008 proved highly successful, especially in reducing malnutrition. In two UBI programs in India, "Villages spent more on food and healthcare, children's school performance improved in 68 percent of families, time spent in school nearly tripled, personal savings tripled, and new business startups doubled."

GiveDirectly, an independent and independently funded research group, has found that cash transfers are extremely beneficial to the poor. Plenty of examples show the same result: UBI works.

10. More UBI experiments are happening right now.

UBI is being implemented and studied in communities all around the world, including

Also, a group called the Economic Security Project recently invested invested $10 million to study the effects of UBI.

All of these will help us understand how well UBI works as a policy in the future. I am confident that they will show its effectiveness since UBI is a simple, non-partisan policy that can help us to move forward as a society.

For more information on this subject, check out some of the following resources:

Basic Income Earth Network

Reddit: Basic Income FAQ

Washington Post: "Free money might be the best way to end poverty"

Futurism: Basic Income articles

Cover Image Credit: The Daily Public

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 31

Language is a powerful tool.

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Hi there! Today, we will be shifting our focus from Australia to another continent--Asia. In addition to teleporting to a different area, we will also be going back in time.

Whoosh!

Here we are: August 14, 1947, in East Pakistan (or as it is now known, Bangladesh). This was the day Pakistan gained independence from British rule. Supposedly, this day promotes patriotism and national unity--which is what happens today, I'm sure, but back in 1947, there was anything but national unity in Pakistan.

Back then, Pakistan was divided into two separate regions: West Pakistan and East Pakistan. West Pakistan dominated the government and politics, even though it had a substantially smaller population than East Pakistan. Meanwhile, East Pakistan only held a few seats in the Constituent Assembly. The biggest disparity, however, was the fact that West Pakistan spoke Urdu, and East Pakistan spoke the Bengali language. The endonym (which is the name used for something in the language by the people who live there) for the Bengali language is called Bangla.

In 1948, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, announced that the country's official language would be Urdu and no other language. This was a problem, however, for the majority of Pakistan's population--over half of the people living in this country spoke Bangla. They were not happy to be suppressed like this, especially because it was just another form of oppression they felt come from West Pakistan.

From 1948 to 1952 (some argue that it started as early as 1947), the pot was brewing. Bangla script was eradicated currency and stamps. Bengalis saw this as a way of West Pakistan trying to stomp out the culture of East Pakistan. Finally, on February 21, 1952, the police fired shots on some Bengali students protesting. Several deaths ensued, and the Bengali Language Movement jumped into full-fledged action. This day, February 21, would later be known in Bangladesh as the Language Movement Day; in addition, it would later be recognized by UNESCO as International Mother Language Day.

To honor the martyrs, many Bengali students (from the Dhaka Medical College) constructed a monument called Shaheed Smritistombho, or "Monument of Martyrs." The monument was later destroyed by police. A year later, on February 21, 1953, Bengalis wore black badges as a sign of solidarity. Most businesses and schools across the region were closed to observe the day. Hundreds of thousands of people met to protest the oppression of their language. West Pakistani authorities felt threatened by just how many people were in support of the Bengali Language Movement, and they deemed that anyone who supported Bangla as an official language would be considered an enemy of the state.

Where did this butting-of-heads-of-languages come from? Since language is tied to all aspects of culture and religion, we should start unpacking there. Even though both West and East Pakistan practiced Islam, they differed in certain religious views. Just like there seems to be an infinite number of Christianity sectors, Bengali Muslims and Pakistani Muslims did not agree on certain things. The Islamist paradigm that West Pakistan had created went strongly against many Bengali Islamist views, and the Bengalis could see that religion was being used as the one common thread holding the two regions together.

The shame put on Bangla was one of the biggest reasons Bengalis could no longer accept being under Pakistani rule. Linguistic pride outweighed any common religion; Bengalis were extremely proud of their language and the culture that went along with it. However, Pakistanis did not enjoy the Bengali language because it had an Eastern Nagari script and Pali vocabulary. The Western Pakistani elite considered this to be a smack of their culture and deemed it unacceptable to be spoken or used in the nation.

44 million of the 69 million people living in West and East Pakistan spoke Bangla. There was no way that uproar would be suppressed for long. Already, we have seen how much tension there was in the region because of language and language oppression--there were protests, deaths, monuments, threats, and more. Next week, we will be talking about just what came out of all this. Will the Bengalis finally receive the language freedom they deserve?

Stay tuned. ;)

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