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The Pros and Cons of Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is simply a guaranteed minimum income to all citizens or residents, whether they are working or not or even net worth. And since there has been a lot of discussions and even experimentations with Universal Basic Income, I think now is a good time to review the advantageous and disadvantageous of UBI.

The Advantages of Universal Basic Income
  1. Decrease Poverty: UBI guarantees a minimum poverty level. In theory, Universal Basic Income virtually eliminates homelessness and hunger.
  2. Improves Health: With more access to food and medicine, UBI helps improve the general health of the population.
  3. Empowerment: UBI empowers unpaid caregivers, such as parents and people who help their elderly family members. Therefore, UBI enables people to help others who are less able to help themselves.
  4. Reduce Income Inequality: I think this benefit is self explanatory.
  5. Higher Education: When employment is necessary in order to survive, there are fewer opportunities, money, or time to increase education. Therefore, UBI helps decrease school dropouts and increases the population with higher education and useful skills.

The Disadvantages of Universal Basic Income
  1. Robin Hood: Taking money from the rich to give to the poor has always against the capitalist and puritan work ethics, thus UBI is considered another type of socialism, such as social security.
  2. Lower Incentives: With UBI, many people have a much lower incentive to better themselves or be a productive member of society. As a result, UBI can easily trap people into their social class.
  3. No Self Improvements: Universal Basic Income does not improve lack of education, increase skill sets, or even help provide finance options to help start a business.
  4. Cost: Obviously, UBI has a very high cost.
  5. Lower Education: If people are satisfied enough with UBI, then it can increase school dropouts. Obviously, this is a paradox with UBI increasing education, but this in direct correlation with the population desires and quantity of UBI.
As a result, it is very unclear to me if Universal Basic Income works or will even work in the future. However, with the ever increasing automation of the workforce, I think UBI may eventually become necessary in order for survival. In the mean time, I believe the best alternative to UBI is to better incentivize and fund education and skills that are in demand, so that people can later financially support themselves.

by Phil for Humanity
on 09/17/2018

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