Universal Basic Income Is Being Rolled Out Around the World. What’s Going On?
By Stuart Watkins
As the technocratic control system continues with the emergence of digital IDs, Central Bank Digital Currencies, biometrics, and the emergence of AI systems and robots taking over human industries, expect discussion of Universal Basic Income (UBI) to take center stage. This article does a great job of explaining the potential positives, but also spelling out the possibilities that UBI could just be one more stroke implemented to control all of humanity through financial terrorism. – Truth Unmuted Editor Jesse Smith
The law for any great social reformer is “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”, a quote often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi (wrongly, though he had expressed similar ideas).
The battle for universal basic income (UBI) – the idea that everyone should get a regular sum of money to live on from the state with no strings attached – seems like it might be entering the final stage.
The response of governments in the rich world to the Covid-19 pandemic made the idea seem plausible – as businesses were shuttered, states picked up the wage bill for workers, sent them cheques in the post, and boosted benefits for the jobless and the sick. And trials of a basic income proper – or of something resembling it – have been carried out, or are about to begin, in countries around the world.
South Korea’s presidential candidate Lee Jae-Myung, for example, was in favour of introducing one nationwide following a six-month trial he introduced while governor of Kyonggi province. (Sadly for UBI enthusiasts, Lee lost narrowly to the conservative candidate in March.)
In the US, there are more than 20 trial schemes handing out direct cash payments to poor families – Bloomberg reckons they’ll have handed out at least $35m by the time they end if they run as planned.
Similar experiments have been run in Canada, Brazil, Kenya, Iran, Finland, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Namibia, India, South Africa, China and Japan. And the idea is washing up on these shores too: the Welsh government has committed to running a trial, and the Scottish government and several English cities are keen too.
And why not? Many welfare states already guarantee their citizens access to health and education. Why not to an income too?
What the Alaskan experience teaches us
Perhaps the best place to start to consider the merits of the idea is Alaska, as Martin Sandbu points out in the Financial Times.
When oil tax revenues started flowing in 40 years ago, the state set up a permanent fund with the idea of preventing politicians wasting the money and paying out dividends to every citizen.
In a good year, such as in 2015, when oil prices were high, the dividend reached $2,072 per person – so more than $8,000 for a family of four.
What the long Alaskan experiment has shown – and it’s a result borne out in most of the long list of studies carried out so far – is that such payments do not lead, as some critics fear, to idleness, or people refusing jobs or wasting the money on frivolities, but to more secure and hence happier individuals, families and societies.
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