With the threat of automation, a possible recession, and other societal problems, people have been calling for a Universal Basic Income. In 2018, nearly half of Americans supported this idea in hopes to reduce poverty and increase equality. While experimenting with this concept is relatively new, it can be dated back to 1516 with Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ philosophy. Following More’s ideas on the benefits of a minimum income, Thomas Paine proposed a plan in 1796 to provide a basic endowment for all adults over 21 years of age. And if those names don’t ring a bell, in 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. was convinced that a guaranteed income is the counter to poverty. This system has been around for a long time, but what does it mean for us today?
The goal of a Universal Basic Income is to reduce poverty, alongside the negative effects that come with it, as well as lead towards freedom of choice in lifestyle and employment. The current trials and stalled implementations of a UBI method have provided preliminary findings such as a 12% increase in confidence in financial situations in addition to optimism for the future. The time to experiment may be coming to an end – nearly half of all work activities in the world have the potential to be automated.
The real money, lack of employment requirements, and receiving aid in regularly distributed intervals sounds like a utopian idea. But the fact is that the future of work is changing, so a Universal Basic Income could be the idea that helps create a more equal and livable society.
Find out more about how Universal Basic Income could change society here.