With the jobs becoming more and more automated and humans replaced by technology and machines, the future, where there will be no jobs left for people to do, has never been more realistic.
This has proposed some serious questions – most importantly, how we will be able to survive without money from our paychecks. This is a scary thought, but also the one enticing creativity and some new ideas that may even be beneficial to people in developing countries now.
One of those creative ideas, gaining significant popularity at the moment is Universal Basic Pay.
What this concept means is that all people, employed and unemployed alike should be given the same amount of free, untaxed money each month. This isn’t necessarily a new idea, with president Nixon already had the similar concept presented to the House of Representatives in 1970’s.
Executives at large technological firms confirm that this is inevitable due to the technology advancement.
It’s believed to be superior to any other kind of help that governments already give to their citizens – it’s not required that you spend it only on certain things and you don’t have to belong to a specific group to get it. It doesn’t oblige you to get a job, and it doesn’t change if you have a job – everyone gets the same amount of money no matter what.
‘Universal basic pay is a good concept. This wouldn’t make that much of a difference for people in developed countries, but it would improve the lives of people in emerging countries immensely. Without the worry about essential things, people would have much less stress, and they would perform better and be happier altogether,’ says Victoria Albert from Academized.
Some studies have already been conducted to get a good grasp of what this means and how people would behave.
One of them started in January 2017 in Finland, and it gained a lot of attention. Of course, the realistic results can’t be achieved until universal basic income is available on a larger scale, but studies can solve some burning questions and misgivings people may have about it.
Two thousand randomly chosen people, both employed and unemployed have been given a monthly payment of $560 for two years. This experiment is still going on at the time this article is being written but some conclusions can be taken out of some older studies.
For example, a well-known study done in Dauphin, Canada in the 1970s.
Conclusions pulled from that study were as follows:
- People were healthier, both mentally and physically
- Children were less likely to drop out of school
- Residents were happier
- Adolescents were less likely to turn to crime
- Families functioned better
- Alcohol and drug abuse decreased
Similar results came out of another study done ‘accidentally’ in North Carolina, the USA in a Cherokee community to determine how this would affect child development.
In developing countries, this was best shown in Namibia and India when 6000 men received a small payment for 18 months. Especially in India, four conclusions came out of the research:
1. There was better welfare: improved nutrition, health, and schooling
2. It has positive effects on equality – it helped the disabled, women and scheduled caste’s
3. It had a tremendous economic impact
4. There was a noticeable growth in self-employed, second work
Similar studies are planned in Ontario, Oakland, Aquitaine and Catalonia with the one in Glasgow still being discussed. ‘Give Directly’ is a US NGO currently raising money to conduct this experiment in Kenya and it will last for 12 years.
Companies like the State of Writing and Paper Fellows have already done their part in this, conducting their own, small-scale case studies. They gave their employees a basic pay which can be increased based on their work. Previously, they paid their employees based on their achievements and shared in overall work. But now, each employee had the same pay. In the month that their study was done, employee performance improved immensely. They were less stressed about reaching a particular share in work – they were happier, provided more quality and eventually, did more than they would have in any other month. Since they performed so well under this new concept, the companies decided to keep it that way.
Another important thing to state is that these experiments can only show small scale results. Certain behavioral aspects cannot be tested this way – justice, economic stability, and safety. These pilot experiments include only a small number of people and are relatively short; therefore previously mentioned elements are not measurable.
‘This is one of the biggest misgivings that people have – they don’t know how it would change lives on a larger scale. It’s easy to conclude how it would change lives of regular people but look at it on a long-term basis; we don’t know how people would behave and if it would be better or worse than it is now. ‘ says Angus Christiansen form Big Assignments.
However, it was proved that giving people cash helps. People continue working, they perform better, and they don’t waste their money.
Why Universal Income Is Urgent
Around the world, governments are discussing universal basic income as a possibility. There are many reasons for this:
- With technology advancements, full employment may never be possible again. Processes are getting automated, and tech is replacing humans on a larger scale than ever. Just imagine what you had to do a decade ago and what you don’t have to do yourself now. Everything from car washes, to supermarkets, banks and accommodation is mostly automated – or could be.
- There are many families struck by poverty around the world due to the lack of jobs. Universal Basic Income could improve their lives immensely.
- Internet companies are doing more and more things while employing very few individuals.
While we are not sure what the exact effects of universal basic income will be, it is assured that on some level it would improve lives. Studies have already discovered many benefits from it, and this became a real possibility in today’s world. With governments talking about it, this may soon become our reality