Does it ever feel like there’s too much time between pay days? Does it ever feel like sometimes your pay isn’t enough?
Well, you’re not the only one. In fact, there are some experts who believe the way we work for money is becoming more and more outdated.
These experts believe that as robots take over our jobs more and more, we are going to be in a position where people are going to struggle to get work.
In lieu of this work, these experts think we should be getting what is called a ‘Universal Basic Income’ (UBI), which basically amounts to a big paycheck straight from the government.
Before you click off and comment that this is ‘never gonna happen’, a referendum was held in Switzerland with this very question. While it didn’t pass, it’s clear the conversation is being had.
There are also schemes being run in the Netherlands, and previous trials in Canada, so this could happen people.
Interestingly, the trials and the model both detected no dip in people in work. This makes sense because the reason that people go to work isn’t solely tied up in money, despite what people say.
Obviously, this is a contentious issue, but a major economic institution just produced a study strongly suggesting it’s actually a really good idea.
The Roosevelt Institute ran a model that asked what the economy would look like if everyone in America got three different types of UBI.
In every single model they ran, it was discovered that the money it would cost to pay for everyone’s free dough would cancel itself out within eight years!
In fact, the most successful model was the one where the government gave around $12,000 a year to every adult in America.
The institute found that such a programme would increase the economy by $2.5 trillion by 2025.
That’s because so many people would have more money, they would spend more, which would be better for businesses.
This would result in expansion and therefore a better economy.
Of course, the UBI isn’t without its counter-arguments, so we spoke to Victoria Waldersee, the co-founder of Economy, a charity that specialises in explaining economics to those who aren’t necessarily experienced in what it all means.
She explained where the idea for the Universal Basic Income comes from.
She told UNILAD:
The whole idea is that, rather than taxing people on their income to solve problems that might occur is to solve problems before they arise with a basic income for everyone.
The whole idea is based on the value that everyone should have access to the basics so they can make more free decisions about doing the things that they love to do as opposed to what they have to do to make ends meet.
She told us the obvious problem here is the funding of the project, and how that might look. There are a few factors that come into play here, not least of which is tax.
Victoria said that if increased taxes were going to pay for this scheme, people would of course not buy into it.
That’s not always the case, in a Scandinavian country for example, a proposal such as this might be successful as they are already culturally used to paying a much higher level of tax.
Interestingly, the Roosevelt Institute’s model actually said the plan wouldn’t work as well if it was paid with using tax, that outcome would result in an increase for the economy of (a measly) $515 billion.
That’s still pretty massive, but nowhere near as good as if the government didn’t increase taxes and still gave everyone the money.
Basically, just show us the money.
Victoria is slightly more sceptical about how viable this is in real life.
This really requires a culture shift that everyone needs to buy in to. There are two hurdles that the theory needs to get over.
How is it going to be funded, and how is it going to be bought into?
One possible way of funding it is through taxes, which people wouldn’t be happy with. But Bill Gates has actually just proposed that robots paying taxes is a viable idea.
Basically, what this means is that companies will pay taxes ‘on behalf’ of the robots they employ to make up for the human worker that was replaced.
So what we’ve learnt is that the government should give us free money, paid for by robots, so that we can live better lives. Make it happen!