With the current political and economic climate, the concept of universal basic income provides many advantages. The majority of the support it receives is directly proportional to the desire to right systematic errors such as income inequality, poverty, and the unsure future of automation in the workplace. Many of the concerns arise from the improvement of living standards and the growth in the stagnation of wages. Many countries have begun experimental procedures to see the effect of a universal basic income policy.
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In the United States, income inequality is especially detrimental, with total household debt being 12.58 trillion dollars in 2016 (Nath, 2017). However, wages for average workers have barely changed over the past forty years while the income of the high-income class grew by 138 percent. Universal basic income could become a safety net and allow average citizens to combat indebtedness and stagnant wages as industries begin to employ automation more frequently. The current welfare system uses one trillion dollars annually, which could be better utilized through universal basic income.
Finland has been experimenting with a small pool of selected participants and seeing the effects of simulated universal basic income. Similarly, Kela, Finland’s welfare system, provided the experiment to encourage employment, supply an economic safety net, and allow less reliance on welfare system services (CNBC International, 2018). The experiment also opposes the many bureaucratic aspects of current welfare systems and promotes job-searching in a way that is not dangerous to those receiving the income. Additionally, the universal basic income is not a total replacement of the current welfare programs, but it is a step in reforming it. Similarly, it encourages expanding and improving the skills and education of the currently employed and unemployed.
Nath, Trevir. “The Pros And Cons Of Basic Income.” Nasdaq, 2017. Web.
“Is universal basic income working? We went to Finland to find out.” YouTube, uploaded by CNBC International, 2018. Web.