24 BENEFITS OF A UBI FOR INDIVIDUALS

Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

This is the continuation of a series that explores the pros and cons of a Universal Basic Income (UBI).

The first in the series examined the need for a UBI and compared it with Welfare, and a Job Guarantee.

The second explored how a UBI can be funded without increasing taxes or debt, or taking money from other programs, or causing excessive inflation.

The third proposed a way to implement a UBI with very little risk

This fourth article identifies 24 Benefits for Individuals

The fifth and sixth identify the Benefits for Business and the Economy and for Government and the People

A Universal Basic Income (UBI) will Deliver:

  • 24 Benefits for Individuals
  • 16 Benefits for Business and the Economy
  • 19 Benefits for Government and the People

This article summarizes the Benefits for Individuals

Restores Each Person’s Ancient Birthright to Access the Resources Needed to Survive

1. Once, it was the birthright of every person to ‘live off the land’. With the advent of ‘property rights’, ‘money’ and the ‘system of paid work’, this is no longer possible. Now, we are the only species that requires money to survive. A UBI provides the money to express our basic needs in the market, effectively restoring our ancient birthright.

Reduces Reliance on Debt

2. By replacing ‘pay day’ and other short-term loans.

Provides Basic Income Insurance

3. Should you lose your business, job, or just some shifts, or even passive income — for any reason — the UBI is paid regardless, no need to apply. No delay.

Provides a Wage Rise for Low-paid Workers

4. By targeting the net benefit to the people who need it most (as explained in this article), a UBI will provide an effective wage increase for low-paid workers.

Eliminates the Welfare Poverty Trap — Motivating People to take on Paid Work if they Can

5. A UBI allows every person to take on marginal work to boost their total income to better themselves and their family — without loss of the UBI. It provides a floor to stand on, not a ceiling to achievement.

Eliminates Bureaucracy

6. Job seekers would not have to apply for jobs they know they’ll never get — just to prove they are really looking for work. Instead, with the UBI supporting them, people can spend all their time doing the things needed to find work, and/or care for their family, and/or re-educating themselves.

Eliminates Social Stigma and Intrusion

7. As the UBI is paid to everyone, it removes the stigma of being dependent on others. It also avoids the humiliation of having your life questioned in minute detail to get a scrap of support.

Underpins Life-long Learning

8. A UBI would allow people to take time off paid work in short bursts to learn new knowledge and skills before applying them in the economy, without starving while you do it.

Empowers People to Do the Right Thing

9. A UBI gives everybody the security to say “no” to unsafe, illegal, or unethical working conditions. We teach our children the importance of consent in the bedroom. A UBI extends the same values into the workplace.

Provides Added Flexibility Regarding Where You Work and the Type of Work

10. It would also help people to move and/or change their living and working circumstances because they have the money to do so.

Increases Employment Opportunities

11. As the money is spent into the economy, it will boost demand for goods & services, requiring more labour.

Provides Part Recognition of the Value of Home-care Work

12. For stay-at-home carers it would provide part paid recognition of the huge value they contribute to society[1].

Provides Respite for Home-carers

13. Either by allowing carers to pay for some in-home help, or to place their dependent in care for some periods.

Helps to Share Dependent Care and Address Gender Inequality

14. With a UBI, partners can more easily share time in paid work and in caring, without suffering deprivation.

Improve Outcomes for Aged and Disabled

15. While it is intended that the UBI count as income for welfare, it would still provide a boost over and above any welfare benefits, helping to improve outcomes for people who have additional health & carer costs.

Reduces the Risk of Family Violence While Facilitating Escape

16. A UBI could avert much of the violence and neglect that is triggered by financial stress. As it would be paid separately to each individual, it would give the abused person a separate means of support once they flee the relationship — no need to apply, no delay.

Enables Escape from Poverty

17. In Australia, over 3.2 million people live in poverty, mainly single women with young kids, as well as those who are old, incapacitated (disabled, sick, and injured), and those between jobs — all of whom lack savings and family support. It includes 17% of all children. This is an ever-changing group of people, indicating it is a system problem, rather than due to widespread ‘moral failing’. A UBI will ensure everyone has enough to live on, regardless of their accident of birth, or the vagaries of life.

Improves Cognitive Function and Reduces Behavioural Disorders

18. Improved cognition and behaviours are evidenced in all members of a family once they have sufficient income to survive. As important to mental well-being is the assurance that the UBI cannot be taken away.

Prevents Suicide

19. Financial stress is one of the main drivers of suicide. A UBI directly addresses this.

Helps Children to Focus on Schoolwork and Higher Education

20. Just as poverty degrades the ability of adults to manage their own lives, so it harms the ability of children to learn[2].

Improves Nutrition and Reduces Alcohol and Tobacco Use

21. Studies show that with sufficient income (and availability) the consumption of fresh food increases, while that of alcohol and tobacco falls[3].

Improves Pre-natal and Neo-natal Care

22. Studies also show[4] that with sufficient income, birth weights improve through better nutrition, while mothers extend their maternity leave to better care for their newborns.

Enhances Self-determination for First Nations Peoples

23. Importantly, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, by providing them with the same UBI as everyone else, it offers a way of lifting many from the trap of welfare dependency. Enabling them to focus on thriving, rather than surviving.

Improves Work-Life Balance

With a UBI, the opportunity is to take more time with family and friends and in the community. This can be done without detriment to the economy where the UBI is set to keep the labour market in dynamic balance — as explained in this article

The next article looks at the 16 Benefits for Business and the Economy

[1] On some accounts, the value of this work is more than 50% of Australia’s GDP

[2] http://www.bignam.org/BIG_pilot.html

[3] https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/ubc-homelessness-study-new-leaf-foundations-for-social-change

[4] http://www.bignam.org/BIG_pilot.html

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Michael Andrew Haines.

Michael Andrew Haines.

Once was a Seeker

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