1. Scientific research proves over and over again that simply giving people money, unconditionally, (a) is highly effective at ending poverty and (b) is significantly cheaper than any other form of welfare.
2. A universal basic income would make for significantly "smaller government" in terms of budget, paperwork, regulation, and government-paid employees.
3. If there has been any failure on the part of supporters of these ideas, it has been a lack of confidence; it is frequently the case that these programs are far more successful than even their supporters had expected. This has led to successful programs being killed on at least two occasions, rather than being expanded as they should have been.
4. Example experiments:
- a. London, UK, 2009: 13 long-term homeless men are each given 3000 pounds cash, unconditionally.
- b. Uganda, 2008: the government gave about $400 to almost 12,000 youths between the ages of 16 and 35.
- c. northern Uganda: the government gives $150 to 1,800 poor women.
- d: Dauphin, Canada, 1973 - the "Mincome" project: families below the poverty line -- about 1000 families, or 30% of the population -- received a monthly paycheck equivalent to about $18k/year (adjusted for inflation). After 4 years, a newly-elected conservative government nixed the project (citing cost, of course) and wouldn't even pay to have the data analyzed. Supporters of the project were afraid that the data might confirm conservative claims of its failure, so they didn't press for analysis either. In 2009, a researcher was finally (after 5 years of requests) to gain access to the data -- and found that it had been a huge success.
- e. US: PA/IN/NC/Seattle/Denver, 1964 In a major social experiment (with controls), 10,000 families receive basic income (amount unspecified), unconditionally. By 1970, there was widespread support (popular and political) for using the program as a nationwide model and mostly eliminating other existing social support programs, but then it emerged that divorce rates in Seattle had gone up among the income recipients, and the Senate axed the idea. This later turned out to be a calculation error: divorce rates had not changed.
5. Outcomes from these experiments:
* Recipients spent the money wisely, effectively, and frugally.
* Recipients did not use the money for drink, drugs, gambling, or other vices.
* Direct income was more cost-effective than other aid programs, often by a large factor. It was also more effective than aid-worker salaries.
* Homelessness was reduced.
* Other income increased.
* Employment either increased (Uganda) or only decreased slightly (9% - US).
* Birth rate declined.
* Birth weights improved.
* Hospital visits declined 8.5%
* School performance and attendance improved for children; some adults returned to school to acquire further skills.
6. Conservative claims contradicted by the results of these experiments:
* Investment in poverty does not work.
* "Utopian" social experiments don't work.
* People won't work if you give them money unconditionally.
* People will waste their money if it isn't "earned".
* Providing a universal basic income is unaffordable.
* A universal income will have the opposite of its intended effect.
There's more, but I'm out of time for now...
#jobsolescence #universalIncome #scarcityIsALie