Experts say Universal Baic Income Could Reach The Mainstream in 2018
All people regardless of education, demographic, social standing, occupation receive a basic income. This so-called concept of universal basic income (UBI), has risen in popularity over the past few years. The experts of this concept predict that 2018 will be the year the concept reaches mainstream politics.
“We’re going to see concrete basic income proposals introduced in 2018, with a focus on the state and city level,” Jim Pugh, a San Francisco-based UBI expert and co-founder of the Universal Income Project, told Business Insider.
“When I talk to people now about basic income, nearly everyone is familiar with the concept, including elected officials.”
What UBI is focused on is the increased use of automation in the workplace. This automated systems render more and more workers obsolete, so the UBI is a floated way to provide this workers with the money they are needed to afford basic necessities.
Though UBI is getting a lot of attention these days, there are group of experts saying that there is not potential impact of such a system.
Proponents assert that it could drastically boost the economy, eliminate poverty, and give people more time for leisure or to pursue other projects. On the other hand UBI detractors think that this will encourage people to continue be unemployed and more lazy.
The are a lot pros and cons for the UBI system, and options between a full UBI system and no UBI system. One of them is earned-income tax credit (EITC) . Of course this options can be tested and can serve to narrow down he pros and cons.
“Remember, basic income is not one idea. It’s a direction of thought,” Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian and basic income advocate, told Business Insider.
“We can make our current welfare state more basic income-ish in many ways. And there are a lot of politicians – mainly on the left – who are in favour of that direction.”
2017 was a big year for UBI. In US Stockton , California, became the first city to launch a basic income experiment, and Hawaii became the first state to pass a bill in support of UBI.
The largest basic income project ever kicked off in Kenya and also in Europe, Finland and Scotland both pursued their own trials.
UBI’s popularity is rising, but not every expert on the subject is certain that 2018 will be the year that UBI officially brakes through into mainstream politics.
“I think interest will continue to grow. I don’t think we’ll see meaningful policy progress this year,” Sam Altman, president of startup accelerator Y Combinatorand a proponent of UBI, told Business Insider.
“But I think it’s getting into people’s minds in a way that is good and different than communism, and gradually people are getting more open to the idea.”
Pushing everything aside, the topic of UBI is certainly gaining traction with legislators and lawmakers. If 2018 is not the year it reaches mainstream politics, it will happen in near future.