UBI – Universal Basic Income

The difference between a social welfare handout and a universal basic income is that the former is seen as a handout to the hopeless while the latter is an acknowledgement that the jobs provided by the industrial revolution are fast disappearing. And they’re not coming back.


The interesting thing about this article from Futurism is that it suggests a UBI might actually be good for the economy itself, not just for the people displaced by technology.

As a recipient of social welfare myself, I believe that the jobs of the future will be small scale and entrepreneurial. People will provide services to each other based on a local need. In a way, this is exactly what companies like AirBnB and Uber are already doing. In twenty years time though, social media may allow me to request a homemade cake for my birthday and have it baked and delivered by my neighbour down the road.

Such micro-transations could add up to trillions of dollars if everyone did it. But everyone can’t do it [now] because of two things:

  • lots of red tape associated with being a small trader,
  • and a social welfare system that is punitive rather than supportive

I can’t see a UBI being introduced any time soon because the political mindset is simply not there. Politicians have to stop thinking of their citizens as a drain on the government purse before any true change can occur. But at least the idea is gaining ground, if slowly.



About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

27 responses to “UBI – Universal Basic Income

  • DevBlog

    Overpayments would be recovered hebdomadal by reducing ongoing payments, or underpayments made a s a glob core. Overpayments would be recovered hebdomadal by reducing ongoing payments, or underpayments made a s a glob core.


  • leroyjhunt

    Overpayments would be recovered weekly by reducing ongoing payments, or underpayments made a s a lump sum. Overpayments would be recovered weekly by reducing ongoing payments, or underpayments made a s a lump sum.


    • acflory

      Thanks. I wonder how often the government makes the mistake but the recipients pay for it?
      Any welfare payment is going to be small, which means that an overpayment will be spent. Taking an amount out of the weekly payment to repay that over payment means that the recipient will have even less to actually live on.
      It doesn’t seem fair. If the govt makes the mistake, it should be the one to wear it.
      Deliberate fraud however is a different matter. If the recipient deliberately lies or cheats to get more, they should be punished. In the current system, however, the govt is both judge and jury.


  • acertainsmallincome

    I think you’re absolutely right that the security a UBI would provide would allow people to do these sort of micro transactions, but I’m not entirely sure that this is exactly what would happen.
    One of the main reasons why I support UBI is because this financial security would allow people to follow their passions: making art, writing books and that sort of thing. I don’t think anyone’s passion would be driving an Uber! Also, driverless cars may automate this soon too. However, the idea of local homemade cakes sounds pretty great!
    I’m running a campaign to help people understand the concept of a UBI, especially here in Australia, if anyone is interested you can take a look just click here https://acertainsmallincome.wordpress.com/


    • acflory

      I have a confession to make, being able to write in peace knowing I have at least enough for the basics and am allowed to earn more if I can would be heaven. For me. It would be so liberating, and I suspect I’m not the only one. We all have some spark of creativity. It just needs a bit of help to come out. A UBI would provide both a safety net and a spring board. I’m all for it.
      Thanks so much for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  • TechEbook

    Overpayments would be recovered weekly by reducing ongoing payments, or underpayments made a s a lump sum. .


    • acflory

      I’ll be honest, I’m still confused. I guess my point of confusion is:
      – are tax credits simply tax returns paid out monthly instead of in one lump sum?
      – or do they have nothing to do with tax at all?


  • DawnGillDesigns

    okay, so here’s the link to the Wiki explanation of the UK Tax Credit system. It’s a very brief summary. The concept was that instead of merely returning overpaid tax at the end of the tax year (practically every UK resident that isn’t self employed is taxed at sourced, based on a personal code, with any additional jobs based at basic rate – so if a person is on v low wages, and has 2 or 3 jobs, the first job is taxed ‘correctly’ the others are all taxed at 20%) the annual income would be estimated, and a cash payment sent to the citizen in multiples of weeks, to ‘top up’ their wages to a more meaningful level.

    This was in addition to any other means tested (Housing or Council Tax – UK equivalent of household rates) or non means tested (Maternity / Fostering / Adoption Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Sickness Benefit etc).
    There was also a Child Tax Credit that ran in conjunction, for those with kids; that wasn’t reliant on being in work, so ran in conjunction with all the above benefits plus others.
    At the end of an annual claim period, adjustments were made to take into account unexpected /unforecast differences in actual income from projected – eg extra overtime, periods of reduced hours / sickness. Overpayments would be recovered weekly by reducing ongoing payments, or underpayments made a s a lump sum.
    Additionally, if there were ‘significant’ changes through the period such as a change of household occupants / job / long term sickness etc then those changes in circumstances had to be reported.
    Worked incredibly well IF (and it was a big if) processed promptly, people kept all their various income details, didn’t have too many changes in circumstance and importantly were properly honest. The trouble is that many people were/are paid erratically, from multiple sources, often with unverifiable payslips (or none) and people’s lives are complex, often in flux. Especially those that are poorer – they move home and job more often because they have less security.
    This is being replaced by Universal Credit, which intends to roll all the social security benefits (allegedly, not in truth!) into one giant benefit, that is still means tested.
    That’s all for working age people. Those of pension age have a whole different set of benefit to play with.
    If you want more info from the current experts, I can point you in the right direction, but I expect that’s more than enough for interest!! x


  • Scottie

    Way back in the 1980’s a welch man I knew had a theory that in the future our whole idea of working and jobs would change. He foresaw a lack of jobs due to automation and increase in both productivity and population. He explained that people would job share, different people working the same job at different days and times. I might do the job for a monday, you do it four hour on tuesday and someone else does the other hours on Tues…. so on. The problem with that is people on their off time, how to be productive and not destructive. So again we have to teach people their worth is not tied up in a job. We need a universal basic income to keep everyone in the basics. Everyone would need to learn to do something productive with their time, write, draw, sing whatever no matter if people are attracted to their work or not. Just to stay happy and well. As for people making more than the basic income people can do that if they find a niche market like you said. So the idea has to be developed further but it really seems to be the future we are headed too. Hugs


  • Candy Korman

    Very interesting! The U.S. is too invested in the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” ideal to even consider what seems completely sensible. Creating policies that prevent people from falling between the cracks with basic housing, healthcare, etc. seems reasonable as a world-wide notion. The “underground” or off-the-radar economy already subsidizes many individuals and families. Some of it is illegal, i.e. drugs, while some of it is quasi legal, subletting homes (airbnb is a big problem in cities like NYC where there are regular people doing it to subsidize their income and landlords with multiple dwellings used as informal hotels which cheat the city of the hotel tax AND keep affordable housing from people who need it). We need to re-think what it means to be a compassionate and reasonable society. The first world has a long way to go before it becomes an inclusive first world…


  • dancingpalmtrees

    This is a great article but with Dhrump possibly in the Oval Office for the next 8 years (he will most likely get re-elected) as the expression goes the poor will get poorer and the rich get richer. Not just Agent Orange but the Congress and Senate is controlled by Conservative Republicans who are millionaires working for millionaires. The working poor is the next reality of many Americans. Most of my working age friends either work hours and hours of overtime or have more than one job just to survive. You need to have extra ways of making money just to pay for basic necessities. I made the decision to work 6 days a week just so I can keep a roof over my head and food on my table. This is now a requirement.

    Liked by 1 person

  • DawnGillDesigns

    It’s a really interesting concept, and one which we’ve almost accomplished with the concept of Tax Credits here. Needs some serious adjustment, because it’s a work in progress, but it’s feasible I think.


  • MELewis

    One of our political candidates in France ran on a platform of the UBI. I did not vote for him as it felt like the wrong thing for this country right now — we are already taxed to death and drowning in red tape. First we need to fix the system and kickstart the economic engine — but then I agree, it may be an idea whose time has come!


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