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.