Economics, Opinion

Universal Basic Income – A Solution Or A Burden On The Economy?

Nmesoma Okwudili


August 29, 2023

Universal Basic Income (UBI) has surfaced as a topic of heated discussion in recent times, igniting conversations about its capacity to diminish poverty, bolster economic equilibrium, and reshape cultural conventions. The essence of UBI entails bestowing an unvarying, unrestricted amount of funds upon every individual, irrespective of their socio-economic standing. Advocates posit that this approach could combat disparity and furnish a safeguard in an ever more mechanised realm, whereas adversaries voice apprehensions regarding its fiscal viability and conceivable deterrent repercussions.

One significant argument in favour of UBI is its ability to alleviate poverty and close the wage gap. UBI might weave a safety net for those in need by guaranteeing a basic income to all citizens, regardless of their employment condition. This might be especially beneficial for vulnerable populations such as single parents, people with impairments, and those working in low-wage jobs. Furthermore, UBI might potentially enable people to embark on entrepreneurial initiatives, seek education, and engage in artistic pursuits without fear of financial insecurity.

Furthermore, UBI could be used to alleviate the problems caused by technological advancements and automation. As industries undergo revolutions and tasks become increasingly mechanised, a universal basic income could serve as a buffer, assuring individuals’ economic security during times of transition. This might lead to increased consumer spending, accelerating economic growth and maintaining demand for goods and services.

However, the implementation of Universal Basic Income (UBI) raises a number of concerns. One of the most pressing issues is the potential economic consequences. Detractors argue that funding a universal basic income would put a significant strain on government coffers. The question of how to pay UBI remains a contentious topic, with solutions ranging from tax reform to reallocating existing assistance programmes.

Another worry revolves around the potential of UBI to diminish work motivation. Skeptics express concern that if individuals receive a foundational income without the requisite to engage in employment, it could result in reduced workforce engagement, thereby impeding economic productivity. Furthermore, opponents posit that UBI might trigger inflation, as heightened consumer expenditure fuelled by the foundational income could instigate an increase in the prices of commodities and services.

Globally, numerous Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot projects and trials have been conducted, providing insight into potential outcomes. As an illustration, Finland’s two-year trial of providing a modest monthly stipend to unemployed people increased work satisfaction and contentment without significantly changing the employment rate. Accordingly, a project under Kenya’s GiveDirectly initiative had positive effects on recipients’ financial prospects and psychological well-being.

Universal Basic Income offers promising remedies alongside economic complexities. Advocates underscore its potential to alleviate poverty, foster economic equilibrium, and accommodate technological transformations. Conversely, detractors voice reservations about its financial viability and potential consequences for workforce engagement. As society confronts the intricacies of economic fairness and the evolving landscape of labour, a thorough assessment of UBI’s merits and limitations remains imperative. The ongoing trials and dialogues encircling UBI are poised to mould its role in the future landscape of global welfare systems and economies.


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