Universal Basic Income
Europe is beginning to toy with the idea of Universal Basic Income, and boy is it controversial.
The district of Besós in Barcelona, Utrecht in the Netherlands and the Finnish city of Helsinki are all reportedly set to trial a universal basic income scheme.
Residents will be given money for two years to lift them above the breadline as the scheme looks to investigate “innovative and creative solutions”.
Each area will be been given €13m (£11m) from the European Union to fund the scheme, which will grant 1,000 randomly selected low-income households between €400 and €525 (£350 and £455) per month.
As you may have guessed, the capitalist PTB are very against this egghead experiment. Poor people can't be trusted with free money. They'll just waste it.
And they've got the math to prove it.
A universal basic income paid at a flat rate to all citizens would fail to reduce poverty levels in advanced economies and require substantially higher taxes to fund its simplicity, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has concluded in a detailed study of the idea...
Proponents of basic incomes argue that they would provide security for everyone in society, reduce inequality and provide insurance against robots replacing humans in the labour market.
These claims receive short shrift in the detailed modelling exercise undertaken by the OECD, the Paris-based international organisation that specialises in cross-national comparisons of policy ideas.
Ah yes, those wonderful neoliberal economic models that are always right.
Well, you have to use models, because no one was ever stupid enough to implement Universal Basic Income, amirite?
I mean, we would know about it if someone had, and then we wouldn't have to use mathematical models.
An entire major nation implemented Universal Basic Income six years ago, and the neoliberal world pretended it didn't happen.
That nation is Iran, and they just released a report about this bold experiment.
In 2011, in response to heavy cuts to oil and gas subsidies, Iran implemented a program that guaranteed citizens cash payments of 29 percent of the nation's median income, which amounts to about $1.50 every day. (In the U.S. such a measure would translate to about $16,000 per year.) Now, six years later, the results of that measure were released in a report by economists Djavad Salehi-Isfahani and Mohammad H. Mostafavi-Dehzooeifrom for the Economic Research Forum.
The report found no evidence for the idea that people will work less under a universal income, and found that in some cases, like in the service industry, people worked more, expanding their businesses or pursuing more satisfying lines of work.
The researchers did find that young people — specifically people in their twenties — worked less, but noted that Iran never had a high level of employment among young people, and that they were likely enrolling in school with the added income.
Interesting. People used the money to go to college and find more satisfying careers, rather than being lazy peasants with free money.
Could those fancy economic models based on neoliberal theories be wrong and actual facts based on real-world data be right?