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September 23, 2020
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Guaranteed income – the beginning of utopia? | Blocksats

It happened what many thought impossible. Spain has introduced guaranteed income. However, he will not belong to everyone (at least now), but only to those most in need. It will be 462 euros per month and will apply for a minimum of one year. Knowing the nature of politicians, we can assume that they will extend this period at least until the next parliamentary elections.

Guaranteed income – how to get it?

Funds will be awarded in two weeks, from 15 June. Spanish citizens can apply for them (we forecast that their number will probably increase dramatically soon) who meet the following criteria:

  • are between 23 and 65 years old;
  • they are lonely and their annual income did not exceed EUR 5,538 in 2019;
  • they will be given to families who earned a total of no more than 12,184 euros last year;
  • they lost their livelihood this year due to a pandemic.

Not everyone will get the highest amount. Only people with no income will receive 462 euros. Citizens with a child will receive 139 euros for each child. The highest amount, i.e. 1015 euros per month, will be given to non-working families with children. The remainder, in turn, is the difference between monthly earnings and the amount of basic income. So if you earn 362 euros and you are Spanish, the state will pay you 100 euros.

The authorities calculate that the program will hit and help 850 thousand. families, which translates into as many as 2.3 million people.

We want to help!

Of course, the government claims that the new program will reduce social inequality in the country, as well as poverty. Even specific forecasts appear. Spanish politicians believe poverty will fall by 80% Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias, who is famous throughout Europe for his leftist views, claims that the initiative will not be limited to a period of pandemic and crisis.

“This income is a structural instrument that remains forever”

– frightens liberal politicians.

The question is whether all this can withstand the budget. Annual payments will cost the state as much as EUR 3 billion.

Guaranteed income in the world

The sense of paying out guaranteed income is a topic of debate around the world. The matter is complicated and not as obvious as one might suppose.

In his election campaign, the need to introduce Universal Basic Income (UBI) was promoted by Andrew Yang, a would-be candidate for the presidency of the Democratic Party. After a political defeat (at the stage of primaries, he gained trace results), the politician started with Humanity Forward, an initiative that promotes UBI. Recently, she was financially supported by Jack Dorsey. CEO Twitteraz consideredthat UBI is “Long overdue”, and adds that “the only way we can change policy is to experiment and show case studies why it is [UBI] it works”.

Similarly, for example, Elon Musk, who adds in interviews that he may not be a supporter of such programs, but believes that they can become something necessary.

– I think we will eventually have to have a basic income. It will be a necessity. There will be fewer and fewer professions and jobs that man can do better than a machine. I would like to emphasize that this is not something I dream about. I just think it will happen at some point. Automation will change a lot, almost everything will be very cheap – forecasts billionaire.

The richest cynicism?

According to billionaires from the new technologies market, such solutions will be necessary, because the labor market will face a revolution associated with greater automation. In other words, robots will replace people in the context of some professions. In a few years, for example, drivers may disappear from the market (when autonomous cars become common) or warehouse workers (machines can already do simple work in this field today).

It is possible, however, that billionaires also want politicians to allow them to develop modern technologies. What is going on? Note that no politician will support technology that can oust his constituents from the labor market. For those in “thank you” will not choose him later for the position they hold. Unless earlier the same congressman or senator leads to the introduction of UBI. Then the problem disappears. People may lose their jobs, but they will not be left without money. Not only that, they will not have to work, and they will have money for living anyway. Live not die! In Poland, even the PRL did not build such a paradise on Earth for us!

It is possible, however, that the fears that robots will take our jobs are exaggerated and resemble the fear of Luddists, who in the era of the industrial revolution destroyed machines and protested against their construction, because they were supposed to bring unemployment to them. As we now know, these were irrational fears. Today, the standard of living due to the development of technology is higher than in the nineteenth century. Probably the same will be due to the development of robots. New professions will be created to replace the old ones. People will just retrain.

That’s bad idea!

It’s not difficult to find UBI opponents. One of them is prof. Krzysztof Piech, Polish economist.

It won’t be good for encouraging people to work – he explained recently in the pages NaTemat.pl prof. Piech. – Imagine a man who learns to live without a job and decides that he does not have to work, because this minimum existence is enough for him. The problem with this approach is not just that unemployment persists. It also affects the attitudes of children raised in families in which both people are unemployed.

He further added that it was a project for rich countries.

This experiment is available only to the rich and those who have accumulated a sufficiently large budget surplus for difficult times. For them, UBI will be a gate during the demand crisis. Perhaps effective for now, which does not mean that the problem will not appear later – explained the expert.

His opinion, the social effects, if the UBI becomes widespread, will be terrible.

What happens if society gets used to something that was an unemployment benefit only? What will happen when the prosperity finally comes and people do not give up guaranteed income so easily? The answers seem simple. In countries that are now deciding to introduce some type of UBI, a number of negative phenomena will appear along with the cessation of the crisis, such as unemployment hysteresis – he said.

The future is UBI?

Despite fears today, UBI is the subject of political debate in Germany, Denmark, Great Britain, Belgium, USA, Japan, Malaysia, Ireland, Italy and South Korea Spain will probably prove to be only a testing ground and UBI is also followed by other countries around the world.

The effect can be … different. While the US, which is already experimenting today with checks for USD 1200 and USD 500 (per child), can afford such programs (assuming that they retain the position of the power and will be able to print dollars as freely as it is now), then in the case of poorer countries such as Poland (which already has 500+), the effect can be fatal. We will probably find out sooner than we think about how it will be.

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