The Adam Smith Institute - Credit, ASI, by permission

That a universal basic income looks like a pretty cool idea unites many of both left and right. There are always those who come up with reasons why it ain’t so, of course. The Adam Smith Institute has a handy guide to answering these nine most popular arguments against a UBI:

1. Such a system removes the incentive to work

2. People are more likely to find work meaningless when it is no longer their main source of income

3. Such a scheme would be too costly to be feasible

4. Giving everyone money would lead to excessive inflation

5. A basic income would worsen poverty and inequality

6. There are political implications – excessively high levels of UBI/NIT would be promised by politicians to garner support

7. Increased costs from higher levels of welfare tourism

8. Basic income makes people more reliant on the state

9. Introducing basic income could create a ‘slippery slope’

Those are just the questions of course, the answers are all here.

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Rhoda Klapp
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Rhoda Klapp

I disagree, but never mind. As it is controversial, and as economists will support any daft theory just to have something to feel clever about, why don’t we let someone else do it and see if it works. If it does not work, if it does not produce whatever the claimed result is supposed to be, let’s admit it. Not carry on for 150 years saying it wasn’t done properly in all the examples.

Spike
Member

No, that wasn’t a misread, the usually pro-liberty Adam Smith Institute is marshalling arguments in defense of having the government disburse money to people for doing nothing! Emma Weber’s paper is an exercise in sophistry, manufacturing arguments that creating a massive new entitlement can be done in such a way as to prevent unanticipated side-effects. Removing the incentive to work? Not “if a system…was carried out correctly.” Sorry, if benefits are reduced as the individual works more, the effect is a higher marginal tax rate. Reduce the benefits gradually enough not to be a disincentive, and you have dealt in… Read more »

Rhoda Klapp
Member
Rhoda Klapp

The kind of person who hangs around here will be familiar with this extract from the other RK:

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Spike
Member

I am a fan of both RKs but did not know this quote! The whole poem is at http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/poems_copybook.htm

john77
Member
john77

If I wanted to go to Dublin, I should not start from here.

In theory, I like the UBI but there is no believable version that does not subject a significant number of innocent children to unecessary poverty.

jgh
Member
jgh

The government already gives people money for doing nothing, it’s called the state pension. An no, you do *not* get the state pension because you’ve paid in. You get the state pension regardless of whether you have been rich enough to pay taxes in your previous life, and regardless of whether you’ve worked or not in your previous life. You get it in return for being alive and over a certain age.

Quentin Vole
Member
Quentin Vole

The amount of (UK) state pension depends on how much you’ve paid in. The minimum is £126 a week, rising to £164 if you’ve paid NI contributions for 30 years (roughly speaking – this being gummint there are, of course, many, many complications).

bloke in spain
Member
bloke in spain

Fascinating that an economic think tank can produce a report that ignores the nature of the society it’s reporting on. Sure the rebuttals are valid. if you had an homogeneous society there was some sort of consensual agreement on how that society should function. However, the ASI ignores that there has been a concerted campaign by the governing classes to undermine that society. You’re simply not going to get the citizen to cough up the taxes to fund a CBI for the large numbers in the country who aren’t citizens of the same country, in any meaningful sense. You want… Read more »