August 31, 2017

Have you heard of it? UBI (Universal Basic Income). More attention has been paid to this lately. But what exactly is it?

A universal basic income (also called unconditional basic income, citizen income or just basic income) is a proposal for an economic system in which every adult in an economy receives a guaranteed basic income, regardless of whether he or she has a job.

It is a very interesting proposal, which is gaining more and more increasing support from many large private sector names as well as various parties throughout the political spectrum, such as Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jimmy Carter and Kofi Anan.

The basic idea of this is simple: 1. People are encouraged to stimulate their own potential, creativity and solution-orientated mentality for the benefit of society. The income is sufficient to cover the basic costs, which means less stress on renting your house, etc. This creates space for most people to stimulate curiosity and their urge for development.

2. We know that the world is constantly changing and processes become different because of it. For example; Technology and Automation. This will become more efficient and effective, which will ultimately reduce the demand for labor. For example, look at the development of block chain technology, which means even higher educated jobs such as jurist and lawyers will get a completely different outcome or it will even expire. With a basic income, this development can be captured economically. While at the same time, people are encouraging their very own potential.

During the conversations I have regularly conducted during the past period, I often was asked if this would not just backfire and have people lean back, demotivated while waiting to receive UBI. However, all investigations done so far proved the opposite. Many tests have already been carried out worldwide, including in the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, South Africa and the Scandinavian countries. Every time it is shown that the universal base income reduces inequalities in society, which combats poverty, but also leads to lower health costs, lower crime rates, better school results and more economic growth. Even the people get happier. You may wonder how that is possible? In particular, the reduction of stress from bringing together a monthly income contributes to this. By giving people a basic income, regardless of whether they have a job or not, they know that they have a monthly (small) income. Tests show that their stress levels are significantly reduced and their creativity and contribution to society are stimulated.

It’s an interesting thought to see what it would mean to our island if we were to introduce universal base income. Should all the above points apply to Aruba too? There will be a lot to talk about – next to the research, before it can be introduced. However, we know that for our island, technological developments will also have an impact. In addition, it is of course very beautiful when you can contribute to the development of a society from your passion, strength and potential.

Below you’ll find some links to interesting talks and sites, giving you some food for thought on what impact you can expect by implementing UBI in to society.

TEDx-talk Rutger Bregman
Mark Zuckenburg About Basic Income in Business Insider
Basis Inkomen NL
Basis Inkomen NU