Dutch cities adopt Unconditional Basic Income (UBI). As long term unemployment and poverty levels continue to rise, western countries will be forced to choose between UBI and massive poverty, homelessness and disease.
Free cash is in the works for a growing number of Dutch urbanites. After the city of Utrecht announced that it would give no-strings-attached money to some of its residents, other Dutch cities are getting on board for social experiments with “basic income,” a regular and unconditional stipend to cover living costs.
Tilburg, a city of 200,000 habitants close to the border with Belgium, will follow Utrecht’s initiative, and the cities of Groningen, Maastricht, Gouda, Enschede, Nijmegen and Wageningen are also considering it.
Supporters of basic income say it is a good mechanism to alleviate poverty and social exclusion. A recent study conducted in 18 European countries concluded that generous welfare benefits make people likely to want to work more, not less.
Continue reading: The Dutch “basic income” experiment is expanding across multiple cities
The Dutch willingness to experiment and try new ways of doing things have paid off. Of course Australia loves to chose leaders that really like to live in the past, rake over that what has been and curtsy the monarchy while fondly remembering endless wars while lording it over the poor and the defenseless.
The Swiss will vote in a referendum next year to provide a basic income of SFR 2,500 ($2,800) monthly to every adult to reduce income inequality.
Naturally the government is opposed.
It won’t work. I’d rather see the money invested in educating people in entrepreneurship, reducing bars to small business and helping people get into a business of their own. The idea of “jobs” isn’t that old, and now there aren’t enough jobs for everyone. They will have to make it on their own which is a much better alternative than putting them all on the dole, which is unaffordable.
So the unemployed, and the unemployable, need to find a need and fill it. Does their neighborhood need fresh cookies, or pies, or vegetables, or awnings, or transportation …etc. Part of the problem is the school system, which requires students to sit down, shut up and parrot the school solution, so they can’t think for themselves. Handing them money for not making an effort is no good answer.
The problem with entrepreneurship is that inevitably it will result in winners and losers as is shown in the capitalist sytem in power at present. The winners will be the rich. That is OK if the rich will share with those that did not ‘win’ the race with entrepreneurship. At the moment the rich are hoarding and do not share. So, what then?
The Dutch are at least trying to come up with a solution. They have a pretty good record in solving complex social issues.
No, the winners will be the small business-men and -women of which there are already many, and there needs to be more. There is no self-respect in being on the dole, but there is gratification in providing needed products and services in one’s community. Nederland is on the wrong track in this matter..
Hollanders has a long tradition of excelling in business. “Going Dutch:” each person participating in a group activity pays for themselves, rather than any person paying for anyone else.
I get it now: “pull yourself up by your own bootstrap,” and become part of the bridled herd . No wonder you have issues with my comments.
Interesting, from a social engineering institutional governance perspective.
If institutions wanted to highlight a field study that could prove or disprove a socioeconomic theory then this could be used deceptively for future “sustainable development” policies…
The report stated:
“Ralf Embrechts, director of the Social Development Association of Tilburg and one of the promotors of the program, said that’s the theory the program is designed to test.
“We want to discover, if you trust people and give them a basic income without any rules or obligations—so, unconditionally—that they will do the right thing,” he explained in an email to Quartz.
If Tilburg’s basic income project gets the green light from Netherland’s state secretary of social affairs, the town will provide an extra paycheck to a pilot group of 250 people starting in January 2016, said Tillburg officials said. The city has not confirmed the amount of the stipend, but in Utrecht checks will range from around €900 ($1,000) for one adult to €1,300 ($1,450).”
Needless to say this is a step in the right direction, if, that is, we want to keep the individual in the same sad state of having to “earn a living” so the few can become wealthier and more powerful. I am not slamming what the Dutch government is doing here, I am just saying that I don’t believe people were born to be pack mules to keep a government/monetary-system up and running smoothly.
And of course, this experiment will never be adopted, overall, by the elite powers that be.
One needn’t be a pack mule to earn a living. Allow me to quote Thoreau:
“For myself I found that the occupation of a day-laborer was the most independent of any, especially as it required only thirty or forty days in a year to support one. The laborer’s day ends with the going down of the sun, and he is then free to devote himself to his chosen pursuit, independent of his labor; but his employer, who speculates from month to month, has no respite from one end of the year to the other.
“In short, I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one’s self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely; as the pursuits of the simpler nations are still the sports of the more artificial. It is not necessary that a man should earn his living by the sweat of his brow, unless he sweats more easier than I do.” — Walden
“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.” — Walden
Unfortunately, most Americans, in particular, would have no idea of what Thoreau meant, since they have been conditioned to be nothing more than pack mules who must EARN a living.
Why does it have to be EARN a living? Why can’t it be LIVE LIFE, which includes PROVIDING or one’s self and others? It must be earn, because earn is a programming term, a term of enslavement.
Individuals ought to earn because a country of slackers is not sustainable. The point, Thoreau’s point, is that the earning needn’t be, shouldn’t be, a tremendous burden if one lives a simple life, and — bonus — lowered consumption limits one’s support for major corporations, as well as limiting damage to the environment.
I do a lot of hiking, in America, and I meet a number of young people (I’m not in that category) on the trail who do pick-up jobs for awhile, then take off for a longer time, living on the trail. Good people. Thoreau would approve of them. One might say that they are sojourners!
Also I myself have had experience in ownership of a small part-time commercial operation which provided a service to people. It put my two kids through college. So I’m not just speculating. (It was legal.)
So people need to earn, and it’s good for them and others. But they would benefit from keeping it in perspective.
Fascinating discussion. Don states UBI won’t “work.” Whether it works or not depends on what we’re trying to fix. If I ask myself the question, is UBI the type of reform that will save capitalism, my gut feeling is no – that UBI will not prevent capitalism from collapsing and being replaced with some other economic model. In my view, capitalism only works when you have unlimited resources to call on. I personally feel our current recession is different from past recessions in that relative scarcity of oil, gas, water, topsoil, rare earth minerals, phosphate rock is a major contributing factor.
That being said where UBI has been tried (Alaska and Madhya Pradish in India), it hasn’t created a disincentive to work, which seems to be the main argument against it. Every Alaska resident receives a dividend from the oil royalty fun.
I’ve always found it interesting that Sarah Palin first ran for governor as a populist and a strong supporter of the oil dividend – in fact she had a lot of interesting things to say about crony capitalism before she became a professional politician: http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/yes-sarah-palin-supports-socialism-in-alaska/18818-yes-sarah-palin-supports-socialism-in-alaska
In Madhya Pradish, an 18 month experiment with UBI showed that women especially worked harder (expanded their gardens and planted more crops). The main reason seemed to be improved health when the UBI gave them money to access health care: http://stuartjeannebramhall.com/2015/04/04/the-case-for-unconditional-basic-income-ubi/
So how about requiring prospective UBI recipients to draft a sensible plan describing how they are going to improve their economic conditions so that they would no longer require UBI payments. Call it CBI – Conditional….
Regarding health care, it should be provided to everyone regardless of economic condition.
I think the important thing is to study any UBI proposals that are implemented so that any long term decisions are based on good data. In my view, one of the most important outcomes of UBI is you eliminate the gigantic government bureaucracy that controls the “welfare” system. To me this is the most destructive aspect of “democratic socialism” – you have to create an enormous bureaucracy to implement social programs and inevitably it comes to be run by career bureaucrats looking out after their own interests rather than by democratically elected representatives. This is the “big government” nightmare that causes the state to usurp peoples’ ability to run their own lives.
I just came across this article about a direct cash transfer program in Africa. It differs from the Belgian experiment in that it’s run by a nonprofit rather than government, but it has produced some really surprising results: http://rielpolitik.com/2015/08/15/rainbow-warriors-this-startup-gives-poor-people-a-years-income-no-strings-attached-by-steve-beckow/
It’s an interesting concept and thanks (as always) for raising it. I am fully in favor of helping the poor but I question the “unconditional” aspect, not necessarily including frequent inspections but at least a plan.
There has been little objective analysis of existing programs. The GiveDirectly in Kenya involved random selection, personal contact with conversations and then a detailed followup. These are extremely poor people who spent funds for food, health and education, with some investment in farm animals, new metal roofs, etc. The lack of perverse effects could well be mostly due to the Hawthorne effect.
In US major cities we have extremely poor people lacking employment, clean living conditions, and even neighborhood grocery stores. Education is available but the drop-out rate is high. Healthcare is probably poor (I don’t know). They are preyed upon by police and others.–Different from Kenya.
In general, supplies of proper food, healthcare and education ought to be a function of government, rather than dependent upon random payments to some people or even generalized payment to all poor people. For one thing, in advanced countries the availability of perverse attractions — drugs, gambling, excessive consumption, etc. — is too prevalent, especially when compared to villages in Kenya.
So I would still advocate cash transfers with light conditions, including that the intended recipients have a plan for using the money in a productive fashion not involving basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, health, education), which are mostly, or even partially, government responsibilities.
Exactly, I have always viewed work as a necessary interlude between engaging in more pleasurable activities….and you knew this was coming–
“When a man is warmed by the several modes which I have described [food, clothing, & shelter], what does he want next? Surely not more warmth of the same kind, as more and richer food, larger and more splendid houses, finer and more abundant clothing, more numerous and incessant fires, and the like. When he has obtained these things which are necessary to life, there is another alternative than to obtain the superfluities; and that is, to adventure on life now, his vacation from humbler toil having commenced.”–Henry David Thoreau, Walden