Ubi As The Solution Of Unemployment Problem In The Usa

Progress is an essential part of people’s lives that indicates how far the humankind has advanced. Improvement of technology is a clear evidence of the progress, as it makes human lives more multifunctional, productive, comfortable, and easier in fields such as medicine, education, service. Nevertheless, there are a number of jobs that are automated by these technology replacing common workers now, which means that more and more people are becoming jobless (Larson, 2018).

There is a high risk on future where human labor will disappear. In the USA, about 47 percent of workplaces are going to be given to machines (Goldin, 2018), meaning that the additional number of unemployed people will be added to almost millions of US residents who are already under the “jobless” position (Samuelson, 2018). Here, Universal Basic Income (UBI) was proposed as an alternative solution for unemployment.

Simply, UBI is a policy that provides every citizen over eighteen with monthly income that covers the cost of living (Abrahamian, 2018). Even though UBI gives an opportunity for people to implement useful for community activities, it may erode social cohesiveness, as it cannot influence society equally beneficial. Moreover, UBI may require a lot of state money leading cutting spending, and it is still the vague solution that needs to be studied properly on a large number of population.

In modern society, it becomes a tendency for people to choose a stressful work with a high wage rather than choosing a desired one with a lower wage. Graber also celebrates the fact that a job is one of the main factors of psychological disabilities of people (Abrahamian, 2018). People are willing to sacrifice themselves to earn enough money to support their families properly. However, why should they suffer so much at work if it can be easily done by robots (Abrahamian, 2018).

As Bertrand Russel states people should use work as an instrument to empower pleasure in their lives, not something morally mandatory (Abrahamian, 2018). In that case, automation gives a free time allowing people to start doing more necessary, meaningful things that robots cannot perform such as writing books, creating arts, poems, songs, taking care of children and elderly, volunteering, and giving medical and psychological care. Whereas UBI gives them free money as a reward for doing it to cover basic necessities.

However, one question occurs here, will UBI equalize social unity (people will still do something) or undermine it (people will degrade). Graeber claims that after obtaining money and free time, people tend to choose to implement more beneficial and fascinating activities than spending time on unpleasant work (Abrahamian, 2018). In a similar way, Bergstein (2018) states that UBI is “social equalizer” as a community will continue to work and will do social valuable activities because they give a great importance to the work and effort. To give an illustration Bergstein (2018) described a situation of McKechnie, who is a local citizen of Ontario, Canada where was conducted a study about UBI. He obtained free money but continued working in a museum for free, spending his time by greeting visitors, researching, and writing essential materials about the museum. McKechnie dedicated his time to the crucial thing for him and for people around as well.

Thus, Graeber and Bergstein analogically celebrate the fact that even if people have money for nothing, they will still engage in something, because society values labor. Certainly, to some extent they are right, people can begin to devote time to themselves, doing what they like. In addition, they can dedicate some time to their relatives, children, and parents to take care of them. Most of the people are more likely to spend their time wisely. However, another angle on this debate suggests that not for all people free money and free time may affect favorably.

Goldin (2018) clarifies that the jobless situation in most cases might be a cause of degradation of humankind's lifestyle. Consumption of drugs and alcohol, also, the level of crime and broken families may rise. For instance, in America, some unemployed people are addicted to alcohol and drugs, because they feel upset about losing a job as it gives them valuable skills, new relationships, and status, not only earnings (Goldin, 2018). Hence, there is a big possibility that UBI might be a reason for increasing the level of degradation, as it does not provide a job and reward them by money for doing nothing. People may start to waste UBI's money on such unnecessary purposes like buying these addictions. Therefore, UBI more likely to be considered not as the stabilizer of social coherence as Bergstein (2018) claims, but as a destabilizer as Goldin (2018) states.

Nevertheless, the Federal Guarantee Job (FGJ) might be an appropriate substitution for UBI in this situation. FGJ is also a policy that was put forward as a new method of dealing with unemployment because of automation by providing every citizen workplaces (Samuelson, 2018). Even if UBI and FJG provide money to cover basic needs, UBI does not give any duties and obligations to people to do something due to it they may start to be addicted by drug and alcohol. Whereas, FJG offers constant decent jobs with constant wages (Samuelson, 2018), so people will be confident and not worry about their future. Therefore, FJG is more relevant as these people will be busy on their work, and will not have a time for bad habits.

On this basis, it might be concluded that UBI may lead to the inequality of social unity, as it probably is not going to impact equally to all people. For some community, it is likely to give a chance to do what they want, to feel happier and healthier, whereas other community may utilize given money for unappropriated purposes, and for them, FJG might be the more relevant alternative solution because it makes them busy.

Another issue that needs to be considered is cost. UBI will require many expenses from the state budget, and this may lead to economic issues. In addition, Bergstein (2018) admires that the estimations of economists demonstrate that it is cheaper to create new workplaces for people rather than giving everyone a minimal income. As an example, for the experiment conducted in Ontario located in Canada 4000 local people were obtaining an income of 13000 US dollars every year and married couples got 24000 dollars. Consequently, it turns out to cost approximately 43 billion dollars annually for all the population of Canada (Bergstein, 2018). Thus, it is clear that it might be very costly.

Moreover, Goldin (2018) states that some UBI funding will come from spending cuts in areas such as education and health. Therefore, it may adversely affect the areas from which the amount of cash was taken, because cutting spending may interfere in their future developments. Taken together UBI might be the expensive policy that may borrow some money from the budget allocated specifically for medical and educational purposes, and currently there is no solution to this problem.

Additionally, nowadays, many studies have been carrying out to test UBI, for example in Canada, California, Finland, Manitoba (Bergstein, 2018). However, all the conducted investigations tested only in a small part of all population. For example, the study in Ontario that was mentioned above included only 4000 people, and Chris Hughes cofounder of Facebook is going to carry out a trial using only 100 people in Stockton, California (Bergstein, 2018). Therefore, it is still unclear how UBI is going to work on large-scale population, like US citizens, because the results obtained from a small and from a large population may differ significantly.

To sum up, UBI gives an opportunity to people to carry out desired socially useful activities, rather than losing their time on unnecessary stressful work that they had been doing to earn enough money to feed themselves and their families. However, it will not work equally for everyone. People may waste given money to buy drugs with alcohols, and may degrade. Additionally, it was estimated that the cost of this policy is going to be very high, and the government budget may suffer from it.

Thus, UBI might be considered as very disputable and improper solution for serious unemployment problem in the USA, as it is still vague how it will act on a large number of the population because already conducted investigations were examined only on a small part of it. Hence, before embodying UBI it will be important to carry out future studies in a more broad number of people to find the answer to the issues regarding cost, social coherence, and to know about people’s actions after gaining free money and time as well.

11 February 2020
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