Universal Basic Income Explained – Free Money for Everybody? UBI


What if the state covered your cost of living, would you still go to work? Go back to school? Not work at all? What would you do? This concept is called a universal basic income or UBI And it’s nothing less than the most ambitious social policy of our times in 2017, basic income is gaining momentum around the world First trials are ongoing or on their way and a growing number of countries are considering UBI as an alternative to welfare How would it work and what are the key arguments for and against? Right now people can’t really agree. What universal basic income is or should be Some want to use it to eliminate welfare and Cupp bureaucracy Others want it as a free extra for existing programs, or even want it to be so high that work itself becomes optional For this video we’ll talk mostly about the minimum basic income enough money to be above the poverty line in the US this means about $1,000 a month or $12,000 a year The money would not be taxed and you could do whatever you wanted with it in In this scenario UBI is a way of transferring the wealth of a society while still keeping the free market intact But if we hand out free money will people just spend it on booze and stop working? A 2013 study by the World Bank specifically examined if poor people waste their handouts on tobacco and alcohol if they receive it in the form of cash The clear answer, no they don’t. The opposite is true Other studies have shown that the richer you are, the more drugs and alcohol you consume The lazy and drunk poor person is a stereotype rather than reality What about laziness? Universal basic income test runs done in Canada in the 1970s showed that around 1% of the recipients stopped working, mostly to take care of their kids On average people reduced their working hours by less than 10% The extra time was used to achieve goals like going back to school or looking for better jobs But if laziness and drugs are not a huge deal, Why doesn’t our current welfare state solve poverty Welfare or unemployment programs often come with a lot of strings attached Like taking part in courses, Applying to a certain number of jobs a month or accepting any kind of job offer no matter if it’s a good fit, or what it pays Besides the loss of personal freedom, these conditions are often a huge waste of time and only served to make the unemployment statistics Seem less bad Often your time would be much better spent looking for the right job continuing education or starting a business Another unwanted side effect of many welfare programs is that they trap people in poverty and promote passive behavior Imagine a benefit of $1,000 each month in a lot of programs if you earn a single dollar extra the whole thing is taken away If you take a job, that’s paying $1200 you might not only lose your benefits, but because of your taxes and another costs like transportation You might end up having less money than before So if you actively try to better your situation, and your total income is not improving or even a shrinking welfare can create a ceiling that traps people in poverty and rewards passive behavior A basic income can never be cut and therefore getting a job and additional income would always make your financial situation better Work is always rewarded instead of a ceiling it creates a floor from which people can lift themselves up But even if UBI is the better model, is it economically feasible? What about inflation? Won’t prices just rise making everything just like it was before? Since the money is not being created by magic or printers it needs to be transferred from somewhere It’s more of a shift of funds than the creation of new ones Hence; no inflation Ok, but how do we pay for it? There’s no right answer here because the world is too diverse How well-off the country is, what the local values are, Are things like high taxes or cutting the defence budget politically acceptable or not? How much welfare state is already in place and is it effective? Each country has its own individual path to a UBI The easiest way to pay for a UBI is to end all welfare and use the free funds to finance it Not only would this make a number of government agencies disappear, which in itself saves money, it would also eliminate a lot of bureaucracy on the other hand cutting them could leave many people worse off than before If the goal is to have a foundation for everybody there still need to be programs of some sort because just like countries, People are not the same The second way – higher taxes especially for the very wealthy In the US for example there’s been a lot of economic growth but most of the benefits from it have gone to the richest few percent the wealth gap is rapidly widening and many argue that it might be time to distribute the spoils more evenly to preserve the social peace There could be taxes on financial transactions, capital, land value, carbon, or even robots But UBI is not necessarily expensive According to a recent study a UBI of $1,000 per month in the US Could actually grow the GDP by 12% over eight years because it would enable poor people to spend more and increase overall demand What about the people who do the dirty work? Who will work in the fields, crawl through sewers, or lift pianos? If you don’t need to for survival, will people still do hard boring and unfulfilling labor? UBI might give them enough leverage to demand better pay and working conditions a study calculated that every extra dollar going to wage earners would add about $1.21 to the national economy While every extra dollar going to high-income Americans would add only 39 cents There would still be very rich and poor people but we could eliminate fear, suffering, and existential panic for a significant part of the population Making poor citizens better off could be a smart economic tactic For some this isn’t enough. They want a UBI large enough to live a middle-class existence If we set the financial obstacle aside, this idea fundamentally challenges, how our society is constructed By earning money, you earn the possibility to take part in society this determines your status and options But it also forces many people into spending huge chunks of their time on things they don’t care about in 2016 only 33% of US employees were engaged at work 16% were actively miserable and the remaining 51% were only physically present Would 67% of people stop working if they could? It would be unfair to portray work as just a chore work gives us something to do. It challenges us it motivates us to improve, it forces us to engage Many find friends or partners at work, we work for social status wealth and our place in the world We’re looking for something to do with our lives and for many people work gives them meaning There are other concerns with UBI If all welfare programs were exchanged for one single payment, this gives the government a lot of leverage individual programs are easier to attack or cut than a multitude or populist smite promise drastic changes to the UBI to get into power and a universal basic income doesn’t tackle all problems when it comes to equality Rents for example while $1,000 might be great in the countryside, it’s not a lot for expensive metropolitan areas which could lead to poor people moving outwards and the difference between rich and poor becoming even more extreme and of course, for some people, the concept of work itself not being essential for survival is appalling Conclusion So is the universal basic income a good idea? The honest answer is that we don’t know yet There needs to be a lot more research more and bigger test runs We need to think about what kind of UBI we want and what we’re prepared to give up to pay for it The potential is huge. It might be the most promising model to sustainably eliminate poverty It might seriously reduce the amount of desperation in the world and make us all much less stressed out This video was made possible by a Universal basic income provided by you, our viewers Ten thousand people around the world gift us a monthly income on patreon.com/Kurzgesagt You enable us to pay salaries and buy new hardware you enable us to make more videos And you enable us to spend more time on them Kurzgesagt would truly not be what it is today without your help You help us stay independent, and you give us the freedom to put quality before quantity Thank you so much




Comments
  1. Can't help wondering how many of the objections to UBI must sound tremendously similar to the ones raised against the institution of democracy versus monarchy (whose power is not only nominal), equal law (in theory) versus nobility. The poor are uneducated and will bring the state to ruin, women are irrational and do not belong in the public sphere and should therefore not vote… I am also sure there were loads of anecdotal evidence proving those points. The heart of the matter then and now seems to be that there is no faith in certain classes of people, and who holds the power likes to think they are the only ones who could. Then monarchies failed and yet humanity goes on.

  2. Okay has anyone actually done the math on this..? 320 million people in america, $1000 a month, for 12 months, 320,000,000x1000x12=$3,840,000,000,000

    Nearly 4 quadrillion dollars.
    Every year.

    Like i’m all for free money but that’s just one of those things that just doesnt work

  3. Just a second..have you thought about freaking inflation!!!! That extra $1000 will be worthless in 6 months if the gov pumps that much liquidity into the economy.
    Cmon this is basic eco 101.

  4. I understand the concept but see no mentioning how much will that be exactly, if the prices go up it does not do that much. If all go down that's fine but how much does each get exactly?

  5. People will just spend more if they get an extra 1000 dollars a month , that's why poor people stay poor even if you g injve them money they will just spend it on useless short term things instead of using it for better use

  6. What a great two videos, in theory it could work but socialism turns out to be disastrous though out the history ,including the money printing US in recent years,that’s because the largely ignored( especially by the so call well educated liberals)the basic simple economic rule – nothing is free. I lived tho the communist China and free stuff comes at a cost, no stuff at all

  7. Could you tax automated jobs to fund UBI? so every company that automates a bunch of jobs pays higher taxes?

  8. So you're going to give me 12,000$ and increase my taxes…… uhh? Just let me keep the money I earn m8.

  9. The balance between socialism and capitalism? It's an interesting concept that gives enough incentive to improve but doesn't leave anyone behind. I believe it might be a solution to many economical problems here in the U.S. I'd be willing to fund research on this.

  10. Dear Kurgesagt;

    Please study why Finland ended this very program just in the last 25 months.
    UBI takes drive from people too; without work lots of people lose meaning.
    The numbers are very staggering for the USA.
    Think 200 Million taking advantage; poor; welfare; young; retirees; etc…
    At $1,200 a year that makes it a program costing the Fed $240,000,000,000, a Quarter of Billion dollars on the US Debt that is not taxed. Rerouting Welfare will only cover a small cost of UBI.
    And Inflation will happen too; but not to big ticket items but more modest ones.
    So Instead of Cadillacs getting pricier; Chevy's price will inflate along with important cars too.
    It is an interesting theory but I don't think it will do what people want it to do; note again it failed in Finland. UBI ignores something human or more importantly it fails to take into account humanity in general. The best phrase for this is that human beings are "anti-fragile"; (a theory that treating children as fragile weakens them as adults; or how muscles strength comes from lifting heavy weights.)
    I am sorry Kurgesagt I had to dislike this video even though I do dislike your work.

    Sincerely Mike From Philly,

    PS. 2nd Channel I down voted a topic (other was a poll) but I don't dislike either channel.

  11. Some ideas naturally comes out for MONEY for UBI . After knowing MMT.
    Each state government issue an original COUPON which can be used only state. This way definitely encourages Local business and Local consumption. The coupon lose value each month (for example $100 coupon loses the value of $20 each month, so, if you don’t use the coupon the value is going to be $0 in 5 month) As a result, people use COUPONS instead of keeping it in their drawers as closet savings.why don’t we make SECOND MONEY???

  12. Rich people should not be taxed of a large percent of their income, its just too uncomfortably close to communism.

  13. Just because the money isn’t being created doesn’t mean inflation wouldn’t happen. There would still be money artificially pumping into people’s wallets and, since everyone would have more money, the buying power of money would go down. Also, since it would have to be taxpayer funded, UBI would essentially turn into you giving money to the government and then the government giving it back in an endless cycle.

  14. The longer you live in this world the more you realise that mostly hated and pain exists on this earth, as long as there is light there will always be shadows and as long as there are winners there will always be losers, there cannot be true peace, not in a world as cursed as this one. But believe what you feel,, whatever that keeps you running.

  15. В бедных странах это сработает, но делать нужно сразу и везде, но и валюта должна быть гибкой.

    Слишком много нюансов, ближайшее время эта проблема нерещаема.

  16. I was thinking about this in 2016, but my take on a ubi would be more like the military pay grade system. You receive a basic pay that increases with each rank, the first few grades are based on time while the rest are merit. If you leave one job you keep your pay grade, in return employers know the quality of employee they are getting.

  17. Businesses will charge people for what they think they can afford. UBI means higher taxes for people with higher paying jobs, otherwise the government would have to print more money, increasing inflation. I have never understood why people think it’s okay to take someone’s property away from them because they’re successful.

  18. In Germany, there already exists this concept. It's called Unemployed-Money I or II (originally: Arbeitslosengeld I – II). It may save many people, but of course, there are also quite a few cases, where the people won't try to find work and just sit through their given documents and Application-Lessons, never wanting to work again.

  19. I don't think the word socialism was used in this video. You should call it what it is.
    The moral ground for a UBI is dubious and is rooted in leftist ideology.
    Let's be clear: Voluntary Charity is commendable. Mandated charity is deplorable.

  20. 4:10 "…hence, no inflation" your premise that inflation is only caused by the creation of money is false. Inflation and deflation are caused by changes in total spending in a given market, not by total dollars in hand. You could print 500 trillion dollars and give it away to someone and as long as that person kept the money and never spent a dime there would be no inflation. It is the spending that causes the inflation. Prices would definitely inflate. You give more money to people and that will increase the demand for things like food and housing. An increase in demand with no change in supply will cause an increase in price ceteris paribus.

    I thought I was going to have to argue a point that the lower and middle class would spend more, but it looks like you've done that at 5:50. So it shouldn't be too hard to make the connection and get what I'm saying.

  21. I'm not sure this video addressed the fact that the current UBI proposal would be no strings attached.

  22. 只要世界上還有"有錢人"他們就會持續"賺錢"
    自由經濟上就不可能解決貧窮和差距,不然有錢人就不會是有錢人了
    金錢是不等值的,尤其在有錢人手中毫無價值

  23. UBI is another nail in the casket. Social welfare will not be touched because too many sheep treat it as sacred cattle.

    If we could replace most social welfare with a negative income tax that pays half the difference between annual income and a cutoff, it would be great. As for taxes, I would rather see either a universal tax deduction with flat tax rate or the replacement of income tax with a federal sales tax that follows Pennsylvania state sales tax standards.

  24. This video is nothing more than Economic myths and Socialist bullshit. UBI and all Socialist nonsense are just blind Utopianism and, like all Utopianism, will fail and cause large scale suffering

  25. As the population growth slows down the demand for products will reduce. With increased automation taking jobs, people won't have enough income to sustain themselves. UBI will be a reality in the near future. Not now, when everything is still hunky-dory. But when more and more people start to lose jobs, even businesses would promote UBI or else there won't be enough demand for their product.

  26. This is not to make a judgement nor to take a posture on UBI or on Mr. Yang's political endeavors. I just wish to state the fact that there is no such thing as "free money".

    If an UBI is funded by taxation (State/government coercive expropriation of legitimately owned property), then that money everyone receives is not really free, as it has been pre-paid already, just by someone else. It's our money; everyone's money. Yours too. It is the sweat of your brow; a piece of who knows how many hours of work every single day. Isn't it just that you own that money? Most people will agree that a man should be the owner of the sweat of his brow, even thought we may disagree on what "the sweat of his brow" entails.

    If an individual steals from you, the question of "what does the robber do with the money?", is irrelevant; it does not change the fact that you were robbed. Whether your money is taken to fund a party, an army or an UBI, does not change the fact that you were robbed. So, couldn't we ask first, where will the fucking money come from?!

    Regardless of the success or failure of a State/government-based UBI, or that of Mr. Yang, it seems to me that forced taxation is wrong in the first place. Isn't it wrong to take that which legitimately and rightfully belongs to someone else? There is no such thing as a right to someone else's money.

    Now, why don't we create a voluntary UBI? I'm down for that. Let's make the first voluntary online world-wide UBI. Like this comment if you would cooperate voluntarily, to show people that there are lots of good souls out there willing to help each other voluntarily. Because taking people's money by force seems wrong in the first place, and funding an UBI with that money does not change the nature of what just happened. Shouldn't a man be the owner of the sweat of his brow? What right does an individual have over the legitimate property of another? Where does the right to someone else's property come from?

    Thanks for reading, kind stranger. I hope you have a lovely day.

  27. I can imagine UBI causing some sort of tighter population control :

    A law where you can only have 1 kid

    … probably? maybe i'm just spouting dumb things here

  28. No need to test the Idea. It's already in place in the state of Alaska, And people didn't freak out or become mutants.

  29. let people opt out of this pie in the sky idea if they want, and I have no problem with it. You all want to get together and get free money, go for it. just come up with the money yourselves and see how many of you are left better off than before. Oh right, you need to tax those evil rich people even more than they already pay. So what this essentially amounts to is stealing money from a few people and handing it to everyone else, because they are a tiny portion of the population? How on earth is this fair? This resentfulness towards rich people is so childish and idiotic. Even if we ignore that, how long are rich people going to stay in the US if they are forced at gunpoint to hand more and more of their money over? And as they leave, that money will come from people lower on the ladder. Just like any other welfare program, this amount will only grow over time. its Political suicide to suggest cutting welfare, and its political gold to increase the amount of free stuff you hand out. It might be a 1000 dollars to everyone one year, but ten years later it will be much more, and that money will come from you at some point.

  30. I don't know who's statistics he referenced but, with all the homeless druggies out there, $1000 a mo. would be a mass death sentence. There would be so many drug overdoses every month, emergency rooms & morgues would be perpetually swamped.

  31. Elon Musk thinks UBI is inevitable, why should I believe a random angry youtube comment over the opinion of one of the smartest minds on earth?
    Even Martin Luther King jr believed in the necessity for a basic income to take care of basic needs, it's the natural evolution of our economy.

  32. "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."
    -John F. Kennedy

  33. What is Cupp bureacuracy? I know the bureacyracy but not "Cupp". I couldn't find it in dictionary. Can someone help me?

  34. If automation ends up taking jobs away rather than creating them, then UBI is a fair solution. (in my opinion)

  35. I feel like improving working conditions would be more efficient and not stifle the disabled population

  36. I'm open to ideas on how we will plan for a future with automation, UBI just seems like the only answer people can give atm.

  37. We basicly already have this in Denmark. About 2k$ a month. Basicly if you are on wealthfare you will be looked at as a person who uses others. A lazy person that abuses the system. So no work is needed but your social status is fucked, if people disliked your previus job wealthfare is much lower.

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