Universal basic income. Myth 3: People will stop working


Hello! We continue to debunk myths about the idea of universal basic income and today we’re going to look at the most discussed myth of all, Myth 3, that people will stop working.

This issue is particularly acute in Russia, because it is believed that Russian people are inclined to rely on chance and are very fond of the so-called freebie.

I want to say right away that those who don’t want to work don’t work now either. Only some of them are blatantly idle, while others do it for high wages, hiding behind high and often far-fetched positions, or shifting the entire load to others.

It’s up to you to decide which is better. In my opinion, saying that people will stop working is utter nonsense and there is plenty of evidence to support this.

In 2016, for example, there was a social survey in the European Commonwealth which showed that only 4 percent of residents would refuse to work after the introduction of an unconditional basic income. The figure is quite small, you must agree.

In Russia, a similar survey was conducted by the Public Opinion Research Foundation.

Survey results in the Russian Federation (2016):

If you had enough money not to work, would you quit your job or not?

  • I would not – 52%;
  • I would quit my job – 34%;
  • Difficult to answer – 14%.

I think if a similar survey were conducted today, the number of people who would want to work would be close to 100 percent. This was shown by the quarantine or the so called in Russia de jure not working paid days. People just rush to work and go there secretly, even though they could sit at home quietly, getting their regular paycheck.

Let me continue with some more data.

Survey results in the Russian Federation (2016):

If you were looking for a job right now, what would be the most important thing for you in choosing one?

  • Good salary – 84%;
  • Work schedule – 35%;
  • Interest in the job – 27%;
  • Prospects for career growth – 11%;
  • Working conditions – 11%; Work environment – 11%;
  • Management style – 7%;
  • Employment in the specialty – 6%;
  • Official salary – 6%.

People are simply forced to work for a wage, not even paying attention to its officiality, but the production conditions and their specialty in education. Is this normal?

I was also very surprised when I learned that only 15-20 percent of people in the world like their job. Can you imagine, that is, it turns out that 80-85 percent of all people in the world don’t like their jobs and have to work for a paycheck just to feed themselves and their families. This data is not very different from the results of the survey in Russia.

That is to say, every day these people go to work that they do not like and do what they do not like. It’s just like a hard labor. And the introduction of an unconditional basic income would allow people to do what they like, even at a lower wage than the one they now get at a job they don’t like.

After all, an unconditional basic income would be a good help in their lives.

I’m sorry, but I personally believe that man is made for happiness, not for survival or exhaustion at work.  The value of a job to a person should be determined not by the wage, but by the amount of happiness and moral satisfaction it brings.

Yes, people are willing to work for free, not for money, just to get moral satisfaction from their activities and self-fulfillment. Look, for example, how many people have their own channels on YouTube. Do you think they are driven by a banal desire to become famous? I think not. They just want to help others and share what they have, what they know and how to do, whether it’s a recipe for a tasty pie or advice on how to fix a problem with the washing machine.

Personally, it is on YouTube that I often use tips. They help me in solving many domestic problems and issues.

Creativity, science, study, volunteering, self-actualization – all these things people do now in that short time off from work. The introduction of an unconditional basic income would make this their main job. Well, otherwise people would just be able to free up more time for their favorite activities.

And let’s look at some more research.

A ubi experiment in Dauphin, Canada from 1975-1977 showed that mothers spent more time caring for their children, more teenagers began to finish school instead of dropping out to look for an income.

Most of those who received money did not reduce their employment levels – young men began working 40-50 percent less, devoting more time to education, more volunteering, and increased social activity.

In the United States, the first ubi experiment of 1968-1978 found that only 17 percent of women and seven percent of men quit their jobs, mostly to study.

In Alaska, the increased purchasing power of the blbd recipients created thousands of additional jobs.

The UBI experiment in Uganda allowed participants to invest in training as well as tools and materials, resulting in a 57 percent increase in business assets, a 17 percent increase in hours worked, and a 38 percent increase in earnings.

Iran is the only country in the world that introduced a ubi for all citizens in 2011, about $40 a month. Six years later there was a report on the results of the project, which described that people had not stopped working, and in some cases had become more active, for example in the service sector.

Another argument in favor of unconditional basic income is the impending robotization, which many see almost as the only reason for needing it, intimidating people with impending technical unemployment.

Yes, self-service checkouts are already appearing in supermarkets or driverless trucks that are remotely controlled. In my opinion, machines can and should replace humans in hard work. In a creative society this is how it should be and I see only pluses in it.

Well firstly it will free people from the need for hard physical labor, which is by far the lowest paid. Secondly, it would free up a large area of activity which would be taken over by machines and there would be less work for people.

It can be evenly distributed among all the inhabitants of the planet.

And thirdly, the work will move into the creative sphere, which means it will become interesting and bring more moral satisfaction.

Fifty-nine percent of working Russians surveyed by Head Hunter believe that they bring benefits to society through their work.

The most acute sense of their own usefulness are employees in the sphere of housing and communal services, repair services – 84 percent, medicine – 83% and education 79%

Employees most of all believe that their work is of no use to the public

  • in the FMCG sector – 52 percent
  • b2b companies – 45 percent
  • of diversified holding companies – 44 percent
  • marketing and advertising professionals – 43 percent

More often than others are sure of the uselessness of their work:

  • Line managers – 34%
  • 2% of Russians respondents believe that their work is harmful to society.
  • Mostly workers in mining and mineral processing – eight percent and workers in FMCG – 5%

I would also like to refute another opinion – in my opinion absurd on this topic – that the introduction of an unconditional basic income will lead to a worsening of labor quality, since people won’t have a material interest in working productively.

I can safely say that those who make a direct correlation between income and work output do not feel any interest in life either. I can assume that they are forced to to work just for the paycheck where they are paid and hate their jobs or don’t see the point in them at all.

Introducing an unconditional basic income would allow such people to find a job they like and do what they like, even if it takes some time, because they might as well live for a period on a ubi. At the same time they would see what it’s like to sit at home without a job. They’ll just run out and look for a job!

I am convinced that people don’t want to work, not because they are lazy, but because they don’t want to do what they have to do, what they are paid for, or what they don’t see the point of doing. Especially if their income doesn’t allow them to live decently. At the same time, they have enough altruism in them and they are happy to volunteer work, because helping one’s neighbors is a normal human need.

The introduction of an unconditional basic income will make it possible to choose a job to one’s liking. The work will become interesting, favorite. And therefore the effectiveness and quality of it will only grow. Many will be able to afford to work less, devoting enough time to family or hobbies. In any case, this will lead to increased interest in life, and therefore will encourage people to socially useful work, obtaining new knowledge, skills, and training.

Such a person becomes a worthy citizen of the Creative Society!

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