Following in the footsteps of some European trials, Hawaii’s state congress has voted to look into the idea of offering Universal Basic Income (UBI) to all of its residents. Hawaii is the first U.S. state to pass such legislation in support of UBI.
Universal Basic Income, or UBI, is a simple concept. Every citizen receives a set amount of money to live on each month regardless of their income and whether or not they work.
Proponents of the idea believe that the unconditional funds would help to alleviate poverty, grant people more time to pursue activities that they are passionate about, and even drastically accelerate U.S. economic growth. In fact, one study from the left-leaning Roosevelt Institute concluded that giving each American $1,000 per month would cause the U.S. economy to grow by an additional 12.56% over eight years.
Supporters of UBI, including several Silicon Valley titans, believe that by bringing people out of poverty we are improving the overall health of humanity. These advocates believe that UBI is a more efficient way of distributing assistance than the current welfare model. They also believe that the income will help those who suffer job losses resulting from technology taking their place.
“Not so fast,” say many critics. Naysayers believe that UBI will discourage people from working and is extremely expensive.
The system is being explored in other countries, such as Finland, where 2,000 randomly selected citizens are currently receiving $587 a month, tax-free. If successful, it could be rolled out to all Finns.
The concept is also currently being considered in Scotland, where First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has agreed to fund research into the proposal. UBI trials are currently happening in the Netherlands, Canada, and Uganda.