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ENGL 101

21 October 2023

Universal Basic Income

The main goal of economic development in all parts of the world has been to improve the quality of life of the people. Economic development has not reached everyone, leaving many people in impoverished conditions even with the hard work they put to make ends meet. This situation has brought the debate to introduce an innovative and more ambitious social policy known as the Universal Basic Income (UBI). Universal basic Income is an income given to citizens without any effort or work input requirements providing them with resources adequate to meet their basic needs. In the United States, UBI has been the center of mainstream conversation in the country’s politics. “Indeed, that income gap in the United States is wider than it has been since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking it in 1967” (Lorna, 6). Universal basic income (UBI) is social policy whose introduction would help in addressing social-economic challenges by ensuring there is income distribution, reduction of poverty leading to economic stability, financial stability, and greater individual freedom offering an opportunity for better lives and future, but it is criticized to busting the budget and discouraging people in the market economy. Comment by Charles Barnes: You need an appropriate adjective in front of the word “income distribution”. Something like equitable. However, that is just an example to get you started, as “equitable” is not an appropriate word for this situation Comment by Charles Barnes: Concerning the addition of this phrase, it probably better that you omit it. One problem, you have listed here as part of the thesis. If you leave it then it will be necessary that you place the phrase in your topic sentence of the second body paragraph as well. But overall, I would suggest you omit it, because the thesis is not the place to add this phrase. It is essentially evidence. Evidence of this nature belongs in the body paragraph not in your thesis. In the body, you can use it to support your claim as you have more room to expound your claim. Comment by Charles Barnes: I suggest that you omit this last phrase. Your introduction is not the place to talk about various critical viewpoints. These are issues should be reserved for your body paragraphs. As you address each issue, you can then mention viewpoints of critics.

The introduction of Universal basic income has great potential to mitigate existing income inequality, but its effectiveness depends on various factors. The United States can implement UBI as a program that ensures regular distribution of income to all citizens. This has been witnessed in a pilot project conducted in California where 139 people living in low-income areas began receiving $500 a month to use as they all wished. “In Stockton, California a pilot program called the Stockton economic empowerment demonstration will see a distribution of $500 a month to 125 city residents for more than a year” (“Pandemic reignites idea”). The main aim of the pilot projects was to understand how giving people cash with no strings attached would end up affecting their lives. Through the UBI program, it is clear that there is a general reduction of disposable income inequality, however, the program cannot reduce wealth inequality among citizens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to have packages that target Americans who were significantly hurt economically by the effects of the lockdown was clear to everyone. This situation exposed the need for having universal basic income targeting the poor members of the society (Lorna, 4). The amount given to individuals and households in the form of UBI mainly aims at enabling them to meet their daily needs and this would help in reducing income inequality gaps as well as wage stagnation across the country. This is made possible by the transfer of income to both employed and unemployed members of society.

Universal basic income importance is linked with its potential of alleviating poverty. Those targeted by the UBI program are mainly the poor in society. The introduction of UBI is made to be a redistributive policy reducing domination and triggering special obligations of reciprocity. “Instead, almost every UBI trial has targeted the unemployed or those on the lower end of the earning spectrum” (Lorna, 12). The introduction of UBI will enhance more autonomy and freedom in society pushing to great economic stability. Poor families will be able to access basic health care, access clean water, improve childhood nutrition, access educational programs, and offer support to environmental programs. The introduction of robots in the working environment has seen many people lose their jobs. This makes such people unable to meet their daily basic needs and live in underserved areas. The introduction of UBI is a solution to the changes being witnessed in the labor market where people are being excluded from the labor market through automation (Boglárka, & Vicsek, 312). This will lead to the economic stability of vulnerable members of society.

The introduction of universal basic income (UBI) enhances financial stability and promotes innovation and creativity toward achieving better social and economic stability. The pilot programs conducted have shown positive results that those eligible for UBI upon receiving the support can focus on living their lives with greater freedom and think about their growth and development. People who have a great level of freedom are more innovative and creative. It is profound ethical fairness to ensure poor members of society have access to such a stipend to help create a happy nation for all. Ensuring fairness is emphasized enables members of society to have equal sharing of benefits of progress witnessed in the economy (Boglárka, & Vicsek, 313). People will be able to think about development opportunities within their environment.

Universal basic income introduction would bust the budget and discourage some members of the public from working and being seriously engaged in the market economy. This has been one of the main points of those opposed to the introduction of UBI. People who are working will be taxed and the funds consolidated for distribution and offered to all citizens as a basic income. This is described as parasitic exploitation in situations where people violate the reciprocity principle. “Gijs van Donselaar draws on the Marxist concept of parasitic exploitation, living from the labor of others, to argue against Philippe Van Parijs’ proposal of a Universal Basic Income (UBI)” (Constanza, 12). Some people argue that UBI’s introduction would have effects on motivation to work, good life, and freedom. This would push people to non-market activities like being more into volunteering activities. “One assertion is that people would become lazy due to the lack of work, and negative social and psychological phenomena would increase, similar to those that have been observed among the unemployed” (Boglárka, & Vicsek, 313). Many young people are against automation in the work industry because it threatens many people to lose jobs, making the introduction of UBI a necessity. This exposes how the attitude of young people towards UBI is relevant to future context because they form the future of work. In this perspective, people should avoid embracing a framework of exploitation, thinking about the vulnerabilities of part of the population. “Parasitic exploitation leaves the exploited party worse off than she would have been in the absence of the parasite or the absence of the parasitic action” (Constanza, 15).

There are advantages to introducing Universal basic income in the United States as well as other countries in the world. This social policy program will enable poverty alleviation, income distribution, increase financial stability, and promote innovation and creativity by ensuring all members of the society are exposed to various opportunities. Those opposed to UBI argue that it will increase the national budget and increase social loafing among citizens. This would lead to a situation of over-inclusiveness creating a parasitic environment for some members of the community who end up exploiting others. Embracing the Universal Basic Income policy does not make it clear whether those receiving the financial benefits will reciprocate their obligations from the policy. However, it is important to understand that UBI is a policy bringing distributive justice with the aim of increasing equality among citizens, and this will diminish cases of domination and expose many individuals to freedom of choice.

Works Cited

Herke, Boglárka, and Lilla Vicsek. “The attitudes of young citizens in higher education towards universal basic income in the context of automation—a qualitative study.”
International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 31, no. 3, 2022, pp. 310–322,

Lorna, Collier. “Universal Basic Income.” CQ Researcher, 2020, pp. 1-67 Access Date: September 28, 2023.

NPR transcriptions. “Andrew Yang Talks Universal Basic Income During The Coronavirus Crisis.” NPR.Org, 22 March 2020,

 “Pandemic reignites idea of universal basic income.” PBS Newshour, 28 March 2020,

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