Debate Info

Yes! No...
Debate Score:62
Total Votes:71
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 Yes! (25)
 No... (10)

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kozlov(1755) pic

Is Basic Income a Human Right??


Throughout the years, income inequality has increased quite a bit. It cannot be denied that we are swimming in capital, so should everyone be insured a basic security??




Side Score: 46


Side Score: 16
4 points

in our global world where the people are no longer ruled by an " authority" such as a gouverment but ruled by the waves of financial and economic markets, it seems to me very dangerous not to protect the weakest people in our society to acheive a social peace.

the implemention of a universal unconditional basic income will protect us against the financial fluctuations.

Mesures against poverty like there are now consist in a complex of administrative measures which are revisted among by the goverments depending the economic markets.

there's also an economic pro argument for an unconditional universal basic income: the labor cost for businesses and employers will be lower because everyone gets his basic income.

The arguments that nobody would no longer work while getting a basic income doesn't make any sense: everyone who's that rich and don't have to worry about his/ her daily financials is working more than ever! so why should people stay at home??

( if they stay at home it's maybe because ther's a serious problem with the mood at the workfloor!!!)

Side: Yes!
3 points

There is a moral argument for UBI that unemployment will always be with us. Whether you argue that automation will take jobs or not.The fact is that policy makers have a measure called the NAIRU Natural Accelerated Inflation Rate of Unemployment. If Unemployment drops below this level then they will take steps to slow down the economy because full employment will cause inflation.

So for this reason alone, we should not punish the unemployed for something that is not voluntary.

The government raises revenue from giving private enterprise our natural resources in exchange for taxation. Do we trust the government to spend that money wisely? Why not pay some of it back directly to the people? This works for the Alaska permanent fund.

Most people will still work when their basic needs are met. Pilot studies have proved it as has everyone who works for more than minimum wage. We already pay welfare but because of the way it is withdrawn when people start working, it traps them in poverty. A basic income has no such poverty traps. On basic income, work really pays.

Side: Yes!
2 points

I agree that the motivation to work is a non issue. When people choose to not work under the Basic Income, it drives wages higher, since those people not working, are still creating consumer demand by spending their Basic Income. Wages will rise, until they get so high people can't say no to that $20 an hour part time work at McDonald's. Wages will stabilize at whatever level is needed to motivate enough people to work. It's self regulating.

Side: Yes!
3 points

A Basic Income is becoming a human right because without it, our societies will fail. We must implement a Basic Income or perish. Democracies are based on a balance of power. Capitalism has produced great economic growth, but as we add innovations and technology to capitalism, inequality has expanded in step with our growth. The balance of power in our society is failing because of technology driven inequality. A Basic Income is required to restore the balance of power and save our society. If we do not implement it, the growing inequality will destroy our democracy, and return our society back into a plutocracy where the rich freely abuse the poor. This is the very thing we in America, fought a revolution 200 years ago, to escape. If we don't implement a Basic Income, we will have to go fight that battle once again.

Humans are sadly, selfish creatures by nature. We act to care for our own self interest more so than we act to care for others. We learn our altruistic values not because we are good to each other by our nature, but because we learn the real life consequences of not being altruistic. If we are mean towards others, they in turn, are mean back to us, often more so than we were to them. When we are nice to others, they are nice back to us, often more so than our kindness to them. We train each other, to be altruistic. Our society is full of altruistic behaviors, because we have all trained each other, to be that way. And it's beneficial to all of us, to learn these lessons.

But this training only works, when we have equality of power. When power is unequal, the strong, in the end, will always learn to abuse the weak. The weak, will fail to be able to punish the strong, as much as the strong, will be able to punish the weak. A society of inherently selfish individuals only works well, when a balance of power is maintained.

We created democratic societies, after long lessons of what life was like in societies structured as power hierarchies. Freedom only comes, as a result of the equality of power in society.

We use free trade and capitalism as the tool for maximizing the use, and allocation, of all the worlds resources for meeting the needs of the people in our society. But capitalism, is inherently a system where power is not balanced. In capitalism, power naturally flows to whoever proves themselves to be the most economically productive members of society. This is very good, for the maximizing of economic output, but very bad, for the balance of power. A trade off between economic strength, and social equality, must be struck and maintained to keep the society healthy.

Since the beginning of time, human labor has been the prime force within the economy for creating wealth. We created it with our physical and mental effort. Because most humans have similar physical and mental abilities, the wealth any human could produce was always very close to one another. There was little inequality, except when people choose not to try to work. This fact is what allowed capitalistic free trade to produce relatively low levels of inequality. Every healthy normal human, had the power to create wealth, in their own hands.

The only exception to this, was the control of land. Farming, and hunting, required access to land. So if one could control the access to land, they could control the production of wealth. This led to the landed gentry extracting wealth from society and abusing the workers. But yet, the landed gentry still needed the labor of the peasants and as such, this always gave the peasants some leverage to keep some of the wealth their labor produced. At least enough, to keep themselves alive and healthy enough to keep farming.

But today, our economy is a very different story. We have added massive amounts of new technology to it. Today, most the work in fact is no longer done by humans at all. It's done by the machines. Farming is no longer done by hand, or by animal, it's done by tractors, and combines, and water pumps. 200 years ago, 90% of the people worked in farming, now only 2%, and we produce far more food. This is because 99% of the work is now done by the machines, and not the humans.

With the invention of steam engines, and then internal combustion engines and electric motors, we displaced human and animal muscle power from the economy. Our muscle power was obsoleted just like the buggy whip. Human muscle power became economically worthless. But humans remained economically valuable, because we still had this other wonderful organ called a brain. Every engine, needed a human brain to control it. Now, as computers and automation advance, we are rapidly displacing the human brain from the economy as well. Best estimates are that we only have about 2 decades left before cheap computers surpass human brain power and at that point, we are obsoleted from our own economy.

But even now, while there is still lots of human mental work that is still needed, something more important is happening to the economy. More income is produced by the machines, than the humans,. And income produced by the machines, accrues to whoever owns the machines. This means, increasing amount of wealth, flows to human not because of what they do, but because of what they own.

This shift from wealth create by doing, to wealth created by owning, is the fundamental shift that is growing inequality in society. Whereas in the past, owning a pair of hands was all that was needed to guarantee the power to create a fair amount of wealth, today, we must own capital, and companies, and land, and technologies, and patents, and computers, and software. It takes money, to make money. If you are not born rich, trying to climb the ladder to owning wealth, is becoming harder and harder as wages from "working with our hands" is steadily dropping. This effect causes economic inequality to grow, and the more it grows, the more self-reinforcing the effect becomes, with inequality growing faster, and worse, day by day.

This trend has been with us since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Inequality was very large 100 years ago with the robber barons. But them we fixed that with anti-trust laws, and lots of government social programs and tax systems to take wealth away from the rich, and give it to the poor, in forms of free schools, and roads and other government services as well as welfare.

But the trend towards greater inequality only continues to worsen, as we keep adding more technology to the mix. We must shift more wealth from the rich to the poor too keep inequality in check, and keep society stable, and our democracy alive. But the rich are getting fed up with how large the government is growing. It's growing large, because we have used it as a vehicle for funnel wealth from the rich, to the poor. But not just a transfer of cash, but an indirect transfer of goods and services in the form of endless large and complex government programs, from roads, and schools, to public parks, and an excessively huge military complex. We do it indirectly like this, because we have this national obsession that "sharing cash" is "evil". I'm sorry, but it's time for people to wake up, and realize that the true evil, is inequality. If we don't maintain a balance of power in society, our society will fail.

It's time to stop trying to share the wealth indirectly through more government programs, and do it directly, by taking cash from the rich, and giving it to poor. And that's what a Basic Income is. It's what we should have started 100 years ago.

The idea is NOT to create some basic standard of living for everyone. The size of the basic income transfer is not at all related to how much it costs to live. The size of the payment is a function to how much we feel we must reduce inequality in society.

It will be very hard to get people to understand that this is not only Just and Fair, but required. But it is what we must do. The hard part, will be getting it started. But once it's started, then people will learn to accept it as right. Change is always hard for people, and the idea of taking cash from one person, and giving it to another, will be hard for people to accept at first. But accept they must. To make it easy, we can start very small. Maybe only $100 a month of Basic Income for adults, and $50 a month for children and see what happens. What will happen, is that it will set off a great economic growth spurt in society and people will learn to see it as a Human Right.

Once they see it has a justified feature of our society, and our economy, they will understand that the correct thing to do, is to raise it as high as possible, creating as much economic equality in society is possible, without hurting economic growth. If we raise it too high, there won't remain enough incentive for people to work, and since for the next few decades at least, we need people to work, that will hurt economic growth instead of helping it. But how high is too high? That we will not know, until we try it. Which is why we should start small, and they grow it, while monitoring the effects. If the economy show signs of stalling due to a lack of motivation, we stop raising it. As long as the economy keeps going strong, keep raising it.

When we get to the point that machines are doing most the work, the Basic Income should be very high, creating very high levels of equality across society.

Side: Yes!
2 points

Freedom is development, and to develop more (allow more freedoms such as economic ones) people need to be guaranteed a basic wage. Of course, they should work if they can though.

Side: Yes!
2 points

So would the government force people to work?


Side: No...
kozlov(1755) Disputed
1 point

Absolutely not. From each according to contribution. I somehow feel you are a libertarian from you talk.

Side: Yes!
2 points

I wrote a long argument about why Basic Income is required, based on the need to reduce the inequality to maintain the balance of power that is fundamental to maintaining our democracy. But I also wanted to just list all the other good features of a Basic Income.

1) Saves our democracy from turning into a plutocracy.

2) Ends Poverty.

3) Is the perfect tool for limiting economic inequality.

4) With the reduction in inequality, we have less crime and violence.

5) With the reduction in inequality, we have less people in prison.

5) With the reduction in inequality, we have less mental illness, such as depression.

6) With the reduction in inequality, we have less paranoia and distrust in society.

7) With the reduction in paranoia, we will have less people feeling the need to own guns.

8) With the reduction in paranoia, we have less fear of other nations, and less war.

9) With the reduction in inequality, we have less teen pregnancies.

10) With the reduction in inequality, we have less health problems, and longer life spans.

11) With a BI, everyone has the power to leave a bad relationship.

12) Woman will no longer be forced into the sex trade, for a lack of money.

13) People with creative talents will be freed to create.

14) No one will be too poor to vote (can't afford time off, no car, etc).

15) We can eliminate minimum wage laws, and free business to hire at any rate.

16) People will have bargaining power without the need for labor unions.

17) We won't need labor unions at all.

18) Unemployment will be eliminated.

19) Anyone that wants to work, will have endless options to choose from.

20) We can eliminate almost all other welfare programs.

21) We can eliminate the huge government welfare bureaucracy.

22) No one will need to beg the government for money again.

23) No one will feel degraded or second class, for being on welfare.

24) We can remove all tax codes, meant to be forms of welfare.

25) We can eliminate the progressive income tax, and use a flat income tax.

26) We can eliminate all deductions, meant to provide "help" for those that need it.

27) We can eliminate all special filing statuses like "married" because that's welfare.

28) With all welfare features removed form the income tax we are left with a flat tax.

29) With a flat income tax, it can be implemented as payroll deductions.

30) With income as payroll deductions, no one has to file an income tax form again.

31) Discrimination laws become unnecessary, once we create fair equality though a BI

32) Everyone gets to be part of society, because they always have money to spend.

33) Cash is the ultimate form of individual freedom, and everyone will always have cash.

Edited to add more:

34) A BI reduces the fear that drives recessions and the euphoria that drives bubbles.

35) A BI acts as an economic stabilizer reducing the depth of recessions.

36) Replacing welfare programs with a BI shrinks the size of government.

37) A BI gives the government a tool for regulation of consumer demand.

38) A BI combined with taxes, creates a tool for shaping economic behaviors for public good -- like reducing consumption of fossil fuels by putting a tax on fossil fuels where the tax is not given to the government to spend, but given to the people in their BI. Current taxes meant for that purpose tend to expand government as a bad side effect.

39) A BI gives individuals the power, and responsibility, to take care of themselves, instead of expecting the government to take care of them.

40) A BI helps create equal opportunity for all people to build their own happy and successful life, instead of being helped, or handicapped, by circumstance out of their control.

41) A BI gives people the power to build their own version of a happy life, instead of the version of a happy life the government, the social majority, or the rich, think one should lead.

42) A world wide BI (not just individual nations) will end all poverty, and war on the planet. Forever. It won't end social disagreements, but it will end the use of guns to resolve the disagreements.

43) A BI will accelerate the development of automation to replace workers.

44) A BI will accelerate the end of work and the day everyone can retire from work-for-pay.

Side: Yes!
2 points

Life is human right. In the "world of money" you need income for life. If it is impossible get a job with income, you have two ways: Suicide or basic income.

Side: Yes!
2 points

It´s one of opportunities how to get off matrix, how to decrease the power of people which handle money

Side: Yes!
2 points

the money is there, the wealth is there.... we just have to share in more human way. Nobody should anymore live in poverty! Nobody should suffer from hunger on our beautiful Earth!

Side: Yes!
2 points

It is a very effective means to allow full participation in our economy. It also affords more people the opportunity to work as those currently in employment may choose to only work part time.

It will also help to make the business world subservient to society.

Side: Yes!

Full time jobs should give a living wage, or the government has to step in. This leads to increased borrowing and the country could get itself in debt. I think people should be able to live off their wage.

Side: Yes!
1 point


Side: Yes!
1 point

Yeah. That is why people even follow the laws set by the government. Why should I follow laws if I don't even have the ability to feed myself? Why can't I take from you?

There are promises made by society in exchange for following the rules and doing certain things. For one, if I get an education and do well in school, I should earn more than the average non-educated person and get employed.

If I don't rape, murder and kill, I should be offered opportunities.

I shouldn't be judged on the basis or race, sex, or looks when it comes to employment. The minute that breaks down, you have no right to tell me to do anything.

Fuck your laws, ethics and safety. If you don't care about me, I do not owe you anything.

Side: Yes!
Micmacmoc(2259) Disputed
2 points

"Why should I follow laws if I don't even have the ability to feed myself?"

I assume that you mean that the government should pay you money to live just so that you can follow their laws? That would surely only be the case if you were unemployed and therefore a complete drain on the economy and waste of space. Well then, why should you be given the money to feed yourself if you don't even give anything back to the economy?

"There are promises made by society in exchange for following the rules and doing certain things"

Yes there are. You are expected to follow the rules and to contribute to society. This contribution should largely be in the form of work. However if you do not work then the exchange completely breaks down and there is therefore no reason whatsoever that the government should supply a basic income for you.

"Fuck your laws, ethics and safety. If you don't care about me, I do not owe you anything"

But surely if you do not care about them, then they do not owe you anything either? And the only reason that you would require a minimum wage is because you do not care about society and therefore have not given anything to them in the form of work.

Side: No...
nomeansno(49) Disputed
1 point

I am looking at things from the perspective of someone that is trying to get a job but cannot. They only give you welfare if you have less than $600 in your bank account. That isn't even enough for rent and food for a week.

Side: Yes!
1 point

an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and the "continuous improvement of living conditions" (Article 11);,SocialandCultural_Rights

How to do this in a monetary system?

Welcome to the machines... :°)

Side: Yes!
1 point

A basic income is too expensive.

What? Think of all the money spent on buildings, electricity, wages, training and education for the, O, so many people who are unnecessarily employed to provide a gate keeping function, payed to keep people down in their sickedness, instead of aiding, supporting and abetting those who just want to get on with their lives.

A basic income is parasittic.

What? Alcohol is killing my father, not me not working, though that's not certainly not helping. No, yeah, OK a little, but so is government, so is banking, so is most business, so is the welfare state many of us already have... The devil's in the details. I say we cut the force, fraud and coercion down to a minimum and pool our resources voluntarily, wholly independent of the cyclicos in governance who busted things up so badly last time around.

A basic income demotivates from work.

What? Where do you see well fed, care free, aimed, exploring and curious men sit on their asses all day long? Not the common denominator? No, that's right - because people like you insist we can't ever change, so we don't. Yeah, yew. Stay that way and we'll never know, I dare you (sounds much better than threaten, don't you think?).

Side: Yes!
1 point

YES!Because is the only way we can be sure we end poverty. And above all, because it's fair that governments guaranty life to everybody. what is not fair is that governments guarantee the life of banks and cooperation's, weapon markets, etc...

We all have to rise up for people our soon there will be no people left.

Basic Income for all now!!!

Side: Yes!

People who work hard deserve a decent wage. So, basic income would be a valid human right.

Side: Yes!

No, income is involves trade, and he is only from selling a good or service or labor. What would be basic income anyway? It would be some arbitrary number anyway. Market forces determine income, this is what motivates people, it is to meet the demand of consumers.

Side: No...
curtwelch(5) Disputed
3 points

In a society with massive levels of economic inequality, like the US, the economy is NOT meeting the needs of the people. It meets the need of whoever has money to spend, which is only the rich. If you want the economy to meet the needs of the people, you have to give all the people a more equal share of money to spend in the economy -- which is one of the reasons a Basic Income is important. I helps the economy actually take care of the people, instead of just taking care of the rich.

Side: Yes!
curtwelch(5) Disputed
1 point

You ask "what would a basic income be?"

It a fair share of the economic wealth of the society we live in. No human created this planet, or all it's natural resources, but yet, our corporations claim ownership of them, and make money off the planet's resources, without any obligation to share that wealth. A Basic Income can be understood as a fare share of the wealth of the planet the belongs to all of us equally, but being exploited by others.

In addition, our society only works, because the people agree to follow the laws of the society. When a person is not given a fair opportunity to share in the wealth of the society, they will become angered, and if too unfairly treated, they will revolt. A Basic Income is the fair share of the wealth of society, people are paid for agreeing to follow the laws of the land -- for being good citizens.

In addition, we have a social problem to solve. That problem is growing wealth and income inequality being created by technology. This is not a problem created by any single individual. Or any "bad" law. It's a relative new problem for society in the level of inequality all our advanced technology is creating. Society can not survive, if inequality gets too larger. We much share more, and hoard less, or else the poor will rise up and revolt and our society will be lost. A Basic Income is the fix to technological inequality. It's the people's share, of the wealth being created by technology.

You ask how it will be determined? It should be set as large as possible, but not so large, that it hurts economic growth. The goal is to create the most equal society possible, without losing the capitalistic motivation of profit. The more equal a society is, the safer, and the more happy the people are.

Side: Yes!

No, there are a number of reasons why it would be a bad idea to ensure basic incomes to everyone as a right,

1) if this would be applied to the unemployed, it would create a lack of motivation to join the labor force.

2) this would cause an increase in the price level, which would make it difficult for "livable wages" to stay at a constant t amount for any period of time

3) previous applications to enforcing businesses to use a minimum wage have shown they was willing to simply hire less workers and use them more efficiently.

Side: No...
kozlov(1755) Disputed
3 points

This scenario has been used in Europe, and a Provence in Canada with a great level of success. Motivation was decreased by less than 2%.

Your secondary, claim holds more truth though, but only in a capitalist economy.

Your tirshary claim is incorrect, however. In a capitalist economy, it is a rule of thumb that employers need to hire more people in order to increase surplus value.

What motivates us.
Side: Yes!

You were right about the video. I'll admit i started watching it ready to start ripping it up at it's foundation, but whoever put it together did a very good job. While i am still unsure whether or not the idea of "basic income as a human right" would be a good idea, i would be more willing to listen the proposal.

I am going to send this to my economics professor and get his take on it as well.

Side: Yes!
Paulo4UBI Disputed
1 point

1. Basic income eliminates poverty traps in the welfare system anyone who works will be better off.

2.That's like arguing that we should keep people poor because prices will go up. Apart from that, if you are poor you will spend your basic income on better food, healthcare, luxuries and debt reduction. The impact on inflation will be small and in modern economies increased demand usually leads to increased supply

3. This isn't a minimum wage.This is a dividend from the government to all rich or poor alike. You could abolish the minimum wage and rely of free market economics to find the right level of pay if you really wanted

Side: Yes!
1 point

Although you and I are both communist/socialist at heart. I am of the Anarchist type whereby I don't believe in inherent rights; only logical privileges that better us overall.

Side: No...

No. Human rights are labeled as things we are ensured to be given, or not taken from us from birth.

♦Right to bare arms.

♦Freedom of expression.

♦Pursuit of happiness.

Yet we are not born with income, we are however born with the right to get it.

So no, income is not a human right, the right to acquire it is.

Side: No...
1 point

Obviously it would be wonderful if everyone could just earn and do nothing - but in the real world that isn't how it works.

Basic income and benefits should be allowed for people who deserve them. However simply being a drain on the resources of a country in on a par, in a small way, of declaring war on the country.

Side: No...
0 points


Side: No...
0 points

No. Basic income is not a human right.

If the right to live and not be murdered by your mother before you are born is not a basic human right?

Nothing else that follows is a human right either.

Side: No...
0 points

I first thought Basic Income was a good idea, however we stick to a monetary based system with deeply ingrained habits: greed, possession, social recognition, therefore craving and suffering. Let's just offer a roof, food, health, education, services for All instead, in other words, proper living conditions. This is, to me, Human Right, not money. This is no utopia as this can practically be achieved easily for all, and worldwide. But it demands we, especially in leading economic countries where we are so addicted to money, change ourselves to evolve to a new framework.

"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."

- Albert Einstein

Side: No...
Paulo4UBI Disputed
2 points

Guile Wrote: Let's just offer a roof, food, health, education, services for All instead

That's a very paternalistic view and will lead to waste and corruption. The only person who knows what they need is the benefit recipient. Give them the money and they will ensure that their needs are met. Yes there will be some people who squander it. But what this the point of having food stamps if what you really need is a bus fare to a job across town. Give them the money and they will exchange it for what they need the most

Side: Yes!