Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Thursday January 20, @01:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the of-course-nobody-ever-gets-bored dept.

Study: Basic income would not reduce people's willingness to work:

A basic income would not necessarily mean that people would work less. This is the conclusion of a series of behavioral experiments by cognitive psychologist Fenna Poletiek, social psychologist Erik de Kwaadsteniet and cognitive psychologist Bastiaan Vuyk. They also found indications that people with a basic income are more likely to find a job that suits them better.

The psychologists received a grant from the FNV union to research the behavioral effects of a basic income. They simulated the reward structure of different forms of social security in an experiment. "We got people to do a task on a computer," says De Kwaadsteniet. "In multiple rounds, which represented the months they had to work, they did a boring task in which they had to put points on a bar. The more of these they did, the more money they earned."

The psychologists researched three different conditions: no social security, a conditional benefits system and an unconditional basic income. De Kwaadsteniet: "In the condition without social security, the test participants didn't receive a basic sum. In the benefits condition they received a basic sum, which they lost as soon as they started working. In the basic income condition they received the same basic sum but didn't lose this when they started work."

The basic income did not cause a reduction in the participants' willingness to work and efforts, say the psychologists. Nor did their salary expectations increase. "In the discussion on a basic income, it's sometimes said that people will sit around doing nothing if you give them free money," says Poletiek, who saw no indications of such a behavioral effect.

What would you do if you were to receive a basic income?

Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by khallow on Thursday January 20, @01:34PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @01:34PM (#1214139) Journal

    Do you have any evidence for this, or is this simply unsupported conjecture?

    It is its own evidence. After all, they didn't try that nascent enterprise now.

    Call it fear or whatever, I find that the work sloth albatrosses likely to be significantly bigger costs than the wonderful benefits we would allegedly do, if we're held back by the need to work for our own income.

    Again, do you have evidence for this, or is this simply unsupported conjecture?

    We already do things very similar to UBI. For example, putting a huge number of people through college subsidized, public pensions, and of course, public welfare. Consider retirement investment (and similar things like medical products) marketing. The basic message is that retirement is some glorious, nirvana-like phase of your life. If people really had this insuppressible urge to work, then where does it go when they retire? Answer: culture mores changed inside of a human lifetime.

    So when I read "A basic income would not necessarily mean that people would work less." I have to roll my eyes. In today's world, where the mores are pressure to work, this may be true. But what will happen after society and a variety of marketing departments have a chance to work that over? My take is that in a generation we'll see people who believe they have a right not to work and a willingness to raise UBI every time they want more and can find a politician to promise that. Never underestimate the sense of entitlement that one can build.

    Since we're dealing in conjecture, I'll offer my own. We don't really have a free market economy. Instead, the massive wealth disparity means that a few individuals with massive wealth have outsized control over the market. For example, those people might see a need for more corporate lawyers when most people would prefer that we have fewer corporate lawyers. But because those people have a massively disproportionate influence on the market, we end up with large amounts of corporate lawyers. Worse yet is that an estimated 74% of billionaire wealth comes from rent-seeking. The idea that people ought to work and contribute value is diametrically opposed to rent-seeking behavior. In other words, the people who exercise an outsized control over the market largely didn't earn their wealth by actually contributing value. Providing everyone with a basic income would give people more choice about how to work and contribute value to society, reducing the disproportionate influence that a tiny portion of the population has over the market.

    In other words, bribe people to go along with the status quo. My take is that the mess has gotten as bad as it has in the US because nobody can address that financial mess without dealing with Social Security and other entitlements. A UBI looks to me to be more of the same.

    Here's the fundamental problems I have with UBI: UBI doesn't deliver anything of value outside of redistribution of wealth, disincentive to work and help make our society better, incentive to go with the status quo including those rent seeking billionaires, and incentive to steal from the future, like voting for politicians that promise more UBI though borrowing.

    I hear about those evil billionaires only as an excuse to get a bigger piece of cheese, not to fix anything. Similarly, the economy is only a tool to extract stuff with UBI being the "more magic" setting. Here's my take on that.

    A lot of the problems you describe have been created or aggravated by existing UBI-like systems. The power to dish out money to everyone amd manipulate so much of the economy evolves into the power to establish rent seeking arrangements with those billionaires. US Social Security is particularly notorious because it allowed the US to spent hundreds of billions extra a year until recently when money paid out finally started to exceed money in. And one can't balance budgets fiscally without touching Social Security (it's gotten that big). It's a great defense for those looting the public coffers in the US.

    Another is that the same government, that has to be pervasive in order to administer present day UBI-like programs, is in a powerful position to create and maintain rent seeking niches. Also, there's a vast amount of feelgood regulation and taxation that suits soulless huge corporations particularly well, both economy of scale and in perversely rewarding ruthlessness.

    As to the economy, since it's paying for your UBI, someone ought to pay attention to it other than those rent seeking billionaires. Too often, it's just seen as a magic black box that just delivers UBI. My take is that it's like a garden. You want more from the economy, you'll have to pay attention to it - like making it more free market, for example.

    Finally, there was that weird bit about corporate lawyers. I'm fine with more corporate lawyers because the people who need them pay for them, and the rest of society for whom it's not their business can just get lost. Just because society might collectively want more or less of something doesn't mean that they should get it - this applies to UBI like it applies to corporate lawyers.

    You've already claimed that you're just making up shit, so I don't take the 74% claim remotely seriously.

    To summarize, we already have plenty of UBI-like programs out there. And the problems I describe do indeed appear in those programs. Further, a lot of the problems you describe are created or made worse by these UBI-like programs. My take is that UBI will turn out to be another self-inflicted injury that makes things worse - creating more big, ruthless business, a weaker economy, and eventually causing the UBI scheme to collapse, one way or another.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   0  
       Offtopic=1, Interesting=1, Total=2
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   1