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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?


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @01:55PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @01:55PM (#1214146)

    Your argument boils down to "We need to keep the peasants too busy to revolt so we'll work them to death."

    This doesn't mean that the fundamental idea is unworkable, just that you need to deal with the social part first and the economic part second. Or at least, together. I have no idea what this looks like.

    You start by implementing it at very low levels. Nobody is going to quit their job because you implement a UBI of $10 a week. Then you increase it slowly. To most people $10 isn't worth worrying about, but to the people on the bottom it's a 5% pay rise. By the time it gets up to $50, some people will be able to cut back their hours a little, or buy slightly better food for their kids. It's about improving their lives. As they can cut back from the work-to-death levels, they will develop other interests and activities. Some might start small businesses as argued above, or they might just start a local club. Either way it is more activity on a local level and a lifestyle improvement. This is what society desperately needs. Everyone being happier, not a few billionaires in guarded estates.

    Orwell argued that the ruling class enjoyed grinding the peasants into the mud. I think most of the arguments against UBI spring from the same source of malevolence.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @02:43PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @02:43PM (#1214160)

    If you want to keep your society, you do need to keep people from revolting. In case it's not obvious from the past few years, people will destroy anything they can just because it's fun. If they have no actual problems to revolt over, they will imagine some problems.

    Happiness is having a purpose. Take it away, you have civil war. You might not like it, but it's true. Have you ever heard about how lottery winners are miserable and their lives are usually ruined? You're talking about doing this to everyone. But anyone with the ability to function in your society is certainly extremely successful already, because you need to have Zen monk levels of discipline to function this way. Not just lottery winners either. Even people who receive relatively modest windfalls usually squander them, often at great cost to those around them as well.

    Your solution is a non-solution. It's literally just the boiled frog thing. That's a warning about bad ideas, but leftists never seem to recognize the difference between warnings and instructions (or what's worse is the possibility that they do).

    UBI is literally a recipe for societal self destruction. The only thing it will cause is riots and catastrophe.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @03:21PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @03:21PM (#1214177)

      If you want to keep your society, you do need to keep people from revolting.

      Well, there are two possible options.
      Have a well-adjusted happy society who don't want to revolt.
          Or
      Grind the bastards down so hard they can't revolt.

      I see your preference, I just happen to disagree with you.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @02:28AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @02:28AM (#1214429)

        I prefer the first. But either is better than your preference for "sure, let them revolt. Anarchy is fun!"