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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) by Gaaark on Thursday January 20, @12:02PM (4 children)

    by Gaaark (41) on Thursday January 20, @12:02PM (#1214123) Journal

    I'm close to retirement, so i might just retire after working my WHOLE life (and getting tired of working 'scared' through covid: worried about bringing it home to my wife (who has leukemia and her immune system is naught) and son (severely autistic and has zero hygiene skills)). But i'd also spend time working at a community garden and my own garden.
    I'd also like to have more time to learn other skills: always trying to feed the brain. Working towards building my own magic mirror, currently.

    I know people (NOT friends, definitely) who would sponge off it (they sponge off of anything they can) but i also know people who would put it to good use getting better jobs or being entrepreneurial and starting a business.

    --
    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday January 20, @07:10PM (3 children)

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday January 20, @07:10PM (#1214286) Homepage Journal

      I've been retired since 2014 when I became eligible for SS. Had I known how much cheaper things are when you're retired (e.g., gasoline bill is almost nonexistent) I would have retired as soon as I was eligible for the pension I thought I couldn't live on.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 20, @08:48PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 20, @08:48PM (#1214331)

        It's truly remarkable how expensive it is to work. Of course, that's driving the economy, so there are plenty of forces trying to keep that perpetual motion machine spinning.

        --
        Україна не входить до складу Росії.
      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Thursday January 20, @10:36PM (1 child)

        by Gaaark (41) on Thursday January 20, @10:36PM (#1214375) Journal

        I'm only a 3 minute drive from work, so really my biggest expense with the car is insurance and upkeep. My wife and i right now are packing money into the bank as much as we can and are looking at options, but we're worried about what da fug is going to happen in the near future...

        ...looks like possible war with Russia, possible war with China, inflation, my libido is dropping......damn..... XD

        I want to make sure we have a buffer, but at least i know i can always work part time if i need to (pretty sure work would keep me on part time no prob)

        Biggest unknown is the unknown and unknowable.

        --
        --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
  • (Score: 3, Disagree) by Rich on Thursday January 20, @01:00PM (3 children)

    by Rich (945) on Thursday January 20, @01:00PM (#1214133) Journal

    There's so many fun projects that I don't get to...

    Restore the old sportscar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Y3d3LiTOJs [youtube.com]
    Build a pinball machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwb3JkRBal0 [youtube.com]
    Convert the mill to CNC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLRbDVJakAU [youtube.com]
    ...

    and that doesn't include writing neat software I'd like to see, or the analog synthesizer in the making that's actually a company project and supposed to turn into a modest profit.

    While these projects all actually have a net positive, tangible outcome, and are likely more value-generating than what most people on UBI would do (*), they realistically fall into the "art" spectrum more than anything helpful to larger society. After all, where do you all benefit when I get to play my pinball machine in my basement after a nice classic drive out?

    Where you benefit is the other stuff my company does, and which brings in the real money: engineering medical instrumentation. If I drop out, and solely work on fun stuff, the hospital will (oversimplified) tell you: "Oh, we can't run a blood analysis anymore, sorry if you have to die, the guy who did the machine is now designing boutique pinball machines.". And at the market: "Sorry, there's no food left. The farmers have founded a production house for yaoi manga".

    Ultimately, leaving money entirely out of the equation, this is about (re-)distribution of goods. These goods have to come from somewhere, and if there is no need to make them (even under adverse conditions), they won't be made, and there's nothing to distribute. Worse for imports: the sheik won't give you his oil solely for your merits of achieving social justice. The only way I see around this would be a forced labour service, every UBI receiver who has not earned enough on top for a while gets drafted into the national work service organization - effectively a parallel socialist (**) economy for basic goods.

    (*) What about the idea to quit working altogether and spend all time to father a master race based on one's (subjectively...) completely superior genes? (or cf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Hillblom [wikipedia.org])
    (**) and boy, did these guys have methods to spur the "work shy"

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 20, @08:41PM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 20, @08:41PM (#1214326)

      In my 20s, in the early 90s, my number was $400K. With $400K I felt I could take a break from working for income, live off the interest, and pursue my own interests with enough spare money to make it interesting. The feeling then was that the $400K would provide a semi-reliable $30K annually in returns from investment, and I would of course "pick up" work here and there for income, but not be tied to the career slave path. Maybe I would start a wildly profitable enterprise, more likely it would just be fun and less stressful than the daily commute + office time.

      Of course, with wife and children and time, that number inflates. At this point, I probably wouldn't give up the day job until about $4M in liquid assets available - my kids and hobbies aren't cheap, and reliable interest income is no longer a thing.

      The Sheik will give you oil in exchange for your military hardware - both as toys for him to play with in his own country, the implied threat it represents in your control, and the occasional use of it to beat up on his unruly neighbors.

      I don't think there would be any reason at all to "draft" UBI recipients into any work force. Calibrate UBI low enough that it's still attractive to work. If you're happy living on rice and beans in a dingy 200 sq ft apartment in Western Oklahoma with three roommates, watching Netflix all day and smoking the MJ you grow in the window planter... then, sure, the UBI only life is for you. However, if you just add a 20 hour a week shelf stocking job at WalMart to that UBI, you can probably afford to kick those roommates out, and probably a little hydroponic system so people can't snatch your bud as they walk by too. Spend some time in online school, get a better job - whether 20 hours a week or 40, whatever suits, and you might afford a better location and better food, etc.

      To me, the point of UBI is erasing the "fear of homelessness / food insecurity" from the equation. Banishing once and for all the bureaucracy of shame that is the social security system. The world is bountiful, if we deserve not to be killed, we deserve to have enough food to eat and a safe place to sleep. There's no reason that shouldn't be provided to EVERYBODY, no questions asked. Denmark has been doing basically this for decades, and I don't notice them drowning in a cesspit of communist filth.

      --
      Україна не входить до складу Росії.
      • (Score: 2) by Rich on Thursday January 20, @10:13PM (1 child)

        by Rich (945) on Thursday January 20, @10:13PM (#1214369) Journal

        You've got very valid points there. But for you and me, slipping into having to live off your proposed low level UBI alone would mean up giving all the nice things we're used to have. If you're employed or depending on a few large customers, things don't change. We still can't quit, even if we're fed up to that point that we really want to. That negates the argument that the working class gets any negotiating power. This basic "homelessness insurance" is effectively what social aid is today.

        Such a very low UBI could also be read as "negative entry income tax" and then it'd possibly make sense, because it would remove the barrier to entry into a job. Here in Germany, social aid is at a level that people think twice before they quit that (and a bit of untaxed cash-in-hand) and start a proper job, because there is no difference in money for 25 hours extra in work (assuming 5 hours of hassle with the social aid office and 10 hours of undeclared side job) when the work is at or near minimum wage.

        On the other hand, from my experience with people on social aid, many, if not most of them aren't really in control of their lives and would really need to rely on someone else to tell them what to do. I fear this part of reality is denied by many in the discussion. Capitalist America had their supermarket bagpackers to hide that, Group-ist Japan put them on parking lots to wave with flags, and social democratic Germany runs a hugely wasteful "work experience" circus to get them out of sight and their numbers out of the statistics.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 21, @12:26AM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 21, @12:26AM (#1214397)

          We still can't quit, even if we're fed up to that point that we really want to.

          Oh, but you actually can. I had a period from 2006-2013 where I worked for a series of small, unreliable, startups. It's amazing how you can actually be unemployed with zero household income for a month or five and the world doesn't collapse. With 4 UBIs coming in, we might not have been able to make the mortgage payment on all 4 combined, but we definitely could have said "F-it, let's travel for a month before I look for work again," and there's nothing bad about that for the overall economy - not to mention peoples' quality of life. One big piece that made the between jobs stints a little less nerve racking was that the kids went on state insurance for free, sure Mom and Dad were at risk for leaving them orphans, but at least they got their standard pediatrician visits and whatever else they needed covered.

          there is no difference in money for 25 hours extra in work (assuming 5 hours of hassle with the social aid office and 10 hours of undeclared side job) when the work is at or near minimum wage.

          And that's what we call regressive, or disincentive to work - we have the same, particularly with disability aid. UBI would be tremendously better than that because everybody gets it (and are free to donate it to whoever or whatever they choose if they have some problem accepting it...) For normal people, you get the UBI whether you need it or not - no paperwork, no bureaucracy, no "demonstration of need" - just: here it is, we know it's not as much as you want so go get a job now. But, maybe, with that little money GUARANTEED to be coming every week or month or whatever (I think it makes a lot of sense to deposit UBI on an hourly basis, so there is no "lump sum" effect), you can take some time to look for a good job for you, instead of the first thing that comes available.

          people on social aid, many, if not most of them aren't really in control of their lives and would really need to rely on someone else to tell them what to do.

          This will always be true. I have two children with autism, aged 18 and 20, and neither one is likely to be making their own decisions about much in life. The 20 year old is almost fully dependent on others to provide food, shelter, clean clothes, etc. The 18 year old actually has some understanding of money and how to choose things for himself, but he's still going to need guidance unless he makes some pretty dramatic gains someday. And still we wait 6+ months for an essentially slam-dunk diagnosis to convince the state aid people that they qualify for aid based on their disability. It's important that this starts when they turn 18, otherwise there's an even more onerous process to prove that they have been continuously disabled since their 18th birthday in order for them to draw benefits from my account after I die (or am disabled...) With UBI, we'd still be jumping the same hoops, because they are going to need much more than UBI in order to live, but at least the UBI would be reliable for them, and everybody around them. For reference: we are in the process of transitioning the 20 year old to a group home, and his funding level to support him in that environment is expected to be between $99,000 and $140,000 per year, depending on how his upcoming evaluation turns out. My wife, who hasn't worked for income since the children were very young, has been doing that job with me for the last 16+ years - for zero compensation. We will be happy if either of them can hold down a job like supermarket bagger. I'm actually quite pleased that they have started putting the disabled on supermarket bagging jobs - where "normal" people see them on a regular basis. When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, I NEVER saw a person with Downs or similar disabilities until I was 16 years old, and then just briefly.

          --
          Україна не входить до складу Росії.
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @01:03PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @01:03PM (#1214135)

    Many got unemployment. They didn't have to go to work. Most people did not wish to return to the grind of bad jobs and figured something else out. This is why all of the restaurants are hiring at higher wages.

    Of course the other reason is inflation. Even if people are 100% willing to work, the basic income will just inflate away. You'll have to work all the same because what is a livable wage shifts upward.

    It's right here in front of your face but real socialism hasn't been tried before.....

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @02:33PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @02:33PM (#1214157)

      If $3k could do so much, any country with a few billion dollars could destroy us by paying people not to work.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @03:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @03:10PM (#1214171)

    Find a job better suited to my skills and abilities. Right now.. that is not an option.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @04:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @04:47PM (#1214216)

    Put the money in a IRA account and save for retirement...

  • (Score: 2) by looorg on Thursday January 20, @05:00PM (1 child)

    by looorg (578) on Thursday January 20, @05:00PM (#1214220)

    These studies always seem to gloss over certain aspect of "working". If I got UBI would I stop working? No. I would still work. I might just not work with the same things, or I might tell more people or offers "no thanks".

    The question then is who would do all these ungrateful and underpaid "shit" jobs that nobody really wants to do but society sort of depends on some anonymous figure actually doing. Are garbageman and sewage jobs going to pay the megabigbucks? We are talking beyond medical doctor salary before I would consider doing that. Who would want to be a waiter at a restaurant, a janitor, who wants to mop up at the hospital or who would want to be the clerk in some store? I don't think anyone is really sitting around thinking that oh yeah I want to haul smelly garbage, mop puke or catering to the whims of assholes all day instead of having a nice artistic job and getting my UBI compensation on top. So it becomes a reward for the already sort off well that have choices or the completely downtrodden that can't hold on to a job for some reason.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by mcgrew on Thursday January 20, @07:15PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday January 20, @07:15PM (#1214291) Homepage Journal

      The question then is who would do all these ungrateful and underpaid "shit" jobs that nobody really wants to do

      Like the jobs Phillip K Dick did during his entire writing career before one of his stories became a movie. The answer is simple: PAY THEM! With a UBI, good luck paying shit wages for shit jobs; the shitty pay is what makes most of those jobs so shitty. Pay a janitor what a lawyer makes and people will beat down your doors trying to get that job cleaning toilets.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
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