The most entrenched criticism of UBI is that too many would exploit a guaranteed income to sit on their hands, grinding the economy to a halt buthere are signs that this is too gloomy a view, New Scientist reports.
For four years beginning in 1975, the 10,000 citizens of Dauphin in Manitoba, Canada, were guaranteed a basic level of financial security: if their monthly income dropped below a certain level, the government would top it up. Support for this experiment soon dried up, and it was never properly analysed.
Evelyn Forget at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg recently revisited the experiment, comparing public records from Dauphin with those from similar small towns. Forget found the only groups that spent less time in work during the trial were teenage boys and new mothers. The boys were staying in school rather than bowing to pressure to take agricultural jobs, and the mothers were nursing. What’s more, Dauphin had noticeably lower hospitalisation rates and fewer depression-related illnesses.
Other tests are also now taking place in the Netherlands and private firms are also looking at the idea, New Scientist says.
What happens if we pay everyone just to live? (New Scientist)