Universal Basic Income (UBI) has long been gaining support from policymakers and economists, more so now, after the pandemic created global economic problems. The concept promotes a system of providing Universal Basic Income in which governments sets up a safety-net fund for adult citizens in the event of another catastrophic event like the COVID-19 outbreak. As such, this program aims to ease poverty by modifying need-based social programs that require too much bureaucratic participation.
In the U.S. UBI has been gaining support even before the occurrence of the coronavirus pandemic but also in light of industrial automations that resulted in the reduction of labor force. In having set aside money that laid off workers can use while seeking for new employment, unemployment benefits somehow helped the economy thrive, since consumer spending remained steadfast. However, the concept of instituting a UBI government system is very popular mostly among left-wing academicians and economists.
Germany had actually trialled a similar system under a 3-year study, which paid $1,400 to 120 Germans on a monthly basis. Although a UBI system also went into in Finland and in the province of Manitoba, in Canada, the concept has not gained considerable attention from their respective politicians.
UBI Proposed by Academicians as Solution to Mitigate Effects of Pandemic
The pandemic has unexpectedly caused governments to spend part of their annual budget to provide workers with compensation while on temporary leave as a result of lockdown orders. Some other countries have increased provisions, as policymakers saw how having a UBI system in place can lessen the negative effects of the pandemic on government budgets.
Last year, more than five hundred public figures and scholars from different parts of the world came together and signed a petition for governments to enact emergency basic income during the crisis. Supporters argued that the program could help self-employed individuals and small businesses that do not qualify for stimulus packages. Moreover, people will not be forced to go to work in crowded workplaces where social distancing is not feasible.
A few countries have already heeded the call to implement the concept of UBI. Spain, one of the countries severely affected since the pandemic first broke out, has been providing poor families with monthly unemployment benefits of about $1,145.