UBI is one of those very futuristic, but actually quite realistic subjects which I like to think about. But until recently, I hadn't figured out for myself the right way of doing things regarding a UBI program. In this blog post, I will first be clarifying what the problems are with the "standard" UBI model, and later, I will present my own model of UBI, which I genuinely think is much better.
The standard model of UBI, is basically saying: let's give a 1000 dollars (or more, or less) to each citizen every month through inflation. The government essentially creates more money every month, which is given to each citizen so they can at least "survive".
There are a few major problems with this system. First, in terms of economic competition, this is really bad. Like, really bad. The reason being that you don't want your inflation to be higher than those of your competitors. You want it to stay just below the ones of your neighbours, so you can ensure that you stay competitive. And that's the major problem here. There would be an instant massive inflation.
Second, by giving away money, without any rules, or guidelines, there is 0 guarantee that the money will actually be used to "survive". In most cases, people will use it for things which they actually don't need. An iPhone for example. That's not essential for their survival. Besides, with the "standard" UBI model, Jeff Bezos would also receive a 1000 dollars a month. But our friend Jeff has already 180 billion dollars. So, giving him a thousand dollars every month is ridiculous, especially when this amount of money can save someone else.
Third, this UBI would also benefit the neighbour countries, which would result in the main countries losing market shares. Why? Well, if you receive a 1000$ a month, and you buy an iPhone while not living in the US, you are directly supporting the US.
To summarize, there are a couple of problems with the "standard" UBI model: 1. it's competitively bad, 2. people will use it for other things than "surviving", 3. Jeff Bezos would also receive a 1000 dollars, which is absolutely ridiculous, and 4. the country could lose market shares due to its population paying for services and products based outside of the country.
I called my model of UBI "SUBI", for "Smart Universal Basic Income". The idea behind it is instead of making UBI something which will "hurt" the country economically speaking, something that will actually contribute to the country's growth. The idea is to score multiple goals at once, instead of not scoring goals at all like with the standard model of UBI.
The first important thing with SUBI, is the payments aren't made in cash. They are made in cheques. The use of these cheques is limited in time. The limit could be a year for example. This pushes people to actually use this money, as the goal here is to make sure that the economy goes forward.
Besides, these cheques are only usable for a specific group of products. So you can't buy everything with these cheques. First, these products need to meet certain climate-friendly criterias. This way, the SUBI system incentivizes ecological consumer behaviour. On top of that, the products need to be healthy. So the SUBI cheques can't be used to buy alcohol for example. Again, the goal here is to incentivize healthy consumer behaviour. Finally, the companies behind the products which you can buy with these cheques must all be based in the country itself. This is to avoid a scenario where the UBI system benefits the other countries more than the country itself.
To conclude, with this SUBI system, the government would be scoring multiple goals at once: 1. it will likely only be used by people who really need it, as Jeff Bezos is likely not going to buy products at his local supermarket, which means he will not benefit from the cheques, 2. these products respect our planet, and don't make the ecological situation worse, 3. the health level of the population would dramatically go up, as these would be the only products which could be bought with these cheques, 4. these SUBI cheques support the local economy as only companies based in the country itself can participate in the SUBI program.