Dr Lauren Ware, a lecturer in Philosophy, comments on the proposals by the Royal Society of Arts to give all citizens under 55 a grant of £10,000 as a form of Universal Basic Income.
‘We suffer from a culture of competitive overwork which is unpleasant, unhealthy, and unsustainable.
‘The main idea of a Univer sal Basic Income is to provide security, to everyone. When people know that their basic needs are met—when they’re free from the fear, say, of not finding a job after a precarious fixed-term contract runs out—they are able to be creative, to plan for the long term, and to allow time for caring for themselves and their loved ones.
‘As a Fellow of the RSA, I’ve researched the nature, value, and feasibility of a Universal Basic Income, though I wasn’t involved in the preparation of this proposal. However, I believe it offers an exciting opportunity to have a conversation about the kind of Britain we want for the future.
‘Critics of UBI often argue that a guaranteed income would make people lazy, but there really isn’t any strong evidence to support this. The argument relies on a claim that without the fear of starvation or homelessness, we wouldn’t do or make anything meaningful. That’s simply not true.
‘First of all, what we do see is that it’s precisely when people are afraid that creativity and innovation wane. Second, we all have things we love doing and would probably get pretty bored if we just did nothing.
‘What proposals like this one, and the UBI trials being developed in Scotland and across the world right now, encourage is constructive dialogue on the role of security in meaningful work and what we can do to promote that security.’
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