There are many stories of people who won the lottery and enjoyed a free and careless life for some time and then cursed the day they bought their lucky ticket. Many people who have never won the lottery can’t always comprehend why those who did don’t just relax for the rest of their days. What’s even harder to understand is how those people make the choice to go to work when they don’t even need the money. Basic income experiments in different countries were carried out to determine what people would do if they received enough money to cover their basic expenses. As it turns out, people who receive money for nothing end up working even harder.
Bright Side decided to dig deep and figured out that money is not enough for harmony and happiness.
So, what else do we gain from our work, except for the money it brings?
- You keep your life under control.
Your work is a certain anchor in your life which helps you feel certain about your future. It gives you a certain feeling of security and stability. You know that, no matter what, there is a place where you are expected to be at a certain time on certain days.
There are a lot of movies about workplace romance which is not surprising at all. Mutual work brings people closer and allows them to get to know each other better. You can also find great friends at work.
- You look after your appearance.
Work motivates people to get up at a specific time and get ready. A person who looks good, feels good, as well.
- It helps you fight boredom and depression.
Work is an effective remedy against depression because it requires your full attention and distracts you from negative thoughts.
- You are motivated and disciplined.
Work isn’t exactly military training, of course, but it’s still good for your willpower and discipline. Thanks to your work, you have certain rules and rituals, you can plan your time, and you learn how to manage your time and your money.
Everybody has their own image of themselves and of what they aspire to be. Many people strive to climb to the very top of the career ladder while others find it important to do what they like to do without focusing on what their job title is.
- You can change the world.
Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg could lead an effortless life and never work. But they continue to invent interesting and functional things instead. Providing people with something they need is really strong motivation.
Does unconditional income bring happiness?
A study held at Oxford University showed that 47% of professions will disappear in the next 20 years due to an automated environment. As a result, the unemployment rate will become extremely high. But what if some people will be given money for nothing?
8 basic income experiments were launched in different countries of the world in the beginning of the last year. These experiments turned out to be quite successful in Namibia and Kenya where participants were paid $10-30 a month. They began to eat better food and to take care of their health. And some of them even started their own business! Additionally, the crime rate decreased. Some people really lacked the money to make their life better, so they valued every single dollar they received. With this money, they could buy agricultural tools or a sewing machine to help them earn more money.
The experiment in Finland showed quite interesting results, as well. 2,000 unemployed people received €560 a month for 2 years. This money should have increased their feeling of stability and security and should have motivated them to look for a permanent job. However, the program had to be stopped after one year as researchers decided that 2 years wasn’t a sufficient enough of a timeframe to base their conclusions on, while €560 was too little for the expensive life of Finland. But authorities couldn’t provide a bigger budget for the study to continue.
Basic income can definitely make people happier but only if they use the money correctly. For example, part of this money could be invested, while the other part could be used to create a rainy day fund.
Natural money cycle
“What if people could provide each other with basic income?” Scott Santens thought and launched a crowdfunding campaign which brought him $1,000 per month from different people’s donations. Scott says that basic income is not a reason to stop working and that it’s instead a possibility to find your true vocation and an insurance in case of unforeseen events. However, German company Mein Grundeinkommen managed to achieve even greater results: 19,000 people provided basic income for 13 people in Germany.
Martin Ford, the author of Rise of the Robots thinks that this idea is unrealistic. For example, to provide all of the residents of New York City with basic income, more people are needed than the current population of the planet. And it’s definitely unrealistic to think that all of the people in the world would agree to support strangers financially. A financial pyramid scheme is also not the best way to get easy money as it’s usually only the founder of it who makes real money.
Would people continue to work if they are provided with basic income?
Imagine that you’ve won the lottery. You’ll be paid $1,000 a month for a few years. Would you still be motivated to work? Common sense says, “No.” While a study directed by Dr. Guy Standing from London University says, “Yes.”
He says that every person who is not afraid of poverty will become more creative, will try to find their favorite occupation, and will achieve success. They will work even harder because they’ll know that they have the opportunity to experiment with their time and efforts without the risk of being left without any money. If you search #mybasicincome on Twitter, you’ll find a lot of tweets where people discuss what they would do if they received basic income and it seems that very few people would decide to do nothing.
Many people don’t feel comfortable taking the risk of chasing their dreams because they are afraid of failure and not being able to support their lifestyle.
What would you do if you had a basic income of $1,000 a month, for example? Would you continue to work, would you travel, or would you choose to do nothing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.