Universal basic income breeds negative effects

Universal basic income (UBI) is a form of social security in which all citizens regularly receive an unconditional sum of money from a government, in addition to any income received from elsewhere ("Don't rule out universal basic income for S'pore" by Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi; last Saturday).

It is a function of welfare, and welfare will breed negative effects.

If the state gives everyone a UBI, the money must come from income taxes. This will likely mean taxing the higher income earners more, which would eventually result in thier emigration, and further increase the shortage of talent in Singapore.

Employers may be less motivated to pay a living wage, and some workers may leave the workforce.

Disruptive technologies and economic restructuring may not necessarily cause mass unemployment. Instead, it could speed up the trend of computer-related automation, which requires workers to learn new skills quickly.

Our Government is now making it easier for workers to acquire new skills and switch jobs as needed, as well as trying to arrest income inequality with various measures, such as Workfare.

But all these measures do not aim to pay those who are not working, and people must work to get it.

There will always be income inequality. This should be an incentive to work hard and be successful.

Providing UBI would just lead to people having an even stronger sense of entitlement.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2016, with the headline 'Universal basic income breeds negative effects'. Print Edition | Subscribe