Should citizens receive a basic income, regardless of their wage, employment status or position in life? In the Week of the Economics, Bas Jacobs, Arjo Klamer and Marcel Canoy debate about this issue. But what do EUR students think about simply giving people money?

Naut Bulten (20), Dutch, Econometrics and Operational Research

“I would say that my opinion falls on the side of the con, because I think that it would take away the incentive for people to work. If they get the money unconditionally, they don’t need to apply themselves to their work, they don’t need to show that they are capable. This may be a little harsh, but maybe poverty gaps exists for a reason: rich people became rich because they are either very skilled, they work hard or they are lucky. Even with luck, they still had to risk something to gain their wealth. I think if a country were to implement these ideas the poor might be happy but the rich, who don’t really benefit, would leave for a tax haven. I think it could really damage a country.”

Malik Keval (21), German/American, International Business Administration

“I do think that a nation should carry the cost for this. For example, the F-35 fighter jet that the United States are trying to develop costs 1.5 trillion dollars. How can a country spend so much on weapons when one in every five children is poor? I believe that poverty traps exist and that people do get stuck in a cycle of poverty. Often it’s really crucial that you provide the money to these people.”

Maria Bilkova (20), Russian, International Bachelor of Communication and Media

“As a humanitarian idea I think it’s really nice, but I don’t think it would work in the long term. I think it would rot people’s motivation to develop and earn more and why would they want to develop if they already have enough to get by on. I think for a small percentage of individuals it wouldn’t be enough and they would probably go for more. Poverty is often caused by other social issues like drugs or alcohol. If people get more money, maybe they would just spend more money on drugs and booze. Maybe for a responsible parent who is just struggling to find a job at that time it might be a great thing, but I don’t see it working out.” DB

The Basic Income Debate is held in the Erasmus Paviljoen on Monday 9 March, 19.00 hrs, during the Week of the Economics. The debate is in English and entrance is free.