There is an increasing interest in the idea of introducing a basic monthly income in European and Nordic countries, which I wrote about in several previous blogs with Finland implementing an experimental basic income. In the country of Iceland, the Pirate Party has submitted a proposal for a universal basic income, and in New Zealand, the Labour leader Andrew Little even promised a debate on the idea of a universal basic income:
“The Labour Party is considering a universal basic income as part of its Future of Work project. Leader Andrew Little confirmed his party was exploring the concept during a visit to Trevor Mallard’s Hutt South electorate last week. Little said significant changes to the way New Zealanders worked were unavoidable. ‘The possibility of higher structural unemployment is actually what’s driving us,’ he said.”
In the post I did on a basic monthly income and its feasibility in Japan, an extensive study has already been conducted completed in 2014 and was followed up with another post asking: “If you had a guaranteed income provided by the state would you work?” In the study called “Basic Income in Japan: Prospects for a radical Idea in Transforming the Welfare State“, there will be extremely difficult obstacles to get around in opening a real discourse on the advantages and disadvantageous of a basic income as this study accurately points out. There aren’t a shortage of studies and working papers on the idea of a guaranteed unconditional basic income either, the proposal submitted by Iceland’s Pirate Party, cited numerous examples of the concept put into practice. They used such experiments with the Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) and Income Maintenance Experiments. The results of these experiments after having a read through some of them, seem to have been overwhelmingly positive experiments. Will Japan step forward and conduct their own experiment on a basic income? In all honesty probably not.
Would a basic income only go further to entrench an already borderline collectivist state as is the case with Japan? Right now, Japan is considered a “borderline collectivist state”, however, that seems to be changing continuously as Japan finds itself becoming more nationalistic and re-militarizes. It seems in Japan that at work, Japanese are “collectivist in behavior“, but in private are far more individualistic than most people realize. If that is the case, would they have far more individual control over how they might spend a basic monthly income to move towards long overdo of reforming Japan’s enormously costly and debt-based welfare system?