Guaranteed employment or a universal basic income?

ByMariska Frelier

Guaranteed employment or a universal basic income?

This House prefers a world with guaranteed employment over one with universal basic income.

Tilburg Women’s Open 2021 – Round 1

With this motion, Tilburg Women’s Open 2021 started on a good note. Basic income has always been an interesting topic for me personally. This specific motion really appealed to me because it offers the opportunity to look at the fundamental values ​​of a society and also gives the opportunity to fathom the motives of several stakeholders (government, poorer population, richer population, and companies). In the next section, I will highlight a few arguments in favour and against.

As the proposition, I would focus on proving the improvements that guaranteed employment yields and how these will work out better than with a universal basic income. I would not take the fundamental argument that people have to work for their money as the main argument, as it is difficult to prove that society is also better off in this way. To prove that society benefits better from work, I would discuss the self-confidence that one develops through work and demonstrate its effects.

The effects of guaranteed employment can highlight the growing equality, the improvement of the economy, and the strengthening of the togetherness of society. It is important to show that it does this better than with the basic income or that the basic income would even have the opposite effect. For example, the togetherness can be discussed here. It can be argued that the togetherness will decrease sharply if not everyone works for their money, while with guaranteed employment (where this is the case) everyone can take care of themselves and the dissatisfaction about inequality would decrease sharply.

The opposition would like to outline the opposite. It is in their interest to show that the effects of the basic income are actually more positive. The same effects as with the proposition can be discussed, whereby the basic income would have these effects as a consequence. Here too, we can speak of the fundamental argument that one has the right to live and that without money it is impossible. Here, however, it is also difficult to demonstrate that this has any further positive outcomes.

For the main argument of the opponents, I would go for the freedom of choice. Among other things, this can be used to demonstrate equality, the improvement of mental and physical health, and the improvement of the living environment. It is important to highlight here that guaranteed employment does not solve these problems or does not tackle the problems better than the universal basic income.

As discussed in the previous paragraphs, it is very important for both parties to demonstrate that their side can address the problems and that they know best how to do this, highlighting the importance of the effects as well. Why should it be more important that mental health will improve than the togetherness in a society? Why is the improvement of the economy more important than the improvement of the living environment? Or why is the improvement in equality best on their side? This motion showed very clearly to me the importance of weighing off my own arguments against those of the opponent. As a newcomer to the BP debate format, I found it very interesting to see how this motion forces you to do so and it is a good exercise to apply the comparatives as well as possible.

Source cover image: https://www.oneworld.nl/lezen/discriminatie/sociaal-onrecht/wat-levert-het-basisinkomen-nederlanders-op/

Mariska Frelier
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Mariska is a debater from the Twente Debating Society.

About the author

Mariska Frelier administrator

Mariska is a debater from the Twente Debating Society.