Lots has been written on money and happiness through the years but it obvious that, while money doesn't actually BUY happiness, it can buy stress relief and inprove our quality of life...both of which lead to greater happiness. This brings rise to the question would people, then, do nothing and would this throw the whole world into chaos, at least as we've known it? The answer may surprise you.
In 2010, a seminal study was written by authors Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton. They found that money can actually buy happiness, but at income levels below a certain threshold...an American income of $75,000, or less. That is the point where families can stop worrying about basic necessities,increasing their sense of control over life...making them happier and more contented. Financial security means control, a sense of autonomy, which is a basic human need. Being able to act from a place of autonomy has been associated with a higher sense of well-being, more creativity, more productivity, and less burnout. It seems, then, that having a basic income allows humans to look farther into the future. Life becomes not so much of a nose-to-the-grindstone effort as one that allows freedom to spend time with children, start a new business, or go back to school...a future free from the worries about how to pay the rent and keep food on the table.
Not only does money buy happiness, but it can also make folks more productive and creative! And what about those folks who earn over $75,000 a year? Well, they probably aren't apt to lower their standard of living which means that they, too, would continue to work.
I can hear you asking, "Well, Irwin, wouldn't having a guaranteed income be a threat to motivation?" The answer is no, but it's not clearcut. Basic income not only influences our access to resources, but it also changes our relationship to work. It we didn't have to take one of the drudgery jobs to eek out a living, we most probably wouldn't. And that's not altogether a bad thing. These "thankless" dull and boring jobs would get retooled. Employers would be forced to find better and more challenging ways to do them. Some jobs would get automated, sure, but think about all the new jobs that would be created by the folks who, previously, didn't have the luxury of even thinking about putting their ideas to work? In one study, it was found that if people had a guaranteed income, they were slower to decide on a job before actually accepting it. This, too, has its upside. Constant hiring and retraining new employees isn't a cost-effective, or efficient, way to run a business. And customer service suffers, as well, when there's a big turnover in help. What is interesting to me, is that people found work they truly enjoyed; work that made them feel good about doing. Some workers took the time to go to school; to learn a new trade or career. There are, according to these studies, lots of good things to come from having a national basic income. And, of course, there are plenty of detractors, as you might expect.
Personally, I'm all in favor of giving people a basic income. I've long believed that the world's wealth needs to be redistributed more evenly. Money is the root of many evils, as you you. Giving everyone the opportunity to live without a fear of homelessness, starvation, and poor health simply makes sense as a basic human right for all. And if these things just happen to give us a happier, safer world, well, who am I to say no.
If you want to know more about basic income, and the studies that have been done on this fascinating subject, please go to: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/would_basic_income_make_us_happier?