The world is becoming increasingly automated, and the rate at which this is happening is only going to get faster. We are going to see unprecedented levels of unemployment, causing a complete shift in our economic models. Internet sales are on the way to replacing millions of retail workers. Diagnostic apps will be replacing hundreds of thousands of health-care workers. Self-driving cars and trucks will replace 5 million drivers. Researchers estimate that almost half of all U.S. jobs are at risk of being automated in the next two decades.

However, on a more positive note, this could lead to offering millions of people more free time to do what they want to do instead of what they have to do to earn a living. In order for this to be possible, money will need to be recirculated from people who still make things, to people doing nothing: Universal Basic Income. The idea being the government simply gives everybody money—a basic income—to live on. This free, no-strings-attached income will allow people to spend more on all sorts of things. That spending becomes somebody else’s income and continues to circulate through the economy, creating more economic growth.

The benefits that would come with UBI include better welfare for the poor, more education opportunities, equal pay, higher birth rates and an increase in entrepreneurship. However, it may redistribute workers away from some sectors that are more financially lucrative and economically non vital. For example, we could end up with a lot more artists and poets, reducing the GDP of a country, and meaning less UBI for governments to give out. 

Saudi Arabia is already experimented with UBI. Around two-thirds of Saudi nationals work for the government, doing virtually nothing. Thus, their incomes are very similar to universal basic incomes.The  government gets 90% of its income from oil revenue. As producing oil in Saudi is very easy this revenue source is pretty similar to simply printing money. However, even with this endless stream of money and every Saudi having a basic income, Saudi Arabia’s economy is not doing very well. Making sure that everyone has money to spend is not enough to create economic growth. 

Economic growth and wealth come only from producing things, and things people are willing to buy that are useful (not just art & poems). Giving people money will only create inflation because more money doesn’t make a country richer, only creating more products for people to consume makes us richer. Governments can tax money from some people and give it to others, but it cannot create wealth out of nothing.