I was chatting with an NYU professor. She recently taught a class at the university’s Abu Dhabi campus. I asked her what the students were like and she said that only four were Emiratis and “they were all girls; Emirati boys can’t be bothered since they know that they will never have to work.” It turned out that young people from all around the world competed for all-expenses paid slots at this college and the vast majority turned out to be foreigners.
As someone who hates to see money poured down the administrative drain I have long been a fan of UBI-style ideas (see my 1996 food-and-shelter idea, for example). But I’m wondering if experience in the Middle East should be studied before we go too far down this road. A lot of oil-rich Arab countries offer the basics of life to all of their citizens. U.S. and European taxpayers have been providing food, shelter, healthcare, and education to Palestinians since 1950 through a UN agency. The result seems to be low participation in employment (but maybe we will match them soon!) and a high birthrate: Qatar has the 6th highest population growth rate on the planet (CIA Factbook); the Gaza Strip is not too far behind at #13 (CIA Factbook).
Tel Aviv cab driver on the subject: “I told my kids that the only place ‘Success’ comes before ‘Hard Work’ is in the dictionary.” (works better in Hebrew, presumably; he had worked at a desk job for 36 years before retiring from that to drive a cab)