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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of a universal basic income from the government from the real IELTS recent exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Universal Basic Income

The governments should give each citizen a basic income so that they have enough money to live on, even if they are unemployed.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Some today are calling for the institution of a universal basic income for all citizens. In my opinion, while this addresses legitimate fears concerning automation, it would be ill-advised overall as work is central to the human condition.

Those who advocate this legislation point out unemployment risks. Wealth is today accumulated amongst a very small percentage of billionaires. In the future, this situation will be exacerbated by rising corporate investment into advanced robotics and artificial intelligence. For instance, 50 years ago there were thousands of jobs for those working in factories assembling cars and other products. Today, the vast majority of that work is done by machines and humans must locate more creative avenues of employment. The fear that someday most workers will no longer have a viable role in society does justify discussion of a universal wage.

However, these future possibilities are not assured and work is still an essential part of being human. Each person has duty in their personal lives, typically as part of a family, as well as in public through their work. Only by fulfilling each responsibility fully will a person feel connected to the history and present of human progress. A universal wage would allow individuals to focus exclusively on their family and their hobbies but it is nearly impossible to predict possible deeper ramifications. Individuals may lose the motivation to innovate and the world would, in that case, be run by unimaginative technocrats and machines.

In conclusion, though it seems that capitalism will someday necessitate a reform such as a basic income for all, I believe there is enough value in work that alternatives should be pursued instead. Idealistic dreams of a world without work are naive and short-sighted.

Analysis

1. Some today are calling for the institution of a universal basic income for all citizens. 2. In my opinion, while this addresses legitimate fears concerning automation, it would be ill-advised overall as work is central to the human condition.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Those who advocate this legislation point out unemployment risks. 2. Wealth is today accumulated amongst a very small percentage of billionaires. 3. In the future, this situation will be exacerbated by rising corporate investment into advanced robotics and artificial intelligence. 4. For instance, 50 years ago there were thousands of jobs for those working in factories assembling cars and other products. 5. Today, the vast majority of that work is done by machines and humans must locate more creative avenues of employment. 6. The fear that someday most workers will no longer have a viable role in society does justify discussion of a universal wage.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. Vary long and short sentences.
  6. Make sure you generalize if your example is too specific.

1. However, these future possibilities are not assured and work is still an essential part of being human. 2. Each person has duty in their personal lives, typically as part of a family, as well as in public through their work. 3. Only by fulfilling each responsibility fully will a person feel connected to the history and present of human progress. 4. A universal wage would allow individuals to focus exclusively on their family and their hobbies but it is nearly impossible to predict possible deeper ramifications. 5. Individuals may lose the motivation to innovate and the world would, in that case, be run by unimaginative technocrats and machines.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  5. Develop the example fully.

1. In conclusion, though it seems that capitalism will someday necessitate a reform such as a basic income for all, I believe there is enough value in work that alternatives should be pursued instead. 2. Idealistic dreams of a world without work are naive and short-sighted.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

Some today are calling for the institution of a universal basic income for all citizens. In my opinion, while this addresses legitimate fears concerning automation, it would be ill-advised overall as work is central to the human condition.

Those who advocate this legislation point out unemployment risks. Wealth is today accumulated amongst a very small percentage of billionaires. In the future, this situation will be exacerbated by rising corporate investment into advanced robotics and artificial intelligence. For instance, 50 years ago there were thousands of jobs for those working in factories assembling cars and other products. Today, the vast majority of that work is done by machines and humans must locate more creative avenues of employment. The fear that someday most workers will no longer have a viable role in society does justify discussion of a universal wage.

However, these future possibilities are not assured and work is still an essential part of being human. Each person has duty in their personal lives, typically as part of a family, as well as in public through their work. Only by fulfilling each responsibility fully will a person feel connected to the history and present of human progress. A universal wage would allow individuals to focus exclusively on their family and their hobbies but it is nearly impossible to predict possible deeper ramifications. Individuals may lose the motivation to innovate and the world would, in that case, be run by unimaginative technocrats and machines.

In conclusion, though it seems that capitalism will someday necessitate a reform such as a basic income for all, I believe there is enough value in work that alternatives should be pursued instead. Idealistic dreams of a world without work are naive and short-sighted.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

calling for demanding

institution creation of

universal basic income money for each person to live off without working

citizens residents

addresses deals with

legitimate fears real worries

concerning about

automation becoming related to machines

ill-advised overall not good in general

central key

the human condition how all people live and deal with life

advocate support

legislation laws

unemployment risks possibly not having a job

wealth money

accumulated added up

billionaires people with 1,000,000,000+

exacerbated made worse

rising corporate investment companies putting more money into

advanced robotics sophisticated machines

artificial intelligence smart computers

factories assembling cars putting together automobiles

products items

vast majority most of

locate find

creative avenues of employment new ways of finding jobs

fear worry

someday in the future

viable role useful place

justify discussion give good reason for talking about

universal wage everyone paid but with no job

future possibilities potential changes

assured definite

essential part key element

duty responsibility

personal lives private lives, family, friends, hobbies, etc.

typically usually

as well as and

public in the world, not private

fulfilling satisfying

responsibility fully duty 100%

connected related

focus exclusively emphasize only

hobbies what you do in your free time

predict look forward to

deeper ramifications bigger implications

lose the motivation not feel encouraged

innovate create new ideas

in that case in this situation

run by unimaginative technocrats managed by rich tech people with no creativity

machines robots

capitalism economic system with free markets

necessitate require

basic income money each month without a job

value importance

alternatives different ways

pursued instead looked for

idealistic dreams naive ideas

naive innocent, unrealistic

short-sighted not looking at the long-term

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ˈkɔːlɪŋ fɔː 
ˌɪnstɪˈtjuːʃən 
ˌjuːnɪˈvɜːsəl ˈbeɪsɪk ˈɪnkʌm 
ˈsɪtɪznz
əˈdrɛsɪz 
lɪˈʤɪtɪmɪt fɪəz 
kənˈsɜːnɪŋ 
ˌɔːtəˈmeɪʃ(ə)n 
ˈɪlədˈvaɪzd ˈəʊvərɔːl 
ˈsɛntrəl 
ðə ˈhjuːmən kənˈdɪʃən
ˈædvəkɪt 
ˌlɛʤɪsˈleɪʃən 
ˌʌnɪmˈplɔɪmənt rɪsks
wɛlθ 
əˈkjuːmjʊleɪtɪd 
ˌbɪljəˈneəz
ɛksˈæsə(ː)beɪtɪd 
ˈraɪzɪŋ ˈkɔːpərɪt ɪnˈvɛstmənt 
ədˈvɑːnst rəʊˈbɒtɪks 
ˌɑːtɪˈfɪʃ(ə)l ɪnˈtɛlɪʤəns
ˈfæktəriz əˈsɛmblɪŋ kɑːz 
ˈprɒdʌkts
vɑːst məˈʤɒrɪti 
ləʊˈkeɪt 
kri(ː)ˈeɪtɪv ˈævɪnjuːz ɒv ɪmˈplɔɪmənt.
fɪə 
ˈsʌmˌdeɪ 
ˈvaɪəbl rəʊl
ˈʤʌstɪfaɪ dɪsˈkʌʃən 
ˌjuːnɪˈvɜːsəl weɪʤ
ˈfjuːʧə ˌpɒsəˈbɪlɪtiz 
əˈʃʊəd 
ɪˈsɛnʃəl pɑːt 
ˈdjuːti 
ˈpɜːsnl lɪvz
ˈtɪpɪk(ə)li 
æz wɛl æz 
ˈpʌblɪk 
fʊlˈfɪlɪŋ 
rɪsˌpɒnsəˈbɪlɪti ˈfʊli 
kəˈnɛktɪd 
ˈfəʊkəs ɪksˈkluːsɪvli 
ˈhɒbiz 
prɪˈdɪkt 
ˈdiːpə ˌræmɪfɪˈkeɪʃənz
luːz ðə ˌməʊtɪˈveɪʃən 
ˈɪnəʊveɪt 
ɪn ðæt keɪs 
rʌn baɪ ˌʌnɪˈmæʤɪnətɪv teknəʊkræts 
məˈʃiːnz
ˈkæpɪtəlɪzm 
nɪˈsɛsɪteɪt 
ˈbeɪsɪk ˈɪnkʌm 
ˈvæljuː 
ɔːlˈtɜːnətɪvz 
pəˈsjuːd ɪnˈstɛd
aɪˌdɪəˈlɪstɪk driːmz 
nɑːˈiːv 
ʃɔːt-ˈsaɪtɪd

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

Some today are c________________r the i____________n of a u_____________________e for all c___________s. In my opinion, while this a_______________s l______________e f_________________g a______________n, it would be i____________d o_________l as work is c______l to t________________n.

Those who a__________e this l_____________n point out u________________s. W______h is today a___________d amongst a very small percentage of b_______________s. In the future, this situation will be e______________d by r_____________________________t into a______________s and a__________________e. For instance, 50 years ago there were thousands of jobs for those working in f___________________________s and other p_____________s. Today, the v____________y of that work is done by machines and humans must l_______e more c__________________________t. The f____r that s_______y most workers will no longer have a v___________e in society does j___________________n of a u________________e.

However, these f__________________s are not a__________d and work is still an e______________t of being human. Each person has d___y in their p___________s, t__________y as part of a family, a_____________s in p_____c through their work. Only by f___________g each r_________________y will a person feel c________d to the history and present of h_____________s. A universal wage would allow individuals to f_______________y on their family and their h_________s but it is nearly impossible to p________t possible d________________________s. Individuals may l______________________n to i______e and the world would, i_____________e, be r________y u___________________________s and m__________s.

In conclusion, though it seems that c___________m will someday n____________e a reform such as a b______________e for all, I believe there is enough v______e in work that a____________s should be p________________d. I_____________________s of a world without work are n______e and s_______________d.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from The New York Times YouTube channel below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/universal-basic-income-explained

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:


Work
 (Model answer available on my Patreon)

  1. Are you student or are you working now?
  2. What do you like about your job/school at the moment?
  3. What job would you like to do in the future?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

The world should have only one government rather than a national government for each country.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?


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