Universal Basic Income

The idea of a universal basic income is about to leap from the margins to the mainstream, bringing promises of a happier and healthier population.

Today’s Guardian publishes very positive article by John Harris, summing up the rising tide of interest in Citizen’s Income.

The positive consequences extend into the distance: women are newly financially independent and able to exit abusive relationships, public health is noticeably improved, and people are able to devote the time to caring that an ever-ageing society increasingly demands. All the political parties are signed up: just as the welfare state underpinned the 20th century, so this new idea defines the 21st.

And to anyone who can get to London on May 8th, there’s this interesting-looking CI event at Conway Hall.

[A] big theme […] is that of automation, and its effects on the place of work in our lives. A third of jobs in UK retail are forecast to go by 2025. The Financial Times recently reported on research predicting that 114,000 jobs in British legal sector would be automated over the next 20 years.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at wringham.co.uk

2 Responses to “Universal Basic Income”

  1. spectre says:

    You are forgetting something basic: Someone else is paying for it. Its not Santa. Its not fair, healthy or moral to make other people work more hours, be more stressed to pay for others, not even mentioning that economically it doesnt make sense. Let people make more money from their jobs, so they will not need to work as much.

  2. Hi Spectre. I didn’t forget. This is only the latest in a longer string of posts at this blog on the topic, and there has been far more in-depth discussion about the ethics and practicalities of UBI elsewhere. Try Inventing the Future by Srniceck and Williams.

    Studies show that people actually don’t work less when given UBI, so your concern about people not working is so far unfounded. It would just create a world where people could come to work through a desire for meaning or to help society instead of being economically bullied into it through the threat of poverty.

    Moreover, under the current system we have today there are plenty people who don’t work and are economically propped up by the working population, usually through no choice of their own. UBI is for them as much as for us.

    There may be problems with UBI that we’ve not thought of yet, but the “moral” problem you mention isn’t really one and the funding issue is being studied carefully by greater minds than mine.

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