UBI - THE UN­CON­DI­TIONAL HANDOUT

Idealog - - IDEALOGY / KIWIBANK -

In re­cent years, the idea of a univer­sal ba­sic in­come (UBI) has at­tracted global in­ter­est as a way of tar­get­ing poverty and pre-empt­ing the im­pact of likely job losses through au­to­ma­tion. Put sim­ply, it’s a sys­tem where the gov­ern­ment gives a set amount of money to each cit­i­zen each month un­con­di­tion­ally – no means-test, no work re­quire­ments. The in­ten­tion is to re­place wel­fare pay­ments and cre­ate an equal­is­ing plat­form, while re­duc­ing red tape and wel­fare stigma. With ad­vo­cates in­clud­ing Richard Nixon and Martin Luther King, UBI has had a resur­gence thanks in part to Sil­i­con Val­ley VCs and coun­tries like Fin­land, which has con­ducted its own UBI ex­per­i­ment. Many doubt the con­cept's ef­fec­tive­ness, but ad­vo­cates say it could be a bet­ter way of bring­ing people out of poverty by in­cen­tivis­ing work rather than re­duc­ing state pay­ments when work is found. They also say it would im­prove men­tal and phys­i­cal health and ed­u­ca­tion, give them the op­por­tu­nity to in­vest in their lives and pur­sue mean­ing­ful work, and it would value un­paid com­mu­nity work.

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