What is UBI?


Universal Basic Income, UBI, or Basic Income consists of a periodic cash allowance given to all citizens, without means test to provide them with a standard of living above the poverty line.

Because it’s fair, as we all deserve to benefit from nature, technology and the infrastructure we all inherit. Also automation may lead to more job losses but will provide the things people need, so they’ll need income other than wages
Everyone would automatically receive a regular income paid into their bank accounts.
Because people are concerned about ways the economy is not working well, for example, in generating huge inequality, job losses, in-work poverty, economic crises and austerity policy. Basic income funded by Federal money can change all this.
Both. Basic income preserves us from poverty and austerity but also allows us to make other lifestyle choices, perhaps choosing less work and more of other creative activity.
Neither, although right-wing and left-wing politicians support it for different reasons. Basic income is an ideology of concern that people have a reasonable standard of living which is available from automation. It avoids the humiliation of intrusive means-testing for people needing a living income.
Yes, this will only be fair as rich people will receive basic income too.
This could be a threat, for example, if the government could cut off basic income to people it didn’t like. So it would have to be administered by an independent organisation.
Micro-pilots have been run in many places, most recently in Finland. But these haven’t tested the macro-economic effects, or the wider claims of enhanced lifestyle made by basic income advocates. We need to implement basic income across a whole country’s economy to see the true benefits.
It prevents huge inequality, it delivers a decent standard of living, it gets rid of expensive, intrusive means-tested welfare benefits, it creates sufficient demand in the economy, it allows wider lifestyle choices.
Everyone would automatically receive a regular income paid into their bank accounts.
None. People worry that it would be a disincentive to work, but we may need to work less in the future, and current welfare benefit systems are the worse disincentive to work, as claimants lose benefit for any wages they earn.
It can be afforded by reducing existing means-tested welfare benefits, or by increasing some taxes, or by introducing new wealth taxes, or by the government issuing ‘Federal money’ ie debt-free money, but only up to the level of the output in the economy so that inflation is avoided.
Yes, it can fund it by extending less household debt, and by issuing ‘Federal money’, ie debt-free government money up to the level of the full potential output of the economy.
No country yet has a comprehensive basic income system, although there are aspects of basic income in some economies like Norway, Alaska and perhaps some of the oil-rich Middle East economies.
Everyone, because the economy will operate more efficiently, there will be greater social justice, people will have wider lifestyle choices, the environment will benefit from less need to produce to generate employment for wage income.
On the contrary, basic income would enable people to develop their capabilities more fully by releasing time for them to do so.
Not as long as it doesn’t take the total aggregate consumer income above the full potential output of the economy.
Basic income must be targeted to eradicate poverty, ie it has to be an essential requirement of the basic income scheme that it allocates income adequacy to everyone.
Basic income schemes have to be carefully designed to reduce inequality. They can certainly do so and this must be a requirement of their exact specification.
Yes, because basic income is a policy which responds to the long term fact that earned an income is a decreasing part of people’s income requirement.
Yes, because basic income is a policy which responds to the long term fact that earned an income is a decreasing part of people’s income requirement.
No, because they were not sufficiently widespread or sufficiently bold and adventurous.
Yes, they enabled people to feel free, dignified, and secure
It couldn’t since governments are elected to implement policy, and it’s conceivable that a future government might be against basic income. But could current welfare benefits be eliminated by some future government? It’s the same question.
No. It’s a step towards social justice, greater dignity than in means-tested welfare schemes, and human flourishing, but it avoids state prescription of behaviour and so promotes freedom rather than control