From Mongolia to Finland to India, we are seeing heightened interest in the idea of a universal basic income (UBI)—an unconditional cash grant given to every citizen, regardless of their employment status or wealth. The idea is controversial, receiving criticism from many quarters including Future Development. To sharpen the debate, it’s useful to distinguish three separate arguments for UBI.
- Efficient use of natural-resource rents.
- Improving the welfare of the poor.
- Adjusting to labor-saving technologies.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Three reasons for universal basic income | Brookings Institution
Universal Basic Income in US – The Economic Security Project (ESP) commits $10 million over the next two years “to explore” it
The Economic Security Project (ESP)—a loose coalition of technologists, investors, and activists—announced on Dec. 8 it’s committing $10 million over the next two years “to explore how a ‘basic income’ could…ensure economic opportunity for all” in the US. More than 100 people, ranging from the head of top Silicon Valley startup fund Y Combinator to … Continue reading
Swiss voters rejected by a wide margin on Sunday a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for everyone living in the wealthy country after an uneasy debate about the future of work at a time of increasing automation. Supporters had said introducing a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,563) per adult and 625 … Continue reading
Manitoba’s Mincome trial, which ran from 1975 to 1979, is being spoken of respectfully now because guaranteed income has so rarely been tested in a thoughtful way. Mincome was designed consciously as an experiment, applied in two theatres. In the city of Winnipeg, 1,187 households were randomly chosen to receive a “negative income tax,” and … Continue reading
Universal Basic Income – GiveDirectly, a charity that gives 6,000 Kenyans enough money to escape poverty for a decade
GiveDirectly, a charity that gives money directly to poor people in Kenya and Uganda, is launching a big new project: a basic income. A basic income — also called a universal basic income (UBI), guaranteed minimum income, citizens’ dividend, demogrant, etc. — is a regular payment to a group of people just for being alive. Normally, … Continue reading
Frans Kerver was working 12-hour days before the money started coming in. For nine years, the 53-year-old freelance copywriter living in Groningen, the Netherlands, would rise at 7 a.m. and fall asleep at 1 a.m. His wife and three kids rarely saw him.When Kerver began receiving a basic income last July, everything changed. Universal basic income … Continue reading
Many are now calling for a “universal basic income” (UBI)—where the state gives everyone enough to live on. This would put a floor under the class of people we’re calling the “precariat,” people for whom work doesn’t lead to increased financial security. It would free us from the bullshit, allowing everyone to benefit from automation, … Continue reading
Buried away in Ontario’s 2016 budget documents are unspecific plans for the Canadian government to start giving a guaranteed, unconditional salary away to a few people just for being alive. “The pilot project will test a growing view at home and abroad that a basic income could build on the success of minimum wage policies and increases in … Continue reading
Universal Basic Income gets all this attention and popularity, but I haven’t seen one model that’s even on the planet of financial feasibility. These things are utopian. Finland is conducting an experiment in giving every adult a check for €800 a month, which would require spending far more than what the government raises in taxes. Whatever … Continue reading
A Basic income or Guaranteed Income for Canada – Would cost the treasury more than $500-billion a year
The Finnish example is typical of the fiscal folly. The Finns propose a monthly transfer of €800 ($1,200) a person, which sounds nice until you do the math and figure out this would require a doubling of existing taxes to fund the program. This transfer would barely replace what low-income Finns already get under their … Continue reading
So let’s run some numbers. Paying all 322 million Americans $10,000 a year would cost $3.22 trillion. Proponents claim this can be paid by redirecting existing welfare programs, but a quick review reveals this as nonsense. All state and local government social welfare programs are around $500 billion, and programs such as food stamps (SNAP) … Continue reading
Free cash is in the works for a growing number of Dutch urbanites. After the city of Utrecht announced that it would give no-strings-attached money to some of its residents, other Dutch cities are getting on board for social experiments with “basic income,” a regular and unconditional stipend to cover living costs. Tilburg, a city … Continue reading
In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1406 Canadian voters, more than a third favour the introduction of a guaranteed annual minimum income to replace other state supports like social assistance, unemployment and pensions (36%), a sharp increase from the last time we polled this question four years ago … Continue reading
Guaranteed Income in Finland – Paying 800 euros ($1,165) each month and scraping all other government benefits
Finland’s government is drawing up plans to pay every citizen a basic income of euros 800 ($1,165) each month, scrapping benefits altogether. Under proposals drafted by the Finnish Social Insurance Institution (Kela), the tax-free payments would replace all other benefit payments, and would be paid to all adults regardless of whether or not they receive … Continue reading