The Debate Over Universal Basic Income

Picture of informed

Curated by informed

The idea that governments should give citizens a basic monthly income is being taken increasingly seriously — but can it reduce inequality?

  • At a time of rapidly rising income inequality, the idea of guaranteed minimum income has gained traction around the world as a potential remedy.
  • The idea is relatively simple: Governments should transfer the same amount of money to everyone in the population — perhaps excluding only the rich — no strings asked.
  • The thinking is that once people have a basic income, it frees them to pursue the kind of work they really wish to do rather than hang on to jobs just to make ends meet.
  • And this, advocates say, would not only make people happier and reduce poverty, but boost economic growth and reduce government waste by simplifying the bureaucracy.
  • The idea has been around since philosophers advocated it in the 16th century. But the social inequalities laid bare by the pandemic, among other concerns, have made the idea more popular of late.
  • But the idea has detractors across the political spectrum who argue a basic income for all would limit governments’ ability to help the poor in targeted ways and have a job-killing effect.
  • In our reading today, we explore various perspectives on an idea that is increasingly gaining traction around the world.
The Washington Post
The Economist
+ 2 more

5 articles on this topic

The Conversation

Support is growing for a universal basic income – and rightly so

article image
3 min read

Universal Inheritance: Would €20k at 18 help to reset inequality? | DW | 12.01.2022

article image
4 min read