The Universal Basic Income: For the Sceptics

Why basic income is a necessary step towards building a society fit for the 21st century

Contrary to popular belief, the case for basic income does not rest on the assumption that robots and artificial intelligence will bring about mass unemployment, nor that it would be a more efficient way of relieving poverty and reducing inequality (although it would). As set out in my recent book Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen, the arguments for wanting everyone in society to have a basic income are ethical rather than instrumental: a basic income would serve social justice, enhance individual and social freedom, and provide the basic security that people need to be healthy and functional.

Predictably, the growing interest in basic income has been met by a host of objections, all of which can be and have been refuted. Nevertheless, they persist. The two main criticisms are that basic income is unaffordable and that it will make people lazy.

Take affordability. This tends to be the immediate response – we cannot afford to give everyone a basic inc

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