Why the world should adopt a basic income

The Economist -- Guy Standing

A BASIC income (BI) is defined as a modest, regular payment to every legal resident in the community, paid unconditionally as a right, regardless of income, employment or relationship status.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the case for BI does not rest on the assumption that robots and artificial intelligence will cause mass unemployment or that it would be a more efficient way of relieving poverty than present welfare systems (although it would). The main arguments are ethical and relate to social justice, individual freedom and the need for basic security.

First, a BI is a matter of social justice. The wealth and income of all of us has far more to do with the efforts and achievements of our collective forebears than with anything we do for ourselves. If we accept private inheritance, we should accept social inheritance, regarding a BI as a “social dividend” on our collective wealth. In an era of rentier capitalism, in which more and more income is being channelled to the owners of assets—physical, financial and intellectual—and in which wages will continue to stagnate, a BI would provide an anchor for a fairer income-distribution system. And it would compensate the growing “precariat”, hit by labour flexibility, technological disruption and economic uncertainty.

To read more, click here.