Now is the time for a Universal Basic Income

As we begin a tentative recovery the need for radical new thinking about our economy and our society is needed greater than ever. The idea of the “irreducible minimum” (the right of all to food, shelter, and clothing) was articulated by the anthropologist Stanley Diamond who argued that you can’t (and don’t) really ‘belong’ to a society unless your basic needs are met. Groups like the UBI Network have been exploring and testing these ideas, they say: “The notable shift of the overton window with regards to testing and piloting a Universal Basic Income in the UK is a significant and emancipatory opportunity for citizens. Evidence from small-scale pilots of basic income around the world suggests potentially transformative effects on political participation and democratic engagement.”

“Many researchers, including Rutger Bregman, have written about the ‘cognitive burden’ of poverty – the well-observed effect that people are unable to engage with civil society or the democratic process in any meaningful way because all their headspace is taken up with worrying about where the next meal is coming from.The recent, relatively small Finnish pilot with 2,000 participants found increased trust in institutions, increased confidence in the future and self-confidence, less stress and, crucially, better cognitive functioning than the control group. Recipients felt more able to participate in society, improved possibilities of doing meaningful things and a strengthened autonomy.”

Now Scotland has the opportunity to take these ideas forward. This is the Scottish Green Party’s Maggie Chapman’s speech on social security from yesterday’s debate in Holyrood, where she secured a commitment to urgent action to create a Universal Basic Income:
At the heart of our collective wellbeing must be social security. Not a system, or an idea, but a fundamental right. We know that the societies that guarantee their citizens’ social security are the societies that perform best: they have the longest life expectancy, the lowest levels of crime and the highest levels of innovation and economic performance.
We know that poverty has a lifelong scarring effect. The damage of child poverty will be felt for decades. And we will pay for it as a society – as people die younger, lose the opportunity to fulfill their potential and suffer the consequences of life chances denied. We tackle poverty because it is the right thing to do.
But we also tackle poverty because the costs – both financial and social – are too great. Austerity, as we have seen implemented by Westminster, is immoral. But it is also a gigantic false economy as we have seen in the pandemic. That is why we must find a way to end the benefit cap, and with it the degrading Two Child limit and rape clause. This Parliament has already shown itself willing to break away from a punitive benefits system: we found a way to mitigate the impacts of the under-occupation penalty or the hated “Bedroom Tax”. We need to explore options to do the same for the Benefit Cap, which costs some of our poorest families up to £2,200 a year.
We also know that those societies that performed best during COVID are more equal societies. Not for them the fate of the thousands sacrificed to a delayed lockdown and bungled government response. It’s clear that we should have increased our statutory sick pay, but instead Westminster wasted billions on the disastrous “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme which did so much to create the second wave of Covid last autumn. A clear case of putting the Westminster priority of punishing workers ahead of the health needs of the nation, and even the economy.
The Scottish Greens welcome the pandemic relief payment scheme, which will provide an essential additional income for families this year, even more important at a time when financial uncertainty has caused so much anxiety.
We also call on the Scottish Government to introduce a permanent doubling of the Scottish Child Payment at the earliest possible opportunity, a measure which would lift 50,000 children out of poverty.
These are important fixes to a broken system. But we are here to fix the system, not to patch its flaws. We are here to make hope possible. And that requires us to be radical.
Now is the time for a Universal Basic Income. A basic commitment that could, at a stroke, eliminate poverty. It would have helped many through the COVID-19 pandemic. A regular payment to all to ensure human dignity. A universal measure that will create the basis for social security, social solidarity and the care ethic on which we must base our society.
That is why we call on the UK and Scottish governments to work together to bring forward pilots at the earliest possible opportunity, and to move to action as soon as we can to bring us a Universal Basic Income – ending child poverty, and going a long way to creating a society that has social security as a fundamental right.

Comments (43)

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  1. Colin Robinson says:

    Or a minimum guaranteed income.

    A question that still needs to be resolved is whether this targetted distribution of wealth would be in addition to or replace the universal social wage.

  2. Tom Ultuous says:

    Thanks for raising this Maggie. I’m totally in favour and here’s how I’m thinking it would work.

    Every man, woman & child (via their guardian) would receive a set amount per month. The one thing I’m not sure of in this is housing allowance. Should it be a set amount per person taking no account of where they live or who they live with?

    No need to sign on and if you are unemployed you can take on short period work without having to go through the degrading process of signing back on again.

    Tax allowances become redundant and tax is paid at a higher rate on every penny earned such that the additional taxes cover the cost of UBI.

    I’m imagining that, initially at least, neither the employed or unemployed would gain much out of it. The exception being parents with a lot of children caught in a benefit trap. It certainly wouldn’t be the yachts for the unemployed scheme UBI opponents make it out to be. As far as I’m concerned anyone who doesn’t want to look beyond the UBI in life is welcome to it. They should probably be on the sick anyway.

    Apart from the security of always having the UBI to fall back on it would rid us of reams of red tape and the costs of administering the same.

    Abolishing cash and making every financial transaction traceable would go a long way to making it happen and fairer.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Seems an awful faff though. The cost of administering such a scheme might be prohibitive. Why not just get someone like the King’s Fund to work out what level of income a body needs to live on; if a body’s income falls below that, it can be topped up through the tax system. Everybody would then have a minimum guaranteed income. Sorted!

      And, moreover, proletarianism – the need to sell your life in order to secure your means of subsistence – would be abolished; a change in the material conditions on which our society depends that would be truly revolutionary.

      1. Tom Ultuous says:

        It would be a computer programme Colin. Administration would be next to nothing aside from registration of births, deaths and immigration. Plus there would be no more tax allowances making the tax system much easier to administer.

        If we moved to a cashless society in which every transaction was traceable we could practically became a red tape free society.

        1. SleepingDog says:

          @Tom Ultuous, I agree. Means testing is the expensive option. If you make benefits like UBI universal and keep tax specific (add a wealth tax too), you can get the most efficient balance and recoup the benefits given to the rich through progressive taxation. Also, what is the harm in trying it out, through pilot schemes at first, wider only if these can be made to work successfully? The poor have less stressful financial management, the rich can afford accountants if they want. The trickier bit is in the middle, and perhaps around the edges of qualification. The unknowns will include unintended consequences and effects of scale. But the philosophical-ethical underpinnings make it worth looking at.

          Off the top of my head, the only objection I would have is that UBI is humanocentric, and may encourage population growth. In other words, something that aims to benefit humans (materially and ideologically) at the expense of the rest of the living world. Something I expect the Greens should have an answer to.

          1. Tom Ultuous says:

            SD, I have given some thought to qualification myself. For example suppose someone lives in Scotland but works in England? Everything, including tax, would be so much simpler if there was one state owned bank (or at least a hub every transaction passes through) and everyone (including businesses) had a single account and a digital id (eye recognition or whatever). Each non-business account receives a UBI, there’s a tax on balances beyond a certain amount with automatic rebates (basically a wealth tax with a much lower definition of wealth) and a transfer tax between individual accounts. The account also holds assets (home ownership) so we can do away with a huge swathes of legal tape. Money leaving the country (or taxation bloc) is taxed. Tax and red tape would be invisible to the majority of the population. Certainly won’t happen in the “UK”. They’ve just cut off both legs to avoid scrutiny.

          2. Tom Ultuous says:

            I might add that the digital id could maybe sort out all the social media abuse by tying every account to a digital id. It would stop people from using stupid names like Tom Ultuous.

          3. Colin Robinson says:

            But ‘Tom Ultuous’ IS your digital identity here. That’s the great thing about the digital world: ‘you’ can have multiple identities (multiple user names, passwords, addresses, and biographies) or ‘data profiles’. That’s the basis of both freedom and security on the net.

          4. Tom Ultuous says:

            It’s also a big part of the problem.

          5. Tom Ultuous says:

            Read this Colin Would it have happened with a unique digital id?

          6. Colin Robinson says:

            Would it have been a ‘problem’ had the user involved maintained her online pseudonymity and/or blocked the unwanted contacts?

            In terms of the victim’s narrative, I suspect there’s some grievance manufacturing going on here to generate some pathos, and that the Daily Record has subsequently sought to exploit that narrative as click-bait.

  3. Mouse says:

    What would I do if I received a universal basic income? I’d probably pay more tax. And the idea of paying millionaires money to help with their self esteem is plain weird.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Under a guaranteed minimum income scheme, you’d only pay tax on any income you earned over and above what you need to live on. If your income fell below that level, the tax system would top it up.

      The Joseph Rowntree Foundation calculates this minimum income standard to be currently £19,200 p.a. So, basically, under a scheme that adopted the JRF minimum income standard, you’d only contribute tax to the commonwealth on any income you made in excess of £19,200. Anyone whose income fell below £19,200 would receive from the commonwealth the amount needed to bring it up to £19,200.

      From each according to their ability, to each according to their need. And it could all be administered through the existing tax payments system; no separate and degrading benefits system would be required.

      1. Mouse says:

        That sounds like a plan to increase Universal Benefits a lot, unless the recipients are responsible for a large family and a large rent. The average wage is £25K. The majority would have to pay more tax. A lot more tax. It would be deeply unpopular, as seen from the Swiss referendum on similar. It’s a very good incentive to cut people’s wages though. Why bother to continue to pay people £19K when you only have to pay the minimum wage?

        Why even bother to work if you and the adults in your family are each going to get £19K a year? For two adults that would give them a household income of £38K, which is a lot more than the average household income.

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          Indeed, the sums would have to be done and take into account the value of the social wage and cost of the current social security system. I don’t have an up-to-date figure, but the average social wage in 2002 was the equivalent of £4,000 p.a. In 2018-19, the current social security system cost us a total of £222bn.

          The £19,200 figure is just a nominal one. The point of a guaranteed minimum income is to distribute the wealth we generate according to need rather than according to some measure of merit. Clearly, the more wealth we generate, the greater everyone’s share would be, and the higher our minimum living standards would increase.

      2. Malcolm Reavell says:

        “Disposable income doesn’t rise under a guaranteed minimum income scheme”?? But that is precisely the intention of a UBI – to increase everyone’s income, thus giving the less well off more money to spend and relieve poverty. How it is spent – on basic minimum cost of living expenditure or not is irrelevant – it is still disposable income that will be spent by those in relative poverty.
        “A guaranteed minimum income scheme doesn’t affect minimum wage requirements”. There can be minimum wage legislation, as there is now. How is that working out? We hae in-work poverty at present – people in work relying on UC to top up their wages. If you recall Working Tax Credits from a few years ago… Before WTC was introduced, only 0.5% of people were on below minimum wages. After WTC was introduced that rose to 3%. Why? Because, like the present UC system, it subsidises employers. They can always find ways round the legislation (Uber?) and plugging the gaps in legislaton is never ending whack-a-mole. WTC, and UC, are corporate welfare. What we need is a government funded job guarantee that pays a minimum living wage which private employers have to match or beat to attract workers. That trumps any minimum wage regulatory legislation.
        “A guaranteed minimum income scheme would complete the gig economy by freeing workers from proletarianism” Not sure you’re clearly expressing yourself here. If you mean what I think you mean – that people like independent artists and self employed would be free from the tyranny of having to accept lowest common denominator type jobs in order to pay bills and subsidise their creative skills/ independence, it wouldn’t. As I’ve explained above, due to the Uberisation of work. You are trying to fix a skewed distribution problem by feeding it. For instance musicians asked to play ‘for the exposure’ would still be asked to play ‘for the exposure – well, they are already paid aren’t they? They’ve got the UBI now – why should they be paid extra?’
        I can see you mean well, but all I’m hearing are the same arguments about the nice warm fuzzy ideas about UBI which don’t stack up against the economic facts.
        There is plenty of money in the economy. The system is skewed to allow the owners of capital to extract that financial wealth. Adding more money to the system will not fix it, it will still channel that money to the wealthy.

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          “But that is precisely the intention of a UBI…”

          But I’m not advocating a UBI. I’m advocating a guaranteed minimum income scheme as an alternative to a UBI. Topping up the income of people who have less than a minimum income standard through the tax system does not increase everyone’s income. It only increases the income of those whose current income falls below the minimum standard.

          “What we need is a government funded job guarantee that pays a minimum living wage which private employers have to match or beat to attract workers. That trumps any minimum wage regulatory legislation.”

          Fine, we’ll have that then. Though, it seems a bit redundant if, under a guaranteed minimum income scheme, employers would have to match of beat minimum income standard set by that scheme to attract workers. Why would you work for an income that was less than an income you’re guaranteed to receive through the tax system whether you work or not?

          “If you mean what I think you mean – that people like independent artists and self employed would be free from the tyranny of having to accept lowest common denominator type jobs in order to pay bills and subsidise their creative skills/ independence, it wouldn’t.”

          Yes, it would. Because, under a guaranteed minimum income scheme, the worker would no longer be dependent on the gig for their livelihood, which is what the scheme guarantees. They would then be in a position to accept or decline the gig as they saw fit. Your musician would then be able to play ‘just for the exposure’ only if they valued that exposure and it was worth their while to do so.

          1. Malcolm Reavell says:

            “I’m advocating a guaranteed minimum income scheme as an alternative to a UBI. Topping up the income of people who have less than a minimum income” = same effect as I stated, you will add to aggregate demand which has economic effects. If output does not increase to match increased demand it will cause inflationary pressure.
            Guaranteed Minimum Income as you describe is basically UC. Institutionalised in-work poverty. GMI isn’t setting a minimum wage as you describe it – it’s subsidising poverty wages.

            Re the gig economy: if there were a living wage JG scheme there would be no gig economy at all.

            Out if of interest a YouGOV survey from 2020 gives Job Guarantee scheme a 72% vote and UBI only 51%.

          2. Tom Ultuous says:

            That link is broken Malcolm. The poll results don’t surprise me as UBI is often portrayed as free money for layabouts and the I’m all right Jack English generally support benefit cuts and sanctions. There’s a “can’t they eat cake” working class movement down there. I’m surprised the Tories haven’t reintroduced the Victorian ‘turning the crank’ punishment and linking it to giro access.

          3. Malcolm Reavell says:

            A job guarantee scheme isn’t a ‘workfare’ as some would describe it.

            Please see teh work of Pavlina Tcherneva – her talks etc can be found on YouTube, and her book, ‘The Case for a Job Guarantee’

            The YouGov poll can be found if you just search for: NEON_CoronavirusClimate_200417_W.pdf

          4. Tom Ultuous says:

            Why not do both?

          5. Colin Robinson says:

            Well, you may be right, Malcolm; though I still don’t see how guaranteeing everyone a basic standard of living through the tax system would flood the economy with money (thereby creating inflationary demand for goods and services) and undermine minimum wage requirements (thereby perpetuating in-work poverty). How exactly?

            (Although, I do see how increasing the competition for labour through a guaranteed job scheme would push up its price. That follows from basic capitalist economics.)

            And indeed, Tom; a guaranteed minimum income for those who, for whatever reason, cannot or choose not to sell their labour for wages, and a guaranteed public sector job for the who can or do, are not mutually exclusive.

        2. John Tosh says:

          Means testing of basic living support is a throwback to notions of deserving and undeserving poor. It allows society to judge those in need. It is also very costly, both in terms of the long term societal impact on, and from, those who fall through the cracks and in its administration.

          Universality is the cheapest delivery method of assistance from an administrative perspective. It has two further advantages; minimal gaps in uptake and, psychologically, it gives every member of society an attachment to the system. This attachment, interest, is seen as one of the main benefits of Child Benefit and a strong influence on its retention even during periods of austerity.

          Universality, combined with tax reform, brings efficiency benefits (aside from the societal benefits) in so much as most of the costs of administering a social security system can be avoided. Indeed, should some of these savings be reallocated to tackling tax avoidance, further financial benefits can be obtained for the community band greater income equality be achieved.

          To my mind, there is little to argue against UBI from a State efficiency perspective, something all political persuasions should be able to agree upon. Win that argument first because doing so should be easier.

          Doing so provides an excellent springboard to more effectively tackle poverty.

  4. Malcolm Reavell says:

    UBI – Promise vs Reality
    It will be absorbed into prices and wage structure
    – Rent and prices will rise as added disposable income rises
    – Wages remain suppressed as UBI subsidises employers (corporate welfare)
    – It will perpetuate the gig economy
    It is an abrogation of government responsibility
    – It focuses on rights without equivalent focus on responsibilities/ duties
    – Government causes unemployment. UBI absolves them of this responsibility
    – UBI expects a private sector solution to a public sector problem
    ‘Trojan horse’ to eliminate and privatise public sector services
    – Other cash benefits/ social welfare safety nets will go
    – Basic services will be further privatised
    You can’t trial a UBI!
    – All trials have been partial, means tested, conditional and sectoral – by location or social demographic.
    – you can say UC is a ‘UBI trial’ as much as any so far reported ‘trials’, how is that working out for folk?.

    A UBI solves a lack of money problem and a basic income would be great in a Covid crisis (supply collapse) situation, but not a permanent solution.
    What we have is a distribution problem. UBI will not solve that. You will still have the inequality, but just with bigger numbers on the level of relative poverty.

    But most people do not understand is that it negates the social contract between a government and teh people.
    It starts here: Unemployment does not exist in non-monetary society.
    A monetary society establishes government responsibilities, and peoples’ rights.
    By imposing money on society, and requiring tax payments in the government’s money, the government creates unemployment.
    The government has a duty to ensure everyone can obtain the money to pay the government’s tax.
    People acquire both the right and a duty to demand that the government use the power taxes gives them to employ the country’s resources to provide public services. It’s a two-way thing.
    A social contract is created between government and people.
    If the government just gives people money, and people demand money without demanding work, then the the people have absolved government of its responsibility to deliver benefits of a monetary society to the people.
    The contract is broken.
    The power to issue the currency and enforce taxes is still with the government, but people have relinquished their rights by failure to honour their duty under the contract.

    I recommend folk investigate the Job Guarantee scheme instead. It’s not as simplistic, but it is much better and suffers none of the drawbacks of the UBI

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Disposable income doesn’t rise under a guaranteed minimum income scheme. The latter only ensures that everybody has the minimum required to live on; disposable income is income over and above the minimum required to live on. So, it wouldn’t be inflationary in the way you describe it.

      A guaranteed minimum income scheme doesn’t affect minimum wage requirements. Where a minimum wage regime was in force, employers would still be required to pay the minimum wage whether a guaranteed minimum incomes scheme was in operation or not.

      A guaranteed minimum income scheme would complete the gig economy by freeing workers from proletarianism. A guaranteed minimum income would ensure that workers would no longer have to sell their lives to acquire their means of subsistence; they would only have to sell it to acquire extra, disposable income. They would no longer be enslaved to jobs but would only need to take on gigs to earn extra income, over and above what they need to live on. Freed from the slavery of full-time employment, they would also be free to engage in socially useful work.

      Certainly, the guaranteed minimum income model of social security replaces as an alternative the old insurance-based welfare state model established in Britain by the 1942 Beveridge Report, around which the now-defunct post-war political consensus coalesced. But in the interests of personal autonomy and independence, this might be no bad thing insofar as it attributes responsibility as well as rights to the individual in relation to their own wellbeing.

      And certainly, the old post-war meritocratic social contract based on entitlement or would be abolished with the institution of a guaranteed minimum income regime. The new social contract that would emerge from its abolition would be based instead on the distribution of goods according to material need rather than according to some abstract concept of distributive justice. Again, this might be no bad thing.

      1. George S Gordon says:

        You say “workers would no longer have to sell their lives to acquire their means of subsistence; they would only have to sell it to acquire extra, disposable income”.

        Clearly there will be many who don’t wish a “subsistence-only” life, so overall disposable income will rise – surely this makes Malcolm Reavell’s point for him?

        1. Colin Robinson says:

          But the point is that a basic income guarantee doesn’t provide anyone with any additional disposable income like an unconditional basic income would; it only guarantees that, if you fall on hard times or cannot/choose not to sell your labour, you won’t become destitute. (See below)

          1. George S Gordon says:

            I was quoting your own words.

            You are now saying “it only guarantees that, if you fall on hard times or cannot/choose not to sell your labour, you won’t become destitute”.
            The corollary of that statement is that you don’t get the free money if you do choose to sell your labour.

            But when you said “sell it to acquire extra, disposable income”, that implied you do get the basic income plus whatever you choose to earn.
            So there appears to be a contradiction in what you say.

          2. Colin Robinson says:

            It doesn’t imply that if you return the phrase from the context you wrested it from:

            “A guaranteed minimum income would ensure that workers would no longer have to sell their lives to acquire their means of subsistence; they would only have to sell it to acquire extra, disposable income.”

            The implication being only, as stated, that meeting their subsistence needs would no longer be dependent on selling their labour.

            Anyway, isn’t it clear, from the generality of what I’ve been saying, that anyone who earns income over and above the minimum income standard wouldn’t qualify for a ‘negative tax’ payment under a guaranteed minimum income scheme while nonetheless remaining entitled to one if – for whatever reason – they didn’t earn that amount?

          3. George S Gordon says:

            The phrase I left out – ““A guaranteed minimum income would ensure that” – is precisely the context we are talking about.

            I’ve no idea what you are actually disputing, so I’m done.

          4. Colin Robinson says:

            We’re disputing whether or not a minimum income guarantee, operating through the tax system, would (as Malcolm asserts):

            a) flood the economy with money, thereby creating inflationary demand for goods and services;
            b) undermine minimum wage requirements, thereby perpetuating in-work poverty.

            I’ve been arguing that it would do neither.

            a) It wouldn’t flood the economy with money because a minimum income guarantee wouldn’t give anyone any additional disposable income, and
            b) it wouldn’t undermine minimum wage requirements because employers would still be legally obliged to pay employees no less than the standard minimum wage

            It wouldn’t give anyone any additional disposable income because no one who earned more than the standard minimum wage would be liable for the ‘negative tax’ payment the scheme guarantees in such circumstances.

  5. Fehvepehs says:

    I love the idea of a universal payment scheme. There will be problems to overcome for sure, and unintended consequences will more than likely arise. The inequality in our society today seems set to increase unless we do something radical. Universal payment may be a game changer. I believe that most people want to contribute to a society which looks after the young , the vulnerable and the elderly. A guaranteed minimum payment could, for example, allow people to participate in community projects for the benefit of everyone. Imagine not HAVING to work in a unrewarding job every day, but being able to look forward to committing time to you’re passions, knowing you have the safety net of a guaranteed income. Older people can inspire youngsters to follow their dreams and youngsters can give older people a sense of purpose. I often wonder about things, like burglar alarms, locks on doors, petty theft and how to eradicate the need for these things to exist. Let’s face it, most of us would not break into some ones home or car or assault somebody for any reason. We seem to accept that there is that nothing can be done except increase policing and personal security. A basic minimum universal payment may go some way to eliminate some of the petty crime which is inflicted on people because it gives a feeling of a stake in society. Granted organised crime is a different ball game. Some may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. Great article Maggie.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Spot on, Fehvepehs! As I said above, a guaranteed minimum income would free us from the tyranny of wage slavery and enable us to engage in socially useful work instead.

  6. Tom Ultuous says:

    Reading the posts above I think some of you are already treading into yachts for the unemployed territory. It will never get off the ground if you’re going to give someone who does absolutely nothing £380 a week. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. Start by making it a replacement for JSA thus eliminating JSA administration and simplifying the tax system.

    As I indicated earlier, one of the main difficulties with it is housing allowance. Much needs to be done there. Taxes on second homes, rent caps, building council houses etc.

  7. Kairin van Sweeden says:

    Why should it be universal? Why would you give money to people who don’t need it? A basic income for those who cannot work is the basis for a humane society and of course the accompanying universal basic services such as education and healthcare. If a reduction in our civil service is the reason for the universal aspect, surely you will need a beefed-up taxation civil service to deal with the accompanying tax evasion industry, which will grow as those who can live without their UBI look for ways to hoard this gift of government spending being bestowed upon them.
    A basic income for those who need it and a job guarantee for those who one will keep public money out of the hands of those who do not need it.

    1. Tom Ultuous says:

      Making it universal makes it easier and cheaper to implement. You wouldn’t be giving them money as it would be recouped via removal of tax allowances, increased tax and state pension would be UBI + a top up. No idea how you conclude this would lead to increased tax avoidance or beefed up HMRC.

      1. Mouse says:

        I like the idea that a UBI improves eyesight, hearing, gives you a better memory, and improves your vocab, etc. ie. Cognitive functioning. Hard to take Maggie Chapman seriously when she comes out with that.

        1. Tom Ultuous says:

          The improved cognitive functioning was claimed by the authors of a Finnish pilot scheme. I don’t know where you got the rest from.

        2. Colin Robinson says:

          Also, I don’t think the Finns found it was the UBI that improved cognitive functioning, but the reduction in stress its security occasioned.

    2. Colin Robinson says:

      A basic income guarantee is ‘universal’ not in the sense that everyone automatically receives free money from the government, regardless of need; it’s ‘universal’ in the sense rather that everyone will automatically receive free money IF their income falls below the basic level needed for subsistence. This is what (contra Malcolm) makes a GBI different from a UBI: it’s not unconditional.

      As a form of social security, the universality of a GBI is a bit like that of the health security provided by our NHS, which consists in the security of knowing that you will receive medical treatment IF AND WHEN it’s required, according to your need, rather than exactly the same medical treatment that everyone else receives irrespective of whether you need it or not.

  8. Malcolm Reavell says:

    Indeed, a mixed solution seems best. The most sensible way forward is a Job Guarantee backed up by a Basic Income – not Universal. Making it universal negates its value as I think I’ve made clear in previous comments – you’re just priming an already iniquitous system. A BI safety net cannot be paid at the living wage rate of the JG for obvious reasons.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      That ‘obvious reason’ being that people could no longer be starved into selling their labour for a minimum income.

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