Universal Basic Income…Come Again?

Graphic of a man in a suit, with an office building for a head, and a dollar bill for a mouth.

This blog will consider the economic and social theories of universal basic income. By approaching the subject in a discursive manner, I aim only to examine the variety of applied or hypothetical arguments for or against this system of distributive cash payments. It will be a personally edifying project, as I know nothing going in. The project will be further limited by my preference for documents that look accessible and fun.

Whatever conclusions I may draw will certainly be irrelevant, given the sheer volume of articles, research papers, and blogs already written about UBI. Therefore, the stakes are low.

Though this blog has been demonstrated to be selfish and inconsequential, UBI represents the most ambitious, poverty-directed, economic policy discussed today. A cursory search shows that this system of wealth redistribution raises questions about the future of welfare, GDP, taxation and government spending, social hierarchies, the nature of work, capitalism, technological progress, education, banking, and you!

The disruptive potentialities of UBI make it great fodder for a blogger (whose father wouldn’t bother.) What is more exciting, however, is the degree to which speculative arguments vary. Some view it has a historical necessity, arising from the contradictions and the material inequalities of capitalism. Whereas, others see UBI as a guaranteed method to subsidize our basest interests. No matter one’s ideological convictions, sometimes, actual trial programs have surprising conclusions.

Illustration By: George Danby