With the accelerating onset of automation, the loss of manufacturing jobs in the west, a spiralling rise in income inequality, and the obvious failure of our welfare systems to provide those at the bottom of the economic ladder with a clear path out of poverty, many people are looking for alternative approaches to meeting people's needs and guaranteeing every person with a dignified standard of living.
Most prominent among these approaches is the Universal Basic Income (UBI) or Basic Income Guarantee (BIG). The idea is simple. Each and every citizen will be entitled to a sum of money from the government – regardless of their income or occupation. Not a huge sum of money, but enough to ensure that their basic needs were met and that they wouldn’t go hungry.
Advocates on the left claim it would close the poverty trap where people are deterred from joining the workforce by the potential loss of their benefits, while freeing people from the capitalist mindset where our only role is to produce something that others can consume so that we can consume things that others produce. Advocates on the right claim it will save the market economy from socialism and central planning, while removing the disincentive to work provided by the current welfare state and reduce bureaucracy and government waste by simplifying the complex array of benefits to one single payment.
In this original take on the Universal Basic Income scheme, economist and self-help guru Antony Sammeroff explores the pros and cons of The Basic Income Guarantee and launching into a radical exploration of how we could reform our society to meet everyone's needs and help them reach their grander aspirations.