Nick Shaxson ■ Basic income: the world’s simplest plan to end poverty


From an article on Vox, explaining the concept:

“Basic income” is shorthand for a range of proposals that share the idea of giving everyone in a given polity a certain amount of money on a regular basis. A basic income comes with no categorical eligibility requirements; you don’t have to be blind or disabled or unemployed to get it. Everyone gets the same amount by virtue of being a human with material needs that money can help address.

The article is well worth reading, and although this isn’t a core TJN priority (it’s somewhat more of an expenditure thing than a revenue thing), it’s interesting and not a million miles away from our concerns.

There are various forms and adaptations of this general idea up and running already, with some demonstrable successes, such as Brazil’s Bolsa Familia programme. It can have powerful positive impacts on inequality. Money paid directly to citizens is unlikely to get snaffled up by élites and shoveled offshore, before it can be of any productive use. It doesn’t seem to discourage work. And, like most of our priorities, it is an idea that can be (and is) strongly supported by those on both the right and the left of the political spectrum – albeit for often different reasons.

Now read on.

Complete with a tongue-in-cheek sountrack: one of this blogger’s least favourite songs, but hey.

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