Universal Basic Income

From the Ethics Centre: A quick review of the topic of Universal Basic Income (UBI) – the idea of a regular and liveable payment with no strings attached – no exchange of labour or goods.

The idea of a UBI has deep historical roots. In Thomas More’s Utopia, published in 1516, he writes that instead of punishing a poor person who steals bread, “it would be far more to the point to provide everyone with some means of livelihood, so that nobody’s under the frightful necessity of becoming, first a thief, and then a corpse”.

Over three hundred years later, John Stuart Mill also supported the concept in Principles of Political Economy, arguing that “a certain minimum [income] assigned for subsistence of every member of the community, whether capable of labour or not” would give the poor an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.

In the 20th century, the UBI gained support from a diverse array of thinkers for very different reasons. Martin Luther King, for instance, saw a guaranteed payment as a way to uphold human rights in the face of poverty, while Milton Friedman understood it as a viable economic alternative to state welfare.

Would a UBI encourage laziness?

Read the answer here: Ethics.org.au/on-ethics/blog/may-2018/ethics-explainer-universal-basic-income

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