Experiments on basic income encourage asking whether the policy “works” — but whether a basic income “works” might not be the right question to ask. (Originally written for an editorial in USBIG Network NewsFlash.)
The Green Institute, an Australian non-profit organization devoted to education and action concerning green politics, has published a collection of essays on the ideas of universal basic income and a shorter working week (Can Less Work Be More Fair?, December 2016).
We have reason to support a universal basic income over a job guarantee even if we grant that most people would be happier when employed than when not. Two points are key: a UBI does not prevent individuals from working; a UBI, but not a JG, would benefit the minority of individuals who do fare better outside of traditional employment.
Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby, the authors of Only Humans Need Apply, favor a job guarantee (JB) over a universal basic income (UBI). In this first part of a three-part article, I review their main argument, and assess one their central claims: the supposition that joblessness causes people to be less happy (irrespective of income).
An article in The Economist, entitled “Basically Flawed”, argues that UBI is a radical policy that is just too risky to pursue. However, this article understates the potential benefits of UBI–or, perhaps, its moral necessity.
Oxford Fellow Max Harris presents an argument that a universal basic income could contribute to loneliness. But neither the argument as stated, nor its strongest form, give us good reason to reject a UBI.