AUDIO: “Money for Nothing” on BBC Radio 4
Writer Sonia Sodha conducted a podcast about universal basic income for the BBC’s Radio 4, and published a corresponding article, “Is the left’s big new idea a ‘right to be lazy’?”
Certainly, describing UBI as a policy designed to protect the “right to be lazy” is inaccurate, and likely to offend most UBI supporters. However, the content of Sodha’s podcast and article does not depict UBI as a mere means to enable idleness.
On the contrary, Sodha interviews a broad sample of prominent supporters of the policy, and a couple of opponents, revealing that the debate is in fact much more complex. One of her first interviewees, the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, explains how a UBI would permit a shift away from the growth model of the economy. Next, former Labour leader Ed Miliband expresses his concern that the welfare state is old-fashioned and inadequately equipped to deal with the changing tides of work. Similarly, the RSA’s Anthony Painter defends basic income as a necessary buffer against insecure employment. Becca Kirkpatrick, another advocate of UBI, relates an anecdote about her own partner, who’s held back from making a transition to a more fulfilling line of work due to the need to pay the bills. Nick Srnicek, who believes that basic income is needed to empower workers, also discusses related policy options, such as shorter work weeks for the same pay. Rounding out the panel of UBI proponents, Sodha interviews Sam Bowman of the Adam Smith Institute, who lays out a free-market justification for giving money to everyone.
Near the end of the podcast, a few of these UBI proponents have the opportunity to reply to counter-arguments from opponents such as the Labour Party’s Jon Cruddas, who sees basic income as giving up on what the Left is about–the workplace.
Listen to the 30-minute podcast below:
Sonia Sodha, “Money for Nothing“, Analysis, BBC Radio 4; July 17, 2016.
Sonia Sodha, “Is the left’s big new idea a ‘right to be lazy’?” Analysis, BBC Radio 4; July 15, 2016.
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