Credit to: AT Kearney.


Courtney McCaffrey and others from AT Kearney published an article on the debate around Universal Basic Income (UBI) in markets throughout the world. Politicians, in both Europe and North America, are winning on campaign trails with talk about returning control to the common people from the economic system in the globe.

But one of the big worker displacers is automation and new technologies. Oxford University reported 47% of US jobs will be taken over by automation in the next two decades. A UBI is being offered as an economic buffer for such workplace and technology transitions.

Such a UBI would be universal and unconditional in the application. Past UBI experiments such as Mincome in Canada, projects in Seattle and Denver (USA), and Namibia produced real, positive results empowering those politicians. McCaffrey and her collegues also mention recent major endorsements for UBI, for instance from such luminaries as Elon Musk, Tim O’Reilly, and Marc Andreessen.

Two books are recommended: 1) Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman, and 2) Basic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy by Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght. Other notable cases reported on were Finland, India, and Ontario.

The article discusses pros and cons of UBI, in a general sense. It was noted that citizens with a UBI will spend more time on family and school. The sources of funding for the UBI could be revenues from natural resources and/or more taxes. Some views of critics are following their own political lines, but the major concern revolves around people’s availability to work when they get a UBI covering their basic needs.

Finally, the article summarizes views agains UBI on the political Right and Left. On the Right, the main argument is cost. On the political Left, detractors view UBI as “regressive” because it could dismantle current welfare systems, and that it may not capture different living costs in different areas.


More information at:

McCaffrey, C.R., Toland, T. & Peterson, E.R., “The Best Things in Life Are Free?“, AT Kearney, March 2017