Social Europe is an influential blog that some years ago published some articles both for and against Basic Income that Philippe Van Parijs edited into a book. The blog has now returned to the subject with a new post, A European basic income? 

The ethos is now positive rather than somewhere between negative and hesitant as in the past. But note that the basic income proposed does not meet BIEN’s definition, as the payments are tapered above a median income and apparently must be actively applied for by those with incomes above the median: “To discourage the wealthy from actually claiming UBI if they do not need it, starting at the national median income automatic payouts would be tapered at a linear rate with increasing income. In principle, everyone could still claim their UBI regardless, but unclaimed funds would be channelled into the sovereign-wealth fund. Such a universal right to income would be more in line with progressive ideals than a universal income paid out automatically without exceptions.”

An interesting feature of the proposal is the following: “If European progressives choose to embrace UBI, it should be at EU level, administered by the union and paid directly to every adult EU denizen each month. Minors’ caregivers should receive a reduced payout, with the remaining amount accruing to a European sovereign-wealth fund. Part of this accumulated residue would be paid out to individuals as a lump sum of starting capital once they reached maturity, with part retained in the sovereign-wealth fund to help fund the scheme over the long run.”

About Peter Knight

Peter Knight has written 33 articles.