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Is Universal Basic Income a good idea? Show more Show less

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a type of program in which people receive a regular sum of money without the requirement to work for it. Does UBI make sense?
UBI programs can work.
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UBI is simpler to implement than other forms of welfare

Because UBI is unconditional, it requires less testing and monitoring than other programs.

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Conditional welfare programs require administration and monitoring in order to ensure that funds are distributed only to people who qualify. This can sometimes result in the need for elaborate (and expensive) testing and monitoring systems.

The Argument

A variety of different UBI schemes are possible, from using UBI to replace all existing benefit programs to introducing UBI alongside existing benefit programs as a complementary form of assistance. UBI could also be funded in a number of different ways, such as a flat income tax or a more nuanced tax on undesirable socioeconomic outcomes such as pollution or extreme wealth. Regardless of the specific implementation chosen, the administrative overhead normally associated with social programs is minimized for UBI because UBI does not require means testing for eligibility; everyone is eligible by definition, and everyone receives the same amount of funding.

Counter arguments

Implementation of UBI is ultimately dependent on the financial viability of the program, and UBI is not financially viable in any form that would have a significant impact.


Conditional social welfare programs are more difficult to implement because they require testing for eligibility. UBI is unconditional; it does not require means testing.

Rejecting the premises

The difficulty of implementing a social welfare program is not solely determined by the need to assess eligibility.


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This page was last edited on Thursday, 20 Dec 2018 at 06:26 UTC