All the reasons given for a Basic Income are valid, we do need to ensure the safety of every citizen, and free our creativity, and move to a world where technology can be embraced. But money cannot and will not provide social safety.
The the reason why Basic Income won’t work is that it is not human nature. While a Basic/Universal/Citizen Income (BI) looks and feels like a good idea at first, it is Universal Services that deliver all of the benefits attributed to BI.
- Reduce the cost of a basic LIFE to almost zero
- Differentiate, supporting those with greater needs
- Enable “green” investment
- Politically acceptable to all
BI, as proposed by individually-orientated people, is expected to substitute for mutual social responsibility. It is often presented as freeing the individual, but what it aims to do is excuse our social responsibility.
BI, as proposed by socially-orientated people, ignores the nature of economic activity, motivation and budgeting. To provide safety and affordability the BI offer ends up as “Higher taxes, so we can add a little more cash to the welfare benefits system”. Many who support BI also support magic money, recognising that you cannot have one without the other… BI is a dead end.
Or, if you think you have all the arguments for a BI then please consider the following reports and literature:
- this paper by David Piachaud, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics and an associate of CASE.
- this article by John Kay, Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford since 1970, and has held chairs at London Business School, the University of Oxford, and the London School of Economics, a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
- this research by Dr Luke Martinelli, IPR Research Associate
- read this about getting why BI proposals are supported by interests with widely divergent aspirations, by Joe Chrisp a PhD student at the IPR.
- this article about the behavioural effects of BI by Anne Grey for Citizen’s Income Trust (CIT).
- The case against basic income from the Policy Network – and the response from CIT
- this article by Marc Joffe at California Policy Center at George Mason University
- Citizen’s Income: a dead End
- Review of RSA’s UBOF proposal – UBI is difficult
- JRF summary of research commissioned – UBI is not the answer to poverty
- OECD working paper: Mechanics of replacing benefits systems with a basic income
If you were attracted by the idea of a BI, it’s time to change your allegiance to and idea that can and will work: Universal Basic Services.