Showing posts from February, 2021

Let’s have an honest debate about universal basic income

This debate about UBI has recently come alive as governments have moved to deal with the asymmetric effects of COVID-19, with vulnerable groups being particularly affected.  Certainly, many countries are already providing temporary cash relief to the poorest, to limit the consequences of the lockdown, but in many countries the question of what happens afterwards has acquired renewed urgency because of the disproportionate effects on low-skilled workers, and the expectation that the world will remain vulnerable to other viruses in the future and the additional impact of climate change.  The opposition to UBI has several dimensions. For many UBI is seen as unaffordable and thus fiscally irresponsible, particularly against the background of the massive worsening of the public finances which will be a legacy of COVID-19. A second set of factors pertain to the role of incentives: delinking income from work and paying people to “stay at home” is seen as potentially destruc