What Could We Do Instead?: Alternatives to a UBI (And Why They’re Not As Great)

Obviously we support a full UBI – that’s why we started this campaign – but it’s undeniable that it’s a radical policy, so people have suggested alternatives which might be more palatable. We thought we’d take a look at a couple of these and why they might not be as good.

The first of these is very straightforward; a Partial Basic Income. This works much like a normal UBI in that it’s a universal sum transferred to all citizens on a regular basis, the only difference being that it’s not enough to cover basic living costs.

The most famous example of an existing partial basic income is the Alaska Permanent Fund which gives all the citizens of Alaska $1000-$2000 a year, as a citizen’s dividend funded by oil revenues. As good as that sounds it wouldn’t end people’s dependence on work for survival, so it defeats one of the main purposes of a UBI.

Another idea that’s been suggested by some is a targeted basic income. This is different from a UBI because it lacks the Universality. It would involve giving a basic income to members of a specific group, the most common candidate being women as they are often associated with socially-beneficial unpaid work.

Although targeting by demographics would likely just reinforce social stereotypes and norms, the idea of giving a basic income to people doing unpaid work is interesting. However, once again, this does not remove people’s dependence on work and the bureaucratic hell of having to prove what you’re doing and justify why it’s worthwhile seems both exhausting and costly.

Ultimately we think a full UBI is worth fighting for but what do you think of these suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!

JD

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