Universal basic income (UBI), also called unconditional basic income, citizen's basic income, basic income guarantee, basic living stipend, guaranteed annual income, universal income security program or universal demogrant, is a sociopolitical financial transfer concept in which all citizens of a given population regularly receive a legally stipulated and equal financial grant paid by the government, unconditionally.
- Basic income grants freedom and security without strings attached. It automatically supplements low wages without bureaucracy or complex wage subsidies.
- Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott, The Stakeholder Society (1999)
- With a basic income, more people can choose for themselves whether to work full-time or part-time, making their own tradeoffs between more money and more leisure.
- Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott, The Stakeholder Society (1999)
- The economic impact of the UBI together with the three tax changes in the US would be roughly as follows. First, bank deposits from UBI would increase significantly. Experience says that low-income beneficiaries would first pay off their high-cost credit card loans and student loans (though maybe not all at once). Money left over after that would be spent on household goods and services... Private debt would fall, but overall the government debt might increase equally, perhaps by US$500 billion per annum... UBI would actually cut some existing government costs, both for targeted welfare services that would become redundant, and even for prisons and police. Higher personal incomes available to spend on goods and services would also generate more tax revenues for the government. It is unclear how much would be added to the current intake, probably less than the net cost of the UBI. But the net deficit at the end of the day might be quite small or even non-existent.
A viable democratic social system must not allow a "winner takes all" approach... It is time to consider another way of getting money into the system, without funnelling it directly through the banks to the wealthy....
- Robert Ayres, in How Universal Basic Income could save capitalism, Forbes Asia, (28 Aug 2020)
- Unless we abandon the work ethic of another era, ... lives may be wasted because of blind insistence that everyone must have a "job" even if the job is useless.
- Pierre Berton, The Smug Minority (1968)
- The State ... should not stifle incentive, opportunity, responsibility; in establishing a national minimum, it should leave room and encouragement for voluntary action by each individual to provide more than that minimum for himself and his family.
- "Jobs for every American" is doomed to failure because of modern automation and production. We ought to recognize it and create an income-maintenance system so every single American has the dignity and the wherewithal for shelter, basic food, and medical care. I’m talking about welfare for all.
'Suppose there were a man, a slave, a labourer, getting up before you and going to bed after you, willingly doing whatever has to be done, well-mannered, pleasant-spoken, working in your presence. And he might think, ... "I ought to do something meritorious. Suppose I were to shave off my hair and beard, don yellow robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness!" And before long, he does so. And he, having gone forth might dwell, restrained in body, speech and thought, satisfied with the minimum of food and clothing, content, in solitude. And then if people were to announce to you: "Sire, you remember that slave who worked in your presence, and who shaved off his hair and beard and went forth into homelessness?" ... Would you then say: "That man must come back and be a slave and work for me as before?"'
'No indeed, Lord. For we should pay homage to him, we should rise and invite him and press him to receive from us robes, food, lodging, medicines for sickness and requisites, and make arrangements for his proper protection.'
- If you read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), Article 25, it says people have rights to adequate food, nutrition, health, employment, security and so on. Those are minimal rights. Any society ought to guarantee that. Well, one way to guarantee that would be through a socially-acceptable form of basic income.
- Noam Chomsky, Public interview on Media, NATO, ISIS, Free Trade Agreements & Humanity by acTVism Munich, 12:26 (19 April 2015)
- The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play. That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system.
- Arthur C. Clarke, interview with Los Angeles Free Press, pp. 42–43, 47 (25 April 1969)
- We can make this step forward in our evolutionary advance only when we create right human relationships. That is the next spiritual ideal to be achieved by humanity. The first step is the sharing of the world's resources, because if we do not do this we will destroy ourselves. It is as simple as that.
- ~ Benjamin Creme quoted in Economic injustice and social upheaval: Is sharing the answer?, Share International (July/August 1997)
- I'm always concerned about, more than anything else, the waste of human potential. ... So much intelligence is wasted from poverty. People who simply don't have the time, the space to use their imaginations. They can't be creative, because to be creative requires that, for a little while at least, you let go of the basic concerns of staying alive—you can't really be creative if survival is the primary topic on your mind. And so I've been thinking about that for a long time, thinking how do we utilize the cumulative intelligence and creativity of people? And recently I heard of ... a very simple idea, ... which is: give everyone some money every week. No matter how rich they are, how poor they are, just make sure that there's a basic income level beyond which people don't fall. ... I like the idea that it says we believe that all people are potentially creative and that they should be given the chance to express that.
- If you can provide a mechanism where anybody can try any commercial idea without risking becoming homeless and indebted, more people will innovate and take risks.
- In general, I favor some form of a guaranteed income. I think we're gonna have to move in that direction ultimately, I don't think there's going to be any other choice.
- I think we need to do something different and what I have proposed is that eventually we're going to have to move toward a Guaranteed Income where everybody is guaranteed at least some livable income in our society.
- One obvious way to help fund a citizen's dividend or guaranteed income would be to levy a carbon tax, and therefore you'd be doing something very positive for the environment. ... I think there's a strong relationship between these two issues. On the one hand we have to take on these environmental challenges, on the other hand we've got this unfolding trend going on which is impacting people's income security and those two are directly related: as long as people perceive that they're not secure economically, they're worrying about paying their rent next month, or they're worried about putting food on the table, they're not gonna be able to focus on longer-term environmental issues. And that's one of the big problems we see with climate change: if you look at surveys of the American people, they acknowledge that climate change is an issue, but it's also absolutely at the bottom of their list of priorities, and the top of their list, of course, is jobs, it's incomes. So I really think that if we want to have meaningful progress on environmental issues like climate change we need to put this whole issue of income security and income inequality first-hand at the top.
- We should replace the ragbag of specific welfare programs with a single comprehensive program of income supplements in cash [which] would provide an assured minimum to all persons in need, regardless of the reasons for their need, while doing as little harm as possible to their character, their independence, or their incentives to better their own conditions. ... A negative income tax provides comprehensive reform which would do more efficiently and humanely what our present welfare system does so inefficiently and inhumanely.
- Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, p. 192 (1962)
- A guaranteed income ... could for the first time free man from the threat of starvation, and thus make him truly free and independent economically and psychologically. ... People would no longer learn to be afraid, if they did not have to fear for their bread.
- Erich Fromm, The Psychological Aspects of the Guaranteed Income, in "The Guaranteed Income", ed. Robert Theobald (1966)
- A guaranteed income would not only establish freedom as a reality rather than a slogan; it would also establish a principle deeply rooted in Western religious and humanist traditions: man has the right to live, regardless! This right to live —to have food, shelter, medical care, education, etc.— is an intrinsic human right that cannot be restricted by any condition, not even the one that the individual must be socially "useful."
- Erich Fromm, The Psychological Aspects of the Guaranteed Income, in "The Guaranteed Income", ed. Robert Theobald (1966)
- We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
- Those in supreme power, politically and economically, aren't yet convinced that our Planet Earth has anywhere nearly enough life support for all humanity.
They assume it has to be either you or me, that there is not enough for both. Those with financial advantage reason that selfishness is necessary and fortify themselves even further... Neither the great political or financial powers of the world nor the population in general realize that the engineering-chemical-electronic revolution now makes it possible to produce many more technical devices with ever less material.
We can now take care of everybody at a higher standard of living than anybody has ever known. It does not have to be "you or me," so selfishness is unnecessary and war is obsolete. This has never been done before.
Only twelve years ago technology reached the point where this could be done. Since then it has made it ever so much easier to do.
This is not a visible revolution and it is not political. You’re dealing with the invisible world of technology.
- There is no single cure for poverty, but we should not, in our sophistication, be afraid of the obvious ... We need to consider the one prompt and effective solution for poverty, which is to provide everyone with a minimum income.
- John Kenneth Galbraith, The Starvation of our Cities, The Progressive (December 1966); reprinted in A View from the Stands, pp. 19–25, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (1986)
- Everybody should be guaranteed a decent basic income. A rich country such as the U.S. can well afford to keep everybody out of poverty. Some, it will be said, will seize upon the income and won’t work. So it is now with more limited welfare, as it is called. Let us accept some resort to leisure by the poor as well as by the rich.
- The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind, the work which extends knowledge and increases power, and enriches literature, and elevates thought, is not done to secure a living. It is not the work of slaves, driven to their task either by the lash of a master or by animal necessities. It is the work of men who perform it for its own sake, and not that they may get more to eat or drink, or wear, or display. In a state of society where want was abolished, work of this sort would be enormously increased.
- When the production process demands less work and distributes less and less wages, it gradually becomes obvious that the right to an income can no longer be reserved for those who have a job; nor, most importantly, can the level of incomes be made to depend on the quantity of work furnished by each person. Hence the idea of guaranteeing an income to every citizen which is not linked to work, or the quantity of work done.
- If you provide a basic income, you send a powerful message: nobody wants to just sit there and do nothing, we trust you to find a valuable occupation. The idea of morality of work is one of the most insidious tools in the hands of power, and increases the bullshit jobs phenomenon.
- David Graeber, in Can debt catalyse the next global rebellion? An interview with David Graeber by Arthur De Grave (9 October 2013)
- Throughout most of recorded history, the only people who actually did wage labor were slaves. ... It’s only now that we think of wage labor and slavery as opposite to one another.
- David Graeber, in Why America’s favorite anarchist thinks most American workers are slaves by Paul Solman (17 April 2014)
- It's as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working.
- The very nature of work will change. The governments may have to consider stronger social safety nets, and eventually universal basic income.
- António Guterres, Secretary-General Addresses General Debate, 73rd Session of the General Assembly of the UN, 15:25, (25 September 2018)
- And the biggest question mark of all is whether, at long last, robots and artificial intelligence really will make large numbers of people completely unemployable. If human labor is less needed in the future, that in principle is excellent news: a paradise of robotic servants awaits us. But our economies have always relied on the idea that people provide for themselves by selling their labor. If the robots make that impossible, then societies will simply come apart unless we reinvent the welfare state. Not all economists think that’s worth worrying about just yet. But those who do are reviving an idea that dates back to Thomas More’s 1516 book Utopia: a universal basic income. The idea still seems utopian, in the sense of fantastically unrealistic. Could we really imagine a world in which everyone gets a regular cash handout, enough to meet their basic needs, no questions asked? Some evidence suggests it’s worth considering. From 1974 to 1979, the idea was tried in a small Canadian town, Dauphin, in Manitoba. For five years, thousands of Dauphin’s poorest residents got monthly checks funded jointly by the provincial and federal governments. And it turns out that guaranteeing people an income had interesting effects. Fewer teenagers dropped out of school. Fewer people were hospitalized with mental health problems. And hardly anyone gave up work. New trials are under way to see if the same thing happens elsewhere. It would, of course, be enormously expensive. Suppose you gave every American adult $12,000 a year. That would cost 70 percent of the entire federal budget. It seems impossibly radical. But then, impossibly radical things do sometimes happen, and quickly. In the 1920s, not a single U.S. state offered old-age pensions; by 1935, Frances Perkins had rolled out Social Security across the nation.
- Tim Harford, Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern World
- The problem isn't that we have some inequality. Some inequality is necessary for a high-functioning capitalist democracy. The problem is that inequality is at historic highs today and it's getting worse every day. And if wealth, power, and income continue to concentrate at the very tippy top, our society will change from a capitalist democracy to a neo-feudalist rentier society like 18th-century France. That was France before the revolution and the mobs with the pitchforks. So I have a message for my fellow plutocrats and zillionaires and for anyone who lives in a gated bubble world: Wake up. Wake up. It cannot last. Because if we do not do something to fix the glaring economic inequities in our society, the pitchforks will come for us, for no free and open society can long sustain this kind of rising economic inequality.
All highly prosperous capitalist democracies are characterized by massive investments in the middle class and the infrastructure that they depend on.
- If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.
- Stephen Hawking, quoted in "Stephen Hawking Says We Should Really Be Scared Of Capitalism, Not Robots" Huffington Post (8 October 2015)
- There can be no doubt that some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing, sufficient to preserve health and the capacity to work, can be assured to everybody.
- The assurance of a certain minimum income for everyone, or a sort of floor below which nobody need fall even when he is unable to provide for himself, appears not only to be a wholly legitimate protection against a risk common to all, but a necessary part of the Great Society in which the individual no longer has specific claims on the members of the particular small group into which he was born.
- I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective – the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a new widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, p. 162 (1967)
- A host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security. The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands, when he has the assurance that his income is stable and certain, and when he knows that he has the means to seek self-improvement. Personal conflicts between husband, wife, and children will diminish when the unjust measurement of human worth on a scale of dollars is eliminated.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, p. 164 (1967)
- There is nothing except shortsightedness to prevent us from guaranteeing an annual minimum – and livable – income for every American family.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? p. 189 (1967)
- That's why I talk about basic income ... there has to be a stronger social safety net because when people don't have options, they're going to make bad choices. Let's have better choices on the table.
- Naomi Klein in Naomi Klein on Cause of Climate Crisis: "Capitalism Is Stupid" by Sarah Jaffe (24 September 2014)
- I once heard someone defend that belief by declaring that "human nature is to do as little as necessary." This prejudice is refuted not just by a few studies but the entire branch of psychology dealing with motivation. Normally, it's hard to stop happy, satisfied people from trying to learn more about themselves and the world, or from trying to do a job of which they can feel proud.
- Alfie Kohn, Unconditional Parenting (2006)
- If the picture I’ve drawn is at all right, the only way we could have anything resembling a middle-class society — a society in which ordinary citizens have a reasonable assurance of maintaining a decent life as long as they work hard and play by the rules — would be by having a strong social safety net, one that guarantees not just health care but a minimum income, too.
- We need to change the fundamentals of our society. We must move from a wealth-based civilization to one that is life-affirming—an ecological civilization. Without this Great Transition, we are leaving future generations to face the horrors of a collapsing civilization on a devastated planet. Can we transition rapidly enough? And can the transition occur without the old civilization collapsing catastrophically around us? Given this context, I have been surprised by how much the discussion of a universal basic income sounds like arguing how to stack the deck chairs on the Titanic... In my view, the fundamental issues need to be: Does UBI help with the process of transforming civilization from within?
- Jeremy Lent in A Cornerstone of a Moral Economy, Great Transition Initiative, GTI Forum (November 2020).
- A full-fledged UBI — one that unconditionally provides every person with enough income to meet their basic needs—would fundamentally alter the paradigm of capitalism that has locked workers into the dominant system ever since its inception. Capitalism has endured by commoditizing people’s lives, forcing them to sell the bulk of their available time and energy, or else face destitution and starvation. A true UBI would transform the relationship between labor and capital and weaken the power of the wealthy elite to control the population.
- Computers and robots replace humans in the exercise of mental functions in the same way as mechanical power replaced them in the performance of physical tasks. As time goes on, more and more complex mental functions will be performed by machines. Any worker who now performs his task by following specific instructions can, in principle, be replaced by a machine. This means that the role of humans as the most important factor of production is bound to diminish—in the same way that the role of horses in agricultural production was first diminished and then eliminated by the introduction of tractors.
- Wassily Leontief, "National perspective: The definition of problem and opportunity", in: National Academies, The Long-term Impact of Technology on Employment and Unemployment: A National Academy of Engineering Symposium, p. 3. (30 June 1983)
- The most skilfully combined, and with the greatest foresight of objections, of all the forms of Socialism, is that commonly known as Fourierism. This system does not contemplate the abolition of private property, nor even of inheritance; on the contrary, it avowedly takes into consideration, as an element in the distribution of the produce, capital as well as labour. ... In the distribution, a certain minimum is ... assigned for the subsistence of every member of the community, whether capable or not of labour.
- Since the state must necessarily provide subsistence for the criminal poor while undergoing punishment, not to do the same for the poor who have not offended is to give a premium on crime.
- John Stuart Mill, 'Principles of Political Economy (1848), Book V, Chapter XI, §13
- The State owes all its citizens a secure subsistence, food, suitable clothes and a way of life that does not damage their health.
- This method of dealing with thieves is both unjust and undesirable. As a punishment, it's too severe, and as a deterrent, it's quite ineffective. Petty larceny isn't bad enough to deserve the death penalty. And no penalty on earth will stop people from stealing, if it's their only way of getting food. In this respect, you English, like most other nations, remind me of these incompetent schoolmasters, who prefer caning their pupils to teaching them. Instead of inflicting these horrible punishments, it would be far more to the point to provide everyone with some means of livelihood, so that nobody's under the frightful necessity of becoming, first a thief, and then a corpse.
- I want to dismantle all the bureaucracies that dole out income transfers, whether they be public housing benefits or Social Security or corporate welfare, and use the money they spend to provide everyone over the age of 21 with a guaranteed income, deposited electronically every month into a bank account.
- Charles Murray, in 'The Bell Curve' 20 years later: A Q&A with Charles Murray by Natalie Goodnow (16 October 2014)
- Ultimately, we will have to have some sort of Universal Basic Income. I don't think we're going to have a choice.
- I propose a new approach that will make it more attractive to go to work than to go on welfare, and will establish a nationwide minimum payment to dependent families with children. I propose that the Federal government pay a basic income to those American families who cannot care for themselves in whichever State they live. ... I propose that we make available an addition to the incomes of the "working poor," to encourage them to go on working, and to eliminate the possibility of making more from welfare than from wages. We could adopt a "guaranteed minimum income for everyone", which would appear to wipe out poverty overnight. It would also wipe out the basic economic motivation for work, and place an enormous strain on the industrious to pay for the leisure of the lazy. Or, we could adopt a totally new approach to welfare, designed to assist those left far behind the national norm, and provide all with the motivation to work and a fair share of the opportunity to train.
- Artificial intelligence is here and it is accelerating, and you're going to have driverless cars, and you're going to have more and more automated services, and that's going to make the job of giving everybody work that is meaningful tougher, and we're going to have to be more imaginative, and the pact of change is going to require us to do more fundamental reimagining of our social and political arrangements, to protect the economic security and the dignity that comes with a job. It's not just money that a job provides; it provides dignity and structure and a sense of place and a sense of purpose. And so we're going to have to consider new ways of thinking about these problems, like a universal income, review of our workweek, how we retrain our young people, how we make everybody an entrepreneur at some level. But we're going to have to worry about economics if we want to get democracy back on track.
- Men did not make the earth... It is the value of the improvements only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property. ... Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds.
- I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable in consequence of it. But it is impossible to enjoy affluence with the felicity it is capable of being enjoyed, while so much misery is mingled in the scene.
- There are, in every country, some magnificent charities established by individuals. It is, however, but little that any individual can do, when the whole extent of the misery to be relieved is considered. He may satisfy his conscience, but not his heart. He may give all that he has, and that all will relieve but little. It is only by organizing civilization upon such principles as to act like a system of pulleys, that the whole weight of misery can be removed.
- Separate an individual from society, and give him an island or a continent to possess, and he cannot acquire personal property. He cannot be rich. So inseparably are the means connected with the end, in all cases, that where the former do not exist the latter cannot be obtained. All accumulation, therefore, of personal property, beyond what a man's own hands produce, is derived to him by living in society; and he owes on every principle of justice, of gratitude, and of civilization, a part of that accumulation back again to society from whence the whole came.
- Despotic government supports itself by abject civilization, in which debasement of the human mind, and wretchedness in the mass of the people, are the chief criterions. Such governments consider man merely as an animal; that the exercise of intellectual faculty is not his privilege; that he has nothing to do with the laws but to obey them; and they politically depend more upon breaking the spirit of the people by poverty, than they fear enraging it by desperation.
- An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot; it will succeed where diplomatic management would fall: it is neither the Rhine, the Channel, nor the ocean that can arrest its progress: it will march on the horizon of the world, and it will conquer.
- There shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum. ... as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property.
- It is proposed that the payments ... be made to every person, rich or poor ... because it is in lieu of the natural inheritance, which, as a right, belongs to every man, over and above property he may have created, or inherited from those who did.
- Is this not utopian? Of course it is, in the sense in which ... the social security system was utopian before Bismarck put together its first building blocks.
- People should receive an income without conditions attached... It's a fragment of the massive inheritance we owe to nature, to previous generations, to technological progress, to the know-how, and all these gifts which we receive from nature, and the past.
- The coming age of the machine is part of a new time, and offers unprecedented possibilities to re-design the way we live. Technological innovation will, we are told, destroy more jobs than it creates. This will liberate human beings from lives of drudgery, allowing time to explore life, be creative and collectively redefine what civilization can be. But, as Yanis Varoufakis, Professor of Economic Theory at the University of Athens, makes clear, in order for everyone to benefit from these opportunities, “every citizen must be granted property rights over part of the wealth that the machines produce”. This requires a new approach to how we think about the economy and the way it operates.
- The present model – while it can boast of successes – is ill-equipped to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the time, and must go. Materialistic values are built into the system: selfishness, desire and excess promoted, and (speaking generally throughout) while philanthropy is part of some corporate strategies, presented with the choice of saving lives but losing money, administrators side with the money. Fundamental change has been needed for some time. The advance of automation adds one more imperative to the process. A new, sustainable, humane economic model is required, worthy of the 21st Century and beyond.
The revolution in work requires an evolution in living: a new approach, in which the acknowledgment that humanity is One is primary. We are brothers and sisters of One humanity; the systems that govern our lives should be based on and encourage the realization ofthis fact. Sharing as a principle that animates human affairs naturally follows such an understanding and when pragmatically applied will allow everyone tolive dignified lives free from fear of poverty. Everyone is entitled to the means required to meet their needs, irrespective of whether they have a job and income or are unable to secure either….
- A minimal guarantee with regards to income seems to me as almost inevitable.
- Since the advances in technology are going to mean fewer and fewer jobs in the market economy, the only effective way to ensure those permanently displaced by machinery share the benefits of increased productivity is to provide some kind of government-guaranteed income. ... With guaranteed income independent of their jobs, workers would be more free to set their own schedules and adapt to changing conditions. That adaptability would in turn allow greater flexibility for employers, plus many benefits for society as a whole.
- True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." ... we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
- No man can be a good citizen unless he has a wage more than sufficient to cover the bare cost of living, and hours of labor short enough so that after his day's work is done he will have time and energy to bear his share in the management of the community, to help in carrying the general load.
- A certain small income, sufficient for necessaries, should be secured to all, whether they work or not.
- This sort of thing, is the result of regarding the virtue of hard work as an end in itself, rather than as a means to a state of affairs in which it is no longer needed.
- So long as you have a Congress dominated by big money, I can guarantee you that the discussion about universal basic income is going to go nowhere in a hurry.
- If we can develop a strong grassroots movement which says that every man, woman and child in this country is entitled to a minimum standard of living—is entitled to health care, is entitled to education, is entitled to housing—then we can succeed. We are living in the richest country in the history of the world, yet we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country and millions of people are struggling to put food on the table. It is my absolute conviction that everyone in this country deserves a minimum standard of living and we've got to go forward in the fight to make that happen.
- There must be a guarantee that people receive what they need in order to live a dignified life.
- I do [support a UBI], but that is not where we are. I think that is a very correct idea... that’s kind of a step too far right now for the United States.
- I think the fundamental issue that has to be dealt with is that technology is not a bad thing in itself. But technology cannot simply be used by the owners of the technology, it’s got to be used to benefit all of our people. So if we replace a dangerous job with a machine, that’s a good thing. That doesn’t mean you simply displace the worker and throw him or her out on the street, and that raises the question of basic income for everybody and so forth. It is an issue that has not gotten the attention it deserves, but it’s hovering in front of us and we have to deal with it.
- Bernie Sanders, Town Hall with John Conyers at Fellowship Chapel Church in Detroit, Michigan (22 August 2017)
- All the politicians want to talk about jobs. They want to say we need jobs. People don't want a "job". They want the stuff that they get because they have a job. If they can have the stuff and skip the job, most people would do that. That's why people look forward to retirement, because they don't have to work anymore. So we don't want to create jobs, we really want to eliminate jobs and create leisure.
- If one machine can cut necessary human labor by half, why make half of the workforce redundant, rather than employing the same number for half the time? This would be possible if the gains from automation were not mostly seized by the rich and powerful, but were distributed fairly instead.
- We advocate a Universal Basic Income, received by all citizens on an unconditional basis: that is, detached from the labor market. This offers a choice between work and leisure. To offer such a choice is both a fruit of an affluent society and a solution to the problem of technological unemployment.
- As a technologist, I see the trends, and I see that automation inevitably is going to mean fewer and fewer jobs. And if we do not find a way to provide a basic income for people who have no work, or no meaningful work, we’re going to have social unrest that could get people killed. When we have increasing production—year after year after year—some of that needs to be reinvested in society. It doesn’t need to be consistently concentrated in these venture-capital funds and things like that. I’m not a communist, a socialist or a radical. But these issues have to be addressed.
- There is no evidence whatsoever that a basic income would reduce work and labour. The evidence is strong that it would do the reverse. What we have found in the pilots is that people with basic security work more and work more productively.
- Imagine if the government provided a basic minimum income, like Richard Nixon once proposed. ... Suddenly having to quit your job would no longer be such a huge leap — there’d be a real social safety net to catch you. ... If governments really want to promote startups and the economic innovation they bring, ... they need to start rebuilding the social safety net, so that their citizens know that if they go out on a limb and try something risky, someone will be there to catch them if things don’t work out.
- The principle of an economic floor under each individual must be established. It would apply equally to every member of society and carry with it no connotation of personal inadequacy or implication that an undeserving income was being received from an overgenerous government.
- Robert Theobald, Free Men and Free Markets, p. 146 (1963)
- We will need to adopt the concept of an absolute constitutional right to an income.
- Robert Theobald, Free Men and Free Markets, p. 184 (1963)
- For perhaps the first time in history, we have the resources, the know-how and the technology to make starvation and dependency relics of the past. But do we have the will?
- Now what happens then when you introduce technology into production? You produce enormous quantities of goods by technological methods, but at the same time you put people out of work. You can say, "Oh but it always creates more jobs. There will always be more jobs." Yes, but lots of them will be futile jobs. They will be jobs making every kind of frippery and unnecessary contraption, and one will also at the same time have to beguile the public into feeling that they need and want these completely unnecessary things that aren't even beautiful. And therefore an enormous amount of nonsense employment and busy work, bureaucratic and otherwise, has to be created in order to keep people working, because we believe, as good Protestants, that the devil finds work for idle hands to do.
- The basic principle of the whole thing has been completely overlooked, that the purpose of the machine is to make drudgery unnecessary. And if we don't allow it to achieve its purpose, we live in a constant state of self-frustration. So then, if a given manufacturer automates his plant and dismisses his labor force, and they have to operate on a very much diminished income (say, some sort of dole), the manufacturer suddenly finds that the public does not have the wherewithal to buy his products. And therefore he has invested in this expensive automotive machinery to no purpose. And therefore obviously the public has to be provided with the means of purchasing what the machines produce. People say, "That's not fair. Where's the money going to come from? Who's gonna pay for it?" The answer is the machine. The machine pays for it, because the machine works for the manufacturer and for the community.
- Theobald points out that every individual should be assured of a minimum income. Now, you see, that absolutely horrifies most people. "Say, all these wastrels, these people who are out of a job because they're really lazy, see... ah, giving them money?" Yeah, because otherwise the machines can't work. They come to a blockage. This was the situation of the Great Depression, when here we were still, in a material sense, a very rich country, with plenty of fields and farms and mines and factories... everything going. But suddenly, because of a psychological hang-up, because of a mysterious mumbo-jumbo about the economy, about the banking, we were all miserable and poor—starving in the midst of plenty. Just because of a psychological hang-up. And that hang-up is that money is real, and that people ought to suffer in order to get it. But the whole point of the machine is to relieve you of that suffering. It is ingenuity. You see, we are psychologically back in the 17th century, and technically in the 20th. And here comes the problem. So what we have to find out how to do is to change the psychological attitude to money and to wealth, and furthermore to pleasure, and furthermore to the nature of work.
- Universal Basic Income is not socialism. It's capitalism where income doesn't start at zero. Markets and businesses function much better when people have money to spend. If we can all participate in the market, then markets become much better for all of us. What's bad for markets is when consumers don't have money to spend. So this is very pro-growth, pro-market, and pro-consumer. It's the next form of capitalism. It's the trickel up economy.
- If we expand the notion of work, which is something that a universal basic income would help us do, it would begin to compensate parents and caregivers; it would begin to recognize different forms of work.
- Andrew Yang, in Is our economy totally screwed? Andrew Yang and I debate, The Ezra Klein Show, 43:59 (20 August 2018)
- [A universal basic income] would be one of the greatest catalysts to entrepreneurship and creativity we have ever seen, and I've worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years. We have to put more Americans in position to do work that they value intrinsically, instead of as a necessary means to survival.
- Andrew Yang, in Is our economy totally screwed? Andrew Yang and I debate, The Ezra Klein Show, 47:54 (20 August 2018)
- If you care about children, then [UBI] is the best way to make household and families stronger; if you care about women and economic empowerment, this is a way to make it so that women can walk away from abusive or exploitative employers; if you care about communities of color, they would benefit much more proportionally from a thousand dollars a month than other communities, because they have lower access to various jobs and opportunities. This is the way that we can reform society in a way that actually serves all of our goals, our collective goals. And at least one study showed that if you would alleviate child poverty, you would increase GDP by 700 billion dollars, because of better health outcomes, educational outcomes, higher worker productivity, better mental health... We have to start investing in our people, intrinsically.
- Andrew Yang, in Is our economy totally screwed? Andrew Yang and I debate, The Ezra Klein Show, 53:30 (20 August 2018)
- We have to say "we are the citizens and owners and stakeholders of this society, we can vote ourselves a dividend, and it's up to us to build an economy that serves us, because right now fundamentally, this economy is not designed to serve human beings. It is designed to serve capital efficiency. And for a long time, that also served human beings, but increasingly it's going to be that having lots of humans working for a company is irrelevant, or even negative, for corporate success. And we can see this by the fact that 94% of the new jobs created since 2005 to 2015, were gig economy, temp and contractor jobs, because the employer said "you know what? I'd rather not have a full-time employee, I'd rather not pay health care benefits", and that's why so many Americans right now are in that position. So we have to start recognizing that the economy is changing for good, and that it's up to us, the citizens of this country, to rewrite the rules the economy to serve us. We have to make the market serve us, and not have us all be slaves the market, because the market is not going to care one whit about us increasingly over time.
- Andrew Yang, in Is our economy totally screwed? Andrew Yang and I debate, The Ezra Klein Show, 53:30 (20 August 2018)
- The United States should provide an annual income of $12,000 for each American aged 18–64, with the amount indexed to increase with inflation. It would require a constitutional supermajority to modify or amend. ... The poverty line is currently $11,770. We would essentially be bringing all Americans to the poverty line and alleviate gross poverty.
- Too many people ... haven't had the chance to pursue their dreams because they didn't have a cushion to fall back on if they failed... We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.
See also edit
- Distribution of wealth
- Income distribution
- List of countries by distribution of wealth
- List of countries by income equality
- Poverty reduction
- Robin Hood tax
- Social inequality
- Wealth concentration
- Wealth distrubution
- Wealth tax
- To each according to one's needs