Topic: Basic Income

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Basic income

Finance & Investment Economics Sociology Sociology/social movements Basic Income Social Work International development

Basic income, also called universal basic income (UBI), citizen's income, citizen's basic income in the United Kingdom, basic income guarantee in the United States and Canada, or basic living stipend or guaranteed annual income or universal demogrant, is a governmental public program for a periodic payment delivered to all on an individual basis without means test or work requirement. The incomes would be:

  • Unconditional: A basic income would vary with age, but with no other conditions. Everyone of the same age would receive the same basic income, whatever their gender, employment status, family structure, contribution to society, housing costs, or anything else.
  • Automatic: Someone's basic income would be automatically paid weekly or monthly into a bank account or similar.
  • Non-withdrawable: Basic incomes would not be means-tested. Whether someone's earnings increase, decrease, or stay the same, their basic income will not change.
  • Individual: Basic incomes would be paid on an individual basis and not on the basis of a couple or household.
  • As a right: Every legal resident would receive a basic income, subject to a minimum period of legal residency and continuing residency for most of the year.

Basic income can be implemented nationally, regionally or locally. An unconditional income that is sufficient to meet a person's basic needs (at or above the poverty line) is sometimes called a full basic income while if it is less than that amount, it is sometimes called partial. A welfare system with some characteristics similar to those of a basic income is a negative income tax in which the government stipend is gradually reduced with higher labour income. Some welfare systems are sometimes regarded as steps on the way to a basic income, but because they have conditionalities attached they are not basic incomes. If they raise household incomes to specified minima they are called guaranteed minimum income systems. For example, Bolsa Família in Brazil is restricted to poor families and the children are obligated to attend school.

Several political discussions are related to the basic income debate. Examples include the debates regarding robotization, artificial intelligence (AI), and the future of work. A key issue in these debates is whether robotisation and AI will significantly reduce the number of available jobs. Basic income often comes up as a proposal in these discussions.

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Economics Basic Income

Degrowth (French: décroissance) is a political, economic, and social movement based on ecological economics, anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist ideas. It is also considered an essential economic strategy responding to the limits-to-growth dilemma (see The Path to Degrowth in Overdeveloped Countries and post-growth). Degrowth thinkers and activists advocate for the downscaling of production and consumption – the contraction of economies – arguing that overconsumption lies at the root of long term environmental issues and social inequalities. Key to the concept of degrowth is that reducing consumption does not require individual martyring or a decrease in well-being. Rather, "degrowthers" aim to maximize happiness and well-being through non-consumptive means—sharing work, consuming less, while devoting more time to art, music, family, nature, culture and community.

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Negative income tax

Economics Basic Income Taxation

In economics, a negative income tax (NIT) is a welfare system within an income tax where people earning below a certain amount receive supplemental pay from the government instead of paying taxes to the government.

Such a system has been discussed by economists but never fully implemented. According to surveys however, the consensus view among economists is that the "government should restructure the welfare system along the lines" of one. It was described by British politician Juliet Rhys-Williams in the 1940s and later by American free-market economist Milton Friedman.

Negative income taxes can implement a basic income or supplement a guaranteed minimum income system.

In a negative income tax system, people earning a certain income level would owe no taxes; those earning more than that would pay a proportion of their income above that level; and those below that level would receive a payment of a proportion of their shortfall, which is the amount their income falls below that level.

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Georgism – Single Tax System

Economics Politics Basic Income Taxation Libertarianism

Georgism, also called geoism and single tax (archaic), is an economic ideology holding that while people should own the value they produce themselves, economic value derived from land (often including natural resources and natural opportunities) should belong equally to all members of society. Developed from the writings of American economist and social reformer Henry George, the Georgist paradigm seeks solutions to social and ecological problems, based on principles of land rights and public finance which attempt to integrate economic efficiency with social justice.

Georgism is concerned with the distribution of economic rent caused by natural monopolies, pollution and the control of commons, including title of ownership for natural resources and other contrived privileges (e.g. intellectual property). Any natural resource which is inherently limited in supply can generate economic rent, but the classical and most significant example of land monopoly involves the extraction of common ground rent from valuable urban locations. Georgists argue that taxing economic rent is efficient, fair and equitable. The main Georgist policy recommendation is a tax assessed on land value. Georgists argue that revenues from a land value tax (LVT) can be used to reduce or eliminate existing taxes (for example, on income, trade, or purchases) that are unfair and inefficient. Some Georgists also advocate for the return of surplus public revenue to the people by means of a basic income or citizen's dividend.

Economists since Adam Smith and David Ricardo have observed that a public levy on land value does not cause economic inefficiency, unlike other taxes. A land value tax also has progressive tax effects. Advocates of land value taxes argue that they would reduce economic inequality, increase economic efficiency, remove incentives to underutilize urban land and reduce property speculation. The philosophical basis of Georgism dates back to several early thinkers such as John Locke, Baruch Spinoza and Thomas Paine, but the concept of gaining public revenues mainly from land and natural resource privileges was widely popularized by Henry George and his first book Progress and Poverty (1879).

Georgist ideas were popular and influential during the late 19th and early 20th century. Political parties, institutions and communities were founded based on Georgist principles during that time. Early devotees of Henry George's economic philosophy were often termed Single Taxers for their political goal of raising public revenue mainly from a land value tax, although Georgists endorsed multiple forms of rent capture (e.g. seigniorage) as legitimate. The term Georgism was invented later and some prefer the term geoism to distinguish their beliefs from those of Henry George.

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