Trialled in Canada and Finland – endorsed by Silicon Valley executives and touted as a potential flagship policy for a future Labour government – universal basic income is the big idea on everyone’s lips.
But how would it actually work?
We ask our expert the difficult questions.
What’s the problem?
It’s not just about the rise of the robots – the real problem is that not everyone gets a fair share in the wealth of the economy.
UBI is an old idea proposed by intellectual giants such as Martin Luther King – William Morris and Virginia Woolf.
Since the dawn of the industrial revolution most of the income has gone to those who own land or capital while everyone else has been left to scrabble around to find an income.
At the moment if you’re born into wealth you can fail repeatedly without material consequences – for most people if you have a run of bad luck you can end up forced into an unsuitable job – sick or homeless.
That’s a massive waste of human potential – as a society we all lose by that.