Universal Basic Income (UBI), a programme in which all adult citizens are given a regular amount of money to spend on what they choose, dominates the debate on the future of social policy. It is based on the idea that in the middle of plenty, millions of people still suffer from unemployment, underemployment, and a lack of means to have a meaningful life, and that a regular grant will provide a basic threshold to guarantee a certain quality of life.
Basic income schemes have already been piloted in Finland, Canada, Los Angeles in the US, and Wales, among others. And many countries have dealt with the social protection gap in hard times by providing temporary cash transfers with no strings attached, as happened in response to COVID-19 in Japan, South Korea and the US.
While arguments still continue over the predicted impact of new digital technologies on employment as a result of increasing automation, there is a pressing crisis that also calls for radical changes in social policy: the climate emergency.
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