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A UBI may be a good idea – but ...

15 Aug 2017

Strong arguments, both philosophical and practical, can be made for incorporating a UBI into our tax-benefit system. But if our objectives include social security – ensuring an adequate minimum living standard for all and minimising poverty – then we will still need an effective social assistance system sitting alongside it. We don’t need welfare that is run the way it is at present – but we do need welfare and will continue to do so whatever the ‘future of work’ holds. Supporters of the UBI idea should not see this as a failure to grasp the full potential of a UBI, or as an argument against having one; it is simply that the utopian, ‘one ring to rule them all’ versions of the UBI cannot realistically be expected to achieve the multiple goals some claim for them. In particular, they risk doing relatively little to improve poverty, especially among sole parent families.

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