Who Really Stands to Win from Universal Basic Income?

Un article en anglais de Nathan Heller pour le New Yorker propose un tour d’horizon de la dynamique actuelle autour du revenu de base : enjeux, expérimentations, ouvrages…

Recently, a resurrection has occurred. Guaranteed income, reconceived as basic income, is gaining support across the spectrum, from libertarians to labor leaders. Some see the system as a clean, crisp way of replacing gnarled government bureaucracy. Others view it as a stay against harsh economic pressures now on the horizon. The questions that surround it are the same ones that Nixon faced half a century ago. Will the public stand for such a bold measure—and, if so, could it ever work?


The realization that a universal basic income is useful but insufficient for the country’s long-term socioeconomic health—that you can’t just wind up a machine and let it run—may cause attrition among some supporters who admire the model precisely because it seems to mean that no one will have to deal with stuff like this again. It may also dampen the scheme’s sunny political prospects, since a healthy U.B.I. would have to be seated among other reforms, the sum of which would not be cost- or interest-neutral. This doesn’t mean that it’s not a practical idea. It means only that it’s not a magic spell.


Illustration : © Anna Parini.