Tomorrow's Economy

Europe’s new social reality: the case against UBI

16 February 2017

If one factor explains Benoît Hamon’s insurgent victory in France’s Socialist party presidential primary it is the attention and support he gained by enthusiastically placing the idea of a universal basic income (UBI) at the centre of his campaign.

Daniel Sage
Patrick Diamond

As the centre left searches for a big idea that can capture the public imagination, UBI has rapidly become widely fashionable.

Experiments in different form of a basic income are also either running or being considered in Finland, the Netherlands and Scotland. In the UK, Labour recently announced a plan to ‘investigate’ basic income.

What has for centuries been an outpost of radical, even obscure, philosophical and economic debates could soon become a reality. So has the time finally come for a universal basic income?

In their latest Policy Network paper on ‘Europe’s new social reality’, produced with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (Feps), Daniel Sage and Patrick Diamond make a determined argument that as policy answer to profound challenges around the future of both work and welfare UBI is in fact unclear and unpersuasive.

Photo credit: Russell Shaw Higgs / CC 2.0