“Universal basic income (UBI), sometimes known as basic income, provides all people of any given nation with a modest monthly or yearly payment, independent of job status, income or any other qualifying conditions,” according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
People’s well-being and poverty reduction are the primary goals of universal basic income.
According to a report published in early 2022, no nations had adopted a fully universal basic income model, however, a few have initiated UBI-like schemes to help the poorest people.
Universal basic income plans vary in their financing sources, the quantity of money they provide, and other aspects.
In the last four decades, numerous nations including Finland, Canada, the United States, and Brazil (see map above it and table at the page bottom for complete list) have explored and debated UBI concepts.
Many governments and private groups have gone on to conduct pilot projects to evaluate the realistic cost of universal basic income, as well as its efficacy in eliminating poverty and its repercussions.
The Basic Income Earth Network (BEIN) is one of several organizations committed to the advocacy and implementation of universal basic income in nations throughout the globe. For the sake of this definition, we’ll look at the following elements of the BIEN definition:
Table of Contents
Five Defining Characteristics of Universal Basic Income (UBI):
- Distributed on a regular basis: Periodically.
- Cash payment: delivered as dollars, not discounts or vouchers
- Individual: given to every adult citizen, not simply every household
- Payable to all citizens, regardless of their financial circumstances
- Unrestricted: there are no restrictions on job status or any other criterion.
The advantages and disadvantages of a basic income for everybody
As with other policies and approaches, there are benefits and cons to implementing universal basic income.
Many UBI pilot projects have boosted school attendance and employment, better community health, and better financial stability without a commensurate rise in undesirable qualities like jobless claims or alcohol consumption, according to supporters.
Additionally, proponents believe that UBI allows students to pursue a degree in a field of passion, rather than a degree that will pay the bills. The government would spend less time managing welfare if payments were automated and eligibility assessments were not required.
Opponents of UBI, on the other hand, claim that a national system could not be sustained without increasing taxes on everyone. UBI does not need evidence of employment or a desire to pursue a job, which may discourage individuals from working.
UBI’s claimed objective of reducing poverty and improving the general quality of life might be scuppered by inflation, which would counteract the benefits of free money.
Experiments with Universal Basic Income have been notable
The United States should implement a universal basic income.
Nearly a dozen pilot initiatives for a universal basic income have taken place in the United States. The Alaska Permanent Fund is the longest-running of these and has given each of its people a share of the state’s oil and gas income (about $1,000-$2,000 each year).
The Freedom Dividend was the campaign platform of Andrew Yang, one of the 2020 presidential candidates that advocated for a universal basic income.
The Freedom Dividend is a response to the rising automation that will certainly take away one in three jobs from American workers in the next ten years.
With his concept, Yang would provide each American adult $1,000 a month ($12,000 a year) in “partial dividends”—enough to assist but not so much that recipients would quit working.
Several states, including Alaska, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and California, have experimented with small-scale basic income schemes in the past.
Norway has implemented a universal basic income.
Norway’s scheme is the closest to universal basic income that exists today. Every person in Norway is guaranteed access to education, health care, and money in the form of social security or benefits as a welfare state.
In order to be eligible for financial aid, beneficiaries must satisfy certain requirements. A few examples include looking for a job and obeying the laws; participating in elections; and paying taxes.
Finland’s Basic Income Guarantee
As part of its 2016 basic income experiment, Finland picked 2,000 jobless persons at random and provided them with a monthly allowance of 560 euros ($640).
Participants said they were healthier and happier despite getting just an extra 50 euros a month above their prior jobless payments. As a bonus, they were spared the constant paperwork required to prove their status for unemployment benefits.
Brazil’s Basic Guaranteed Income
Brazil, more than any other nation, has advocated for a basic income for all citizens.
For the poorest quarter of Brazilian citizens (approximately 25 percent), the Bolsa Familia social program, which is similar to the Universal Basic Income (UBI), provides a monthly stipend equivalent to around 20 percent of the minimum wage.
A truly universal basic income (UBI) has been implemented in Santo Antônio do Pinhal, where citizens who have resided in the city for at least five years get a share of the city’s tax revenue.
The private UBI pilot program in the Quatinga Velho area has been in operation since 2008 and has, according to statistics, resulted in better living circumstances and health as well as improved housing quality and nutrition, especially among children.
|Country||Start Date||End Date||Type||Details|
|Australia||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Belgium||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Brazil||2004||ongoing||Welfare and pilot||Bolsa Família is a welfare program passed in 2004 and implemented in stages, which gives roughly 26% of the population a monthly payment equivalent to just under 1/5 of minimum wage. Surveys indicate the money is spent on (in order of importance) food, school supplies, clothing, and shoes. A second, privately funded pilot project began in Quatinga Velho in 2008. It gives a very small stipend (roughly 5% of minimum salary), and has been cited as improving nutrition, living conditions, housing, and health, especially in children. Finally, the town Santo Antônio do Pinhal uses a legitimate UBI program that splits 6% of city tax revenue among all residents who have lived there for at least 5 years.|
|Bulgaria||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Canada||2017-10||2019-03||Pilot||An early pilot program that ran from 1974-1978 showed increased school attendance, decreased hospitalizations, and no change in unemployment rates. Amore recent 2017 test program provided roughly 4,000 people with monthly stipend equivalent to roughly $17,000 CAD (about $13,000 USD) for singles and $24,000 CAN for couples. Program was planned to run three years, but was ended early following the post-election transfer of governmental power from one political party to another. No results have been released.|
|China||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Czech Republic||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Estonia||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Finland||2016||2018||Pilot||Trial program gave 2,000 unemployed adults a monthly grant. Parliament declined to fund it past 2018.|
|France||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Germany||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Greece||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Hungary||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Iceland||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|India||2011-06||2012-11||Pilot||Trials lasting 12 and 18 months tested effect of a UBI program amounting to 20-30% of a normal low income on a total of 6,000 people. Findings showed decrease in illness, improved school attendance and financial stability, and higher employment, with no corresponding increase in alcohol consumption.|
|Iran||2010||2016||Full||Under "subsidy reform plan||government issued small monthly grant to roughly 90% of the population. Plan was never implemented as originally intended and was eventually scrapped. As of 2021, a number of economists had begun to call for the plan's reinstatement.|
|Ireland||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Japan||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Kenya||2018||ongoing||Pilot||Test program gives monthly grants of approx. 1/4-1/2 average income. Scheduled to run until 2030.|
|Latvia||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Lithuania||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Namibia||2008-01||2009-12||Pilot||Pilot program in two villages paid roughly 8% of average income. Significantly reduced child malnutrition, increased school attendance, boosted community income, decreased theft.|
|Netherlands||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|New Zealand||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Norway||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Portugal||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|South Africa||2020-05||2020-10||COVID-19 relief||Issued small grants to citizens of working age who had no other governmental support.|
|South Korea||2016||ongoing||Partial||Issues quarterly "allowance" to citizens of Gyeonggi province aged 24 or older; can only be used in local businesses."|
|Spain||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Switzerland||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|Ukraine||none||none||Discussed||Considered, but not yet implemented as of 2022.|
|United Kingdom||2022||2025||Pilot||Pilot program in Wales (U.K.) will give young people over the age of 18 £1,600 ($2,175 USD) per month for up to two years, then compare their financial, physical, and emotional health to those who do not receive the stipend.|
|United States||multiple||multiple||Pilot||Several pilot programs have been conducted or are in process. One notable pilot program is the Alaska Permanent Fund, which has given residents $1,000-2,000 per year since 1982, funded by the state's oil and gas revenues.|