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Basic income in Europe will face increasing scrutiny

Monday, August 19, 2019

Subject

Universal basic income in Europe.

Significance

The appeal of universal basic income (UBI) programmes, which aim to give citizens 'free money' without conditions, has risen in recent years in the face of growing job insecurity as well as persistent social and economic inequality. UBI schemes are, however, falling short of aspirations largely due to costs and the difficulty of meeting targets.

Impacts

  • As Italy’s UBI is a flagship policy of the co-governing Five Star Movement (M5S), its future looks uncertain if the government collapses.
  • Italy’s experience will highlight the difficulties of combating poverty and strengthening the labour force with a single instrument.
  • Despite mixed results so far, trials of the scheme will continue to hold appeal, albeit in limited or 'UBI-lite' forms.
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