Basic income

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A basic income (BI), or citizens’ income, is a proposal to reform the tax and benefit systems that has wide #conclusions *implications #significance #suggestions for economic, employment and social policies. A BI would be periodically received by everyone as a right of citizenship and #unanimously *unconditionally #unequivocally #unreservedly , i.e. without reference to marital or employment status, employment history and intention to seek employment. It would replace most benefits, tax reliefs and allowances, and could be age-related, e.g. with a higher BI for elderly people. BI #admittedly #however #likewise *therefore represents an alternative both to means-testing and to the social insurance principle. | Although BI has a long history, the idea has only #expressed *gained #provided #sought widespread support since the 1970s. It has been defended from all parts of the ideological #divide #rainbow #range *spectrum , although for different reasons and with different implications for its specific design and implementation. All supporters agree that a BI would have the following *advantages #challenges #improvements #opportunities : it would be more effective than existing policies at guaranteeing a minimum income for all; it would embody the equal rights of all citizens; it would #confront #handle #solve *tackle poverty and unemployment traps; it would enhance individuals’ freedom and security; it would be easy to understand and administer. #Although #Furthermore *However #Whereas , BI’s critics allege that the proposal: ignores the obligations of citizenship; would either be too expensive or, if it were to be made *affordable #cheap #competitive #profitable , would not itself provide enough to live on; will never attract enough political and popular support. | Green theorists and parties have been among the most prominent supporters of BI because it takes the emphasis away from paid employment and could help to #expedite *facilitate #prevent #promote an increase in free time.

Source: Fitzpatrick, T. (2002) ‘Basic income’, in Barry, J. and Frankland, E. G. (eds) International encyclopedia of environmental politics. Available at: (Accessed: 3 May 2022).