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Universal Basic Services Alternative To UBI

A Left Critic Of Universal Basic Income

In a recent article in the New Statesman, Aaron Bastani, discusses the concept of universal basic income (UBI) and presents their reservations about it, not from a right-wing perspective but from the left. Aaron mentions upcoming UBI pilot schemes in the UK, where participants will receive monthly payments to supplement their existing earnings. Aaron supports these pilots to test the hypothesis that work is necessary for happiness. However, he expresses concern about the cost of expanding UBI nationally and questions its effectiveness in addressing poverty.

Aaron introduces an alternative approach called universal basic services (UBS), which involves using the same funding to provide essential services such as education, healthcare, care services, public transport, broadband, and social housing. He argues that UBS would offer a better return on investment, addressing critical challenges like the climate crisis, demographic aging, stagnant living standards, and automation. Aaron proposes that planning and public ownership of energy and housing can facilitate a zero-carbon economy and improved living conditions.

Aaron also questions the logic of providing UBI to men who are less likely to be caregivers and suggests that a national care service funded through progressive taxation would be a preferable alternative. He highlights that UBS is more easily understood by the electorate, as it builds on familiar concepts of postwar public services. Aaron concludes that advocating for UBS may be a more effective political strategy than pushing for UBI, which has uncertain benefits and limited implementation experience.

Read full article on the New Statesman website