Will the universal basic income solve global inequalities?

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Universal Basic Income



The universal basic income would guarantee an extra safety net for everyone. This allows the benefactors more freedom for entrepreneurship and education. But how realistic is this and who should cover the costs? Could it be a solution for poverty and homelessness? Is it that “simple” or do we create new problems with an UBI? Many trials have shown positive results, but are we able to conduct it on a global scale? And what will be the influence on economic migration?

Find out all the pros and cons you need to know about the Universal Basic Income in our latest AnyStory!

The Inequality Gap

Right now the worldwide financial inequality gap will increase the upcoming years. Large companies have access to data and automation and will be able to create much more with less employees. Market prices could be tied to a customers’ budget, resulting in even larger profits. With no incentives to balance this development, citizens could see their fortunes dwindle further.


Only select countries will be able to afford the UBI on their own, but where should help come from? Cutting government budgets for other social protection programs would affect those who would benefit most from the UBI. Perhaps wealthy individuals and companies could contribute to the UBI, for example through taxes.

Safety net

Pilots and experiments have shown a decrease in poverty and homelessness and at the same time resulted in test subjects feeling more confident and independent. This safety net provides a window of opportunity; entrepreneurship and taking risks is no longer reserved for a select group.

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The script

Since the early ’80s, the global number of people who live in poverty is declining. But up to this day over 595 million people can’t cover their basic costs of living, and provide financial security for themselves.

What if everyone’s income was taken care of by government support? An income as a human right. Hooray for the Universal Basic Income!

Unlike social assistant benefits, the UBI is an unconditional income that’s sufficient to meet every person’s basic needs. A fixed amount regardless of a person’s gender family composition employment status or income. Since the 60’s there has been a number of pilots and experiments.

Derived from this research, some results are very clear. Homelessness and hunger can be eliminated and people’s self esteem will rise. Nobody is dependent on another person anymore and parents can focus primarily on raising their children. People will start working fewer hours, which means more room available on the labor market. People will become higher educated, prosperity in developing countries will rise, and economic migration will decrease.

But the latter only applies when the UBI is implemented on a global scale. Otherwise, countries that are able to provide a UBI will become more attractive for economic migration.

So how realistic is a UBI? Well, some governments just can’t afford a basic income without the support of wealthier countries. Other governments might need to cut on other expenses like healthcare, education or defense or raise taxes since the UBI is slightly more expensive than systems currently used. Within UBI countries, the role of the government will increase and their citizens will become more dependent on the state.

As for now, pilots and experiments are conducted in several countries only on a national or local level focused on specific groups. Will we be able to work together as global citizens in order to realize a Global Universal Basic Income? That’s the challenge that lies ahead of us!

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Cooler Media 2023 - Nick (klein)

Nick Bökkerink
Explanation Director

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