Basic income for all could lift millions out of poverty – and change how we think about inequality

Source: Ralph Callebert, The Conversation, January 15, 2016

The idea of a basic income for every person has been popping up regularly in recent years. Economists, think tanks, activists and politicians from different stripes have toyed with the idea of governments giving every citizen or resident a minimum income off which to live. This cash transfer could either replace or supplement existing welfare payments. Pilot projects and feasibility studies have been run or are under way in the Netherlands, India, Canada, Finland, France and elsewhere. Even in the U.S., the idea finds support. Alaska, for example, already divides its oil revenues among its residents. Most arguments in favor or against basic income have focused on its feasibility, simplicity, promotion of personal independence or effectiveness at reaching those who fall through the cracks of the welfare state. However, the most important advantage of basic income may not be in its practical application but rather in how it could change the way we think and talk about poverty and inequality…..