Could universal basic income, the proposal that the government should give every individual a regular cash payment, really be around the corner? With wages stagnating and long-term employment hard to come by, more people seem to think so. It’s not just talk. From Finland to Barcelona to Scotland, European governments are seriously looking at basic income and organising pilots.
Green movements have long debated, and often supported, basic income as a way to lead more sustainable lives, less dominated by work and consumption. But political support for basic income is not limited to Greens. Basic income is variously credited with being a new 21st-century form of solidarity, a way to boost economic growth, and a means to rebalance work between women and men. For every argument in its favour, there is a complementary counter waiting to be made. The debate opens up huge questions: political, economic, moral, and practical. Basic, will I be able to live off it? Cash, where will all this money come from? Unconditional, what if people just sit around? Individual, but what about society? To delve deeper, the Green European Journal spoke to experts and activists from around the world – some advocates, some critics. In the coming months, we will continue to follow basic income developments in Europe and beyond, not to advocate it, but because of the key questions it requires us ask.
Articles in this focus
The Green European Journal asked experts, activists, and politicians from around Europe about the politics of basic income where they are.Read more
As the Finnish experiment draws to a close, social policy expert Heikki Hiilamo explains what’s next for basic income in Finland.Read more
An interview with Yannick Vanderborght on why trade unions oppose basic income and whether we can expect that to change.Read more
Could a proposal to get people actively involved in the green transition trump the basic income?Read more
Drawing on the experience of the Alaskan oil fund, this interview unpicks the links between basic income and ecological sustainability.Read more