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As new technologies continue to encroach on low-skilled jobs, the notion that societies inevitably will have to introduce universal basic incomes is making strides. At 2017’s World Economic Forum, a panel of experts discussed the social, economic, political and moral issues that permeate this debate. getAbstract recommends the conversation to policy makers, economists and social entrepreneurs who wish to remain a step ahead of a socioeconomic crisis.


Several sites around the world are experimenting with the idea of a universal basic income, a “government payment to all citizens, either as a supplement to or a replacement for paid working income.” The motivations for a universal basic income are manifold: Such programs would enhance “social justice” and augment citizens’ “republican freedom” from authorities who employ their power arbitrarily. And though it wouldn’t eradicate poverty, a universal basic income would help individuals tackle income insecurity.

While the political right and left concur on the validity of a universal basic income, they...

About the Speakers

Tamzin Booth is The Economist’s business editor. Guy Standing is a co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network. Michael Sandel is a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University. Neelie Kroes is a former EU commissioner for competition. Amitabh Kant is the CEO of NITI Aayog, an Indian governmental think tank.

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