Should we have a universal basic income?

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour — This week on the program, we bring you a forum to ask the question, “Should have a universal basic income?” in the U.S.

A universal basic income (UBI) refers to the dispersing of an amount of income to all members within a society, no strings attached—to curb poverty and increase economic freedom. While limited tests or modified UBI systems have taken place in Canada, Namibia, Brazil, Finland, and Alaska, a long-term, unqualified universal basic income has never been adopted. Over the past three centuries, the policy has gained proponents ranging from revolutionary thinkers and civil rights leaders to prominent politicians and economists.

However, the face of universal basic income has changed in the 21st century with tech leaders like Mark Zuckerburg, Elon Musk, Chris Hughes, and others championing the policy in light of automation, changing economics norms, the need to decarbonize, and the 2008 global recession. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has built his campaign on this policy and has begun personally testing the idea by offering $1000 a month to certain U.S. families.

Getting into these issues and other questions around the strengths and weaknesses of universal basic income are Rudi von Arnim, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Utah; Gina Cornia, Executive Director of Utahns Against Hunger; Stephen Bannister, Associate Professor of Economics and Director and Chair of MIAGE at the University of Utah; Moderating the discussion is Brad Williams, Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at the David Eccles School of Business.

This discussion was recorded on February 27, 2019.