Is universal basic income the solution to technological unemployment?

These technologies promise to cause seismic shifts in the world of work, and so … is gearing up to implement changes to secure its economic future.

As the labour market changes rapidly, many laud solutions such as universal basic income as the way forward. What are the benefits – and the pitfalls – of implementing such a scheme?

The rise of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) has, and will continue to, cast a long shadow over the future of the labour market. These technologies promise to cause seismic shifts in the world of work, and so any prudent government is gearing up to implement changes to secure its economic future.

One proposed new direction for countries around the globe is to implement a universal basic income (UBI). UBI schemes pay every citizen a non-means-tested, automatic, regular payment that is enough to keep a person above the poverty line. Proponents of the scheme – such as Virgin boss Richard Branson, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and a plethora of other Silicon Valley moguls – argue that a guaranteed income makes people more creative and more likely to take entrepreneurial risks, which will stimulate the economy. Yet is it really so simple?

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