A basic income conditional on demonstrating some sort of labor is still exclusionary compared to UBI. People doing work that the government for whatever reason doesn’t recognize will still fall through the cracks, and we will still have poverty. This could be volunteering with political candidates, forming a startup, caring for a sick friend (if the criteria would only include family members), and so on. It might just exclude people without the capability to file the needed paperwork to get their work approved, or who take a bit of time off in between jobs. We could play whack-a-mole, but each new type of work the government has to sanction and monitor costs real money that could further raise living standards given as a more generous UBI (or negative income tax).

As long as the safety net is conditional, we will have poverty.

Written by

Economist. Founder and president of the UBI Center. Studied at MIT and UC Berkeley. YIMBY. Former Google data scientist.

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