In one tweet, a bestselling author nails exactly the type of bailout we need right now

Rutger Bregman
Ed Sykes

Rutger Bregman wrote the bestselling book Utopia for Realists. And with a coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis looming heavy over the world, he nailed what government intervention should now look like:

As The Canary reported in 2019, the UK Labour Party planned to undertake trials of universal basic income (UBI) if it took power. This policy would see the government give every citizen a ‘basic income’. A report from the Compass thinktank considered the idea to be affordable and highlighted that it “would significantly cut poverty and inequality levels in the country”. People have also proposed the concept as a potential solution for people who could lose their jobs in the future as a result of automation. Even UN secretary-general António Guterres has previously expressed support for the idea.

UBI is now gaining support around the world as one of the steps governments can take to deal with the dual coronavirus / economic crisis.

‘A people’s bailout’

Bregman has previously highlighted places where basic income tests have worked well:

Finland also ran UBI trials with unemployed people, which helped to improve their wellbeing and health.

As Bernie Sanders pointed out recently in the US, political elites can easily find billions of dollars to bail out banks and to wage wars; but when it comes to actually investing in ordinary people, they shy away from action. And many people right now are calling for a people’s bailout in the form of UBI:

They have pointed out, however, that UBI is part of the solution rather than a solution in and of itself:

The right type of UBI could really help ordinary people who will either lose money or their jobs in the coronavirus / economic crisis. As Bregman stressed, if we can afford to bail out banks, we can afford to bail out ordinary people too.

Featured image via Flickr – Victor van Werkhooven

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    1. With about 65 million people in this country (and they wouldn’t pay UBI to under-16s or possibly under-18s), £1,000 each would cost £65 billion; and £5,000 each would cost £325 billion – a bit less than the promise of £350 billion they’ve just yesterday promised businesses. And the big difference would be that most of that money would be spent in this country, although the rich would likely siphon theirs off abroad to continue investing in Asian sweatshops etc.

      The big drawback is this wouldn’t be socialism for the rich it would be socialism, and the money-grubbers would rather give us nuclear war than give us that. We may get it in the end, but only after we’ve taken it.

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