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14 - Universal Basic Income as a Social Rights–Based Antidote to Growing Economic Insecurity

from Part IV - Economic and Social Rights in Retrenchment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 April 2019

Katharine G. Young
Affiliation:
Boston College, Massachusetts
Amartya Sen
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
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Summary

One important response to increasing economic insecurity and rights retrenchment is the emerging policy proposal for a Universal Basic Income (UBI). This chapter examines the heritage of this idea in distributive justice debates, and its current uptake in small-scale experiments in India, Finland and Kenya. The UBI may address growing economic insecurity and precariousness, and new challenges brought by global supply chains and automation. Alston, who engaged this proposal in a recent report as Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty, has long called for engagement, by the human rights movement, with questions of political economy. Here, he contrasts the UBI with a series of other schemes of social protection, including the negative income tax, global basic income, welfare state, cash transfers (both conditional and unconditional) and social protection floors. In particular, he suggests that all schemes be brought more critically in dialogue, and be enlivened to implications, not only for rights to an adequate standard of living, social security and work but also to the overall social protection framework, in both developed and developing states.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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