Basic Income: an idea whose time has come?

Panel session from the Festival of Economics, Bristol, November 2016

  1. Panel starting on basic income in #economicsfest. Great crowd - with many, many young people.
    Panel starting on basic income in #economicsfest. Great crowd - with many, many young people.
  2. Over 100 school students in for basic income #economicsfest debate. Here's some of them. Thank you for coming. 
  3. #basicincome requires a #politics of compassion and solidarity, says @anthonypainter. We may not be there yet. #economicsfest
  4. Anthony Painter: basic income has worked when tried, many benefits & costs no more than proposed cuts to corporation tax. #economicsfest
  5. Painter: Future jobs will be task-based rather than career-based: the "gig-based economy". #economicsfest
  6. .@IPR_NickP praises societal ambitions of #basicincome & its supporters, looking forward to a 'universal citizenship' #economicsfest
    .@IPR_NickP praises societal ambitions of #basicincome & its supporters, looking forward to a 'universal citizenship' #economicsfest
  7. Nick Pearce: rhetoric of basic income is of independence. Independence from each other not necessarily a good thing. #economicsfest
  8. Finally, @IPR_NickP concludes that #UBI will need to be a #political protect rooted in social understanding. #economicsfest
  9. Pearce: Basic income advocates promise independence but it would involve many people in a dependence on the state. #economicsfest
  10. Louise Haag telling the story of social workers in Denmark campaigning against conditionality, road to #basicincome ? #economicsfest
  11. Louise Haagh: Welfare state is overdue a transformation to reflect modern world of work. Basic income is 1 element of this. #economicsfest
  12. .@TorstenBell says turnout for #economicsfest so good, audience may have been confused between discussing #basicincome & receiving it!
  13. Employment rate has never been higher. March of the robots not coming @TorstenBell #basicincome #economicsfest
  14. Torsten Bell: basic income won't happen. Robots not taking jobs in quantities predicted. BI relevant to US society, not UK. #economicsfest
  15. Has #basicincome had its day in the sun? @Jderbyshire asks the panel after @TorstenBell's 'unfriendly' take. #economicsfest
  16. Haagh: basic income has long been a philosophical, or politically radical, idea. Now seen more as a political option. #economicsfest
  17. Issue comes down to comprehensiveness: should UBI replace most/all of welfare state? I think it can re:employment insurance #economicsfest
  18. However, political concerns are real, says @IPR_NickP. Recalling PM Brown, he confirms politicians' desire for 'proposals'. #economicsfest
  19. The problem with #basicincome as a big idea, @IPR_NickP says, is that big ideas may never happen. #economicsfest #UBI #Grundeinkommen
  20. Pearce: Basic income can be approached incrementally, eg flat pensions, BI for young people, rather than all at once. #economicsfest
  21. Louise Haag touches on the unspoken truth of this discussion: what about the developing world? #economicsfest
  22. If cash grants are a good method of alleviating poverty in the dev world, why isn't it good for the developed world? #economicsfest
  23. .@TorstenBell points out #basicincome goes beyond the 'Bernie' fringe & youth to mainstream in countries like #Canada. #economicsfest
  24. Haagh: Funding for BI is a political choice that will vary across countries. Brazil is phasing in as public finances allow. #economicsfest
  25. @economics_net but if we think of it as negative income tax? (I am in no form an economist, or even a social scientist, so be gentle)
  26. @TrabiMechanic Negative income tax has been mentioned in debate as 1 of many forms BI proposals have taken over the years.
  27. @TrabiMechanic Panel disagree on whether BI is a progressive communitarian idea or a libertarian fantasy of individual freedom.
  28. Now, questions from the floor - audience very engaged. #economicsfest
    Now, questions from the floor - audience very engaged. #economicsfest
  29. Panel disagreement about cost of implementing basic income in the UK: 1% of GDP (compable to other welfare measures) or 5%? #economicsfest
  30. .@LHaagh & @TorstenBell point to trends in #productivity & middle class squeezing that far outstrip #technology. #economicsfest
  31. Question: will BI reduce incentives to work? Painter & Haagh: means-tested welfare already disincentivises additional work. #economicsfest
  32. Bell: UBI may increase incentives to earn more, but reduces incentive to join workforce. Painter: we need data on effects. #economicsfest
  33. Amid anxiety over technological disruption, is a guaranteed state payment the future of welfare? #economicsfest: 
  34. Pearce: Institutions, rather than transfer of income, can promote community & social equality. Example: the NHS. #economicsfest
  35. At #economicsfest, the panel are discussing #BasicIncome - 'We know it works, but do we have the politics to get us there?'
  36. #basicincome enables #welfare & #freedom, but more, might rebuild social democracy & sense of public good. @LHaagh at #economicsfest
  37. .@Jderbyshire wraps up engaging panel by thanking them, the audience & @FestivalofIdeas #economicsfest for organising. Thanks for following!
  38. #economicsfest @FestivalofIdeas 'Tory men and liberal ideas change the world' said Nixon on his #basicincome proposal.
  39. @economics_net BI will reduce incentives to work. Any welfare does. Maybe key question is: could it be part of a new, better model?
  40. @simonbusiness1 True. Panel handled the question as "will it decrease incentives relative to existing welfare system?".