Universal Basic Income
Free money for all – no strings attached?
It’s an idea that transcends centuries and political divides. From Thomas More to Elon Musk, Milton Friedman
to Martin Luther King Jr., the idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has been promoted by some of humanity’s
leading figures and now finds itself thrust back into mainstream political and economic discussions. Its reemergence is driven by concerns regarding the relentless march of automation, growing income inequality,
increasingly precarious employment arrangements, and an inherent sense that there must be better way
to secure one’s basic needs with our modern prosperity. Given income is a fundamental determinant
of health, affecting almost all health outcomes from infant mortality to overall life expectancy, a policy
that would provide payments to all is a tantalising public health intervention. [3,4] So, does UBI work and
what’s stopping us from introducing it? This article explores what we know about the effect of UBI on health
outcomes and the key arguments for and against its implementation (Table 1).