Ep. 10 | UBI and social protection systems

This is the second episode of a two-part series about UBI. You can find the first episode here.

This month we continue our discussion on the Universal Basic Income (UBI), a radical idea to extend regular, unconditional cash benefits to everyone. The UBI challenges certain social protection orthodoxies, for example by providing an equal amount of support to all, independent of needs, and by removing obligations on the part of recipients in order to receive benefits. There are different views on how generous a UBI should be, whether it’s in addition to, or replaces other forms of social spending. And the literal multi-billion dollar question is – how to pay for it! 

This episode is the second of a two-part series on UBI. In the first episode, our guests discussed the implications of UBI for the world of work. If you missed it, we suggest you start there.  

In this second episode, we ask our guests to reflect on the ways UBI fits in with social protection systems. The truth is that despite many pilots and trials in countries as diverse as Kenya, Canada, and Finland, no country has managed to implement a full UBI. Drawing from these experiences, we address what is commonly the number one objection to making UBI a reality - namely, cost. More specifically, we delve into aspects of affordability (How can countries finance it? How generous should it be?), equity (How to address specific deficits?), and, ultimately, its feasibility (Can it ever be achieved?). 


Our guests for this episode are: 

  • Francesca Bastagli, Director of the Equity and Social Policy programme and Principal Research Fellow at ODI. 
  • Jurgen De Wispelaere, Assistant Professor at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga and Adjunct Professor in Philosophy of Social Policy at Tampere University 

Plus, to contribute to our monthly segment of ‘Quick Wins’ which highlights news, achievements, and research that have shaped recent developments and sparked our interest, we heard from: 

  • Jim Pugh, co-founder of the US-based Universal Income Project


Links from this episode: 

Maid (Netflix show) 

The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again | interview 

Emergency Basic Income during the Pandemic 

The Rise (and Fall) of the Basic Income Experiment in Finland 

Exploring Universal Basic Income: A Guide to Navigating Concepts, Evidence, and Practices 

Event - BIEN 2022: Crisis and Transformation