Kvashnin Yuri
Basic Income in the Pandemic Era: Another False Start or a New Paradigm of Social Policy?
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ISSN 2074-6040

DOI: 10.33920/vne-04-2112-02

The article examines the current debate around the concept of an unconditional basic income (UBI) and the prospects for its implementation in the context of heightened social challenges. The growing wealth inequality, the precarization of work, as well as the threat of technological unemployment - all these issues have caused a new wave of interest in universal approaches to the development of social systems. This wave reached its peak during the COVID-19 pandemic, which required emergency measures to support the economy and employment. In a number of countries, the idea of a complete or partial transition from traditional social protection schemes to equal payments for all has gained wide public support and was included in the programs of influential political parties. Many new experiments have been planned or are already under way to assess the UBI’s potential positive and negative effects. The major stumbling block, however, is the problem of funding. Analyzing the proposals put forward in the academic, expert and political communities, the author of the article comes to the conclusion that the transition to a full-fledged UBI even in the most developed countries will be associated with an unacceptable increase in the budget deficit and government debt. A more realistic scenario is the gradual incorporation of certain elements of basic income into existing social systems. Possible approaches here are: the provision of modest benefits, significantly below the national poverty line; payments in favor of particularly vulnerable population groups; implementation of UBI as an emergency measure for a limited period of time.


Keywords: universal basic income | labor market | technological unemployment | social security | social policy | COVID-19 | "helicopter" money |

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