2014 Young Writers’ Prize: The labour market crisis and the welfare burden: towards a universal basic income

By Henry Ward

The implementation of a universal basic income would not only eliminate poverty and liberate workers from the shackles of a failing labour market and from the stigma of current income support systems, it would strengthen the rights of labour relative to capital by allowing workers to discriminate between attractive, sustainable jobs and lousy, destructive jobs while driving up productivity and automation in undesirable but socially necessary jobs. It would also provide compensation for unacknowledged “reproductive” labour, would go a long way towards eliminating the gender paygap, and would drastically reduce the social costs associated with higher levels of unemployment such as crime, poor health, and poor education.

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