The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) potentially solves a lot of problems at once. By sending a regular payment to all citizens, we could end abject poverty, deal with technological unemployment, reduce the overall cost of government, give more autonomy to people, and gain support from across the ideological divide as we do it (in theory, anyway). In its long history, some form of UBI has been supported by everyone from Martin Luther King to the libertarian economist Milton Friedman, indicating its unusual appeal.
But, as yet, no government has ever introduced a UBI at significant scale, and, as such, there are a lot of unanswered questions. For example, how much would a UBI cost overall? Should everyone get it, or just people who really need it (then it’s not so universal)? How should it be distributed exactly? And, should people have to do anything in return to get it? While there are a lot of compelling reasons to implement UBI, there are obviously a lot of trade-offs to consider.