Universal Basic Income (UBI)


“I believe that the legacy of this coronavirus crisis is going to be the end of normal in the same way that the great depression, the Second World War created new concepts and new institutions ...I believe the legacy is going to be the end of over reliance on monetary policy, with fiscal policy playing almost no role over the last decades and the institution as more or less a bi-partisan idea of a kind of universal basic income.”
Yanis Varoufakis - https://soundcloud.com/yanisv/coronavirus-the-economic-crisis

Goals of the Universal Basic Income Hub

In line with the goals of New Economy Network Australia (NENA) the UBI hub is working to transform Australia’s economic system so that achieving ecological health and social justice are the foundational principles and primary objectives of the economic system.

We believe that credible alternatives to the prevailing economic culture are urgently needed, and Universal Basic Income (UBI – see our description below) offers the fairest, most practical and most comprehensive transformative approach.

To co-construct radical alternatives we need to change the discourse, to replace 20th century narratives built on the illusion of infinite resources, on an anthropocentrism that disconnected humans from nature. This is the collective mission to embrace and UBI can play a central role.

Therefore the goals of NENA’s UBI are to:

  • Work with other NENA Hubs and Members to share ideas, collaborate and develop initiatives that support the New Economy
  • Establish connections between UBI proponents and other NENA hubs and Members around Australia
  • Provide an avenue to share information, resources and news about UBI
  • Enable members to make time and space to develop collaborative projects

Hub Coordinators

Upcoming Meetings & Events

  • Please contact the coordinators if you'd like to join our next meeting - everyone is welcome

Past Events

  • 'Basic Income (UBI) and the Regenerative Economy', 20 May 2021

Resources & Reading

“Time to think differently – but just how differently?” Jane Goodall, Inside Story 20/02/20

"UBI as part of a Decentralised Future"
Guest presentation by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Local Futures, 22 May 2022

UBI news from Australia and around the world

What is a Universal Basic Income (UBI)?

UBI is a radically redistributive social policy. Its principles are based on:

  1. A “right to a fair share” of common natural resources and socially created wealth
  2. A human right to a livelihood/income
  3. An encompassing principle of freedom: freedom to and freedom from.

Specifically it is:

  • Universal: Paid to every citizen and permanent resident of a country
  • Unconditional: Obligation free, not subjected to a means test or willingness-to-work test. Paid on individual, not household basis.
  • Basic: The level assumed here is one high enough to cover basic living costs such as housing, food, clothing, and transports.
  • Income: Based on a concept of right, not charity. Paid in cash and not in the form of consumer goods or services

We believe that a UBI is the first step towards a radically different, ecologically sustainable socio-cultural, political and economic system – not its end goal. It frees up human mental and physical energies to redesign the whole paradigm: to think about it and to work towards it.

Among other things a UBI could:

  • Promote psychological security through stress and anxiety reduction. This leads to a cascade of positive consequences at the individual and societal levels.
  • Reduce status-based conspicuous consumption as the stigma attached to poverty is decreased.
  • Reduce working hours, as fewer goods are required to achieve an acceptable level of consumption, and ultimately to lower environmental impact.
  • Shift attention from material consumption to other opportunities that are pro-social like community-based provisions, volunteer work, cultural and sports activities and thus, more sustainable, resource-efficient routes to wellbeing.
  • Increase the ability of the poor to purchase higher quality, longer-lasting, and “ethical” goods, and this may have positive environmental outcomes.
  • Provide the time and money that would allow for increasingly sustainable lifestyle practices.
  • Promote human health, which can provide funds from reduced healthcare costs, to be reinvested in environmental protection, infrastructures and more.
  • Promote alternative production models like cooperatives through resources-pooling
  • The recognition of autonomy and human value beyond individuals’ positioning in narrowly defined labor markets might engender different kinds of behaviors based on human interdependency.
  • Care and all kinds of informal contributions such as creative endeavors will be recognized as well as intrinsically valuable and quintessentially human activities.
  • Paid at individual, rather than household level, it can address unequal, gender based power relations within families, therefore have an emancipatory role.
  • Act like a ‘strike fund’ by recasting the power relationship between labour and capital.
  • Address forecasts of automation-led mass unemployment, by delinking a duty to work from a right to income
  • Its universal character means that it might strengthen solidarity, reignite the value and significance of the ‘common good’, and allow time and resources for widespread political engagement
  • Weaken the stigma attached to dependence and promotes interdependence among humans and with nature

How to pay for it?

  • Through a complete redesign of the tax-benefit system
  • Through “The Commons”