The epidemic is encouraging universal basic income and job guarantee testing

“It was perceived as some sort of socialist view,” said Jardine, a member of the centrist Liberal Democrats Party.

“Kovid is 19” [a] Game Changer, “Jardine said.” This means that we have seen the suggestion of a universal basic income in a completely different light. “In his view, the idea – sending cash regularly to all residents, with no strings attached – now looks more” practical “than Outlandish.

She is not alone to change her mind. As the economic crisis of the coronovirus has spread, once seen as a pipe dream of political policies, support in Europe is growing for progressive policies.

In Germany, millions applied to join a study of universal basic income, which would provide participants with € 1,200 ($ 1,423) a month, while in the United Kingdom more than 100 legalists – including Jardine Are – insisting on the government to start its test. .
Meanwhile, Austria has launched a first-of-its-kind pilot program that will guarantee jobs to residents struggling with continued unemployment in a long-suffering former industrial city of Marienthal, about 40 miles southwest of Vienna.

Whether the spike in popularity and research will turn into a wave of action is an open question. But some, such as Jardine, see reason for optimism.

Crisis triggers

Throughout history, there have been major changes in the role of government in our lives in times of crisis. Out of the Great Depression, former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a plan to distribute social security checks in the United States, for example, while laying the foundation for universal health care in Britain during World War II.

Experts view the coronavirus epidemic as a world-changing phenomenon that may result in a similar tectonic shift.

“Large political changes typically follow major upheaval events,” said Daniel Nettle, a behavioral scientist at the University of Newcastle.

Universal basic income, in its purest form, means giving money to everyone, no matter how much they earn, so they have more freedom to move between jobs, train for new positions, care or engage in creative activities. Might be possible. Interest in the concept has increased in recent years, driven by concerns that automation and the climate crisis will lead to a greater displacement of workers.

However, job insecurity due to the epidemic generates new levels of support for the policy. A study by Oxford University in March found that 71% of Europeans now favor the introduction of a universal basic income.
Timothy Garten Ash and Antonia Zimmerman wrote in their report, “For an idea that is wildly dismissed as unrealistic and utopian, it is a remarkable figure.”
It probably helps that the epidemic has helped normalize cash transfers from the government, said Nettle, who has also cast his vote. According to data compiled by economists at UBS, around 39 million people from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Italy were being paid by part-time work or none at all in early May.
Although the numbers have declined, millions are still receiving such support, and a fresh wave of sanctions in Europe has begun to expand benefits. For example, the United Kingdom has extended its furlough program – which pays over 80% of lost wages, to £ 2,500 ($ 3,321) as of March.
Empty tables and chairs stand in front of a restaurant in Berlin.  Germany is under partial lockdown in November.

The rapid trauma in the economy to deal with the epidemic has also left policemen with a quick fix, said Yannick Vanderborath, a professor at Universite Saint-Louis in Brussels, who specializes in universal basic income. The wider distribution of aid therefore has greater appeal, as it could theoretically be rolled out faster than more targeted measures.

“The problem is that we need immediate economic support” for large groups of workers, Vanderborg said.

Pilot project started

With increasing enthusiasm for such policies, researchers are taking new steps to study their effectiveness.

The universal basic income test in Germany – run by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin in partnership with the nonprofit Mein Grundeinkommen – is now sorting through millions of applicants. Funded by approximately 150,000 private donors, the experimenters aim to start distributing funds to 120 individuals starting in spring 2021.

The study will last for three years. It will also track 1,380 people who do not receive additional cash as a point of comparison.

Participants will be asked to complete regular questionnaires during the study. According to Jürgen Schupp, a senior research associate at DRW, it is a question of how many hours they are working to inquire about mental well-being, values ​​and trust in institutions. Those who receive € 1,200 each month will be asked to explain how they are using the money.

In contrast to an experiment conducted between 2017 and 2018 in Finland that targeted people who were unemployed, the German project is looking to distribute cash to a representative sample of the population regardless of employment status.

There is no guarantee, of course, that the study will show that universal basic income has broad benefits, even if it generates significant attention from proponents of the concept.

“We want to turn this engagement into basic scientific knowledge,” Shoop said.

Meanwhile, the pilot was guaranteed a job in Austria in October. It will also last for three years.

Program funded A regional division of Austria’s Public Employment Service is to provide paid, long-term employment to about 150 residents of Marinthl – the subject of a seminal study on the effects of long-term unemployment in the 1930s – who have been unemployed for at least a year. Those who make the choice will enroll in a two-month training course before starting a job that matches their skills, ranging from gardening to child care or personal renovations.

“The primary goal is to provide social inclusion, a source of income to the participants,” said Maximilian Casey, an Oxford professor who co-designed the study. Participants will also be asked to fill in regular assessments on their routine, personal health, and participation in the local community.

Sven Hargovich, managing director of the Employment Service, launched a job guarantee program for Mariethal before the epidemic hit. He said that the employment crisis created by Kovid-19 has made it even more important.

“It’s time to find new ways [to fight] Long-term unemployment, ”said Hargovich.

What will be the action?

As researchers gather data from pilot programs, social security traps are building political momentum for redundancy.

In September, the UK Liberal Democrats – the Jardin’s party – voted to make universal basic income part of their platform, joining the Left Labor Party members for trial. A petition seeking to implement a universal basic income of Germany was debated by a committee of national lawmakers late last month.
Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine in the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London.

But experts note that there are still major divisions in the loose coalition of universal basic income supporters.

For example, there is a huge disagreement among such programs, whether such programs should stem from deficit spending or higher taxes on the rich, as well as whether the payments should go only to those people – which means They will not be truly universal.

For example, Jardine feels that universal basic income should replace the current UK welfare system, while also providing people with caretakers and workers of the gig economy with regular violations of cash. But he is not convinced that payments should be made to those above a certain income limit.

“When you have to replace it with an interest in a program, you start to see some discrepancies,” said Tim Vallendas, a University of Oxford professor of comparative social policy.

And there are still many opponents of such views. The conservative government under Boris Johnson in the United Kingdom states that universal basic income would be too expensive and would reduce incentives to work, while failing to reach those who needed help the most. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government has also expressed concerns that it could lead to a decline in employment.

Critics are also apprehensive about the macroeconomic impact of such policies. Some concern, for example, that providing a universal basic income may increase inflation.

Jardine, for his part, accepts the hard fight in convincing colleagues that universal basic income is the way forward. But in his view, the epidemic presents an opportunity.

“Governments make changes – and they change their minds,” she said.


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