UBI and UBS – Adversaries or Allies?

Posted on January 31, 2023

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Must we choose between Universal Basic Income (UBI) and Universal Basic Services (UBS) or do we need both? You can find the abstract of a study about the importance of both for health below and can read the full article of the study related to the United Kingdom at the website of BIEN.

There is also an important difference between the two. While UBI should cover all the essential needs of people not provided by UBS, public services, especially for health and education, should be excellent rather than just basic!

UBI can improve social protection. In 2017 the Institute of Global Prosperity proposed an alternative concept of UBS. This study aims to explore whether UBI and UBS are alternative or complementary social interventions in relation to health.

UBI is a regular money transfer in a state jurisdiction. The fungibility of money allows the recipients to decide how, when and where to satisfy their needs. UBS means the delivery of specific activities and provisions to every person. These services allow for an economy of scale, implementation and delivery based on scientific evidence and a consideration for the balance between personal and common good in order to satisfy needs.

The social situation in each state differs because of natural, cultural, economic, historical and institutional factors. The implementation of UBI or UBS depends on this context. This study examines the following questions in relation to health based on published literature:
1) What does the literature state about the two concepts?
2) What services and provisions have been chosen by Basic Income recipients in trials?
3) What is the feasibility that these services and provisions can be offered as UBS in the United Kingdom in terms of infrastructure and delivery and what is their likely acceptability?