Universal Basic Income – A shameless and blatant neoliberal plot

Universal Basic Income is a social program that would provide every citizen in the state with a fixed stipend, regardless of means.

In recent years, there has been a growing discussion about this concept; how would it look? Would it be possible? What would it mean for our country?

In order to address these questions, we must first analyse the reasons behind the existence of this idea in the first place, to simplify, UBI’s existence boils down to two things, wealth being concentrated into an increasingly smaller set of hands, and increasingly insecure jobs being available to ordinary workers.

The automation of labour, alongside increasingly concentrated wealth driving up the cost of living, will make living in abject poverty a reality for more and more people as time goes on.

The solution to this, so we are told, is to directly redistribute some of that wealth through high taxation and distribute a direct stipend to all citizens.

Taking it at face value, one *may* be forgiven for seeing this as a progressive idea give everyone an income, regardless of work status, but when you examine what this policy is supposed to address; wealth concentration and insecurity of work, you should start to see the problem.

Supporters of UBI are generally woefully misguided, but when you look at some of the more influential proponents of this policy, an unsettling picture is painted; Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson all support UBI. Their reasons for doing so are clear; rather than addressing the reasons for wealth concentration and insecure work, parasitic capitalists such as Branson would have the state make up the shortfall in the wages they won’t pay their workers.

As socialists, we must first ask ourselves “Why is wealth increasingly concentrated at the top?” the answer; because the means by which we produce our wealth are owned by a wealthy elite who reap all the benefits of our work.

The solution therefore shouldn’t be to ignore this fact, but to address it directly, and to seize ownership of the means by which the capitalists enrich themselves, and impoverish the rest of us.

The real solution to wealth inequality has been a core tenet of Sinn Féin since its foundation; worker owned workplaces, through the creation of worker cooperatives, soviet councils and trade unions.

Universal Basic Income should be rejected by all republicans for the right-wing plot that it is. 

- By Eoin de Rosfort  

Ógra Shinn Féin