The idea of a universal basic income has been talked about in politics and government as far back as the 1700s. The idea is that every citizen would be given, say, $10 000 a year from the government. Many argue that the implementation of a universal basic income would eradicate poverty, increase consumer spending, increase higher education rates and overall lead to a fairer, more prosperous society. But is this really the case?
Countries including Finland and the Netherlands have undertaken small scale implementations of a universal basic income in recent years. Their experiments will act as examples as governments discuss the possibility of a universal basic income. Opponents of a universal basic income argue that the experiments do not have enough participants, and will not account for the effects on a small economy, such as a town or village. However, only time will tell of the success of the experiment- meanwhile countries world wide will be watching to see the effects.
I myself am not a proponent of a universal basic income- as lovely as it sounds in theory, I do not believe it would work in practice. Taxes would have to increase significantly for most countries, to be able to provide each citizen an income. Welfare would also have to be substantially restructured- current beneficiaries would receive the universal income like everyone else. Notably, because everyone receives the same income from the government, inequality could actually increase. Welfare beneficiaries would lose out as high income earners are handed money that they don't need. Further more, a universal income could disincentive working, as people receive income whether they work or not- and whether they are trying to find work or not, unlike most unemployment benefits.
Check out this link for The Economist's view of a universal basic income