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Working paper

Универсальный базовый доход: есть ли у него будущее?

Recently, Universal Basic Income (UBI) has become one of the most hotly debated issues in both academic and publicistic literature. The paper describes the conceptual core of this project, critically evaluates the philosophical, moral and economic arguments put forward both “for” and “against” it, and summarizes evidence on implementation of social programs close to it “in spirit”. It is emphasized that UBI should be viewed as a global politico-philosophical and ethico-economic project. This explains why its full-fledged version has never been put into practice anywhere and the consequences of its real introduction are unknown. The analysis is conducted in a comparative institutional perspective, which allows us to highlight the most important differences between this scheme and alternative forms of social support. Three lines of its justification are discussed – normative, positive and “alarmist” (referring to negative processes in the labor market) ones. The author concludes that UBI has no future as a real program of action. This project contradicts the latest trends in the evolution of welfare state; the costs associated with it are fiscally unbearable; most people perceive it as morally unacceptable. Most likely, UBI awaits for the fate of another cabinet utopia.