Basic Income in relation to the SDGs


We have ten more years to go to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and are behind schedule. Virtually by definition, a basic income already contributes to 4 of the 17 SDGs (SDG1 No Poverty, SDG2 Zero Hunger, SDG5 Gender Equality, and SDG10 Reduced Inequalities).

‘By definition’, because a basic income is a periodic cash payment, paid to every individual and high enough to meet your basic needs through market transactions. This eliminates income poverty and hunger, puts men and women on an equal footing, and reduces income inequality by putting a floor under the income distribution. What differentiates basic income from all other schemes of social security, is that a basic income is unconditional. There is no means testing (it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor), there are no work or social service requirements (income is not tied to past performance nor to evidence of willingness to perform work in the present), and one’s individual circumstances (place of residence, marital status or size of one’s household) make no difference. The money goes directly into your hands. No bureaucracy, no middlemen, no sanctions on non-compliance. You can choose freely whether to save or spend, and what to spend your basic income on. This freedom of choice is a very important characteristic of a basic income. In principle, as a receiver of basic income, the only conditions you have to meet are being human and alive. What your basic needs are and how you can best meet them, differs between individuals. The environment can never be the same for any two individuals. A basic income gives individuals the freedom to save for or invest in goods and services that are meaningful to them. Not everybody needs a goat.

We know from basic income experiments and cash transfer programs around the world that a basic income has impressive positive effects on a variety of domains, many of them context related.
If you look at the evidence gathered so far, there is enough evidence to suggest that one simple intervention, a basic income, contributes directly to the majority of the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations!

We are currently working on a paper on Basic Income in relation to the SDGs. We expect to publish it on our website and social media Q1 2020. Stay tuned!


Posted on

December 27, 2019

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