According to Needs and Abilities, Universal Basic Income Requires Universal Basic Infrastructure

Diana Kornbrot, Nazreen Badrudin

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This paper considers Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a method for establishing a good society that fulfils the needs of all its members without coercion. It starts with a brief description of UBI and of the good society it aims to create. Various models of basic human needs are considered. Next, we consider non-human and human resources available to create a good society and how they are or might be distributed. This leads to consideration of the types of infrastructure that might be available and how they impact on the level of UBI. An example of how health infrastructure contributes to life expectancy and excess deaths during the covid19 pandemic is included. Some current examples of UBI are discussed together with an evaluation of their efficacy. Measurement is clearly key to evaluation and available and desirable measures are described with special attention to the “Our World in Data” web site. The pros and cons of UBI are discussed. Finally, we conclude that UBI is a useful radical starting point, but that serious progress requires consideration of generations of resources and of allocation of those resources between universal infrastructure and universal individual basic income.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9 - 27
Number of pages19
JournalRadical Statistics
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2023


  • Universal Basic Income
  • Basic infrastucture
  • Sustainable development goals (SDGs)


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