The basic income guarantee is a concept that, at first glance, is fairly simple and often summed up in a single sentence. For instance, the U.S. branch of the B.I.G. Network describes it as “an unconditional, government-insured guarantee that all citizens will have enough income to meet their basic needs.” In that sense you could understand how it becomes an easy thing to daydream about.
If you need slightly more than a sentence and you’re more of the type that only wants to spend a couple of minutes watching a video Vox’s Dylan Matthews has you covered:
I like the emphasis on legitimacy. Basic income was a serious proposal within the Overton Window of policy choices in the not-too-distant past. In an hourglass economy it could be again, although it would require an entirely different political environment than currently exists. If it’s a radical idea at the moment we can largely thank a polity that mostly only enacts the policy preferences of the wealthy. When you have nothing left to lose and little to no control over the big picture then a simple idea like basic income can feel quite empowering. (Side Note on Video: I do wish Dylan would’ve spoken a bit more loudly but from one mumbler to another I totally get you bro.)
Delving any deeper into basic income, though, is (to claim a case of ‘the Mondays’ here and use a lame analogy) akin to peeling an onion. One can quickly go from idly checking r/BasicIncome to spending an unbelievably absurd $170+ on an anthology of research — which, just throwing this out there, I’d happily accept the latter as a donation. For somewhere in-between dipping your toes and buying a t-shirt I’d recommend Dylan’s accompanying longer-form explainer piece here.