Author: Annamaria Artner
In: Critique (2019) 47:4, pp. 531-550
This paper examines whether the concept of Unconditional Basic Income (UBI) can be realised within the framework of capitalism. After describing the essence of UBI, I present its historical antecedents, rival concepts and the pros and cons. The paper then contrasts the effect of UBI on wage labour with aspects of capital accumulation and makes an assessment of the obstacles to the introduction of UBI. It deduces why and how UBI might become unsustainable in cases where it is implemented within the framework of a profit-oriented and property-based society and concludes that as UBI would put a floor under the working-class income, restrict the possibilities of suppressing the wage share and increase the rate of exploitation, it is unlikely to be introduced and certainly cannot be maintained as long as the socio-economic system is based on the profit motive.