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Book Presentations

Universal Basic Income

The idea of a universal basic income (UBI) has gained momentum in recent years. Proponents assert that a UBI will dramatically simplify and improve upon the current welfare state model. However, real-world implementation is anything but basic. No serious answers have been found to the question of how to finance such a system, and economists are also concerned about the negative effects of a UBI on people's willingness to work. The topic is explored in the current Intereconomics Forum: Universal Basic Income: The Promise vs The Practicalities.

To discuss this important topic further, Wirtschaftsdienst and Intereconomics present two newly published works by two of the biggest names in the field of universal basic income: Thomas Straubhaar and Philippe Van Parijs. The two authors will present their main arguments, and a discussion will follow on the practicalities of universal basic income, led by Gerhard Bosch.

The book presentations and subsequent discussion will be held in English. Intereconomics invites you to join us on 7 June 2017 at 6.00 pm at the ZBW in Hamburg. Further details and registration information can be found here.

Figure of the Month

Population Weighted Gini Index (net), 1987-2013

This figure from "Rising Income Inequality: Do Not Draw the Obvious Conclusions” by Heiko Peters and Maya Volwahsen shows the progression of the Gini Index in various countries - and groups of countries - over the past three decades. 

Universal Basic Income

The Basics of Basic Income

John Kay describes how any attempt to turn basic income into a feasible proposal necessarily involves the reintroduction of elements of the benefit system which are dependent on multiple contingencies and also on income and wealth. The outcome is a welfare system which resembles those that already exist. Thus, basic income is merely a distraction from sensible and necessary welfare reforms.

Universal Basic Income

On the Economics of a Universal Basic Income

Thomas Straubhaar argues that the UBI is an adequate and effective way to adjust the concept of the social market economy to the age of digitisation, globalisation and the long-term trends that go along with a demographically ageing society. It is an efficient reaction to the increasing polarisation between (human) capital owners and less qualified workers who must finance their lives with labour income stemming from low-paid jobs.


Brexit and Trade: Between Facts and Irrelevance

Phedon A. Nicolaides and Thibault Roy review the nature and importance of UK-EU trade links and the possible impact on the UK of leaving the EU customs union. They argue that claims made by Brexit supporters are either logically inconsistent or ignore the extent of the commitment required by trade agreements that tackle regulatory barriers. Furthermore, the attractiveness of the UK market will progressively decline as the UK enters into additional bilateral agreements.

Quote of the Month

Universal Basic Income

“Achieving optimal resource allocation is one of the greatest challenges of every society. A UBI therefore offers the wrong incentives and tends to promote collective poverty, not only materially but also subjectively.”

from Hilmar Schneider's Forum article "Universal Basic Income – Empty Dreams of Paradise"

From the Archives

The Impact of the Crisis on World Trade

The September/October 2009 Forum examined the effects of the global financial and economic crisis on both international trade and trade policy. Among the issues discussed was the potential for a rise in protectionism. Given the recent political success of populists who have called for renewed protectionism, the articles in this Forum provide an interesting snapshot of the prevailing wisdom in the middle of the crisis.