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Che il reddito di base sia di aiuto per i paesi poveri?

BERKELEY – La vecchia idea di ridefinire il welfare state istituendo un reddito di base universale incondizionato è entrata recentemente nel merito del dibattito politico. A sinistra viene considerato come un antidoto semplice e potenzialmente completo per la povertà. A destra viene visto come un mezzo per demolire le complesse burocrazie sul welfare in grado di riconoscere la necessità di alcuni obblighi di trasferimento sociale senza indebolire in modo significativo gli incentivi. Fornisce anche una sorta di garanzia per il futuro, tanto temuto, in cui i robot sostituiranno i lavoratori in diversi comparti. Ma potrebbe davvero funzionare?

Finora la questione è stata principalmente affrontata nei paesi avanzati – e i dati paiono poco promettenti. Sebbene Canada, Finlandia e Paesi Bassi stiano ora considerando l’idea di un reddito di base, alcuni economisti di spicco dei paesi avanzati avvertono che è palesemente insostenibile. Negli Stati Uniti, ad esempio, un sussidio annuo da 10.000 dollari per ciascun adulto – meno della soglia ufficiale di povertà per singola persona – andrebbe a prosciugare quasi tutto il gettito fiscale federale, in base al sistema corrente. Forse sono stati proprio questi conti a spingere gli elettori svizzeri a bocciare con larga maggioranza la proposta con il referendum svoltosi all’inizio di questo mese.

Ma che dire dei paesi a basso o medio reddito? Di fatto, un reddito di base potrebbe realmente essere fattibile a livello fiscale – per non dire socialmente auspicabile – in quei luoghi dove la soglia di povertà sia bassa e le esistenti reti di sicurezza sociale siano logore e dispendiose da amministrare.

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