Homelessness Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Kijk opnieuw naar een basisinkomen

LONDEN – Groot-Brittannië is niet het enige land dat deze maand een referendum hield. Op 5 juni wees de Zwitserse kiezer overweldigend, met 77% tegen 23%, het voorstel af dat elke burger een onvoorwaardelijk basisinkomen (OBI) gegarandeerd zou moeten worden. Maar deze vertekende uitkomst betekent nog niet dat deze kwestie de komende tijd van het toneel zal verdwijnen.

Het idee van een OBI is gedurende de geschiedenis al meerdere malen opgedoken – te beginnen bij Thomas Paine in de achttiende eeuw. Deze keer heeft het echter waarschijnlijk een langere adem, omdat het vooruitzicht van voldoende inkomen uit arbeid voor mensen die arm zijn en minder onderwijs hebben genoten steeds bleker wordt. Er zijn zowel in arme als rijke landen al experimenten met onvoorwaardelijke geldovermakingen ondernomen.

Het OBI is de ietwat ongemakkelijke mix van twee doelstellingen: het bestrijden van armoede en de afwijzing van arbeid als definiërend levensdoel. De eerste is politiek en praktisch; de tweede filosofisch of ethisch.

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