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正确理解基本收入

华盛顿—最近,全民基本收入机制受到很多关注。当然,这一思想——为一国的全体合法居民提供标准数量的不与工作挂钩的现金并不新鲜。哲学家托马斯·摩尔(Thomas More)在十六世纪就提出过这一思想,米尔顿·弗里德曼(Milton Friedman)等右派和约翰·肯尼斯·加尔布雷斯(John Kenneth Galbraith)等左派都为这一思想的变体摇旗呐喊多年。但这一思想最近获得了更多的推力,一些人把它看成是如今技术驱动的经济破坏的解决办法。它能管用吗?

全民基本收入的吸引力来自三个关键特征:它为全体公民提供一个基本社会“底线”;它让人们自己决定如何使用这一支持;它可以帮助精简许多社会支持计划所需要依靠的官僚。全民基本收入也是完全“随身”(portable)的,从而能够帮助频繁跳槽的人士、无法长期依靠一个雇主获得社会保险的人士以及自由职业人士。

许多左派将全民基本收入视为遏制贫困的直接方法,将它列入了他们的计划中。许多自由派喜欢全民基本收入这一概念,因为它让——事实上是要求——接收者能够自由选择如何花这笔钱。即使是富豪,有时也会支持它,因为它让他们知道他们所缴纳的税收最终有效地用于消灭极端贫困。

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