Earlier this month, Finland became the first European country to offer its unemployed citizens a monthly unconditional income of €560 as part of a two-year pilot program aiming to reduce poverty and unemployment. Similarly, the councils of Fife and Glasgow in Scotland piloted analogous programs this year, while similar universal basic income (UBI) schemes can also be found in Canada and Silicon Valley.
The UBI concept works on the premise that individuals are guaranteed a minimum regular payment unconditionally. Although not new in its inception, the recent resurface of UBI is underpinned by significant advancements in the automation of the production process, which, according to UBI proponents, are likely to severely impede labour market security and stability. To this end, advocates of UBI schemes point to the fact that in 2014 alone, robotics sales rose by 29 per cent, the highest year-on-year increase ever, being mainly driven by automotive parts suppliers and the electrical/electronics industry. Similarly, annual robotics patent filings have tripled over the last decade.
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