To begin with, there is the problem of exactly whom the basic income will apply to; in other words, what is the subject for claims to social justice in the world of basic income. In most formulations, from Thomas Paine forward, a basic income is conceived of as having a condition of citizenship attached to it. Though this would be a relatively straightforward in a world of limited interstate migration, the reality is that individuals and families currently exist in a wide variety of positionalities vis-à-vis the state in which they physically inhabit. In addition to citizens, there are permanent residents, refugees, students on visas, temporary foreign workers and more. The danger with a citizenship-conditional basic income, as it is unlikely that every country would implement such a policy at the same time, and certainly not at the same monetary level, is that it would further deepen the divide between citizen and non-citizen inhabitants of particular countries.
Is a universal basic income going to be the next important goal for human civilization?
Why should only the lucky few have any choice but to do paid work? What is our infatuation with work, and why is it only paid work that seems to matter so much? What about unpaid work? Why is it considered valuable work worthy of pay when two people are paying each other to watch each other’s kids, but not valuable work when they’re each raising their own kids? If one concern is that people given basic incomes will work less, and another concern is that there will be half as many jobs due to automation, then everyone working half as much is exactly what we want so as to better share the available employment, isn’t it? Plus productivity tends to increase as hours worked decrease, so we’d accomplish more with less as well.