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Should the Super-Rich Pay for a Universal Basic Income?

10 April 2018 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

Chatham House, London


Chris Hughes, Co-Founder, Facebook; Author, Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn

Chair: Barbara Ridpath, Director, St Paul's Institute; Member of Council, Chatham House



The concept of a universal basic income (UBI) – a regular, guaranteed, non-contingent payment to either all people or all people in specified groups – has been around since the time of Thomas Paine, who himself proposed the idea.

In recent years, as wealth concentration has reached new heights and, according to Forbes, the top three richest Americans hold more wealth than the entire bottom 50 per cent of the US population, the concept of UBI has gained renewed popularity as a means of disrupting this huge inequality.

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes argues that poverty can be alleviated and the middle class stabilized by a guaranteed income for a variety of working people, including students and unpaid caregivers. Focusing on the case study of the US, Hughes outlines how such a scheme might work in practice, with ‘one percenters’ like him bearing the financial responsibility for its implementation. 

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