Tracy A. Smith-Carrier, Rana Van Tuyl

Are the UN Sustainable Development Goals a Valuable Platform for Advancing a Basic Income? A Critical Historical Studies Account

  • Economics and Econometrics

Abstract United Nations (UN) leaders suggest that the world is not on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The purpose of this paper is to explore whether the SDGs provide a valuable platform to call for a basic income (BI) globally. Adopting a critical historical studies approach, the article traces the evolution of ‘development’, including the UN decades of development, the Millennium Development Goals, and the SDGs. It subsequently describes the structural adjustment and poverty reduction efforts by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, and then outlines why the SDG framework may be helpful in advancing a BI. We argue that as climate-related disasters increase, a BI will be vital in providing a modicum of security in an increasingly unstable world. Calls for BI must be anchored to a broader change agenda that recognizes the causes of poverty and income inequality, and seeks their dismantling and redress.

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