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I'm almost done with the Intro Course EA Program, and I seems like no one is talking about UBI. Forums also seem pretty void of any significant posts on the subject.

Has it been proven to not work? To not be viable? Is the expected benefit/positive impact not big enough?

10-15% of the population in developed countries struggles with food and rent. And what's the percentage of people a job they don't like/are not a good fit for? 1/3 ? More?

The productivity boost, working jobs that actually are good fits for them could be huge. Not to mention quality of life improvements and people just being happier.

There must be some goods reasons we're not focusing on it. So what are they?




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I'll take a stab at this.

Everything on the forum tagged under GiveDirectly touches on basic income. See their recent post Early findings from the world’s largest UBI study for a research report and Ending extreme poverty through cash transfers should be a central EA cause for a spirited debate on the merits of basic income. So I would not say that "no one is talking about UBI." It ebbs and flows.

As to whether that income should be universal, I think most EAs would argue against, for reasons that strike me as pretty straightforward applications of our collective commitment to impartial welfarism, maximizing utility, and cosmopolitanism. In other words,  because we are always triaging, we should be focusing our efforts on the causes where a marginal dollar goes furthest, and that concern usually militates against universality. 

Looking at the total discussion of UBI and UBI-related subjects on the forum, I think it's a good proportion: not too much, not too little.

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