The idea of a guaranteed basic income, also referred to as unconditional or universal basic income, is starting to gain traction in many parts of the world, both in developed and developing nations. It’s actually a very simple idea: Everyone in society receives a single basic income to provide for a comfortable living whether they choose to work or not. Importantly, it’s only intended to be enough for a person to survive on. The money for this social welfare scheme could come from the government or some other public institution, in addition to funds or income received from other sources. It could be taxable, or non-taxable, and divvyed up on a continual basis, monthly, or annually.

Advocates argue that a basic income is essential to a comprehensive strategy for reducing poverty because it offers extra income with no strings attached. But looking ahead to the future, we may have little choice but to implement it. Given the ever-increasing concentration of wealth and the frightening prospect of technological unemployment, it will be required to prevent complete social and economic collapse. It’s not a question of if, but how soon.