DIF Studio Universal Basic Income: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

  • Speakers:
  • Almaz Zelleke, Peter McColl

Topics relevant to the session

  • Details About the session
  • Speakers Info about who's talking

Imagine if every citizen was given a five-figure sum of money by the state, every year, no questions asked. This is the idea behind Universal Basic Income (UBI). Strong opinions exist both for and against UBI, but what’s unique about the idea is that it has the potential to unite the political Left and Right. Well...sort of.

The guests in this live studio session will cut through the noise to tell us where the debate is at, how it relates to democracy, how it can support a healthy economy, and, tantalisingly, we’ll look at how UBI is being trialled in parts of the world.

This is an abbreviated version of an interview that took place on November 16th. Want to watch the conversation in full? Watch it here:


Almaz Zelleke

Almaz Zelleke

Associate Professor of Practice in Political Science, NYU Shanghai

Almaz Zelleke is a leading academic author on a variety of subjects related to the cutting edge of political theory and public poliucy Associate Professor of Practice in Political Science at NYU Shanghai. Her academic interests are in political theory and public policy, feminist political theory, and comparative political economy. Her articles on basic income, distributive justice, welfare policy, and feminist political theory have been published in Political Quarterly, Basic Income Studies, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, Policy and Politics, Review of Social Economy, and Journal of Socio-Economics.

Peter McColl

Peter McColl

Policy & Research, Nesta

Peter McColl leads Nesta's policy and research work in Scotland. His work focuses on the opportunities to integrate and adapt Nesta's work for Scotland. He has particular interests in intergenerational politics, higher education, health, universal basic income and participatory democracy.

Before joining Nesta, Peter was Director of the Policy Unit at Common Weal - a think and do tank committed to transforming Scotland. He has worked for the Royal Voluntary Service, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations and in the Scottish Parliament. He was Rector of the University of Edinburgh from 2012 to 2015. He chaired Transition Scotland Support, the infrastructure organisation for Transition Initiatives in Scotland from 2008-2011.


Jocelyn Blériot

Jocelyn Blériot

Executive Officer, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Jocelyn Blériot, executive officer of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, has an academic background drawing focus on literature, philosophy and sociology.

Having spent most of his career in the media industry as a journalist and editor, he notably develops written and video content, coordinates the production of reports and edits books produced by Ellen MacArthur Foundation Publishing. He represented the Foundation on the European Resource Efficiency Platform (European Commission) and manages the relationship with EU institutions.

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