Years ago, tech inventers proposed that citizens worldwide be provided with Universal Basic Income (UBI) because they were afraid of what could happen when their innovations replace most human jobs. Since then, countless more jobs have been lost to automation and/or robots (see 1, 2, 3) and more job loss is expected. UBI pilot programs have been introduced but also remain controversial and recently another one was announced in Ireland for artists.
2K Irish Artists Now Getting Universal Basic Income
3-year pilot program could transform lives, boost sector, backers say
(Newser) – Ireland’s government has begun paying $325 per week to 2,000 artists—including actors, musicians, writers, and painters—as part of a research program on the effects of universal basic income. The 707 visual artists, 584 musicians, 204 film artists, 184 writers, 173 theater artists, 32 dancers and choreographers, 13 circus artists, and 10 architects were chosen anonymously and at random from 9,000 applicants and will receive $325 per week over three years while undergoing data collection, reports the BBC. Another 1,000 artists who will not receive the weekly payment will be used as a control group as the government assesses the impact of the program on artists and their creative practice, according to a release, per Music Business Worldwide.
Members of the government’s Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce unanimously backed the Basic Income for the Arts project after looking for ways to revive the arts sector following the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the scheme became the group’s top recommendation. The pandemic “was extremely challenging for artists and creative workers, exposing vulnerabilities which have existed for decades within the Irish arts sector,” says chair Claire Duignan. “This is a landmark day, not just for those receiving grants, but also for Ireland, as it is the day that the state formally recognizes the financial instability faced by many working in the arts and places a value on the time spent developing a creative practice.”
The pilot program could transform the lives of participants, “reduce the constant level of uncertainty and insecurity felt by many,” offer “an increased sense of self-worth,” and facilitate “risk-taking and experimentation in their practice … allowing them to contribute to broader Irish society both socially and economically,” Duigan continues. “Ireland could lead the way on a new model to support people active in the sector, recognizing its importance to all people,” adds Catherine Martin, Ireland’s Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. The program is expected to cost $25 million. Participating artists can continue to earn money from their work and may still be eligible for social welfare programs, the BBC reports.