Feasibility of a Universal Basic Income in Korea

Nam Hoon Kang (강남훈), Jong-sung You (유종성)

The book explores the moral case and the financial and political feasibility of introducing a universal basic income (UBI) to supplement or partly replace the current welfare regime in South Korea. It discusses the moral case for UBI in terms of human freedoms and wellbeing, based on a critical review of the relevant literature (Sen 1999; Standing 2017; Van Parijs and Vanderborght 2017). It assesses the conditions of the growing precariat in dualized labor markets and ineffectiveness of the dualized welfare regime to help the poor and the precarious to enjoy human freedoms and wellbeing. It examines two models of UBI in terms of financial feasibility and effectiveness in reducing inequality and poverty and enhancing human freedoms: a full UBI that could replace the existing social assistance system (National Livelihood Guarantee Scheme) and a partial UBI that could supplement the current system. It also explores the politics of UBI in South Korea and considers political and financial strategies in comparison with richer and poorer states, including Japan, the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India (Davala et al. 2015; Mays et al. 2016; Nell 2013; Standing and Samson 2003; Vanderborght and Yamamori 2014). The book will make a significant contribution to the globalization of Korean studies, by exploring the Korean case in comparison with richer and poor countries with regard to the important question on the financial and political feasibility of a UBI and its effectiveness in reducing inequality and enhancing human freedoms.

ToC:  1. Introduction; 2. The Necessity of a UBI in Korea; 3. The precariat in Korea; 4. The fourth industrial revolution and the right to UBI; 5. Two models of UBI for Korea; 6. Financial feasibility of UBI in Korea; 7. Political feasibility of UBI in Korea; 8. Conclusion: Comparison of the Korean case with richer and poorer states