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Universal basic income is a type of welfare program in which all citizens of a country or state are given regular and unconditional payments by the government.

The premise is that handing out unconditional money to all citizens, employed or not, would help reduce poverty and inequality, and increase motivation and happiness.

The idea of a guaranteed income is not new. It goes as far back as 1797, when political theorist Thomas Paine pitched the idea that governments pay everyone a standard £15 a year.