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Why (and where) Universal Basic Income is becoming more popular

Long before Andrew Yang launched his scrappy 2020 presidential campaign, Universal Basic Income (UBI), the idea that the government provides every adult citizen with a set amount of cash on a regular basis (no strings attached), has been growing in popularity. And it's not just "talk" at this point. A few countries like Kenya, Finland and even Iran have launched nationwide unconditional cash transfer programs, and many others have launched smaller-scale programs. 54% of Americans oppose a UBI program, according to a 2020 PEW study. Unsurprisingly, most Democrats support it and most Republicans oppose it…many saying a UBI would discourage people from looking for jobs. But worldwide, the coronavirus pandemic has only supercharged the UBI movement, as it further widened the chasm of global economic inequality.

Watch the episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: Is modern society broken?

Is modern society broken?

What does President Biden's "build back better" slogan really mean? If you asked him, he'd likely say that life after the pandemic shouldn't just be as good as it was before COVID hit…it should be better. Who would disagree with that? But beyond the sloganeering, the need to create a much improved "new normal" has never been greater. With global inequality on and extreme poverty on the rise, how do we patch up the many holes in the world's social safety nets? Renowned economist and London School of Economics director Minouche Shafik has some ideas, which she shared with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Coronavirus Politics Daily: Italy closes ports, Spain floats UBI, Libya cases grow

Italy closes its ports to migrants: After a boat carrying 150 Libyan migrants was intercepted off the Italian coast this week, the Italian government rushed to pass an eleventh-hour law barring migrant ships from docking on its shores during the coronavirus crisis. Italy, the main port of entry for migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa, has seen more COVID-19 deaths than any other country to date. Members of Italy's political right and left – including the country's health minister, who belongs to a leftist party that has long supported migrants' rights – joined forces to support the legislation, on the grounds that Italy can't ensure the safety of migrants during the outbreak. But non-government groups that patrol the Mediterranean to rescue migrants say that even in the midst of a global crisis, the rights of asylum seekers should be safeguarded. Rome's move to close the ports comes just six months after a new Italian government reopened them to migrants, overturning the anti-migrant policies spearheaded by former interior minister Matteo Salvini of the right-wing Lega Party. Before Europe became the epicenter of the pandemic, efforts were underway to implement some sort of bloc-wide policy on migrants. But as COVID-19 cases soar throughout the union, this has undoubtedly been put on (the furthest edge of) the back burner.

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