In a remarkable Easter Sunday letter to members of social movements around the world, Pope Francis, noting that the widespread suffering caused by the global coronavirus pandemic does not fall evenly, suggested that the crisis warranted the establishment of a universal basic income. He described it also as an opportunity for affluent societies to “downshift” and re-evaluate patterns of consumption and exploitation.
“This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out,” Pope Francis wrote. “It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights.” (In the original text, the pope used an expression, “el salario universal,” that is typically used in Spanish to refer to the universal basic income.)
He added, “I hope that this time of danger will free us from operating on automatic pilot, shake our sleepy consciences and allow a humanist and ecological conversion that puts an end to the idolatry of money and places human life and dignity at the center.”