The welfare system evolved from the original simple logic of poor relief to a more complex and articulated one, aiming at reducing risks mainly associated with labour market uncertainty. This Keynes-Beveridge scheme is undergoing a crisis for both ideological and practical reasons. Between the defence of the status quo and the dismantling of the welfare state it is possible to find new proposals and solutions. The most challenging appears to be that of granting a universal basic income; this would be a radical change with respect to previous solutions since it does not requires means test nor work test. The paper explores the main features of the proposal as well as the main criticisms aroused by it, in particular for its supposed violation of the reciprocity tenet. The possible alternative proposal of granting a basic capital instead of a basic income is also briefly analysed.
Marco Boccaccio è professore associato di Scienza delle finanze presso la Facoltà di Economia dell'Università degli Studi di Perugia.