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What would happen if the government just gave people money? Finland and Switzerland may soon find out, as they weigh the potential benefits of an idea called Universal Basic Income.

UBI is exactly what it sounds like: money, for everyone, rich or poor, whether or not you're working. It's one of those rare socioeconomic theories that attracts fans from the socialist left and the economic right. Milton Friedman was a proponent, for example, and so was Nixon. But the idea is also in vogue right now in Silicon Valley, and several European nations are considering UBI experiments of their own.

But could a Universal Basic Income work in the United States? What would happen to social benefits if it were implemented? To the middle class?

To learn more about UBI, Marketplace Weekend spoke to Paula Dwyer, a columnist at Bloomberg who's been writing on the topic. 

Listen to the full interview using the player above. 

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