Can a basic income quell a riot?

Iraq has been rocked over the last week by anti-government protests that have turned violent, with over 100 people being killed and thousands injured. People are protesting the corrupt government that keeps everything for the elite while not delivering services to ordinary people.

The BBC reports that in response Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi is proposing some reforms. Remarkably, Mr. Mahdi promised to pass a new law granting poor families a basic income.

It remains to be seen if he will follow through on such a promise, and whether protesters will believe that he will. But to hear that a basic income plan is being put forward as a means of halting social unrest shows how powerful the idea has become.