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  • What would the world be like if everyone had the right to earn an income

  • even if it couldn't find an employment?

  • One group is pushing for just that

  • we'll talk with one of its cult fathers and learn more about

  • the universal basic income

  • The conservative website 'The Blaze' erupted in anger saturday after it had learnt

  • that public schools upstate new york were teaching a curriculum included lessons

  • about universal human rights that were declared by the united nations in 1945

  • These rights include among other the right to own property

  • the right to take part in the government of your country

  • the right to work

  • and at the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being

  • of himself in his of his family

  • but one of the things not directly mention in the UN declaration is the

  • idea of creating a right to make a basic income whether you're employed or not

  • one group working to make that idea a reality

  • is the Basic Income Earth Network

  • joining me now is one of its co-founders professor Guy Standing

  • author of the book 'The Precariat - the new dangerous class'

  • Professor Standing, welcome to the program

  • Thank you very much - pleasure to be talking to you from Italy

  • thank you very much and thanks for being here so

  • early morning for you there

  • What is the universal basic income and how do you track this back to the

  • UN declaration of human rights in united nations charter?

  • well if I may add a correction it wasin 1948, not 1945

  • and actually the the idea of a basic income goes back

  • much further than that

  • and we can trace it to one of the founders of the united states of America

  • Thomas Paine

  • who said a very sage thing i think

  • that the wealth of all of us

  • depends far more on the contributions of all our ancestors

  • than anything we do ourselves

  • and your wealth, my wealth, whatever it might be is much more due to

  • the creative capacities of all those people who came before us

  • and in a sense you could say the basic income

  • - a modest monthly payments to everybody -

  • it would be equivalent to a social dividend from all the investments

  • that previous generations have made

  • now since we've said that

  • at the Basic Income Earth Network

  • it's become increasingly popular

  • around the world

  • and I just come back from India where we were conducting a pilot

  • where thousands

  • of very poor people

  • are receiving a monthly cash transfer unconditionally, individually

  • Every man, every woman, and every child is receiving it

  • and we have been mapping the effects on their lives, their work

  • their nutrition, help, schooling

  • and we've seen a transformation in the villages where the basic income

  • has been paid

  • we have also been doing that in Africa

  • and we have been pushing it in latin america

  • and when I first went to Brazil in the mid-1990s

  • people loved the idea of having a basic income

  • but then the president Lula when he was elected, had the courage

  • to introduce what's called the 'bolsa familia'

  • whereby millions of people now receive a monthly basic income in effect

  • and over 60 million people in Brazil recieve it, and it has been extremely successful

  • reducing inequality, lowering unemployment, increasing economic growth

  • and contradict what critics say : it is increasing people's work

  • so it's it's something that is very much

  • a feasible option

  • and we believe that given the development of the precariat

  • we need to think about it

  • in countries like The United States or my own country

  • Great Britain

  • and all over Europe

  • Thomas Paine proposal that is in his book 'Agrarian Justice' as i recall

  • suggested that it would be established

  • each person upon birth a certain amount of money being put into an account would

  • become available to them off

  • in adulthood the dividends

  • would become available

  • We've played with things sort of like this in the united states right now

  • In Alaska where Sarah Pallin is governor they recieve

  • 2,000 dollar check, every man woman and child in that state

  • out of the alaska permanent fund - a large funded money from the oil revenues

  • and uh... you know every citizen gets that

  • that's not enough to really be a basic income but it's a it's a floor

  • In the US we also have

  • a tax credit if you live in poverty where you actually get money back from

  • the government

  • So it seems such a stretch from things that actually been tried here

  • is it ?

  • Well... i don't want to give any credit to Sarah Pallin

  • for the Alaska Permanent found and the dividend... Oh I knwo i just throw that because it

  • makes conservative crazy

  • Ahah, I know

  • it was actually introduced by Jay Hammond in 1966

  • and it's been gradually built up

  • i think Alaska's Permanent Fund and the dividends

  • are an extremely good idea

  • they're not the same as basic income

  • and the same one could say about earned income tax credit

  • which as we know has become the biggest welfare

  • scheme in the world

  • now the idea of earned income tax credits is quite unlike a basic income

  • in the sense that it is supposed to top off low wages

  • So it's linked to an earned income It is not a Right

  • And in fact the way it works, is a subsidy

  • on low-wage labor

  • and it encourages firms to pay low wages!

  • It's really a subsidies - A subsidy to walmart's!

  • yes exactly! it's a subsidy to Walmart's and all others companies that can benefit from

  • employing low-wage labor. and I think it's enormously expensive

  • it costs billions of dollars every year... it's one of the reasons why you have

  • such a huge government deficit

  • and it contributes to an inefficient labor market

  • uh... and others

  • stupidly subsidized distorting system what would be a basic income...

  • i'm sorry.

  • I was wondering what would be an appropriate...

  • if we were to establish something like your suggestion here - where it's universal

  • everybody has it whether they work not, unconditional

  • and for every man, woman and child

  • what would be a foundational amount, this Thomas Paine's amount

  • what would be the amount that each person should get

  • in your mind as a minimum - we have just a moment

  • yeah i think one would have to

  • develop it

  • according to the country

  • and what we say is that in fact you have to build

  • towards the basic income gradually converting your

  • existing social transfers, your means-tested benefits like SNAP

  • and so on

  • into an unconditional benefits and put them together so that you will gradually

  • move to paying

  • a subsistence standard of living. I can imagine for example tha in my own country

  • Great Britain

  • that what you would do is you take away your tax credits

  • and your job seeker allowances

  • and you'd give everybody a hundred pounds a week, and then you would build up from that

  • and you would top it off with different types of benefits

  • and what we've been doing in India for example is we've given very modest

  • payments each month

  • but gradually the idea is to

  • remove subsidies

  • that are regressive and very inefficient

  • and replace them to top up the basic income - absolutely perfect sense

  • Professor Guy Standing,

  • thank you so much for joining us tonight

  • i hope your idea works because it is actually viral worldwide

  • thank you

What would the world be like if everyone had the right to earn an income

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The right to make a basic income (Interview with Guy Standing, RT The Big Picture)

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    王惟惟 posted on 2018/10/19
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