Basic Incone is a necessity

He argues for a new view of minimum basic income, not as a safety net to save people who may fall, but a foundation on which people can stand to rise up as productive citizens. His presentation includes the new technological context that for the first time in history, smart machines will eliminate far more jobs than they create. This then, according to Varoufakis, necessitates a basic income for all citizens.

What is really significant about this presentation is the creation of an alternative view of wealth creation which he brings about through reframing the concept of how most people think about wealth.
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The 5% and the Universal Basic Income

The idea of universal basic income is rapidly gaining traction among people who are worried about (or looking forward to, depending on your view) an ever-more automated future (where workers are replaced by robots and computers) and rising inequality in our society gets ever more acute. However, the idea of a basic income goes back centuries – from Thomas More, Johannes Ludovicus Vives, Marquis de Condorcet, to Thomas Paine and John Stuart Mill, they have all argued a basic income, in its various forms, as a way to solve some social ills and improve social welfare, resulting in a more civilised and equal society.[i]

The danger that we would be underwriting the failures is trivial compared with the benefits the guaranteed annual income would provide us. It would provide dignity for every citizen and choice for every citizen.

Margaret Mead

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A basic income approach to development

As it turns out, that assumption was wrong. Across many contexts and continents, experimental tests show that the poor don’t stop trying when they are given money, and they don’t get drunk. Instead, they make productive use of the funds,feeding their families, sending their children to school, and investing in businessesand their own futures. Even a short-term infusion of capital has been shown tosignificantly improve long-term living standards, improve psychological well-being, and even add one year of life. Continue reading

We can afford a universal basic income

The Tax Justice Network estimates the global elite are sitting on $21–32tn of untaxed assets. Clearly, only a portion of that is owed to the US or any other nation in taxes – the highest tax bracket in the US is 39.6% of income. But consider that a small universal income of $2,000 a year to every adult in the US – enough to keep some people from missing a mortgage payment or skimping on food or medicine – would cost only around $563bn each year.

A larger income, to ensure that no American fell into absolute abject poverty – say, $12,000 a year – would cost around $3.6tn. That is a big number, but one that once again seems far more reasonable when considered through the lens of the Panama Papers and the scandal of global tax evasion. Because the truth is that we have all been robbed, systematically, by the world’s wealthiest people, for decades. They have used those stolen dollars to build yet more wealth for themselves, and all the while we have been arguing with ourselves over what to do with the leftover pennies.

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Utrecht to trial a ‘Basic Income’ system

It’s an idea whose adherents over the centuries have ranged from socialists to libertarians to far-right mavericks. It was first proposed by Thomas Paine in his 1797 pamphlet, Agrarian Justice, as a system in which at the “age of majority” everyone would receive an equal capital grant, a “basic income” handed over by the state to each and all, no questions asked, to do with what they wanted. …

Utrecht, one of the largest cities in the Netherlands, and 19 other Dutch municipalities, a tentative step towards realising the dream of many a marginal and disappointed political theorist is being made. …
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UBI: Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands

Switzerland has turned its back on a basic income scheme, in which the federal government would have given every resident a monthly payment – expected to be around 2500 Swiss Francs ($2,500) – “regardless of their income and assets”.

Although voters rejected the move in a referendum at the weekend, Switzerland isn’t the only country weighing up a basic-income experiment. Around 10,000 people in Finland could soon be paid €550 each month if the government goes ahead with a universal basic income pilot project.
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