(Stories derived from Various sources.)
In Kenya a Living UBI is going into effect. Proof that a above average disposable income is the goal.
Edwine tells me that he and a group of 10 or so friends have formed a savings compact. Each month they’ll all pool a portion of their basic income payments and give the combined amount to one member. They’ll cycle through all the members month to month, so everyone gets an equal shot. That means the person getting the money will have 10 times as much to spend or invest as if they’d gone it alone.
A amn named Edwine is planning to spend his share on a mixture of school fees, when his kids come of age, a mattress, chairs, and maybe, in the future, on building his own house, so he can move away from the family compound. He says he also might use some to pay for vocal lessons at the local Catholic church. He may be a jack-of-all-trades and farmer now, but his dream is to teach music.
Across Jacklin, Benter, Samson, and Edwine, I heard plans to use the money to pay for:
•Building a house
That’s just four people, and a truly expansive array of ways to allocate the cash. It’s no surprise, then, that every recipient I talked to expressed appreciation for GiveDirectly’s choice to offer them cash as opposed to an in-kind payment.
A woman had previously worked with an international NGO called Plan International that aims to “advance children’s rights and equality for girls.” In practice, though, the group provided her with only a notebook and a pencil. That was fine, so far as it goes — but it wasn’t really what she needed for her kids at that time. Getting cash, by contrast, lets her budget according to her own needs. (See documentary Poverty Inc.)
A survey last year by Dalia Research found that 68% of people across all 28 EU member states would “definitely or probably” vote in favor of some form of universal basic income, also known as a citizens’ wage, granted to everyone with no means test or requirement.
Equality of payments becomes much less attractive once long-term sickness and disability are brought into the picture. If all involuntary interruptions to employment were short-term in nature, a subsistence level income might be enough to tide people over with the help of savings and borrowing. When people are going to be out of the labour market for months or years, with savings exhausted and no access to credit markets, the proposition is much less attractive. Hence benefits for long-term sickness have historically been higher than for short-term unemployment. But paying a higher rate of UBI to people who can’t work because of disability brings us back to some form of work-capability assessment.
An Artist in Finland states: “The Universal Income is great. One problem. It is not enough and we want the government to give a higher dividend. I am an artist and still cannot afford the supplies I need. Many people have ideas of effecting their goals. More money would help. We are going in the right direction.”
Juha Järvinen, another participant in the pilot scheme who lives in western Finland, agrees the benefits system holds the unemployed back. He has been unemployed for five years since his business collapsed. “I have done a lot for free – wedding videos, making web pages – because I’ve liked it. But before a basic income I would get into trouble if I got any money for that work.”
A second set of basic income converts articulate a grander case, grounded not so much in the breakdown of the current welfare state, but in a world where the rise of robots means many of us will no longer have to work. We will be free to enjoy lives of leisure – but without work, we will all need a source of income.
Meanwhile, the cost of goods and services in the Bay Area rose 27 percent over the past 10 years, and the median price of a home last year hit $880,000 – which fewer than 40 percent of first-time homebuyers can afford, according to the 2017 Silicon Valley Index published by Joint Venture Silicon Valley. The price of renting a home has also skyrocketed in recent years. A $20,000 to $22,000 a year income would never pay for this. A Living income for the USA is the answer.