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News Why World Change is Necessary

Politics More: Greece The Greek government is calling for a radical new 'basic income' welfare policy

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Greece is trying to provide a situation in which people, between the ages of 50-65, can remain attached to the job market even during (potentially extended) periods of joblessness. The solution? A Guaranteed Basic Income. Here's how it works. A basic income is a payment from that state that is granted to individual citizens, without means testing or having a work requirement. To its supporters it is a way of providing a basic standard of living to all citizens in a non-bureaucratic and direct fashion.

79% of Finns support a basic income policy

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Last saturday, the board of the Green league (Finnish Green Party) presented its political platform for the next general elections, which included a proposal for a basic income in Finland. In line with the current level of social security systems in Finland, the party has estimated the level of basic income at 560€ for all adults. It would replace most of the existing minimum social benefits such as the unemployment benefit and the minimum parental allowance. The party, who supports basic income for a long time already, has updated its model and has made the details available on its website. The survey concluded that 79% of Finns support a basic income policy if it “guarantees minimum subsistence, reduces bureaucracy and encourages work and entrepreneurship”.

Basic income – transforming benefits in the era of the precariat

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Far from wasting the cash grants, as officialdom predicted, villagers invested them in renewing their houses and building latrines; bulk buying of foodstuffs; paying school fees and sending their children to school in uniform; investing in seeds and pesticides, goats and oxen, and at least one Jersey cow – which led to a significant shift from paid labour to self-cultivation; buying sewing machines for “own account” businesses making blouses, petticoats; treating unaddressed illnesses, such as TB and blindness, and remedying injuries. Often they pooled the extra cash, for example, to buy a communal television set, to repair the spire of their temple, to create a credit union. “This is our story,” said one woman who had been sceptical. “We have learned that we can always trust the poor”.

A ‘basic income’ system could be feasible in Spain, but only by reframing the current debate

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Does this mean that the basic income itself is not a realistic goal? On the contrary. Political goals of this nature are more or less realistic depending on how feasible the route to implementation is. In fact, it would be possible to move toward a scenario approximating the basic income, provided that sustained economic growth returns. However this would require a different path to implementation. The aim in this sense is essentially to grant income security for all citizens without imposing stigma and demeaning controls on the poor. The basic income is simply one possible instrument of social policy for achieving that aim, among many others. It would be advisable for the proposal’s supporters, therefore, to adopt a strategy which avoids generating strong political opposition. Instead of pushing for a universal and unconditional basic income, it would be better to frame the discussion around the principles of welfare reform, income guarantees, the simplification of minimum income benefits, fostering personal autonomy, and poverty relief (without the stigma that comes with blaming the poor and the unemployed for their situation). By adopting this strategy, we would quickly find ourselves in a situation where different sides of the debate would be defending the same goals that the basic income is intended to achieve, but within a frame that does not generate the same degree of opposition and which connects far more readily with citizens’ conceptions of ‘common sense’. We could also leave to one side the somewhat mundane debates over what is ‘truly’ a basic income – a purely ideological question that is largely irrelevant given the chances of implementing a ‘pure’ basic income at the level of the poverty line are essentially zero.

Croatia Cancels Debts For Tens Of Thousands Of Its Poorest People

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Only the poorest Croatians are eligible for the program, which is intended to reach about 60,000 people. Debt relief recipients must earn less than 1,250 kuna per month — about 15 percent of the average national wage — and have debts smaller than 35,000 kuna ($5,100). Forgiving such debts will cost between $31 million and $300 million. That total will fall on a mixture of government treasuries and private companies, including multiple banks, telephone companies, and utilities, who will hope to benefit in the long run from improved economic conditions that could follow the debt forgiveness.

How to raise the minimum wage 107 percent without losing jobs or profit

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In fact, it’s more than doable. Economists Robert Pollin and Jeannette Wicks-Lim came to this conclusion by calculating the effects of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour — that’s far higher than what the president and congressional Democrats have proposed, and is more on par with rates paid in the other Washington.

From Welfare State To Innovation State

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The public venture funds’ share of profits from the commercialization of new technologies would be returned to ordinary citizens in the form of a “social innovation” dividend – an income stream that would supplement workers’ earnings from the labor market. It would also allow working hours to be reduced – finally approaching Marx’s dream of a society in which technological progress enables individuals to “hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner.”

The Potential Effects of a Universal Basic Income Guarantee on Student Loans

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The first thing I thought when I finally paid off my student loans was not so much the elation of having achieved something, but that I just got a raise. I've had at least $100 every month subtracted from my earnings for two decades, and with this burden finally gone, I now have over $100 more to spend every month. This should be obvious, but I don't know how obvious it really is. Right now when a student graduates from college, they are losing about $242 per month ( on average) out of their earnings to this debt. Meanwhile, 16.5% are paying about $450 and 8.5% are paying about $750 or more. This is money not being spent on restaurant meals, or movie theaters, or concerts, or new clothing, or vacations, or gifts, or services, or art, or furniture, or cars, or home appliances, or home improvements, or even homes. This is money not being spent into the economy. In other words, and most importantly, this is money not being spent to create each other's incomes.

7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free

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After over a hundred years of living with cars, some cities are slowly starting to realize that the automobile doesn't make a lot of sense in the urban context. It isn't just the smog or the traffic deaths; in a city, cars aren't even a convenient way to get around. Traffic in London today moves slower than an average cyclist (or a horse-drawn carriage). Commuters in L.A. spend 90 hours a year stuck in traffic. A U.K. study found that drivers spend 106 days of their lives looking for parking spots. Now a growing number of cities are getting rid of cars in certain neighborhoods through fines, better design, new apps, and, in the case of Milan, even paying commuters to leave their car parked at home and take the train instead.

Leisure and Magic

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Leisure activity in consumer culture is usually ready-made and pre-designed – and within it’s predicable banality it’s no wonder that the ‘magical’ has grown in popularity and most importantly, profitability. Where’s the fun? The ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ magical options are astounding in their variety – the Crowley-ites, Queens of the Nights, fey Renaissance fairs, the law of attraction, tricked out tantrikas, the burning people – all kinds of allure from ordinary reality – a little love and light, or a little light bondage will bridge the gap between boredom and consumption. Consumer culture loves the mainstreaming of the occult. It sustains and maintains what it needs most to thrive – our energy, self-absorption and our self-interest. The mainstreaming of magic offers a ‘more’ real world of the esoteric – a clever choice for sophisticated audiences who poo-poo what is ordinary.

A German Guy Wants to Give You a Bunch of Money for Nothing

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You said that having an unconditional basic income has radically altered your life. How so? After I stopped working earlier this year and started living off the approximately $1,300 I get out of my company, I just wanted to put my feet up and do nothing. Instead, I found a crazy drive to do things. I had a million new business ideas, I take care of my daughter, and I work for a local community radio. I buy less shit, I live healthier, and I'm a better boyfriend and father. Because you have more time for your girlfriend and daughter? Because I'm more laid-back. The pressure is gone. My working conditions were great even before, because I was running my own company and could pretty much do what I want. But making money was tied to conditions. Now, I do everything I do because I want to—and all of a sudden it’s twice as much fun.

Meeting to Discuss a Political Movement for Basic Income, March 1, 2015

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With all this activity around the world, interest in the formation of an American political movement for Basic Income is growing. Toward this effort the USBIG Network will host an open meeting for anyone interested in a political movement for Basic Income in the United States. Everyone is welcome to attend. All points of view are encouraged. It will be an open discussion with no preset agenda and no list of speakers. Let’s get together; talk it over; and see what happens.

PACT: Party for Accountabiity, Competence and Transparency

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PACT: Party for Accountability, Competency and Transparency (formerly Online Party of Canada) The newest registered federal political party, promoter of Participatory Democracy, Online Voting, Referendums, Live Leaders’ Debates. Just what a majority of Canadians said they want, as per a recent Ipsos National Poll. This is a grassroots political organization that represents the Canadian voters in the most inclusive, fair and accurate manner, eliminates partisanship by focusing on individual Issues, and whose representatives are being held responsible for their actions by instant vote and count, based on our own, first and only, ‘PACT Accountability Oath.’ This is a revolutionary introduction of Internet technology to the political process. It operates online and promotes an innovative internal election system based on the leadership and accountability of its Representatives. This system compels all Representatives to support the Party’s official position on each of its issues, determined in a purely democratic manner, namely, as the simple majority opinion of all (verified) Canadian registered voters!

Top Economist says: “Universal Basic Income is Not Affordable”

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A universal basic income that has the ambition to ban poverty from the world, is then immensely expensive. That doesn’t need to surprise you. To give the poor (a minority in society) a basic income, you have to also provide a basic income to the large majority that doesn’t need it. This leads to new problems. The working majority receives a basic income that stands loose from labor efforts, but will have to pay extra taxes (and not a small amount) on their labor incomes. And that is the best way to weaken work incentives. Conclusion: The only realistic system is one where the basic income is limited to those who need it. A universal basic income will never happen.

Basic Income makes unprecedented political progress

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The momentum behind Basic Income has been gaining ground for some time now, with more and more media attention including articles in publications such as The Economist and the Washington Post and a community on reddit that just passed 20,000 subscribers and is still growing. That’s not to mention the huge amount of signatures collected for the European Citizen’s Initiative and the successful campaign for a Basic Income referendum in Switzerland.

Minimum Income: What You Should Know About The Idea That Could Revolutionize The 21st Century

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Imagine the government started handing out $10,000 annually to every adult in the country, or implemented a negative income tax rate so that low earners and people out of work would receive tax money instead of paying it. Sounds like the ultimate socialist scheme, doesn’t it? Exactly the sort of thing the business community and conservative economists would label a job-killing farce destined to create a nation of lazy, uncompetitive good-for-nothings. But a growing number of economic thinkers -- and not only on the left -- are saying it could be the exact opposite: that it could be the policy idea of the century. While not exactly a silver bullet to solve all ills, it could eliminate poverty to a great extent, and set the stage for a healthier and more productive society. And if that idea appeals primarily to those on the left, there is one principal reason why it would appeal to those on the right as well: It promises to reduce the size and intrusiveness of government.

12 Jobs You Wouldn't Think Are Threatened By Robots, But Are

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This article was not written by a robot. But a decade from now, it could well be. When people hear the now-familiar refrain “robots are taking our jobs,” they tend to think of robotic arms replacing assembly line workers. But let’s face it, that’s so last century. The robots — or apps, or drones, or whatever other form they may take — of the 21st century will be far more ambitious. They’ll be gunning for our best jobs.

Why Environmentalists Should Promote a Guaranteed Basic Income

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Despite the range of economic, ethical and social justice arguments being made for a basic income, environmentalists seem to have largely missed the idea’s implications for sustainability. This should change. A basic income would remove the tension between saving the planet and supporting the working classes. Any economic structure which removes the financial incentive for ordinary people to destroy the planet is a good thing. People who depend on their environmentally destructive jobs for survival can hardly be blamed for dismissing the concerns of environmentalists. A basic income would give them the economic freedom to take climate change seriously. If the miners in Pride could have relied on enough money to remain in their community even after the pits closed, then the story might not have been so sad.

Why inequality is an economic problem

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The mainstream political consensus has for decades now suggested that inequality is a price worth paying for economic growth. But new research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows definitively that this inequality/growth trade-off is false – adding to a growing body of research showing that inequality actually prevents economies from growing. This points to a fundamental structural flaw in the economy: if the proceeds of growth are not shared, the pie stops growing. The pursuit of higher returns for the already wealthy within this dwindling pie cannot persist forever. With wealth refusing year on year to trickle down, debt has been used to plug the wage-consumption gap for the rest. The signals are showing quite plainly that this pursuit of growth, via inequality, is ineffective and unsustainable.

Reconsidering Traditional Classrooms: The Problems with Domesticating the Natural Child

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Supporting the creation and nurturing of self-aware and self-responsible children is imperative for us to change the current course our world is on. Because it is through the domestication of children where we disconnect them from being alert, awake and present in their physical bodies; where we create those zombie-like placated human beings that do not contribute anything of value to our world but perpetuating the cycle of working and consuming. It doesn't have to be this way

Blogs Education and Solutions

The Humpty-Dumpty Effect - Meconomics

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So what is the conclusion? Lol – I think it’s clear those two little words ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ can create quite a bit of havoc in our personal life if the distinction isn’t clear and we don’t look further than the tip of our nose. It’s no wonder we have failed to eradicate poverty so far. And yet, maybe that is all that is required – or at least it is a start – to clearly define the words ‘want’ and ‘need’ for yourself and begin to approach ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ appropriately in your own life. It is one way to start taking responsibility for the ineptitude with which we’ve been attempting to confront global economic problems. If we can address wants and needs effectively in our own life, then we can do the same on a large scale – first making sure everyone’s needs are met and then we can start looking at how to satisfy desires.

The Briefcase vs. A Guaranteed Living Income

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Should receiving money be so anxiety-ridden? Or is it living with the lack of money to meet one's needs that is triggered upon receiving such a large sum of money? Why do we all accept and allow the existence of a system that diminishes us, where we accept less as the norm and then when presented with 'free' money experience an initial response of disbelief. Are we not all worthy of a quality life where all our needs are met? Where financial struggle is no longer an issue?

Movie Disasters vs. Real Life Disasters

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Recently the movie San Andreas came out bringing in a whopping $54.8 million in its first weekend. So, people flocked to the theaters to be scared, freaked out about a disaster that could/can happen, that was sensationalized by Hollywood with a huge profit for the movie industry moguls. While here in California where Hollywood is located, we are in the worst drought in 1200 years, which is greatly impacting the $43 billion agricultural industry, which is representative in California being the 6th largest economy in the world, where wells have run dry, farms have closed, workers are out of a job and it does not stop there.

Meconomics: Can you Buy Happiness?

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"See – you can want to have a cup of coffee, because you expect that for a moment you’ll really enjoy drinking that coffee and it might assist you being more focused and awake for a short period of time – and when actually having that coffee – that’s exactly what you’re experiencing and what happens. That would be a want with realistic expectations. A want with unrealistic expectations, would be for instance if you want to buy the newest smart-phone because you think your friends will accept you if you keep up with the latest tech trends. What you actually want here, or expect to gain – is acceptance – that is the underlying want you are looking to fulfil. Now smartphones can increasingly do very impressive stuff – but giving you acceptance in yourself and your life is a huge and unrealistic responsibility to place on any phone."

Meconomics: Do you Spend your Money Objectively or Subjectively?

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Here we can also highlight another dimension that plays a role in deciding what to spend your money on – which is: time. Objectively – we know that if we don’t plan ahead to ensure we have enough funds to cover our needs – be it certain or uncertain ones (for instance, having savings for unexpected medical emergencies) – we will come to a point in time where we will not have enough and be in trouble. Yet – subjectively – short-term gratification can override long-term satisfaction – where we will be willing to ‘risk’ not having enough funds later on, to be able to indulge in a satisfying a want in the present moment.

Senior Poverty and Homelessness

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With more and more baby boomers reaching and surpassing retirement, there is a glut on the agencies that have been set up to provide for them. And to add to this, these agencies have been faced with drastic funding reductions, which is having dire consequences on the senior population. What is the solution?

Meconomics: Wants and Needs in your Daily Living

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For most of us – our needs are ‘boring’. Fulfilling our needs forms part of the basic support that we have and give ourselves, but they don’t give us a ‘thrill’, they don’t make us ‘ecstatic’, they don’t even get us excited. A need is not something you ‘feel’ on an energetic level – they don’t make themselves known through a rush. Rather – a need will make itself known through physical discomfort: hunger shows you a need for food, painful feet shows you a need for new shoes, the discomfort of taking showers in ice cold water shows us the need to pay our electricity bill. Needs make themselves known through ‘negative’ physical experiences.

The Consequence of Suppression: A Stronger Police Force does not Equal Less Crime

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A dignified living income, where if one finds themselves in a financial hard time, or in between jobs, or in a place where robbery or even murder come up as a potential option to make it through another day, they instead have the safety net of a living income. That is preventing crime as being an option for survival, as well as dealing with the REAL problem that cause crime and abuse in this world in the first place.

Blame Welfare Recipients.. or Implement a Solution?

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I support the Living Income Guaranteed Proposal, because it proposes to simplify and streamline the welfare process by providing a basic income to those who need it, to be used to cover all one’s primary needs. There doesn’t need to be multiple programs with multiple application processes and reporting processes and so on, when it can be done from one platform. And there doesn’t need to be restrictions on how/where it is spent. That can be up to the individual, as it is the best way for individuals to learn financial responsibility, by going through the consequences themselves, and studies have shown that when individuals are given the chance they do not generally make poor choices, as some would seem to imply or expect. Certainly deciding for individuals promotes dependency as it does not encourage or provide an opportunity for an individual to learn and develop self responsibility.

Meconomics: I Want my Needs and Need my Wants to be Satisfied

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"If the dictionary uses the word ‘want’ to clarify the word ‘need’ and uses the word ‘need’ to clarify the word ‘want’ – we can be sure we’re on to something. Does this mean that wants simply imply needs and that needs imply wants – because the dictionary says so? No. Remember, dictionaries will reflect our own language usage – so if the word ‘want’ has been used over time to indicate a ‘need’ – then it becomes an ‘accepted use of the word’ and is reflected in the dictionary as such. In the same way, the word ‘need’ has been used to describe ‘wants’ – and so it has become ‘normal’. What the dictionary then shows is how we have confused the meanings of the words ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ for ourselves and started using the terms as synonyms."

Colonialism equals delusions of grandeur

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Within a Living Income Guaranteed we do not think in structures of control and suppression. We want to work together with people and find solutions to problems that affect us all now or in the long run. We respect the existence of other countries, even how borders will look like many years from now. We do not want to force our mental legacy upon another we’ll explain LIG and see how another can see the common sense of it. We exchange views with people that support a unconditional Basic Income and we exchange views with people that want a better life for all. We would love a big community spread throughout the world that all have the goal to “long for Life itself”.

Meconomics: Fear of Missing Out and Opportunity Cost – Part 2

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So, part of why you pay interest on a loan is to compensate the lender for the opportunity cost they incur by borrowing you the funds. The lender’s opportunity cost stems from the idea that he/she could have invested the funds and would have made a profit through investments. When reading this information for the first time it might intuitively sound like ‘it makes sense’ – because as we have seen in the previous post, we can all relate to the experience of opportunity cost. But does it really make sense?

The Capital is Mine

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Capital is mine can then evolve in Capital is mine and yours, because no one should be without any form of support. It’s very simple, what if you become me one day or I become you and end up less fortunate?

Meconomics: Fear of Missing Out and Opportunity Cost

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When you study economics, you get introduced to a concept called ‘opportunity cost’. The definition of ‘opportunity cost’ is: “The cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. Put another way, the benefits you could have received by taking an alternative action.”

Co-operatives: New Life for Capitalism

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Worker co-operatives share a group of core values: self-empowerment, democracy, equality, fairness and unity; it is a basic principle that the ownership, control and benefits should belong to members. Cooperatives build movements for economic justice and social change: as institutions where real democracy is practiced on a day to day basis, co-ops are a model for self and group empowerment

"Meconomics": ME-Economics

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If you take a moment to consider you’ll agree that psychology should be at the basis of our education – because everything we do, we do as a human being; How can we understand politics if we don’t understand human behavior? How can we understand economics if we don’t investigate our inner relationships with giving and receiving? How can we understand the function of the body if we don’t take account of the effect the mind has on it? How can we understand law if we don’t understand the law of our being? In other words: How can we understand the world if we don’t understand ourselves?

Perspective on ‘A Basic Income for Everyone is Not Affordable’ – Part 3

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So, I am willing to take our current reality into consideration and work with what is here, because it is pointless trying to force a solution that most resist at this stage. I have found it assisting to keep the goal in mind: which is to secure human rights and herein the freedom for individuals to start determining what kind of world they would like to live in, for themselves and for everyone else. So, I have let go of trying to force an ideal outcome on the world, considering that in that very act I would be stating that people don’t know what is good for them. I would rather work with what is here and see what adjustments can be made within the current framework that would remove the need for a survival-mode and instead open up the space for each one to ask themselves who they would like to be, what they would like to be a part of and what world they want to contribute in creating.

Perspective on ‘A Basic Income for Everyone is Not Affordable’ – Part 2

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When it comes to income taxes and resentment, consider the current state of the welfare state – the complicated rules, the intricate web of conditions to qualify – the conditions set to ensure a person ‘deserves’ the support given. This complexity didn’t come falling out of the sky – it exists because people demanded it to be so. Although the ideas of unconditionally giving money to everyone and of giving up a part of one’s income to realize such a situation are noble ones – it’s worth asking the question if we as a society live up to that nobility. Herein a follow-up question could be: and if we do provide an unconditional basic income funded through income taxes – what is to say we will not end up right where we started, with ever increasing demands placed on those who do not ‘contribute’ to society in the conventional way of taking up employment and in one way or another being part of the national economy?

Perspective on ‘A Basic Income for Everyone is Not Affordable’

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The Living Income Guaranteed proposal has a different suggestion: Rather than providing everyone with a living/basic income, the suggestions is to set the minimum wage at double the living income. Setting these conditions within the labor market makes employment attractive, because even in the lowest-paying job, one will be far better off than when living on a basic/living income. Administration would still be simplistic as the proposal suggests, especially at on-set, to stick to providing a living income to those who are unemployed or retired. In other words – those who would usually receive ‘unemployment benefits’ or ‘pensions’ would instead receive a living income. Herein there are no strings attached from the perspective that there is no expectation that a living income recipient should find employment soon. Working/not working becomes a personal choice, but a choice that entails the consideration that when one is not economically productive, it is reflected in one’s income

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