The idea of a basic income guarantee is getting popular. In case you have not heard about it yet, a basic income guarantee (or basic income) is a proposed system of social security, that periodically provides each citizen with a sum of money that allows the receiver to participate in society with human dignity. In contrast to income redistribution between nations themselves, the phrase basic income defines payments to individuals rather than households, groups, or nations, in order to provide for individual basic human needs. Except for citizenship, a basic income is entirely unconditional.
In Germany they speak about 500 or even 1000 € monthly unconditional income for everyone.
What are the arguments?
One of the arguments for a basic income was articulated by the French Economist and Philosopher André Gorz:
- The connection between more and better has been broken; our needs for many products and services are already more than adequately met, and many of our as-yet-unsatisfied needs will be met not by producing more, but by producing differently, producing other things, or even producing less. This is especially true as regards our needs for air, water, space, silence, beauty, time and human contact…
- From the point where it takes only 1,000 hours per year or 20,000 to 30,000 hours per lifetime to create an amount of wealth equal to or greater than the amount we create at the present time in 1,600 hours per year or 40,000 to 50,000 hours in a working life, we must all be able to obtain a real income equal to or higher than our current salaries in exchange for a greatly reduced quantity of work…
- Neither is it true any longer that the more each individual works, the better off everyone will be. The present crisis has stimulated technological change of an unprecedented scale and speed: ‘the micro-chip revolution’. The object and indeed the effect of this revolution has been to make rapidly increasing savings in labour, in the industrial, administrative and service sectors. Increasing production is secured in these sectors by decreasing amounts of labour. As a result, the social process of production no longer needs everyone to work in it on a full-time basis. (more…)