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FRANCE: Senate Report Marks Another Milestone for Basic income

After months of hearings and discussions with experts, the French Senate released a report on Basic Income recommending pilot projects.

Article by Didier Di Camillo adapted from MFRB’s statement on the report.

The parliamentary commission on basic income was initiated in May under the proposal of Socialist MP Daniel Percheron. Under the ‘mission of information’ procedure of the French senate, MPs can form an ad-hoc committee to investigate specific topics and produce non-binding recommendations.

The 433-page report formally commits to the testing of a basic income in France, through three-year pilots involving up to 30,000 citizens. The report also concludes that if the pilots showed successful results, the potential implementation of a nationwide basic income should meet the following criteria:

  • Be paid only to adult residents registered by fiscal authorities;
  • Be higher than the current minimum income scheme in France;
  • Be unconditional, although the money could be targeted to specific uses (in the form of vouchers);
  • Be financed by an important fiscal reform and partial replacement existing social benefits in a manner that favors the recipients.

Those conclusions broadly follow the main recommendations from the basic income movement in France.

Immediately following the public release of the report, the MFRB has immediately called on the government to provide the necessary funding as soon as possible in order to speed-up basic income trials in France. Those pilots would demonstrate its societal need and help pave the way for implementation.

“The result of many hours of discussions”

As Percheron MP pointed out, “This report, the result of many hours of discussions with economists, philosophers, and representatives from labor unions, civil society groups and public institutions, provides a first-ever glimpse of where they stand on this old but nonetheless revolutionary issue.”

marc-basquiat-senate

Hearing with Marc de Basquiat, prominent basic income advocate and founding member of MFRB.

The French Movement for a Basic Income (MFRB) praised the substantive work conducted by the Senate’s committee, which was composed of MPs from different political stripes–another sign that the interest in basic income transcends the left-right divide.

The Senate’s report is the first parliamentary report on universal income produced in France. The diversity of visions expressed by its contributors points to a convergence. The MFRB welcomes this: “as the implementation of a basic income must not come at the expense of essential social programs. As a citizen’s movement, we examine the various proposals that emerge based on our charter. The whole concept must promote greater social justice and a real reduction in poverty and inequality.”

With basic income becoming a key issue in the political arena, the MFRB also calls on all candidates in the upcoming presidential and legislative elections of 2017 to take a stance on a true basic income – one which upholds the inalienable right to a universal, unconditional and individual income. In this context, the MFRB is willing to work with all political actors, associations and media to broaden the debate on this important issue for France today.

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7 comments

  • Great work! Congratulations! France is destined to lead great revolutions!

    • Mike van Wyk

      I commend the French people for starting the process all of humanity must follow. We are entering a new age of enlightenment, which heralds a movement toward a more humanitarian state of being, ideally resultant in a heightened state of civilisation.
      All nations are ethically bound to pursue an universal outcome, whereby no man, woman or child need to be placed at the mercy of another for their survival and adequate provisioning of their basic needs.
      No person ever born, has choice to what circumstances they are born – however, what is certain, is that they are owed a dignified existence, no matter what the circumstances. No person, should be subjected to the indignity of a state or its citizens, questioning their basic Right to a dignified life.
      The assembly of nation states, under the UN Charter, are duty bound to ensure not only the safety of its citizens, but the welfare of each and every citizen – for if only a single man starves, goes without roof, no cloths, no joy or feels excluded, it is an indictment of all of humanity. We cannot call ourselves human or civilised, if we do not strive steadfastly to heighten our consciousness, to recognise that each citizen, whether they work or not, has a fundamental right to a joyous, secure life. Only then, can we begin to ask of each, a way to contribute back to society and the environment we depend on.
      At the moment, we have a system that launches humanity into a game of chance, with no apparent rules. The rules there are, are rigged to serve a small fraction of humanity to the detriment of those that are view only useful as long as they are able and capable of serving the needs and whims of the masters of the game.
      France has a proud history of fact, in which the French people have been instrumental in changing the rules of society for the betterment of all. I’m absolutely sure the French people once again will bear the touch in showing the way to a more enlightened and free future – a future of Choice.
      Viva Le France!

  • Steve Godenich

    “As of 1 January 2014, the monthly RSA allocation is €499.31 for a single person and €1079 for a couple with two children.”

    I hope to read the French translation soon and hear news of the steeper progressive taxes. Please do enjoy living in blissful poverty. The Brits may have to put up a wall for military age French males. This loose JG sounds like a simply marvelous prospect for my 3 daughters,.. tough luck for those plebian drones, though I do hope it doesn’t come to the USA until my 3rd daughter is married[1], cheers,… and congratulations to the bottom line of corporate profits from the benefits of a permanent, fixed basic income for the socialist community rather than an individualized tapering income to eliminate poverty.

    [1] U.S. marriage rate hits new low and may continue to decline | Deseret | 2015

  • Laigre

    La loi politique: Depuis plus de 40 ans, toutes décisions émanant de la haute classe politique en France est une illusion.

    Le but réel du revenu de base est de calmer la colère, les émotions du peuple français, qui est au bord de l’insurrection générale, à cause de la volonté tyrannique de cette classe prédatrice, indigne. L’autre raison est la réduction de la puissance individuelle de chaque individu à être résiliant, indépendant par l’intermédiaire de l’omnipotence des services d’assistanat. Plus il y a de dépendance moins il y a de liberté.

    La France n’est pas un pays, car un pays doit avoir sa propre capacité à fabriquer sa propre monnaie. La loi du 7 janvier 1973 est la date du décès de la France. En effet, la banque de France n’empruntait plus à taux zéro mais devait payer des intérêts aux banques privés. La France est un état des Etats-Unis, l’Union Européenne est les Etats-Unis d’Europe.


    Political law: For over 40 years, decisions from senior politicians in France is an illusion.

    The real purpose of basic income is to calm the anger, feelings of the French people, which is on the brink of general insurrection, because of the tyrannical will of the predatory class, unworthy. The other reason is the reduction of the individual power of each individual to be resilient, independent through the omnipotence of assistantship services. The more addictive the less freedom.

    The France is not a country, as a country must have its own capacity to produce its own currency. The law of January 7, 1973 is the date of death of France. Indeed, the France of bank borrowed more than zero, but had to pay interests to private banks. La France is a US state, the European Union is the United States of Europe.

  • Hungering Winds

    “Be unconditional, although the money could be targeted to specific uses (in the form of vouchers)”

    That makes me cringe just seeing that. No amount of spin can truly change what a voucher is: a conditional grant from the government, to be used for X, not Y, nor Z, even if you absolutely must have Y or Z to survive.

    Politicians need to stop coming up with “alternative” payments and pay their people. Trickle up is working slowly for America, trickle down led to the Panama Papers.

    • Mike van Wyk

      I agree with the conclusion set out in “Hungering Winds”. Any addition or introduction of payment in kind, is not in line with the spirit and ethics of UBI. It is just a further means of control and prescription by authorities. An indication that although governments are starting to see the light and hear the message more clearly – they are however finding it difficult to take the mental leap from a mind-set of control, to that of a more ethically centre position – simply that UBI should be an unconditional Right.
      That said, taking such a leap for many states will be challenging and I’d rather have some movement than no movement, towards that goal. France has decided to go more hesitantly towards a full UBI, but I am absolutely certain that UBI will be implemented on moral and ethical grounds throughout Europe. Classic capitalism has failed the base of the economy and no amount of neo-liberal fiscal and monetary tinkering will resurrect the situation I’m afraid. Socialism too, has run out of solutions because that model is nothing but the lap-dog of neo-liberalist capitalism.
      Globally we need to reinvent the rules surrounding wealth and the distribution thereof, so that balance is brought back between capital and utility thereof, including introducing an ethical centre into economics.
      Keynes warned of a “beggar-thy-neighbour” policy amongst nations – however, such a warning equally applies to a nations internal policy – if you willing apply QE to rescue banks and in turn the wealthy elite and forget about the economic base, such a policy is flawed and will not improve the lives of the greater population – all it does is move the problem further down the road. A fools paradise.
      UBI is the only rational, uncomplicated solution, that provides an ethically based policy, which immediately and directly supports and stabilises the economic base. The current economic policies all fail to do that.
      Essentially UBI should not be justified or argued on economic grounds at all but on moral and ethical grounds. Humanities survival can no longer solely dependant on economic activity, the current state of global economics testifies to that. New economic policy must be developed to meet this new reality – a non-growth economy. Unfortunately most States fail to admit that current economic policy have failed, they prefer to tinker with these failed policies because they have served the captains of industry well. We need to create new economic ‘feedback loops’ other than the old worn out ideas that have largely failed.
      I believe that there are solutions that could bridge the divide, but they can only be reached by taking off the blinkers of old failed macro economic thinking and start think more creatively about economic solutions.
      Vouchers fall shamefully short of deep thinking and shamefully sort of any ethical premise in that thinking.
      There is much work to be done and much thinking still to be done, to gain consensus in the halls of power.
      We trust that states cease to ‘fiddle’ with this burning issue and rather look at the solutions and ethical arguments presented by BIEN and implement these. The sooner that is done the sooner we will have a more stable, harmonious and fruitful society.

  • Joey

    Could this be just in time to fend off the National Front?
    Could a Eurozone / EU country implement UBI with Freedom of Movement still in place as it stands?

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