PORTUGAL: NGO network organizes event focused on basic income
Event room at Coolabora. Credit to: Graça Rojão.
On the 25th of March 2017, a meeting of the Fórum Cidadania & Território (link) took place in Covilhã, a mountain city in Serra da Estrela, Portugal. This regular gathering of individuals and institutions was at , a local non-governmental organization (NGO), and apart from particular issues related to citizenship and territory, it was also dedicated to presenting and discussing basic income.
Fórum Cidadania & Território is a formal network of NGO’s and individuals concerned with social issues, development and non-discrimination in Portugal. Hence it represents a larger universe of activity than the strict number of people attending these meetings allows for. In this 14th meeting, organized and hosted by Coolabora, activists promoting basic income in Portugal were invited, in this case , and .
André Barata presented basic income as a natural outgrowth of social democracy, nowadays very much torn apart and distorted. According to him, basic income is justified not so much because automation in upon us, but mainly as a right of citizenship. Countless generations of human beings have created everything upon which we live today, and so a basic income is a way for every person to get a fair share of that heritage. André Coelho exhibited a few slides to explain how a basic income could be financed in Portugal, referring to a offered by Miguel Horta. He also reviewed what he considers to be the advantages of basic income, over our current social welfare systems. Paulo Ferrão spoke of the next , taking place in Lisbon, and called for participation in the basic income week taking place while the Congress is ongoing (25th through 27th of September, 2017).
After these points, the debate was opened to the audience, who took the opportunity to pose questions and discuss the traditional arguments against basic income (e.g.: disincentive to work, difficulty in paying for a basic income).