Basic Income discussion in the Basque Parliament
On 28th September 2018, the Elkarrekin Podemos party registered an initiative in the Basque Parliament to organise a parliamentary discussion in order to study the effects of robotisation and digitalization, distribution of employment, and Basic Income.
This initiative will soon be discussed in a Plenary Session of the Basque Parliament. However, before taking this step, the party requested two appearances on the “Employment, Social Policies and Youth Commission” of the Basque Parliament: Daniel Raventós, head of Red Renta Básica, BIEN’s Spanish affiliate, and Ángel Elías, Dean of the School of Labour Relations and Social Work at the University of the Basque Country.
In his appearance on the 5th of February 2019, Daniel Raventós explained why many meetings of international forums (e.g.: the WEF in Davos and the International Monetary Fund) are now talking about Basic Income. According to Professor Raventós, there are three main reasons for this. First, the vertiginous speed of automatisation of jobs and the potential destruction of employment in the not-too-distant future. Second, it is deterioration of the material conditions of the non-rich majority of the population. And third, Raventós mentioned the structural failures of minimum income schemes.
In the second appearance, on the 12th of February 2019, Ángel Elias explained that, in the present unfair distribution of wealth, fewer and fewer people are accumulating greater and greater fortunes, at the cost of diminishing the resources needed to guarantee people’s access to decent living conditions. He shared his views on transformations in the labour market, and analysed possible solutions. Elías stressed the need for a Basic Income that would guarantee the material existence of all citizens, together with a fairer distribution of employment for everyone.
Elkarrekin Podemos officials are convinced that the destruction of employment deriving from processes of digitisation and robotisation requires urgent analysis with a view to finding solutions. Furthermore, social protection models need to be rethought. In this framework, the universalisation of the right to an income should be seen as an alternative, in the face of a reality where the fusion of robotics, information technology, and artificial intelligence is unstoppable.