On June 22nd 2020, researcher Daniel Raventós intervened before the Commission for Social and Economic Recostruction of the Congress of Deputies in Madrid.
Prof. Raventós outlined his proposal of Universal Basic Income (UBI) starting by defining this economic measure as a public monetary payment to the entire population on an individual, regular, unconditional and universal basis.
In the past 40 years, Spain has been the OECD country that experienced the longest periods with an unemployment rate that exceeded 15% of the labor force, and another 15% of wage earners live currently under the poverty threshold. According to prof. Raventós, this condition is very unlikely to change in the short term, leaving millions of people in a situation of fragility for years to come.
Given this assumption, prof. Raventós gave some key points of his proposal:
• A monthly stipend of €715 would be granted to all citizens or legal residents, in spite of their employment status;
• The UBI should be universal (like present-day Healthcare) since this would allow all citizens to enjoy real liberty, which is only achieved by fulfilling material conditions;
• The UBI should be unconditioned because subsides “ex-post” often generate systemic errors and/or lead to the non-take up of social benefits (persons entitled to receive financial subsides who are unaware of their entitlement). An universal income would eliminate or reduce the disincentive of looking for a job, that can occur when the subsidy is conditioned to the unemployment status;
• The UBI should be the result of a profound fiscal reform, where the 20% of wealthiest people would see a rise in the wealth tax, together with a possible remodeling of the IRPF income tax, which would benefit 80% of the population.
In prof. Raventós’s view, another positive aspect of this reform is the bargaining power that marginalized categories of citizens, such as women, would gain.
Article written by Julen Bollain, reviewed by André Coelho.
The Spanish Basic Income Network (RRB) has released a survey concerning Universal Basic Income (UBI) support in Spain. This online survey was conducted by Ipsos, involving 2168 spanish citizens with ages between 18 and 65, a 50/50% gender distribution and convering most of Spanish territory. Responses were collected from an online questionnaire and interviews, plus a two-day field work stage (12-13 May 2020). Main results include:
- 56% of all participants agree with UBI, and only 30% disagree;
- 67% of all earning less than 1000 €/month agree, while 55% of those earning more than 5000 €/month agree;
- Younger people (18-24 years old) agree more (62%) than other age brackets, although none fall below 53% agreement;
- Only 5% of full-time workers consider stop working, and 8% would consider reducing their labor time;
- A UBI of 715 € would not reduce job seeking.
Faun Rice, a former Basic Income News editor, has just posted an article on the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) (and the characteristics it shares with universal basic income). That article, called “The Global Turn to Cash Transfers”, starts with a lucid but provocative opening:
Before March 2020, the Canadian public probably would have rebelled at the idea of a program that delivered a full-time minimum wage to 20% of the population without requiring them to demonstrate that they couldn’t find a job. A global pandemic has created an ideological shift where many of us are suddenly very empathetic with the unemployed — and this gives Canada an opportunity to trial unprecedented policies and ask some never-before-possible questions, including: what happens when we just give people money?
More information at:
Faun Rice, “The Global Turn to Cash Transfers“, Medium (Digital Policy Salon), April 30th 2020
Finland’s Basic Income Experiment was the world’s first statutory, nationwide and randomized basic income experiment. That experiment, in which preliminary results have already been reported on, several research questions were asked: How did the Basic Income Experiment affect participants’ employment? What were the effects on health, livelihoods and experiences of government bureaucracy? In interviews, how do the participants perceive the significance of the experiment in their lives?
The final results of the basic income experiment will be released on Wednesday, May 6th 2020, online. In this webcast, researchers present findings of the basic income experiment on employment and well-being of the participants.
The results presented are based on an analysis register data from both pilot years as well as on face-to-face interviews with the participants in the experiment. In addition, survey data has been analyzed more comprehensively than before.
The webcast will be held, in Finnish, from 1 pm to 2:15 pm and, in English, from 2:20 pm to 3:00 pm (Finnish time, GMT+3). The webcast is open to anyone interested.
In the current context of a global pandemic, the universal basic income (UBI) policy has been gaining ground all over the world. Given this sudden raise of awareness about UBI, it was important for the French Movement for a Basic Income (MFRB), as well as 40 other French civil society organizations and public figures, to highlight the importance of having a real democratic debate around its implementation.
These UBI advocates support the idea of basic income, but not at all costs. Basic income finds itself at the crossroad of two very different paths: it can either be included in a series of measures aiming at promoting a social and environmental transition, or it can be a plaster to the current neoliberal system. In the French context, where the social protection system has been strong for the past decades, but which has also been attacked in recent years, the risks of having UBI used politically to weaken established social rights are also important.
That is why the implementation of a real protective basic income must not only be about the economy, but be an outgrowth of a real democratic debate. That to make sure it will help reduce inequalities, reinforce labor rights and help create social protection systems. And to improve working conditions of the “essential jobs” that are currently underpaid and at the frontline of the sanitary crisis. It shall also be used to question the relevancy of “bullshit jobs”.
The strength of UBI has always relied on its capacity to promote debates on an extremely wide range of topics. Today, more than ever, it is crucial to debate collectively about the society we want in the aftermath of this crisis.
The original article [in French]:
Colective at MFRB, “Revenu de base: l’urgence d’une société plus solidaire [Basic Income: the urgence of a more supportive society]”, Politis, April 2nd 2020