This South Korean Presidential Election is Vital

This South Korean Presidential Election is Vital

There are rare moments when a combination of threatening circumstances leads to a wonderful transformation that only a short time before would have been unimaginable. This year may be such a moment. The Republic of Korea could set an example to the world that would bring happiness to millions of Koreans, and to many more around the world.

The risks if politicians are too cautious are enormous. Before COVID-19, the global economy was already heading towards a crisis. For over three decades, more and more of the income and wealth were going to the owners of property, financial, physical, and “intellectual”. The commons, belonging to everybody, were being converted into the source of profits and rents. A new class, the precariat, was growing everywhere, suffering from multiple forms of insecurity, drifting deeper into debt. It was incredibly high debt – private, corporate, and public – that made the global economy uniquely fragile.

Meanwhile, the public across the world were realizing the threat posed by global warming and destruction of the environment. Nothing was being done. If that continues, life for our children and grandchildren will be impaired. And it is clear that mistreatment of nature has helped make this an era of pandemics. The COVID-19 outbreak is the sixth pandemic this century.

In these circumstances, policies that merely try to go back to the old normal will not work. We need a bold transformative vision, one of courage, one designed to give people basic economic and social security, one designed to make the economy work for society and every citizen, not just for the bankers and plutocracy, and one designed to revive the commons and our natural environment.

Jae-Myung Lee is campaigning for the Presidency in the March 2022 presidential election with an exciting and feasible strategy, based on a promise of a basic income for every Korean man and woman, paid equally, as a right, without conditions. It is affordable. What is important at this stage is not to set some ideal amount, but to be on the road towards living in a society in which everybody has enough on which to survive, even if they experience personal setbacks.

What makes the proposal for a basic income so profound is that Jae-Myung Lee has come from a humble background, knowing poverty and insecurity from his childhood. He understands two fundamentals. First, the income of every Korean is due to the efforts of all those Koreans who lived beforehand, and it is based on the commons, nature and resources that make up the country, which belong to all Koreans. Those who have gained from taking the commons, most of all, the land, owe it to all Koreans to share some of the gains. A modest Land Value Tax, or levy, is justifiable and fair, and should help fund the basic income.

He also understands that pollution and global warming must be combated by a carbon tax or eco-taxes. The rich cause more pollution than the poor, the poor experience the bad effects more than the rich, including bad health from exposure to poisonous air. So, the solution must include carbon taxes to discourage global warming and polluting activities. But by themselves such taxes would hit the poor harder, because the tax would amount to more of their income.

The only sensible solution is to guarantee that the revenue from eco-taxes will be recycled through a Commons Capital Fund to help pay for the basic income, as Carbon Dividends. The poor will gain, while society will be on the road to fighting global warming and ecological decay. A basic income will also encourage more care work and ecological work, rather than resource-depleting labor. It will stimulate the desirable form of economic growth.         

The second fundamental Jae-Myung Lee and his advisers have understood is that basic security is essential for rational decision-making and mental health. There cannot be individual or societal resilience against pandemics or economic crises unless there is basic security, so that people can behave rationally rather than in desperation. Experiments have shown that a basic income improves mental health and the ability to make better decisions, for oneself, one’s family, and one’s community.

In the Korean edition of my book Plunder of the Commons, I paid respect to the ancient Korean ethos of hongik ingan, which helped found Korea in 2,333 BC. It expresses a historically-grounded wisdom that Koreans should be re-teaching the world in an era of self-centered individualism and consumption-driven “success”. It conveys the sense of not just sharing in benefits of production but sharing in the preservation and reproduction of a sense of community, our sense of participation and our relationships in and with nature. A basic income would pay respect to that ethos. Jae-Myung Lee should be commended for having pioneered it in Gyeonggi Province, and would set the country on a new progressive road if elected President on March 9.


A Korean translation of this article was published by Pressian – a political news website headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. 

Welsh Government Commits to Basic Income Pilot

Mark Drakeford, First Minister of the Government of Wales (center), Beth Winter, Labor MP for Cynon Valley, and Guy Standing, co-president of BIEN, at the Labor Party Conference

There will be a basic income experiment in Wales in 2022. The First Minister in the devolved Welsh government, Mark Drakeford, has announced his full commitment to rolling it out in the Spring. Following an opinion poll showing that 69% of Welsh people wanted their government to conduct a basic income pilot, the Future Generations Commission arranged for a background report to be prepared, and at an event at the Labor Party Conference in the seaside town of Brighton, Mark Drakeford said he intended to devote the remainder of his time in office to advancing basic income in Wales. He was sharing the platform with Guy Standing, co-president of BIEN, who is advising the Government and Commission on the design of the proposed experiment. Coordinating the plans is the Taskforce for Tackling Poverty in the Welsh Government, headed by Sarah King. 

At present, the main proposal is to give basic incomes to “care leavers”, that is, young people emerging into adulthood from care homes. If restricted to those, it would not be a proper basic income pilot, which requires everybody within a geographic community to be covered. In effect, it would be a test of an individual, unconditional modest cash transfer. Given the UK government’s rigid adherence to strict conditional means-tested benefits, which is causing widespread deprivation and a regime of sanctions, the proposed pilot could still prove valuable. However, discussions on the design, sampling and duration are still ongoing. Everything depends on resource constraints.

欧洲做到了:通过基本 收入提高社会韌性

盖伊·斯坦丁|2021.1.28 |专题,新闻|3条评论

基本     收入的支持者们一直坚持基础收入不单单是一项减少贫困的措施。它是能作为公共正义,促进     自由并提供所有人基础保障的措施。一项在欧洲主要六个国家进行的新调研表明人们理解基本     收入对于提高他们生活品質的潜力。          在法国、德国、意大利、波兰、葡萄牙和西班牙,     人們不仅仅是希望能進行     基本     收入试验甚至     是將基本     收入作为永久性政策。结果同时也显示了即使是富裕的人們也認為     基础收入可以     给他们自己帶來     益处。

这项由舆观调查网進行的獨立民意调查     显示,三分之二以上     的受访者支持基本收入试验和有基本收入     系统。除去部分     「不了解」     的受訪者          ,支持者的佔比     从法国的65%最高到葡萄牙的87%。女性普遍表现更     支持     ,特别是在德国、法国、意大利和西班牙。

即使在疫情发生之前,欧洲公民也     经受着不安全感、压力及不稳定,这些皆与不平等息息相关。而疫情     使情况     更加的恶化。在動盪     的时代,     加强个人和社会韌性     的政策显得相當     重要。然而,政府采取的主要措施卻是幫助     企业,包括幫他們付錢給無法工作的員工     ,这     加剧了社會的不平等,也傷害     了其韌性          。

     韌性指的是能够在冲击之后的应对并恢复。它主要是     一種控制感,     讓我們因期許更好的未來而支撐我們应对阻碍。但     现在的劳动力市场并不能提供我們這種韌性,反而是更多的以彈性     的劳动力关系、不稳定的工作和波动的工资为特征,     或是仰賴现有     的     社會福利体系,或     单靠     更好的公共服务本身,都無法提供這樣的韌性,即便这些都是我们所需要的。

這份调查对支持基本     收入提供了有说服力的     论点          。很多人认为基础收入可以减緩他們的     焦虑,佔波兰和葡萄牙的半數     人口     ,六國平均而言超过了     40%,以     女性     和年轻人較多     。目前已有相當多證據顯示     长期的焦虑会     增加罹患心理和生理疾病的風險     。一份基本     收入能提供了在     减少健康状况不佳和健康服务上需求的前景,基本上物有所值,是有可能達到收支平衡的社福政策。

被调查的对象也认为一份基本     收入可以打开他們在生活和工作上     更好的可能性     。很大一部分的年轻人和女性说这將可以     使他们在     经济上更加独立——     這佔了50%的意大利年轻人和41%的德国年轻人。            这将帮助他们减少不稳定感,一种作为乞求者依赖于他人随意帮助的感觉。

疫情的其中一个恐怖之处在于它引起了更多的家庭暴力。相關实验研究結果顯示     ,一旦女性有了基本     收入保障,家庭矛盾减少,女性更可能远离虐待。

许多年轻人说基本     收入可以帮助他们去追求更高层次的教育和培训,在     包括了49%的葡萄牙人、53%的西班牙人和27%的德国人。这反映了当前生活不稳定的     无产者無法在他们所选择的道路上自我发展     ,因为他们必须接受任何他们可以得到的工作并投入尽可能多的工作时间。基础保障对于构建一个     能力发展和     受教育程度更高的社会是有利的。

一份基本     收入也可以提高生活质量。特别是年轻人,例如,三分之一的葡萄牙和西班牙的年轻人说这将帮助他们参与他们现在无法负担的休闲活动。

并且,基础收入可以促進     业余工作。各年龄段的男性和女性均认为基本     收入可以让他们     投入更多的时间到     家庭中。有五分之一的德国人和超过四分之一的波兰男性和女性都这样认为。新冠疫情突顯     了社会中照護工作缺乏     的嚴重性     。不同试验已表明基本     收入可以     鼓励男性扛起     更多的家庭工作,     减轻女权主义者     所指责的性别二元论。

基本     收入也可以帮助人们形成更具企业家特点的态度。相当佔比的     受访者认为这将鼓励他们开始小规模的创业——包括8%的意大利人、10%的法国人、13%的德国人以及19%的葡萄牙人。年轻人有着更大的创业激情,14%的意大利人舉例來說     。许多青     年也说     基本     收入可以帮助他们把更多时间投入到志愿工作或社会活动,这其中包含超过四分之一的德国青少年和13%的法国年轻人。社会上一定需要更多     積極參與          社会服務與活動     的年轻人。

通过疫情我们必     要学到的是我們大多数人都是脆弱的,我們容易受到不仅仅是疾病,也包括经济     冲击,人际关系和生活方式的改變的影響。在六个相對富有国家     中,只有小部分人认为基本     收入不会对他们的生活造成     影响——這佔11%的意大利人和6%的葡萄牙人。长期的基础保障仍是我们大多數人相當     重视的。

我们应该请求欧洲的政策决策者在欧洲社区开展基本     收入试验。理想情况下,一些积极的政府会向整個国家的規模          发展。就算     失败了,          更是时候通过试验探索基本     收入的改革潜力。经过调查,超过70%的欧洲人希望如此。

盖伊·斯坦丁是伦敦大学東方與非洲研究學院(SOAS)的教授級研究員     ,也是基本     收入     全球网络的名誉联合主席。


克里斯托夫·考威尔  于2021年2月1日晚上10:03


这将使日益增长的技术革命不再那么可怕,更受欢迎。如果你不需要害怕某人或某個東西     会“偷走”你的工作,你可以更自由地探索什么是适合你的工作。我看到很多人因为害怕失去工作,會无法支付房租、房屋贷款或餐桌上的食物而坚持工作。



它仍然留给我一些问题:这个UBI必须要有多少     ?給每个国家、州、地区甚至城市不同的UBI是否会加剧不平等?是不是每个人都应该得到UBI,即使是罪犯?


简·哈特威尔 2021年2月4日早上6:29


鲁特加特·瑞恩伯格 2021年2月8日上午11:49 我自己也经历了近10年的一种基本收入,对此我     唯一的建议就是大家應該全力以赴在世界范围内推行基本收入的理念

Translation into Chinese by Chunzhuo Zhang.

The original article in English can be found here.

A luta continua: A Memorable Day for Eduardo and BIEN

The ancient Greeks had three Gods of Time, and on the auspicious occasion of the 80th birthday of one of our most loyal and outstanding BIEN members, it is a delight to be able to congratulate Eduardo Suplicy, and to say that he defies one of those Gods, Chronos, while being a poster child for the other two, Aion, who represents time as eternity, and Kairos, personified in the ability to take advantage of moments of opportunity.

Following his long, dignified and impeccably moral period as Senator for Sao Paulo, in which millions of people voted for him with smiles on their faces, knowing that he was a good man, many still refer to him as ‘Senador’. But we in BIEN love him for his eternal commitment to basic income, and his constant willingness to seek out any and every moment to promote the values that motivate most of us to want basic income as part of the future.

There is a story of Eduardo flying from Mexico via Miami to New York. A lady sitting next to him asked him about his politics, after which he spoke to her on and off (probably rather more on than off) all the way to New York. When they prepared to leave the plane, she said to him, no doubt with a slightly jet-lagged smile, ‘I don’t know what the questions are, but I do know now that the answer is basic income.’

Eduardo is a living example for all of us, having passion for a cause tempered by a sense of patience, of being on a hard journey. Few great changes come easily. But Eduardo knows we are much closer to where we want to be than when he joined BIEN in the late 1980s. Although this writer is a stripling by comparison, I still recall those early discussions late into the evenings. There is not a single sinew of cynicism in Eduardo. He constantly reminds us that moments when the God Kairos stirs can come anytime and anywhere. The day will surely come when the song he so loves to sing will have a mighty resonance in reality.

Eduardo, on behalf of every BIEN member, we wish you well for the journey ahead.


Links to recent talks:
With former President Lula (in Portugese)
With Philippe Van Parijs (In English)
New York Times article with US Rep. Rashida Tlaib ‘Prioritizing People to Build Back the Economy‘ (30 June)

Europeans get it: Basic Income strengthens resilience

Advocates for basic income have long argued that it is much more than just a poverty relief measure. It is a matter of common justice that would enhance freedom and provide basic security for all. A new survey across six major European countries shows that people understand its potential to improve their lives. Not only do large majorities in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain favour basic income pilots and basic income as a permanent policy. The survey also reveals the advantages people believe a basic income would bring for themselves.

The poll, conducted independently by YouGov, found that two-thirds or more of respondents in the six countries were in favour of pilots and a national basic income system. Excluding the few ‘don’t knows’, support ranged from 65% in France to 87% in Portugal. Women were generally more supportive, particularly in Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Even before the pandemic, European citizens were suffering from insecurity, stress and precarity, linked to rising inequalities. The pandemic has made things worse. In an era of shocks, policies to strengthen individual and societal resilience are vital. Instead, governments have resorted to measures aimed chiefly at propping up businesses, including furlough schemes, that have worsened inequalities and eroded resilience.

Resilience means being able to handle and recover from shocks. It is about feeling in control, able to handle setbacks because we can envisage a better future. But it cannot be provided by today’s labour market, increasingly characterised by flexible labour relations, insecure jobs and fluctuating wages, or by existing welfare systems, or by better public services alone, even though those are needed.

The survey provides cogent support for arguments in favour of basic income. High proportions of respondents said a basic income would reduce anxiety – over half in Poland and Portugal, and more than 40% overall, especially among women and youth. It is now well established that chronic anxiety increases the risk of mental and physical illness. A basic income offers the prospect of reducing ill-health and demands on health services. It might almost pay for itself.

Respondents also believed a basic income would open up opportunities for a better way of living and working. A high proportion of youths and women said it would give them more financial independence – 50% of young Italians and 41% of young Germans, for instance. This would reduce their sense of precarity, the feeling of being a supplicant reliant on others for discretionary help.

One horror of the pandemic has been the surge in domestic violence. Experiments have shown that, once women have basic income security, domestic tensions decline and women are more likely to walk away from abusive relationships.

Many youths said a basic income would enable them to pursue further education or training, including 49% in Portugal, 53% in Spain and 27% in Germany. This reflects the current inability of the precariat to develop their capabilities in the way they choose, because they must take whatever job they can get and put in as many hours of labour as possible. Basic security is conducive to the development of skills and a more educated society.

A basic income would also improve the quality of living. Young people, in particular, said it would enable them to take part in leisure activities that they cannot afford to do now – about a third in Portugal and Spain, for example.

And a basic income would foster work beyond ‘jobs’. Men as well as women, among all age groups, said a basic income would enable them to devote more time to their family. This was the case for one in five in Germany and more than a quarter of both men and women in Poland. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the extent to which society suffers from a ‘care deficit’. And pilots have shown that a basic income encourages men to do more care work, helping to weaken the gender dualism that feminists rightly condemn.

Basic income would also foster a more entrepreneurial attitude. A significant proportion of respondents said it would encourage them to launch a small-scale business – 8% in Italy, 10% in France, 13% in Germany and 19% in Portugal. Entrepreneurial enthusiasm was even greater among youths – 14% in Italy, for instance. Many youths also said a basic income would enable them to devote more time to volunteering or social activism, including over a quarter of youths in Germany and 13% in France. Society surely wants more socially engaged and active youth.

One lesson surely learned during the pandemic is that most of us are vulnerable, not just to illness but also to shocks to our finances, relationships and lifestyles. In what was a cross-section of people in six relatively rich countries, only small minorities said a basic income would make little difference to their lives – 11% in Italy and 6% in Portugal, for example. Long-term basic security is still something most of us value.

We should implore European policymakers to launch basic income pilots in communities around Europe. Ideally, some courageous governments would move in the direction of a national system. But failing that, surely it is time for pilots to explore the transformative potential of basic income. According to this survey, over 70% of Europeans want them.

Guy Standing is Professorial Research Associate, SOAS University of London, and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network.

Editor: You can support basic income in Europe by adding your name to the European Citizen’s Initiative for Unconditional Basic Income and WeMove/UBIE’s petitions for pilots of basic income and for the EU to enable member states to implement an Emergency Basic Income during the crisis.

A translation into Chinese can be found here.