New blog post argues for UBI to reform capitalism

New blog post argues for UBI to reform capitalism

In a blog post entitled “Re-engineering our fragile economy and democracy”, Geoff Crocker argues that UBI “addresses ethical issues of income inequality, gender inequality, precarity, and security” and should be at least in part financed by “central bank monetary funding of government expenditure, or ‘debt-free sovereign money’, by which the central bank would directly credit the government account with money it had created.”

To read the blog post click here.

Negative Income Tax (NIT) is Preferable to UBI

NIT, UBI, Guaranteed Income et al, are ultimately functions of our tax, fiscal, and monetary systems. Whatever initialism is used the same end results will be realized. A NIT is the most appropriate way of describing how a UBI etc. will be implemented and ultimately paid for. 

The Case Against UBI

The image that pops into mind with UBI is that of a monthly cheque showing up at everyone’s door whether requested or not. Such a program will not come to pass.

UBI, through the magic of the internet and social media, has come to represent for many, the tip of the government’s spear into control over the individuals daily affairs. This negative branding has lost a sizable percentage of “never will buy into the idea” citizens. 

The universality of UBI, like government-paid healthcare, is a non-means-tested entitlement with the only caveat being a citizen has to want it and ask for it. In other words just because open heart surgery is “free”, most healthy individuals won’t seek it out or want it. This caveat puts an end to the notion of an unrequested cheque showing up (or worse being automatically deposited into a bank account.) Why? Taxes, clawbacks, and the associated paperwork. A great many will still want, request, and be quite happy to fill out any required slips in order to receive what they determine to be as needed additional income.

How much monthly income is too much income is up to the individual to determine. Therefore, this amount will and should vary between $0 and a maximum (universal) amount, as determined by program administrators. As with most other forms of income, a government provided income will be taxed, and at the end of the tax year, tallied.

The behemoth that is the government’s tax department is not going anywhere anytime soon. The tax avoidance programs that higher income individuals enjoy are not going anywhere anytime soon. Government income is next to impossible to not declare, but there do exist systems of deductions and tax credits that can be used in order to reduce (avoid) tax obligations.

A standard, universally-understood tax reduction device that is built into the income tax system is the basic personal tax credit (usually the first line in the tax deduction portion of a tax calculation form). This “credit” assumes that the tax filer has in essence prepaid this amount, and therefore may reduce this from his or her taxable income. The personal credit reduction is available as a whole number, not an integer, i.e. not allowed to go into the negative and therefore not refundable. Enter NIT.

By allowing the Basic Personal Tax reduction to enter into the negative, lower and zero income tax filers will find a tax refund that will reach up to the total amount of the stated tax credit. (The personal tax credit amount usually hovers around a nation’s poverty line.) These tax refunds theoretically could be returned as a lump sum, but it are more likely and preferably to be returned as a monthly installment. Here we have the basic framework of a guaranteed monthly income program, albeit based on a persons previous year’s situation.

By tweaking the regulations in the tax system, a monthly, taxable prepayment of a refund (based on a zero income for the current year assumption) can be made available to all.

Article by Ward Smith

COP27: An opportunity for basic income

COP27: An opportunity for basic income

Leaders from around the world are attending to discuss climate change, its consequences, and how to face them. This event is COP27 which took place in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. One of the focuses of the recent climate conference is how to support countries, especially from the global south, which are suffering the most through climate change. 

In the past, developed nations had promised to support countries suffering from climate change consequences with yearly $100 billion USD to deal with the effects of climate change. While most of that money has been given in the form of high-interest loans, which might force some nations into debt traps, even those $100 billion has not been provided completely. This is especially tragic as most of the emissions causing climate change have been emitted from the industries of developed nations that profited through them and gained more wealth. 

At the same time, countries across the global south are the primary victims of climate change. Floods in Pakistan this year, as well as droughts in the Sahel region in Africa, are already destroying hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives. It can only be expected that those numbers will continue to rise.

All those circumstances show the necessity of a global universal basic income, especially now. Providing the population of the regions suffering the most from climate change with a basic income will help them rapidly. People who are facing new challenges every day as a result of climate change will threaten their homes, their sources of income, and their sources of nutrition would have a reliable basic income. 

Having a guaranteed basic income would not only improve the mental health of those people by reducing their stress levels, as many studies have already shown and are continuing to show. It would also give people an opportunity to think about the problems they will face in the future instead of only focusing on issues they have to survive through today. A Universal Basic Income would give people a fighting chance 

For this to happen, politicians have to be cooperative and fair. They have to bare responsibility for causing climate change and support through their wealth which was based on emissions directly or indirectly, a basic income to the countries which are hit hardest by climate change. If they refuse to do that, they will continue suffering from climate change. All that does not have to happen if we take the necessary steps to save millions of lives and take the opportunity to take massive steps toward the future.

Written by: Ahmed ElBaz

Countries that Have Tried Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a program that provides citizens of a country with a monthly or annual stipend. It is given to individuals regardless of their employment status, income, or resources they own. The objective of Universal Basic Income is to reduce poverty and wealth disparity in a country. So far, no country has implemented Universal Basic Income but some countries have tried to implement it. Some of the countries that have tried UBI include:

United States

The United States has tried several programs in the spirit of Basic Income. The most notable one is the Alaska Permanent Fund. Every citizen is given a share of America’s oil and gas revenues amounting to between $1,000 and $2,000. The results of the program had no effect on employment but had an effect on fertility by encouraging people to have more kids.

There was also another program in North Carolina where every member was getting between $4,000 and $6,000 every year. The results showed that it led to improved mental health, and improved education and did not discourage people from working.


Canada has tried several Basic Income programs. The first pilot program, known as Mincome targeted the residents of Manitoba and was conducted in 1974. Every family was getting 16,000 CAD. The results of the program showed improvement in education since there was less involvement in labor among school-going children.

The second pilot project was conducted in Ontario in 2017. Single participants were getting 16,989 CAD while married participants were getting 24,027 CAD. However, the project was canceled before its completion. Its preliminary findings showed that there was decreased use of alcohol and tobacco among over 50% of the participants.


Brazil has tried a basic income-like program known as Bolsa Familia in 2004. However, this program is distinct from basic income in that it has conditions. For example, participants had to keep their children in school and visit health clinics.

Also, between 2008 and 2014, there was another basic income trial in the village of Quatinga Velho. It was targeting one hundred participants and each was receiving 30 reals ($8) every month.

In 2020, Brazil introduced another basic income program known as Renda Básica de Cidadania targeting the residents of Marica. Each participant was receiving 130 reals ($35). The program was funded through oil royalties and the fund was accessed in the form of a card. 


Finland launched a basic income trial program in 2016 targeting unemployed citizens. The program targeted 2,000 randomly selected participants and each was getting 560 euros. The program ended in 2018. The findings of the trial program showed that participants were happier and less stressed leading to improved health.


Namibia had a basic income pilot program between 2008 and 2009. Every resident of Otjivero-Omitara was entitled to 100 Namibian dollars ($6.75) every month. The program was funded by donors from around the world.

Findings from the pilot program showed that cases of child malnutrition had dropped significantly while school enrollment went up. Also, social crimes such as theft had significantly dropped.


India had a basic income pilot program between 2011 and 2012. The program targeted 6,000 residents of Madhya Pradesh. The program was funded by Unicef and was run in two phases.

In the first phase, every man, woman, and child was entitled to receive a stipend. Every adult was receiving 200 rupees while every child would receive 100 rupees. The stipend for children was paid to the guardian. After a year, the stipend was increased to 300 rupees and 150 rupees for adults and children respectively.

In the second phase, every member of the village was receiving 300 rupees per adult and 150 rupees per child. The findings of both programs showed that there was an improvement in nutrition, sanitation and school attendance among children has risen.

Summary of Countries that Have Tried Universal Basic Income

Findings from countries that have tried a form of Basic Income showed that it leads to improved health since people reduced their financial stress. Additionally, it leads to improvement in educational outcomes since children can stay in school instead of working to support their families.  

Written by: Vincent Nyoike

After Roe, Families Need Universal Basic Income More Than Ever

After Roe, Families Need Universal Basic Income More Than Ever

TIME Magazine has published an article by Stacey Rutland, the founder of Income Movement – an organization building broad grassroots coalitions in support of basic income in the United States. Rutland writes a personal story of how important an abortion was to her and her future husband. She writes, “At the time, I was working 30 hours a week, taking a full load of classes, and using Pell Grants and student loans to cover the gaps. The cost for an abortion was expensive, more than $500. Even with my partner helping cover costs, this was a significant shock to my ability to cover my regular monthly living expenses.”

Rutland goes on to say “…I know first-hand how crucial extra cash will be to women in need of abortion and the extra costs they’ll have to incur to receive one if they live in one of the majority of states poised to outlaw abortion. A guaranteed income is not an alternative to abortion access, but it will certainly help women overcome the tremendous barriers they’ll face with the end of legal abortion rights.” Read the full article here.

Where does Korea’s basic income movement go next?

Where does Korea’s basic income movement go next?

On March 9th, 48.56 percent of Korean people voted for Yoon Seok-yeol of the People Power Party which won only 0.7 percent more compared to 47.83% for Lee Jae-myung who pledged to implement basic income. With less than 1 percent difference in his loss, there is a local election coming in two weeks and another general election in two years. Where will Korea’s basic income movement go after Lee Je-myeong ‘s defeat?

Yoon Suk-yeol can no longer ignore Universal Basic Income, and the world is on the verge of realizing basic income. Yoon Seok-yeol, who became the new owner of Cheongwadae (Blue House), cannot pass any legislation without the consent of the Democratic Party with 172 seats, 57 percent overall. HIs People Power Party only holds 110 seats which represent 36 percent. This will remain the case unless they get more seats in the upcoming general election in two years. On the contrary, it is also a story that the Democratic Party of Korea can legislate the basic income that Lee Jae-myung promised if he is elected as a member of parliament in the by-election.

I interviewed Oh Jun-Ho, who was the presidential candidate for the Basic Income Party about the difference between Lee Jae-myung’s basic income pledge and his.

Oh Jun-Ho: There are three differences between my UBI policy from Lee Jae-myung’s:

1) First of all, the amount of the UBI is different. We promised 650,000₩ (533$) per month, which can support enough basic need for a living in Korea but Candidate Lee Jae-myung offered a very low amount of 83,000 ₩ (68$) per month.

2) In order to raise the financial resources, I insisted on reforming the tax and tax system to solve the polarization of wealth, and to expand basic income through redistribution of wealth, but candidate Lee Jae-myung does not seem to redistribute wealth because he drew a line about raising taxes. He is weak on that point.

3) Compared to us, presenting universal basic income as a policy and pledge, candidate Lee kept it as a pledge but hid or made his choice ambiguous in the election. It was disappointing for those who supported basic income with Lee, saying, “If there is public consent, we can do it, but if not, we won’t” (as quoted by The Korea Economic Daily, Dec. 2nd, 2021). Conversely, this is also the reason why those disappointed with Lee’s basic income supported me, Oh Jun-Ho.


The election was only focused on both parties so there were no alternative policy debates. As a voter and candidate, there was no such place where I could talk about UBI. Since only both camps had fights and policy spaces were not open, it was difficult to inform us of alternatives by ourselves as minor and minority parties.

Nevertheless, because I was there, there could be a future alternative to basic income or a justification for basic income. Because I criticized Lee Jae-myung’s timid basic income and the attitude of the Justice Party and other political parties toward selective welfare. I was able to inform the public that basic income was justifiable a little. In addition, public voters who support basic income have been created.


Though the results of the vote did not appear to be significant due to the phenomenon of leaning toward both parties, it cannot be evaluated only in this election, and it will be evaluated in the long-term trend later. Even if the people did not support this time, positive perceptions must have grown, and I am optimistic that Korea will return to positive support for the subsequent movement in the next election.

Considering that we are a new party, one member of the National Assembly, and only a small number of members, I don’t think we had too few votes (0.05%). Since other parties with a lot more party members won fewer votes than us, there is still a task of expanding the organizations and the number of voters who supported us, and we have to solve it well to expand our support.

Under the Yoon Seok-yeol administration, it is unclear whether Lee Jae-myung or his supporters will be one who can lead UBI in Korea from now. However, Seoul, which held a hopeful and important election, has enough potential to ignite it again. 

Local Elections:

Local governments themselves do not have tax rights, so they cannot collect and distribute taxes. We can’t talk at the national level. However, whether it is real estate or industry, there has been a problem that the common interests created within the common body have not been distributed, so we will talk about returning them to basic income, universal welfare, and universal services that must go to the majority in each province.

I also interviewed An Hyo-sang, the chair of BIKN about the election.

An Hyo-sang: We need time to think about evaluating the process and results of the presidential election. But we have the local election soon. So we quickly need to talk about it. From a broad viewpoint, we must think about the weak points and strong points we had.

We considered 2 viewpoints.

First, what conditions can BI have in its position before the election? Basic Income gained traction for implementation because of a confident and strong politician. Lee embraced the Basic Income idea as his election pledge. Since the base of BI movement is not strong, there was a very broad gap between the front line candidate Lee was based and where the basic Income movement is positioned. So after Candidate Lee was defeated, the bubble of basic income ideas that people enjoyed blew up. 

We need to face the reality of where the basic Income movement is positioned. We will have to try to gain broad and strong support from the ordinary people step by step with education, campaigns, propagation, organizations, and so on.

Despite Lee’s defeat and still our weakness, his idea planted the seeds of the basic income idea worldwide which will be widespread someday. We will harvest the fruits of our effort. We need to take time to see these fruits.

Second, as a center of the Basic Income movement, the Basic Income Korean Network (BIKN) will have two directions for the local election.

1) We will deepen our theory of our basic Income because we need a stronger theory and legitimation in order to gain wide popular support.

2) We have Basic Income supporters without and with political preferences. Some politicians still support BI idea as his policy, especially at the local level. Academics and activist social movements still support the BI idea so we will try to link personalities, individuals, and groups who support BI. 

Korea’s basic income movement, beginning with the 2007 presidential election pledges from the socialist party, has become widespread within just 15 years. According to Kanta Korea Research Company, 38.6 percent of the respondents said they were in favor of basic income, 52.3 percent did not know and 9 percent didn’t answer. 1,012 men and women aged 18 or older nationwide were targeted (Seoul Economy, Feb. 20, 2020).

The BIEN congress will be held again in Korea on Aug 24th-26th, 2023. The title is “Basic Income in Reality.” I expect the Basic Income Party to gain wide popularity in 17 cities with 19 candidates at the local election and the 2023 Korea BIEN Congress to draw attention worldwide so that it can lead a great success in the general election for Basic Income implementation.

Local elections will be held on June 1, in two weeks. Can the Democratic Party promote the universal basic income of the entire nation as a pledge in local elections? 

Since Lee Jae Myoung is running for the MP, Lee’s election camp says ‘this is whether Lee ‘s life or death’ as former president Lee Myong bak was trying to kill Roh Moo-hyun, and he seems to be winning. But he doesn’t talk about BI in his pledges during the democratic party’s local elections as well. But the Basic Income Party does out front, promoting basic income in all cities with a UBI of $78 a month. 

Where will Koreans raise their hands again, when Yoon Seok-youl refuses to work at Cheong Wa Dae (Blue House) given by them, but they started to work in Yongsan District all of sudden due to his private beliefs? 

Lee Jae-myung’s basic income pledge was as follows below in the presidential election:

  • Universal basic income for all citizens
  • After the public debate of the Presidential Basic Income Committee, it will be implemented by collecting public opinion.
  • Starting at 250,000₩ ($205) a year. A goal of 1,000,000₩ ($820) per year within the term by 2027
  • Land profit dividends and carbon dividends
  • Basic income is paid in local currency
  • Basic income and allowances by target
  • Basic income of 1 million₩ ($820) per year to young people aged 19-29 from 2023
  • Expanding the scope of child and youth allowances (step-by-step expansion, until the age of 18 in 2027)
  • Payment of seniority allowance

Written by: Mok Hwakyun (Moka)