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Universal Basic Income

November 7, 2017

 

With his care for the less economically prosperous, Thomas Attwood might well have approved the work of the basic income movement – though probably, like James Robertsonwould have advocated its implementation as part of a wider coherent set of economic and monetary reforms.

Readers are directed to news from Dylan Matthews (US Occupy website), who wrote in October about a forthcoming (2018)Basic Income pilot involving a ‘random sample of the 300,000 residents of Stockton, California’.

Some of Silicon Valley’s tech entrepreneurs and investors involved see basic income as the way to give support to Americans if artificial intelligence and other automation advances lead to unemployment for vast swathes of the population, redistributing the wealth that Silicon Valley creates to poorer people and localities left behind.

In 2011, a pilot BI project was launched in rural Madhya Pradesh through the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), in collaboration with UNICEF.

o   Basic living conditions, starting with sanitation, better access to clean drinking water, improvements in cooking and lighting energy sources, improved significantly.

o   There was a major increase in food sufficiency, improved diets, better nutrition and reduction in seasonal illnesses.

o   Better health of children led to higher school attendance and improved performance. The basic income also facilitated spending on school uniforms, books and stationery.

o   The cash transfer facilitated small scale investments such as buying better raw materials and equipment, which resulted in a higher income.

o   There was also a shift, especially in the tribal village, from wage labour and bonded labour to owning farms and to other forms of self-employment.

o   Women’s empowerment was another outcome of the pilot studies: their participation in economic decision making in the household improved.

The basic income also enabled indebted villagers to pay back the money lenders and borrow less from them.

See this excellent video account – well worth twelve minutes of your time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWW9XY27ocI

The blog also gives references to ventures in several other countries and ends with news from Scotland

 

 

 

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