Livelihood is a human right
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Theses on the current problems
1. As a result of the corona pandemic, the rich have become even richer and the poor even poorer.
2. The effects and consequences of the pandemic have mainly affected the poor.
Ideas for possible solutions
- For a universal basic income for all people, independent of gainful employment
- In the rich countries: Introduction of a complementary - i.e., income-supplementing - basic income that guarantees a living wage
- In poor countries: Introduction of a basic income that is independent of employment and guarantees a livelihood.
- In addition: Establishment of earmarked and fixed transfer payments of the rich countries to the livelihood security in the poor countries.
There are a number of reasons for, but also arguments against, a basic income that guarantees a livelihood and is not dependent on employment. The argument in favor of a basic income independent of employment is that it could guarantee a livable existence for the lowest stratum of the population. It would also increase the pressure on companies that pay dumping or very low wages to pay adequate wages. At the same time, a universal basic income would simplify the entire system of social insurances, which are often only geared to very specific claims and do not cover many risks at all. There are two main arguments against a living wage: First, the high costs of financing and second, the fear that work activities that are not attractive in terms of income would then no longer be performed.
Because with Corona absolute and relative poverty has increased again in a whole series of countries, the rich countries are called upon to help the poor countries to introduce a comprehensive basic income independent of gainful employment by means of fixed and long-term transfer payments. In countries with high absolute poverty, the basic income should be designed to be independent of employment; in countries with predominantly relative poverty, the basic income should be designed to be complementary to employment income.
Examples of introduced non-labor basic incomes:
"- Alaska: since 1982, all residents have received an unconditional basic income in the form of an annual dividend from the proceeds of a fund fed mainly by state revenues from oil production. In 2008, this amounted to $2069; in recent years, it has been less than $1,000.
Namibia: 2008 - 2012, the approximately 1000 residents of Otjivero-Omitara received an unconditional basic income of about 12 francs per month, financed by donations, which is below the poverty line. The claimed success of the project is in doubt due to various shortcomings.
Brazil: An unconditional basic income was enshrined in law, but has not been implemented to date.
Negative income tax: This variation of basic income was tested in several social experiments in the U.S. and Canada from 1968 to 1980, with 800 to 4800 participants and different tax rates and allowances, according to a proposal by U.S. economist Milton Friedman (see Friedman and Friedman 1980:120-123). Married men reduced their labor supply by 5 to 8 percent in these experiments, women slightly more.
Cuba: In 1964, the communist regime standardized wages and decoupled income from work performance. Money was to be replaced by moral incentives to work. Every Cuban became entitled to a sufficient income. The consequences were a decline in productivity and supply crises.
Jamestown: In the first English settlement in America, from 1607 to 1611, all citizens received an equal share of the colony's output, regardless of their contribution. However, so little was produced that hunger and hardship were rampant."
(Swiss Commercial Gazette, Oct. 3, 2013:5).
So far, an unconditional basic income has only been introduced in Mongolia for two years, where all citizens received $16.5 per month, and in Iran, where all citizens received $45 per month for one year (cf. Milanović 2020:3).
- Milanović, Branko
2020: Endlich Gleichheit oder das Ende des Sozialstaats? Über die Probleme des bedingungslosen Grundeinkommens. In: Le Monde Diplomatique (deutsche Ausgabe Schweiz) vom September 2020. 3.
- Schweizerische Handeszeitung
3.10.2013: Experimente mit Grundeinkommen: Wenn Utopien Wirklichkeit werden. 5.