Imagine a world in which you do not need to make a living

    In ancient Greece, labor was considered an unworthy occupation of citizens. There were slaves for this - and citizens could devote themselves to art, science and war. There was a certain logic in this - at least it was the Hellenes who laid the foundation for the whole of modern Western civilization.

    Nowadays, fortunately, the general level of economic development and the automation of labor make it possible to approach the Greek idyll already without slavery. Therefore, it is not surprising that ideas from the past are returned in a new shell: in this post we will talk about the concept, Basic income, the idea of ​​providing all citizens with guaranteed and unconditional basic income.

    Translation of service specifically for Megamind

    Basic income ( unconditional basic income, basic income ) is a social concept according to which a citizen is paid a monetary allowance regardless of whether he has a job or not. Now many employees hold on to their place, go to an unloved job, endure bullying of their boss, and at the same time they are stressed by their own unfulfillment. Fear of being left without a livelihood slows down the beginning of a life’s business, and a database could give people more opportunities for self-realization and achieving goals that are really important to them.

    An ardent supporter of the spread of the concept and co-founder of the basic income of the World Network ( BIEN ), University of London Professor Guy Standing notes in his book,about the growth of a new class, economically unprotected - precariate. In an interview with Russian Planet , Standing explained the basics of this theory.

    One of the consequences of globalization and a shift in power towards the financial sector is the emergence of a multi-level class structure that overlaps the entire global economy. In the modern world, according to Standing, there are five main classes: plutocracy, salariate, the old proletariat, precariate and lumpen.

    At the top, he believes, is plutocracy - oligarchs and other elites. Immediately beneath the plutocrats and the elites is the salariat - people with long-term employment guarantees, bonuses, pensions, medical insurance and everything else. Even lower is the old proletariat. The Soviet system and the socially oriented states of Western Europe were built just for the needs of the proletariat, however, in the course of global capital production the layer of the proletariat is reduced. Under the proletariat, a precariate arises and grows (from the English precarious - risky, unstable). Below the precariate are only the poor, lumpenized people living and dying in the streets without any connection with society.

    Standing notes three features of the precariate:

    1. The production relations of representatives of this - they do not have guarantees of employment, a permanent job, or professional identity. According to Standing, representatives of the precariat have no history of where they go in life. Another aspect of these same industrial relations is that the precariate spends a considerable part of its time on work that is not taken into account and is not paid. This is not work, this is work — caring for ourselves, retraining, interacting with the bureaucracy — huge volumes of work that are not recorded anywhere.
    2. The precariat mainly has to rely only on direct monetary compensation for labor, if they can get it at all. The precariat cannot rely on the state, on pensions, unemployment benefits, payment of medical bills. So he suffers very much from economic uncertainty.
    3. The precariat has a special relationship with the state. More and more people in the precariate do not have the same rights (civil, social, political, cultural and economic) that other citizens have.

    If you get a “gray” salary - the hope for a comfortable pension is low. According to Standing, the only ones who receive good pensions are salariat. Indirectly, out of salary, they receive much more than anyone else. Unlike salariate, precaries have no other income other than salary, which is highly dependent on their position in the labor market. In addition, they do not control their development, and most likely do not have social and labor rights, because they are also in the shadow economy or on the border with it.

    Proponents of guaranteed income want to bind the benefit not to labor as such, but to citizenship. Each resident, in their opinion, not a criminal, should have the right to basic guarantees so that people can manage their lives, get an education, have food and a roof over their heads.

    According to the professor, a campaign to collect signatures in support of the introduction of Basic Income, the EU Initiative, has been organized in 17 countries of the European Union. When collecting a million signatures in a year, the EU will have to conduct a feasibility study and launch pilot projects.

    Due to what it is planned to form a fund to pay guaranteed income:

    • Environmental tax;
    • working capital tax;
    • luxury purchase tax;
    • self-financing by simplifying the list of existing social benefits and reducing the budget for their support;
    • and etc.

    The human head without and in the presence of basic income

    Naturally, such a concept has not only advantages in the form of poverty reduction and increase, but also constraining factors.

    Firstly, the capitalist’s terrible dream that the employee refuses to do hateful work, goes to study or devotes time to his family, does not give rest to many.

    Secondly, many people are afraid of the disappearance of a person receiving even a minimal, but guaranteed income, motivation for further work and turning him into a dependent.

    And thirdly, where to get the money for such an act of goodwill? It's no secret that such programs are expensive.

    Despite the most ardent skeptics around the world, pilot programs are underway to introduce guaranteed income. The most famous experiment was conducted in Canada in the 1970s and lasted five years.

    In Dauphin in the province of Manitoba, it was decided to eradicate poverty and implement the “city without poverty” program. Everyone who was in danger of falling below the poverty level received monthly payments without any obligation. Unfortunately, the project was closed after the conservatives came to power, and all the researchers who worked on the experiment: anthropologists, sociologists, economists, lost their money and working hours to analyze the experimental data. And only many years later, in 2005, Canadian professor Evelyn Forge learned about the existence of these archival documents, a couple of years later she was given access to them. Professor Forge Teamstudied all the data from the experiment, and as it turned out, he was very successful.

    Forge discoveredthat young mothers and adolescents worked substantially less. Mothers with newborns stopped working to spend time with infants, adolescents worked less, so they no longer needed to provide for their families. However, the number of adolescents receiving higher education has increased. Those who continued to work had more opportunities to find work to their liking or to continue their education, which many men did. Forge found that during the project, hospital visits were down 8.5 percent; emergency incidents, car accidents, and domestic violence decreased. In addition, a reduction in the rate of psychiatric hospitalization and the number of consultations related to mental illness were found during this period.

    The experiment in the village of Namibia was also considered successful. During the year, residents were given 100 Namibian dollars (about 8 US dollars). The result is a reduction in poverty, a decrease in crime, an increase in the economic activity of residents.

    Pilot projects have also been launched in Brazil , India , Kenya and other countries.

    In the USA, the ideologist of basic income is Scott Santens. To draw attention to the concept, Santens launched a crowdfunding company to raise funds for his own basic income of $ 1,000 per month. Scott is also the author of the idea of ​​posts on Twitter with the hashtag #mybasicincome , where the authors write what they would do if they had it.

    In the fall of 2013, a referendum in Switzerland collected a record number of signatures over the course of six months - 126 thousand in support of the introduction of basic income, which would guarantee each Swiss a direct payment of 2,500 francs (about 2,000 euros), regardless of whether he has a job or not. According to estimates, this will cost Switzerland 200 billion francs a year against 70 billion that the state spends on social payments now - and this does not take into account the costs of the bureaucratic apparatus, which decides who is entitled to social assistance and who is not. “Unconditional basic income” will make the bureaucracy unnecessary on this issue. Money will be put to everyone. So, the government has five and a half years to prepare a bill for this initiative.

    According to a proponent of the idea of ​​AML with a substantial experience and the owner of the dm chain of stores, Gotz Werner “with the introduction of“ unconditional basic income ”, we suddenly realize that it is not material need that makes us work, but, on the contrary, material security allows us to work for real . Labor productivity will increase, as everyone will do what they really like. ”

    Unconditional basic income is not a left or right turn, but a movement forward.

    Well, I would like to agree with Werner's arguments, but let's see how things are with the popularization of basic income ideas in Russia. Voting

    took place on the website of the Russian Public Initiativefor the adoption of the concept of “Unconditional basic income”, which provides for a guaranteed minimum statutory monetary allowance paid by the state. 286 people supported the initiative, 159 against it. In order for this initiative to be considered at the federal level, the number of supporters must be at least 100 thousand. For comparison, the initiative to establish salaries for heads of state corporations in an amount not exceeding 5 times the average salary of employees of this corporation gathered 10 thousand votes.

    At the same time, according to the FOM studythe majority of Russians who took part in the survey believe that there are categories of people in the country who do not receive social benefits, but who need them. The proposal to provide benefits only to those whose income is below a certain level is more often supported, and to provide them only to those who write an application and collect the necessary documents is often not.

    At the state level, the idea of ​​AML in 2014 was supported by the Communist Party and held a vote for the initiative. Unfortunately, only 1360 participants supported the initiative with the necessary quota of 20 thousand votes.

    Meanwhile, authors of the ru-bod LiveJournal online communityadvised not to sit back, but to act independently. First of all, to become the conductor of the idea of ​​getting a basic income yourself, to do this, conduct your own activity to promote this approach. The next step is to try to raise funds on a crowdfunding basis to provide basic income for those who wish, for example, using the Boomstarter platform or the aforementioned Patreon.

    It is no secret to anyone that the promotion of civic initiatives requires the ardent faith of their supporters. What do you think, how much time does it take for Russians to be inspired by the idea of ​​basic income?

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