Is It Time For Minimum Guaranteed Income Worldwide?

The right to be educated and to work, the right to fall sick and receive medical treatment, the right to have a roof over our heads and the right to dignity. The right to feel young when we are young. The right to feel frail when we are old. These are all fundamental rights to be human.

Single mom in financial crisis
Single mom in financial crisis

And then one reads reports such as: “27-year-old single mother of three left with £11 and no job”.

These are words we read in the news all too often. Is there actually someone out there who can do something? Not much is spoken about minimum guaranteed income by governments – the keepers of our society.

One definition of politics is, the science and art of governing and another is, use of intrigue or strategy for obtaining a position of power and control.

Plato famously said: “Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophise, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide, while the many natures who at present pursue either one exclusively are forcibly prevented from doing so, cities will have no rest from evils nor, I think, will the human race.”

 

Shifting Structures

A scenario that is conceivable is with the structural shift taking place in the labour market, according to research, about two billion jobs will be lost by 2030 due to artificial intelligence, globalisation and unsound economic systems.

While this is happening, trillions of dollars and euros have been spent on bailouts of automakers, finance institutions and other large organisations. Hundreds of millions of individuals have lost their jobs and homes and have fallen into a debt trap which includes university students.

Let’s take the example of just one automaker that, among many, was a recipient of bailout funds of tens of millions of dollars, according to available statistics this auto giant, in 2017 had 202,000 and in 2019 the employee strength was down to 190,000. So what was all the money in bailout about?

Wasn’t it supposed to be for saving jobs? Or was it meant for fat bonuses for the top management to take home?

Based on published numbers the CEO of the company received $1.8 million in salary, $12.7 million in stock awards, a $2.59 million bonus and $617,710 in perks and benefits in 2019. This is not a stray case. There are innumerable examples.

 

The 1%

chart pie

The total wealth of the world is estimated at 360 trillion dollars. Out of this 44% is controlled by 1% of the population. So this 1% controls $158.4 trillion. Is this any different from the monarchies of medieval times and how do these persons become admissible in today’s world?

Let us now try putting this further into perspective. On a worldwide basis about 14% of youth are unemployed. i.e. they are without the very fundamental right to have a job, let alone a roof over their heads and medical facilities and so on.

Add to this among those ‘employed’ includes a vast percentage who eartn just around one to two dollars a day. In Europe itself youth unemployment has increased from 15 percent to 17 percent during the first two quarters of 2020.

 

Making Ends Meet

To be able to receive what should be another fundamental right, education, a significant percentage of high school and university students end up working as sex workers. This includes students in rich countries such as Norway.

This report has investigated into the matter and one of the reasons was unemployment or under employment among the parents. The report especially examined prostitution among students in Europe where education is largely free or the fees are nominal.

Another study established the number of university students engaged in prostitution in the U.K. There are many such studies and sex work is taken up by students only to make ends meet.

Trillions of dollars are spent each year on wars. Wars that are not chosen by those seeking fundamental rights but by the so called custodians of society.

How is humankind going to break free of the grip it is in?

Democracy, liberalism, are they just fantasy and delusions? It’s time Humanism became the motivating force to be able to create accountability to each other, a sensitivity and kindness towards each other.

This would be a feel good factor and the first step towards this would have to be a minimum guaranteed income so that the foundation to the fundamental rights is laid even if this minimum guaranteed income were to come in exchange of community service.

Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney


 

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