Global Basic Income is a proposed scheme where every individual from every country all over the world will get a guaranteed basic income. The programme will be incorporated into other systems such as social security schemes and insurance schemes and sickness. Besides, the scheme will run alongside every day’s work of an individual. The motive of the system is to redistribute wealth to the less fortunate and guarantee the right to a dignified life to every human being.
Most countries give citizens pensions and other welfare benefits, such as child benefits. Likewise, basic income will be provided to every individual, whether they are working or not. It will ensure that every human being meet the basic needs and lead a dignified life. It will ensure that people have access to food, healthcare, clothing, shelter and clean water.
How Will the Global Basic Income Funded?
Since the world we are living in is rich, there are many ways to fund the scheme. Some of the ways the system could be funded include through international taxes, especially while doing financial transaction and trade, charges from intellectual property or use of other resources. Plans are underway to do more research to make them come to a reality.
The idea, which originated from national basic income, calls for more activities such as building support, carrying out experiments so that the scheme can get started. Any positive change needs a lot of help. To secure the right to life for every individual and redistribute wealth to the less fortunate requires the support of every person.
What are the Characteristics of Global Basic Income?
- Basic. This is a guaranteed minimum income for every individual. Besides, people can continue working as they do and still be assured of the minimum income. The minimum income will constitute social security benefits such as insurance and employment. Every individual will be guaranteed the basic needs such as clothing, food, shelter, health care, health care and education. It could mean that every family receives $50 every month and this could see a relief to the 1 billion people in the world living below $1 in a day.
Unconditional. It means that every person is entitled to the basic income whether they are working or not. It is also guaranteed to everyone regardless of what they earn or if they are wealthy. It means that by right of birth, one is entitled to the global income. It will be given to every person. Every person will get the basic income individually and it is not dependent on the living conditions or their level.
Children are also entitled to income. Regardless of age or living conditions, one is entitled to the basic pay. This is because of the children in the world are in dire needs of basic needs.
Global. The scheme incorporates all people from all the countries in the world. The Global Basic Income can be better implemented after all countries meet and agree on how to implement the scheme under the United Nations framework.
How Will Global Basic Income Work?
So that people can start receiving the basic income, the first step will be to register with the scheme. It will be easy since the organization aims to make the work easier through the following ways.
- Enable people to register themselves with reduced paperwork.
- Every individual can choose in what way to receive the income. It can be either through the phone or directly to the bank or via a smart card.
- They are setting standards to prevent fraud and ensuring that people register once, and they only register for their basic income.
- Ensuring that people who need income get enough support to register.
The scheme will need governments’ support to provide birth and death registrations, banking systems, mobile money transfer and social security schemes. Failure of the government to support the programme is likely to cause many challenges. Therefore, people should lobby their governments to support the system so that they can register and start receiving the Global Basic Income.
How to Distribute the Income
Many countries have embraced mobile money banking such as M-Pesa where they can store and receive money transfers in their phones. As of 2018, more than 272 operators were running mobile money services in over 90 countries. The World Bank estimates that 70% around the world own mobile phones. It means that transferring the money by the use of mobile phones would help to reach people, who do not own bank accounts.
Besides, people will still benefit from social security and other benefits such as pensions. It is because many countries offer these benefits to their citizens and they have established ways of delivering the money. Some of the other methods of delivering the money include the use of vouchers, smart cards and mobile cash machines. Different techniques can be sought to provide access to income easier.
What is the Essence of Global Basic Income?
The following are some of the arguments that explain the essence of the scheme.
1. Everyone has the right to a dignified life.
Right to life is unconditional for every individual. Besides, leading a decent life is also unconditional, unlike social security schemes where not everyone can qualify. Therefore, the role of the Global Basic Income is to ensure that people lead a dignified life by freeing them from poverty and poor working conditions.
2. People should enjoy freedom, democracy and motivation to work.
A basic income helps people to decide what they want to do and they are at liberty to decide whether to work or not. Total dependency on work to earn an income leads to the violation of human rights. It is because many people are subjected to poor working conditions while they are underpaid. Also, the work that most of them do is not in line with their aspirations, ideas and values. A basic income will help people to go for jobs that inspire them and give them satisfaction and the joy of working.
3. Free labor market with better working conditions and fair income distribution.
The high-level dependency on revenues for survival gives people low bargaining power. This eliminates the free labor market where employees can charge depending on the efforts they put. Therefore, basic income will lead to improved working conditions, fair wages and improved motivation to work.
4. Reduced unemployment levels and better distribution of paid labor.
In most countries, when a person starts to work again, social security and allowances are significantly reduced. This discourages people from seeking employment opportunities so that they can continue receiving their social benefits. With the basic income, for every hour worked, there is a corresponding increase in revenue. This encourages people to work part-time, unlike now when people work for long and others cannot find work. Basic income will lead to a reduction in the unemployment level and also ensure better distribution of labor.
5. Fair sharing of resources.
Currently, in most cases, natural resources have been privatized while others are utilized by companies, unlike in the past, where people could use natural resources to better themselves. By taxing companies and those using the natural resources, the proceeds can then be shared to everyone to ensure that there is equal share. This will be a better way to compensate those who do not have access to natural resources.
Since Global Basic income is a social security for everyone, there is no bureaucracy needed to determine who and how much one is entitled to receive. The only thing required is to ensure that people receive their basic income once and there is an efficient cash transfer.
With increased mechanization, computerization and automation, it is possible to produce more by use of less labor. This has led to an increase in consumption, while labor has significantly reduced. People should embrace more utilization of available resources with less employment, which will be compensated through the basic income.
Global Basic Income is an excellent scheme if well implemented. The system requires the support form individuals and the governments at large. Individuals from different countries have to lobby their governments to support the initiative so that every human being can lead a dignified life and achieve their full potential.
Vincent is an experienced journalist from Kenya as well as a statistician. He has a degree in Applied Statistics with computing from the University of Eldoret.