Case for Universal Basic Income – And Its Higher Purpose – Strengthened by Justice Protests


What is the value of a human life? What level of protection should a person – any person – reasonably expect? During this period, these critical questions are hotly discussed all over the world. Is it time to renegotiate the social contract?

GoodDollar’s mission is to achieve greater equality, shaping a world where everyone has the opportunity to pursue their life purpose, regardless of their circumstances at birth. Our proposition is based on the central principle of universal basic income (UBI): that everyone – regardless of religion, color or work status – deserves a better level of protection. This support is made possible by regular, non-binding financial assistance.

On May 25, George Floyd’s final words, “I can’t breathe,” were captured on a smartphone camera and beamed around the world when the 46-year-old was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer. The “I can’t breathe” plea, adopted by protesters and activists, has become a parable for something bigger: an inability to live with safety and security, a blockage from realizing one’s life purpose.

In its most recent memory, it recalls the horrifying downward feeling experienced by victims of the corona virus – a disproportionately large number of them are black or from ethnic minorities.

This sense of unrest has spread across liberal democracies, but this moment has created a moment of darkness, with underlying and profound racial and economic inequalities. The triple blow – of protracted, systematic racism, the unbalanced impact of COVID-19 and the deep unemployment caused by the virus – currently being felt by BAME people (people from black, Asian or ethnic minority groups) has caused a turning point for many .

People have taken to the streets, in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, in protest of Floyd’s murder seeking justice and even looting when they feel they have little to lose. In practical terms, the US unemployment level of 13.3% has enabled more people than usual to protest and campaign.

Lack of protection

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis have created a tinder-box atmosphere, and Floyd’s death has sparked the flames of unrest that engulfs America and beyond. Recall that the virus killed black Americans nearly three times faster than white Americans. In addition, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression has pushed African-American unemployment to 16.7% (compared to 14.2% for whites).

In America, the so-called “land of the free,” unparalleled wealth coexists with social and economic inequality and massive incarceration, which is disproportionately heavy on black Americans. This is the systemic racism that recent protests have pointed to.

“According to the Census Bureau, African Americans earn barely three-fifths more than non-Hispanic whites,” the report said The economist. In 2018, the average income for black households was $ 41,400, compared to $ 70,600 for whites. That gap is big. ‘

The article continues,

The American divide is smaller than it was in 1970, when African Americans made only half of white people. But all improvements took place between 1970 and 2000, and things have deteriorated since then. The black income gap has narrowed somewhat due to federal spending increases after COVID. But it can quickly widen as African Americans have many of the low- or unskilled jobs that may be most vulnerable to a coronavirus recession. ‘

In America, the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic has fallen disproportionately on black and minority groups: blacks are most likely to have ‘essential jobs’, leaving them in the workforce and exposed to the virus.

In addition, those same people have been disproportionately affected by job losses. In fact, the May rate of 16.7% for black unemployment has remained virtually unchanged from April (16.8%), despite the overall decline from 14.7% to 13.3%, as noted by The Guardian. The pandemic – and Floyd’s unjust death – should not have been necessary to bring this issue to the attention of the world. Those marching for justice and meaningful change are desperate.

Only in America?

Likewise, in the UK, the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed systemic discrimination. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Alarmingly, 72% of all health and social care providers who died with or from COVID-19 in the UK are BAME, which is another version of institutionalized racism.

“These deaths are the collateral damage of British racism – the indirect consequence of decades of exclusion that have displaced black and Asian people in the kinds of jobs, housing and health situations that would make us particularly susceptible,” writes Gary Younge, a professor of sociology at the University from Manchester, in The new statesman.

“COVID-19 has shown how racism can kill in far less dramatic ways and in much greater numbers without offering a moral game that can be shared on social media. When police and politicians order protesters to return to their communities, there seems to be little recognition that they died there in such disproportionate numbers. ‘

Recall that in 2016 the unemployment rate for black male graduates aged 16-24 in London was 18%, compared to 10% for their white counterparts, US figures show. Furthermore, black male graduates earn £ 7,000 less per year than their white counterparts in the UK, The Guardian calculated in 2018. In addition, only 11% of the FTSE 100 directors are BAME, new research shows.

Rewrite the social contract

This situation was not only caused by police brutality, which is nauseous. There is unrest in the cities of America and around the world as the basic principles surrounding the safety and value of a human life are eroded. We have signed a social contract that no longer protects us all. These are the bigger, deeper challenges that our system faces.

People feel miserable, mental health deteriorates and emotional stress is ultimately exacerbated by a lack of financial support. Adopting UBI will be a step in the right direction to solve these core problems. It is time for a change.

“We need to reshape public security in ways that shrink and ultimately abolish police and prisons, prioritizing education, housing, economic security, mental health and alternatives to conflict and violence,” New York Times opinion piece published on May 30.

The article concluded a redistribution of a portion of the $ 100 billion spent on police in America,

“People often question the usefulness of any emergency assistance that the police exclude. We live in a violent society, but the police rarely guarantee safety. More than ever, it is time to divest not only the police resources, but also the idea that the police are protecting us. ‘

The central goal of UBI is to provide predictability and certainty that will be missing from the social contract for so many people by 2020. At GoodDollar, we believe that every life has value no matter what you do, and that basic income helps to give you a sense of purpose. With a basic income, which is delivered regularly and reliably, people don’t feel completely desperate and destitute when they lose their jobs or have to stay at home.

Our project stems from the position that we owe each other a level of safety and dignity – central to which is money and financial security. As the protests continue, the deeper question remains: what do we owe each other in this society?

GoodDollar: Changing the Balance – Forever

Do you have the skills to help the GoodDollar project? We need builders, scientists and experts in the field of identity, privacy and financial governance, as well as philanthropists and ambassadors. Contact us at [email protected], or through our social media channels (Twitter, Telegram, or Facebook). View our community website, join the OpenUBI movement, visit our GitHub page and discover our Medium page and Youtube Channel.

Featured image: Need for more support in 2020 /Kelly Lacy from Pexels