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The basic income guarantee (BIG) is a proposed system of social security that guarantees that all citizens or families have an income sufficient to live on. BIG periodically provides each citizen with a sum of money that is sufficient to live on. A basic income is granted independent of other income (including salaries) and wealth, with no other requirement than citizenship.
The BIG is a key part of the Technoprogressive platform. BIG will become increasingly relevant due to the Structural unemployment that results when machines outperform humans at more and more jobs, and as Market fundamentalism precipitates economic collapse.
A worldwide basic income, typically including income redistribution between nations, is known as a global basic income.
One of the arguments for a basic income was articulated by French economist and social philosopher André Gorz:
“The connection between more and better has been broken; our needs for many products and services are already more than adequately met, and many of our as-yet-unsatisfied needs will be met not by producing more, but by producing differently, producing other things, or even producing less. This is especially true as regards our needs for air, water, space, silence, beauty, time and human contact…From the point where it takes only 1,000 hours per year or 20,000 to 30,000 hours per lifetime to create an amount of wealth equal to or greater than the amount we create at the present time in 1,600 hours per year or 40,000 to 50,000 hours in a working life, we must all be able to obtain a real income equal to or higher than our current salaries in exchange for a greatly reduced quantity of work…Neither is it true any longer that the more each individual works, the better off everyone will be. The present crisis has stimulated technological change of an unprecedented scale and speed: `the micro-chip revolution’. The object and indeed the effect of this revolution has been to make rapidly increasing savings in labour, in the industrial, administrative and service sectors. Increasing production is secured in these sectors by decreasing amounts of labour. As a result, the social process of production no longer needs everyone to work in it on a full-time basis. The work ethic ceases to be viable in such a situation and workbased society is thrown into crisis…”
The Basic Income Earth Network describes one of the benefits of a basic income as having a lower overall cost than that of the current means-tested social welfare benefits.
Alaska has a BIG system which provides each citizen with a share of the state’s oil revenues. The U.S. also has the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income taxpayers. In 2006, a bill from the advocacy organization USBIG to transform the credit into a partial basic income was introduced, but did not pass.
The US Basic Income Guarantee Network