Are You in Favor of a National Basic Income?

from book: What we learned from the practice of Basic Income — A compendium of Writings and Data (Translation by Monica Puntel, Leonardo Puntel, Carolina Fisher and Revison by Tracy Halls. Art by Júlia Cristofi.)

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Thank you for asking. I’m not only in favor, but I also have two strong arguments based on the natural-law thinking and with a leftist eco-libertarian bias for them to do it not as social assistance from the executive power, but as a fundamental right guaranteed by constitutional obligation:

1. It’s not up to the state to refuse or to delay the basic income.

The territory doesn’t belong to the state, but to the people. Natural and public properties and common goods belong to the society, and their revenues must be handed over to their legitimate owners: the citizens. It doesn’t matter if this social dividend is not enough to cover the life cost, the value is not of importance, it has to be paid.

Just the same with the supply of water, it doesn’t matter if it rains or not, it is an obligation of the public power companies to build the reservoirs and to guarantee that the distribution system is always ready.

2. The refusal of the payment of the basic income is not only theft, but also a crime against life.

The state, when detaining the monopoly over the common property of a territory, is strictly assuming the custody of the life of all inhabitants who need its vital and environmental means. For that reason, it must abdicate the monopoly or pay the basic income. Allow me to explain:

The state of peace forbids people to use all necessary means to self-preservation, but only particular property and income are guaranteed. For those expropriated from their (i) particular and common properties and incomes and from their (ii) freedom of natural appropriation (even of occupation and pacific usufruct of the natural property), there are only two alternatives left, both being practically a death sentence: 1) One, to live and to die in famine; 2) The other, to live and to die in police confrontation.

As for my objection towards a governmental basic income, it is easily explained with an example: North Korea. If the government of North Korea decreed that every citizen had an unconditional basic income, would you say that these people really have a basic income with no governmental exigency attached? Authoritarian governments don’t even need to explicitly demand compensations, the conditionality is tacit and the obedience to the regimen is implicit.

Except in the case of an extreme global and humanitarian crisis that puts at risk all geopolitical stability, I don’t believe that the basic income, a popular empowerment, will be willingly given by those who control the political and economic power. As with every right, I suppose that it will also have to be conquered.

However, I still believe in the possibility of a national basic income, provided that this income is an inalienable constitutional right and the state is a libertarian one. As a result, being absolutely forbidden:

1. the subtraction of fundamental liberties, private and common properties and their revenues, including the basic income;

2. the segregation and inequality of authority over the common good. In other words, over the natural properties that form the territory and its wealth — that can be neither divided nor exclusively appropriated, but only shared, not only with an equal right of usufruct, but also with a duty of preservation. But with this issue comes another.

I hope I was of some help.

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