Hello! We continue to consider issues related to the universal basic income. And today on the agenda is myth 2: Poor people are vicious.
There is an opinion that the introduction of universal basic income will reduce morality in society, supposedly poor people are such due to unwillingness to work, a tendency to laziness and lack of self-organization. And supposedly such people should not be given away free money, because they will not be able to dispose of it properly, spending it on anything from alcohol to entertainment.
I am terrified that in our society some people not only think so, but also talk and write about it. Or have we been so morally impoverished that we are unable to understand and sympathize with others?
Such people would like to be offered as an experiment to live for a couple of months somewhere in a provincial town of Russia on the average salary of the city.
Poor people, on the contrary, are rather honest and decent; they are not able to lie, take and give bribes, walk on their heads, and get away with it.
When you have a small salary, and you spend all of it immediately after receiving it, but not on alcohol or entertainment, but to give away debts that have arisen, because they did not reach the salary, to pay for the commune, buying food, the minimum clothing. And that’s it, there is nothing left for anything else.
It is impossible to save up for an average salary at all. And this is despite the fact that many people in Russia and wages do not reach it.
Poor people are not like that because they are stupid or work little. They work without stretching their backs. And because of all this rotten system of hierarchy and power, when some people get rabid sums that do not correspond to real efforts, and others plow on two or three jobs to somehow make ends meet. And the very wealthy ones allow themselves to think that they are smarter and somehow better than others.
Let’s take a look at the chart.
The upper red line shows the number of poor people in Russia. Every year, this number is growing. And now look at the horizontal axis in the coordinate system, where the years are marked. Remember how your well-being has changed during this period?
Notice, in percentage terms, the numbers also increase – this is the yellow line on the graph. The share of people below the poverty line in our country is increasing every year, despite even more significant growth of the MRT (blue line).
Do you think there are more than 20 million vicious people in Russia? Or maybe this society has driven them into a deadlock, creating all the conditions for this?
For comparison, I will give some more data on a global scale.
According to the UN in 2018, 23.5% of people lived below the poverty line. This is almost a quarter of the world’s population.
According to the UN, the under-5 mortality rate has decreased more than half since 1990 – from 90 to 43 cases per 1 thousand people. The maternal mortality rate has decreased by 45%, with the biggest decrease occurring after 2000.
Moreover, this is the world average, blurred by indicators of prosperous countries. People are dying because they are hungry and cannot seek medical help. They simply do not have the means to do so. Do you think all these people would spend the money they received as an universal basic income?
Then, I will give you the results of several more studies:
- About 75% of Russians save on the following:
- Clothes and shoes 76%;
- Food 69%;
- Entertainment 68.2%;
- Vacations 57.8%;
- Medicines 39.1%;
- Other expenses 6.4%.
Please note that people save on food and clothing. It is logical to imagine that it is this deficit they will begin to fill in the first place in obtaining an universal basic income.
Someone may notice that in third place is savings on entertainment. If you have imagined parties and outdoor companies, I hurry to disappoint you: the entertainment may include a trip with your child to the zoo or movie theater. Given the fact that more than half of Russians cannot afford a vacation, their children see the zoo only on TV.
According to statistics, Russians rank among the main risks of poverty:
– Loss of work (40% of respondents);
– Decrease in salary level (80%);
– Circumstances related to loss of health (22%);
– Credit bondage (67%).
Just imagine, almost half of Russians will end up in poverty if they lose their jobs, and 80% will find themselves in poverty if their wages go down. These data show that the working population is constantly on the verge of poverty. And does anyone allow themselves to claim the viciousness of poor people?
The payment of the universal basic income would provide a minimum guarantee of well-being for 80% of Russians, freeing them from fear and need.
I will cite the results of some experiments as a proof:
- The UBI experiment in Namibia reduced household poverty from 76 percent to 37 percent within a year and also reduced child malnutrition from 42 percent to 17 percent within six months.
- Interim results in Kenya showed that payments were used to pay for education, improve homes and even start small businesses. Spending on alcohol and cigarettes fell.
- In Brazil, the government helped poor families with money by requiring them to take their children to schools and visit hospitals for preventive examinations in return. In ten years, this helped to reduce the level of the poor from 9.7% to 4.3%, that is to say, more than doubled.
- In the Canadian city of Dowfin, the basic income scheme in the 1970s reduced doctor visits and hospitalization rates by 8.5%.
Here is a well-known aphorism: If you want to help a hungry person, give him not a fish but a fishing rod.
But the rod also needs to be taken somewhere, and it also takes time to learn how to use it. All this time, a person needs to live somewhere and eat something. The payment of the universal basic income would solve this problem.
Now in the world there is a difficult situation with a pandemic. Many countries appoint such payments to their citizens. If there was a practice of universal basic income in the world, such payments would not have to be made. Every person would have confidence in the future and know what he can count on.
Each of us could find ourselves in a difficult financial situation. How many women who tolerate domestic violence for the sake of their children are financially dependent on their husbands. How many abandoned by their husbands on the eve of childbirth? How many people annually suffer injuries that are not compatible with work capacity. How many old people and children are there on the planet? This list can be continued indefinitely.
The universal basic income would solve all these problems. In addition, it would give people peace of mind and confidence in the future, reduce social tensions and reduce crime. But most importantly, the introduction of the universal basic income would allow millions, billions of people around the world to escape from poverty and find a decent job, not the first one caught. Or maybe start a business or get an education. Isn’t that enough? Shouldn’t every person in a normal, morally healthy society have this guarantee? Especially in a Creative society. A society of good, positive, mutual help and mutual support.