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The price of living with (in)dignity

The Unconditional Basic Income quite simply proposes the following: living with dignity has no price. There can be no financial excuse at all for a fifth of the population living on the brink of poverty, of whom many hundreds of thousands are genuinely poor, or for many people watching their circumstances change without warning. Without essential goods and services and without a shred of power. There can be no excuse, be it financial, political or any other. Quite simply, it is necessary to divide everything more equitably, or as equitably as necessary, and it is incomprehensible that a country cannot succeed in doing this.

For this reason, I cannot believe in the love for this idea declared by any citizen who invariably says to me “yes, the idea is good but…, if it was possible… and so on, … it used to be better…”. And I invariably ask myself what place this person has in the world, not to judge them, but to understand what they have to gain, or to lose.

We citizens who are concerned about ourselves and our neighbours, only have to want it, and want it to the extent of demanding it. We don’t have to do the sums. Has the reader ever presented a State budget when he or she doesn’t like the one the government presents? And, in reality, when you simplify this question and do the calculations on a paper towel, this can only be demagoguery, be it in favour or against.

The Basic Income has the necessary attributes to make it worth fighting for, unconditionally. Its four pillars are crystal clear: universal and unconditional in order to avoid facilitating the prejudice of distinction and paternalism, despite the necessity to redistribute wealth and income; and, going beyond statistics, individual and sufficient in order to be able to cater for each human being. What other reasons could be needed?

About the author

Pedro Ferrão currently lives in the city of Vila Real and works as a self-employed farmer and informal activist, in particular in connection with the Unconditional Basic Income. He taught at the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro for twenty years in the field of social and business sciences. Prior to that, he worked as an entrepreneur and with associations. Over the years, he has done voluntary and professional work on a range of projects connected with local development and capacity building, in particular as a facilitator, trainer and evaluator. He is 65 years old and discovered the concept of UBI three years ago; he found it easy to identify with its disruptive potential and emerging nature, which is compatible with the current search for solutions for a less unequal and more inclusive society.



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