GoodNews: Hundreds Of British MPs Call For Basic Income Trials While Blockchain Promoted To Accelerate Economic Recovery In Africa
A Week Of #GoodNews
British MPs call for urgent basic income trials
With another national lockdown looming, a cross-party group – of more than 500 British MPs, lords and local councillors – has written a letter to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, calling on the government to allow councils to run basic income trials in response to mass unemployment because of the COVID-19 fallout, reports The Guardian. “We must trial innovative approaches which create an income floor for everyone, allowing our families and communities to thrive,” the letter states, suggesting a £48 per week payment. “The pandemic has shown that we urgently need to strengthen our social security system. The creation of a universal basic income – a regular and unconditional cash payment to every individual in the UK – could be the solution.” If Mr Sunak is wondering how to fund such projects he should consider GoodDollar’s economic model.
Blockchain can power Africa’s economic recovery
Leading Nigerian news outlet The Guardian is excited by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, calling it a “watershed moment in the continent’s history” – but argues that to maximise its effectiveness it should be powered by blockchain and cryptocurrencies. “[AfCTFA] has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty in the region,” the editorial says, “while also raising the average incomes of 68 million others who currently live on less than US$5.50 each day. Given the lack of an official continent-wide currency in Africa, cryptocurrencies and digital tokens therefore offer a viable and flexible means of exchange as internal trade volumes continue to increase. The decentralised nature of cryptocurrency also alleviates the concerns caused by central control, creating a transparent and immutable ledger for all participants.” We hear you at GoodDollar, a global basic income project underpinned by blockchain. Let’s hope key stakeholders are listening, too, as we strive to reduce poverty and wealth inequality.
Twitter CEO Dorsey to promote DeFi at Africa Fintech Summit
Basic income advocate Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter and Square, will use his closing keynote at the Africa Fintech Summit on November 12 to focus on “concepts of decentralized finance and opportunities it creates for financial inclusion,” according to organisers, reports Decrypt. In July, Dorsey was named as the first investor in a basic income pilot that spans 16 US cities, dubbed Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, and staked US$3 million. As a not-for-profit basic income project, at GoodDollar we know how critical investment is to accelerate progress in this space. Read about our foundation here.
Roadmap for basic income in Japan revealed
Economist Heizo Takenaka, an adviser to Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, has revealed his roadmap for delivering basic income across the country. He says adoption of My Number identification cards – which the government has started distributing to simplify and digitise social security and taxation administration – will enable basic income at scale, reports The Japan Times. The basic income scheme could eventually replace most public welfare programmes, suggests Takenaka. “His plan would provide ¥70,000 (US$670) a month to everyone whose income is already below a certain threshold,” reports The Japan Times. “If a recipient’s income rises above that line, then they would return the [basic income]. The My Number card would link individual bank accounts to the plan.” The plan has sparked debate about basic income in Japan. At GoodDollar we are familiar with the challenges of implementing basic income. We have been working on building a blockchain-centred, decentralised basic income wallet for exactly two years. And why we think blockchain is the perfect solution can be found in this section of our white paper.
“Basic income saved my life”
Those who doubt the power of basic income should speak to Melissa Knive, a Canadian born with “a number of complications” who required an oxygen tent and surgery when aged two and has various disabilities. After years of struggle she applied to Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) in Alberta and received basic income that changed her fortunes, she tells Basic Income Alberta. “I firmly believe it has saved my life, both in the actual fact of not being homeless and starving, and from suicidal ideation that often comes with the knowledge that you can be a capable person, given the right circumstances,” she writes. “It has been that step up that allows me to function safely.” Our driving goal at GoodDollar is to lift people out of the poverty trap and reduce global wealth inequality. We know a little can go a long way.
Economist and academic Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek Finance Minister, has offered his thoughts on what to do about economic inequality, in a discussion on Bloomberg, and believes it is time to debate the redistribution of wealth, reports DiEM25.
“If life under capitalism resembled the 100-metre sprint in the Olympic Games, of course it would be absurd to ask the fastest athletes to slow down or stop them going fast in support or solidarity with those lagging,” said the 59-year old. “But life is no Olympic Games. It resembles more these days the Roman arena in which very well-armed gladiators are facing victims that are weaponless, victims who are defeated not because they are not try hard enough or because they were not clever enough but because they are unarmed because of the asymmetry in the initial distribution of armour [of wealth]. Hard work can no longer be relied upon to lift people from poverty – this is the tragedy of the last 30 years.”
When asked about what economic model might work better, Varoufakis again used a sporting analogy. “The kind of ideal that fires me up … would be a sporting parallel, not with the Olympics, but the National Football League,” he continued. “Where in the interest of competition, not fairness, teams face a harsh salary cap and the best players are forced to sign up for the weakest teams.”
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