For nine years, the 53-year-old freelance copywriter living in Groningen, the Netherlands, would rise at 7 a.m. and fall asleep at 1 a.m. His wife and three kids rarely saw him.When Kerver began receiving a basic income last July, everything changed.
Universal basic income (UBI) is a radical system of wealth distribution introduced in the 1960s in which people are given a regular monthly income to cover basic expenses like food, shelter, and clothing. There are no strings attached to UBI. People living in a country with UBI can be doctors or plumbers; no matter what, they’ll receive the same regular allowance.At present, Kerver is the only person in the Netherlands to earn a basic income. His steady cash flow comes courtesy of the Dutch organization MIES (translation: Society for Innovations in Economics and Community), which has a larger mission of promoting basic income as a viable system in the Netherlands.
Last June, MIES opted to give Kerver its inaugural basic income because of all the important unpaid work he does in the community. Among his biggest projects is Garden City, a communal agriculture project that Kerver says takes up most of his time.Under the system, Kerver receives $1,100 a month on top of his normal income. His first purchase with the new revenue stream? “I bought time,” he says.
Gone are the 12-hour days. Instead, Kerver works about 50 hours in an entire week. Without needing to take on as much paid work, Kerver can immerse himself more fully in his copywriting projects — and spend more time with his family. On Saturdays he bakes bread with people at the Garden City, whereas before he would have to work. “It’s better when you work a little less and have some leisure time with family and friends,” he says. “I think it keeps you fresh.
Kerver’s son, who is 15 and skeptical of his father getting free money, isn’t alone.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at What it’s like to earn a basic income – Business Insider
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