GiveDirectly, a charity that gives money directly to poor people in Kenya and Uganda, is launching a big new project: a basic income.
A basic income — also called a universal basic income (UBI), guaranteed minimum income, citizens’ dividend, demogrant, etc. — is a regular payment to a group of people just for being alive. Normally, basic income proposals call for the payments to be administered by the government, but there’s nothing in principle stopping a nonprofit like GiveDirectly from doing it.
So it’s giving the policy a shot, and will give about 6,000 people in Kenya a guaranteed flow of cash for the next 10 years or more. In doing so, GiveDirectly is testing out an idea that’s rapidly gaining interest in Finland, Silicon Valley, and Ontario, Canada, and could radically transform welfare policy in both rich and poor countries in the future.
More than that, it’s creating what is perhaps the first true universal basic income in recorded history. There have been previous policies that are at least somewhat like this. But GiveDirectly’s introduction of a universal payment for whole villages over a long, long period, set at a level of basic subsistence, is truly historic.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at A charity’s radical experiment: giving 6,000 Kenyans enough money to escape poverty for a decade – Vox
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