Page 13 - A Social Dividend: An Income Guaranteed to Each Citizen
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The Social Dividend should not be confused           The Social Dividend has none of these negative
        with social programs such as welfare and employ-     features. It is an income distributed to all since it
        ment insurance. The funds used in the latter pro-    belongs to everyone. It creates a burden for no one
        grams were taken from the earnings of other mem-     and is not paid out of borrowed money nor from
        bers of society through taxation.                    taxation; neither is it inflationary as it is backed by
            Social  programs  demoralize  recipients  by  fi-  goods and services. The Social Dividend is not
        nancially penalizing those who would work. A re-     charity. It is akin to the distribution of revenues to
        cipient who accepts work, even at minimum wage,      “shareholders”. Advances in the processes that ac-
        can lose his benefits. Receiving benefits can be hu-  celerate the volume of production call for advance-
        miliating; the recipient is made to believe that he is   ments in the amount of money that is available in
        living at the expense of others.                     society.
                                       Freedom and Dignity

        44. Why do we need a guaranteed income to            less essential but are of great value to the quality
            ensure our freedom and dignity?                  of life and personal development. Still other needs
            All people have freedom inscribed in their       are perfectly legitimate but may seem superfluous.
        hearts, but if a person does not have the basics of      In the scheme of life’s basic needs, all people
        life, freedom is no more than a                                        are  equal.  Thus  we  cannot  ap-
        word.                                                                  prove of a social and economic
            People  will suffer  all man-                                      system that allows some of
        ner  of  humiliations  if  they  do                                    its members to do without the
        not have access to basic goods.                                        basics while others live in  lux-
        When  people  are  guaranteed                                          ury. The “vital minimum” re-
        their subsistence those with self-                                     quires that each individual has
        respect will accept privations                                         available a minimum amount of
        and even renounce well-being                                           purchasing power. This aim is
        and  comforts  rather  than  lose                                      achievable, straightforward and
        their  freedom. This  is why ex-                                       necessary with today’s methods
        ploiters, in both politics and in-                                     of mechanized production.
        dustry, react negatively as soon                                       46. Who is responsible for
        as the question arises whether                                             the provision to each per-
        society should guarantee a           Each person has a right to            son of a “vital minimum”?
        “vital minimum” to each of its  freedom, dignity and security.            It is the duty of a well-organ-
        members.                                             ized society to ensure that each of its members be
        44. Why do we need a guaranteed income to            guaranteed at least the minimum amount required
         ensure our freedom and dignity?                     for living.
            All  people  have  freedom  inscribed  in  their     Economic security, i.e., having basic needs
        hearts, but if a person does not have the basics of   met, is one thing; an individual’s freedom of
        life, freedom is no more than a word.                choice is another. To be real and effective, free-
            People will suffer all manner of humiliations    dom requires one to have a minimum of economic
        if they do not have access to basic goods. When      security.
        people are guaranteed their subsistence those        47.  Wasn’t the Universal Declaration of Human
        with self-respect will accept privations and even        Rights [signed in 1948] created to serve that
        renounce well-being and comforts rather than lose        purpose?
        their freedom. This is why exploiters, in both pol-      Society proclaims the right to life, but has no
        itics and industry, react negatively as soon as the   legislation enabling and enforcing this right.
        question arises whether society should guarantee
        a “vital minimum” to each of its members.                Civil societies do not appear concerned with
        45. What is meant by “vital minimum”?                the well-being of each of their members. Even in
                                                             countries where goods are plentiful, the allocation
            The “vital minimum” refers to the least amount   of money is not adjusted to the level necessary to
        of economic security required to meet basic needs.   satisfy human needs. Money is strictly used to gain
        Some human needs are essential and if they are       financial profit.
        not satisfied life cannot proceed. Other needs are                                                      u                                                       Free issue of MICHAEL   13
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