Proposal for a Planetary Basic Income

Julio Linares
Julio Linares

Julio Linares is an economic anthropologist from Guatemala. Currently based in Berlin, he explores the relationship between money, anarchism and basic income. 

All the Power to All the People
                                                                           

-Black Panthers

I’m now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Times of crisis are moments of trouble. As Donna Haraway brightly argues, we have to stay with the trouble (Haraway 2016). This means staying with the present moment, with the awkward chaos, and feel how the system pierces us in all its dimensions as it comes crumbling down. Only through these reflections can we start to co-create the world around us in a different way.
Only by understanding the present moment can we hope to weave together the emergent liberatory imaginations of the world and materialize them into practical political and economic alternatives. 

In what follows, we put forward a proposal for a Planetary Basic Income (PBI), to be issued to all human beings on this Earth. 

The Impermanent Present

This present trouble is a moment that requires our utmost mindful attention and critical thought. The severe problems communities all over the world face are something that can only be confronted by actualizing our deep interdependence to one another, to our environments and the planet as a whole.  This is a moment to question the status quo and the categories that keep us separated, as atoms, from each other. The Crown Virus (english for the latin word Corona or the COVID-19 virus) has no borders, so why should we? The God of the State aims at permanency in an impermanent world. The state of permanency is like a stone: hard and unyielding, avoiding change in its borders at all cost. It is easier for them to control than to let go and observe things as they are. But the permanent state of normalcy is an illusion. 

Governments all over the world fear impermanence because impermanence means inevitable change. But change is not evil. It’s just change. Impermanence is the emergence of constantly evolving difference, the reshaping of cracks and edges into beautiful unexpected forms.

Impermanence is adaptation. In the impermanent present, we must be like water. 

Imagine

Imagine if all human beings had an equal share of the planet’s wealth. What if all of the accumulated capital on Earth was re-distributed back to people equally across all existing borders in the form of a Basic Income?

Imagine

How would life be like if every human had enough to cover their basic needs, just because they existed? We should be careful of false binaries. Neither the liberal nor the authoritarian forms of the State God are places where people can live. In fact, we would like to argue that part of the solution to our current economic, social and ecological perils begins by organizing both our minds and bodies outside the boundaries of the State of God. Only then will we be able to care for one another in unexpected and unimaginable ways. 

In a world full of injustice, we need to invoke compassion, love and care for all that is around us. This will only become easier as the belief (credo) in our fragile and violent system (also known as capitalism) begins to vanish.

Sharing our Common Promises 

Money is a set of promises we make to one another. The promise of our work. The promise of the future. The promise of our value. When these promises vanish, what are we left with? We have been living as if in a dream, craving infinite growth in a finite planet. However, this does not reflect the dream of billions of human beings, but only of those who are in power. We must therefore fight the power.

We need a new social contract; the freedom to change social relations at a scale never before seen. We need to do away with the rotten promises of the past and make them mutually anew. To open what was enclosed.

Unconditional Love Redistribution Values Compassion Confederation Local Care. We need a new set of common promises that we can share on equal standing, regardless of gender, skin color, nationality, religion or ideology.  A common share of the planet’s resources, one that breaks across all political divides, issued by the people and for the people in the form of a truly Universal Income to all living humans.

The Magic Money Tree

But where will the money come from?According to the Bank of England, there is such a thing as a magic money tree:  “In the modern economy, most money takes the form of bank
deposits. But how those bank deposits are created is often misunderstood: the principal way is through commercial banks making loans. Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money.” (Mcleay et al 2014)

Bank of England – Money creation in the Modern
Economy 

What if we could all issue our own promises to one another? At no interest, unconditionally and without the expectation to pay it back to the bank.

What if money was democratic?

Banks are the ones responsible for the crisis anyways. When the Planetary Basic Income (PIB) happens, banks will be a thing of the past. What are we waiting for?

References:
Haraway, D. (2016). Staying with the Trouble, Duke University Press. 
Mcleay et al. (2014). Money creation in the modern economy. Bank of England

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