10 July 2019

South Africa: A Basic Income Grant Could Be the Key to Uplifting Millions Out of Poverty

opinion

Introducing a basic income grant, or 'Freedom Dividend', of R1,000 a month will help those who are unemployed and bring minimum-wage earners' incomes closer to a living wage. This would almost certainly make a meaningful difference to millions of South Africans in their efforts to survive, make a living and find employment.

For his 2020 Democratic candidacy for the US presidential elections, Andrew Yang put forward as his signature policy proposal the idea of a universal basic income, where each American receives $1,000 a month.

This automatic and unconditional payment would be delivered to all Americans over the age of 18, without any means test or work requirement.

Yang has titled his proposal the "Freedom Dividend", where citizens of the US, as shareholders of the country, declare a dividend on themselves each month. The idea is rooted in the fundamental belief that people must share in the country's wealth.

The idea of a universal basic income is not new. Yang notes that Martin Luther King and US economist Milton Friedman proposed a similar scheme called a Guaranteed Income.

Silicon Valley tech CEOs such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have also supported a universal basic income as a solution to...

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