Basic Income in a Brazilian Village: Lessons for Human Liberation
Universal basic income (UBI) is an alternative form of social security, which posits that all people should receive an unconditional sum of money to pay for their survival needs. Despite its controversy, UBI has recently attracted considerable attention throughout the political spectrum and has even been enshrined in the programmes of leading European parties. Proponents argue that UBI would simplify welfare, reduce bureaucracy, incentivize creative work, improve the social distribution of wealth, and eliminate the conflict between labor and the need for automation in many areas of the economy.
To date the ReCivitas project remains one of only a handful of instances where UBI has been trialled in a real community. Cofounded by Marcus Brancaglione, this Brazilian NGO has successfully run a donation-funded basic income trial in a rural slum close to Sao Paulo since 2008. From its outset the project was guided by a libertarian ideal: to show that the satisfaction of basic survival needs is a human right that can be guaranteed without making people dependent on state patronage. However, ReCivitas also sees UBI as a developmental alternative to the preferred neoliberal tool of microfinance that so often fails in its mission to increase entrepreneurial investment in poor communities and to deliver people from poverty.
In this talk Brancaglione will present the lessons of the ReCivitas project, the effect UBI has had on its recipients and, in turn, on his own personal development. He will challenge prejudices against UBI and discuss the potential of UBI as a policy alternative in different countries, communities and economic contexts.
Marcus Brancaglione is the co-founder of ReCivitas, a Brazilian NGO that runs a groundbreaking basic income project in a rural slum close to São Paulo. Relying solely on donations, ReCivitas gives every villager an unconditional monthly payment of 30 Brazilian Reais. Brancaglione is also the creator of Governe-se, a platform for the promotion of direct democracy, and the alternative intellectual property licence, Robin Right. His publications include works on basic income, revolution in Brazil, and the possibility of a left-libertarian theology.