Which world-famous people do you know who support Unconditional Basic Income? I don't mean people who just think it's an interesting idea worth talking about, like Barack Obama and Elon Musk, for example. I mean those who understand the importance of unconditionality and want a Basic Income for everyone – without the need of stigmatizing poverty tests and ensuring everyone receives enough money to be able to live modestly but with dignity.
Well, one of those is the Pope!In his newly published book, he bluntly describes the paradigm shift that the Basic Income brings. It would "give people the basic security they need, remove the stigma of the welfare state and make it easier to switch between jobs, as technology-driven working methods increasingly require". Pope Francis was particularly concerned with the fight against poverty in the world: "The Basic Income could transform labour market relations and guarantee people the dignity of being able to refuse employment conditions that would trap them in poverty".
What is the impact this Pope's plea for an Unconditional Basic Income might have? Well, in Europe the Catholic Church may have become less important overall. But seen globally, with over 1.3 billion members, it is enormously influential. And in Europe, there are only a few states with a proportion of less than 30% Catholics. Moreover, the influence of the Pope certainly extends beyond the Catholic population.
In the current pandemic situation, many people are very insecure. Even in the rich countries of Europe, livelihoods are at risk; many are only one month's salary away from poverty. Consequently, the Basic Income has been increasingly discussed in many European countries in recent times. With his clear words, Pope Francis will certainly continue to fuel the debate and bring it to the attention of those sections of the population that have so far been doubtful or even opposed to the Basic Income.
As Basic Income activists, we can only be optimistic. However, we are aware that there is still a long way to go. This is why we are all the more motivated to let many people experience the Unconditional Basic Income for themselves. A debate on Basic Income can be endless and not lead to an agreement but experiencing a monthly guarantee of 800 Euro for one year can become a concrete reality for you.