Pope Francis Voices Support For Universal Basic Income In Easter Sunday Letter
“This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out,” he wrote.
“It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights.”
Francis claimed that some of the world’s lowest earners have not benefitted from globalization and are often excluded from labor protections. In particular, Francis pointed to recyclers, street vendors, carnies, construction workers, small farmers, caregivers, and dressmakers.
The United States is currently providing $1,200 to Americans as an emergency stimulus. Although former Democratic presidential candidate and UBI advocate, Andrew Yang, claims to have advised the White House on the issue, he is in favor of extending the policy indefinitely.
During Yang’s campaign, he pointed to an economy shifting due to automation and claimed that a UBI would help ensure that people in positions that aren’t compensated by the current economy, such as mothers and caregivers, are paid for the value they add to society. In this respect, Francis’ recent letter echoed these sentiments.
“I think of all the people, especially women, who multiply loaves of bread in soup kitchens: two onions and a package of rice make up a delicious stew for hundreds of children. I think of the sick, I think of the elderly. They never appear in the news.”
While Francis claimed that globalization is pushing low earners into the cracks, Yang’s campaign focused on automation and its transformation of the modern economy, which he claims is leaving many workers behind.
Bernie calling for $2000/mo UBI: “In this unprecedented moment in modern American history, it is imperative that we respond in an unprecedented way. That means that Congress must pass, in the very near future, the boldest piece of legislation ever written in modern history." pic.twitter.com/HZoG2WYS8J
— Scott Santens (@scottsantens) April 4, 2020
Although Yang’s campaign put the spotlight on UBI and polls showed acceptance of the idea has increased in recent months — per The Hill — it was still considered a fringe idea before COVID-19. Now, according to Business Insider, more than a dozen countries are experimenting with some form of UBI amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought the world’s economy to a halt. For example, Spain’s Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said the country is moving to implement a UBI “as soon as possible.”
With the pandemic leaving many people out of work, the conversation around UBI has been reignited not long after Yang suspended his campaign. As reported by Yahoo Finance, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently pledged approximately 28 percent of his net worth to support UBI, as well as other initiatives, such as education and girl’s health.