The quarantine and cessation of economic activities as a result of this pandemic has put uberised workers on the frontline, and other kinds of precarious workers at even greater risk.
The COVID-19 crisis also has farther-reaching consequences: for example, the revelation of the scale of the underground economy (whether related to legal or illegal activities) in Europe, which some states prefer to ignore, while others include it in the calculation of their GDP. The increase in unemployment, the reduction in benefits to the unemployed and the increasingly restrictive policies for entering the European Union have led a significant part of the European population to fall back on the underground economy.
By definition, the underground economy consists of undeclared (and therefore also not taxable) economic activities that are difficult to measure. Legal underground activities are estimated to account on average for 17% of GDP of, while illegal underground activities are estimated to account for at least 3% of GDP. The COVID-19 quarantine and the resulting halt of the free movement of people and goods at both national and cross-border levels has left a significant part of the population without an income.
Beyond a more or less protective social safety net, European states have hypocritically relied upon humanitarian organisations, local associations and even the goodwill of local authorities to take care of those who have been left behind in the event of a hard blow.
But because of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic repercussions, humanitarian organisations and associations, which are already usually overburdened, are currently overwhelmed. These organisations and associations are themselves already suffering the repercussions of certain ultra-liberal policies. For example, one of the first measures taken by the Macrons government in France, immediately after its election, was to abolish the wealth tax.
In the past, taxpayers who paid this tax could reduce their tax burden by contributing to the budgets of humanitarian organisations. As wealth tax no longer exists, they no longer see any point in doing so, and humanitarian organisations are seeing their budgets significantly reduced. For the first time in its history of 70 years, the Emmaus aid association, for example, is calling for donations.
Schools also used to provide a safety net for vulnerable families that rely on the virtually free school lunch (13 cents per lunch in Paris for the poorest families) to guarantee their children one nutritious meal per day. With schools closed, many families are unable to feed their children, as no meals sold in shops are available at an equivalent price.
In the UK, it is estimated that this could affect 4 million children, i.e. almost 30% of school-age children. The same applies to students throughout Europe who used to eat at university canteens. At the same time, large supermarket chains are taking advantage of the opportunity offered to them by current confinement policies to drastically increase the price of food.
Whether in France, Italy, Spain or elsewhere in the European Union, children are hungry and families can no longer feed themselves. European governments alerted by their respective intelligence services are worried about the repercussions, such as major hunger riots that could explode in southern Italy, in the suburbs of large French or British cities.
These same governments have for decades tolerated the expansion of underground economies by reducing the number of labour inspectors and turning a blind eye to employers not declaring their employees and the trafficking of contraband to avoid social unrest. They have failed to offer lasting solutions such as creating more jobs and legalising immigrants.
Governments now seem to be surprised, or at least worried, about the resulting violence and repercussions of these increasingly ultra-liberal policies of which they were the architects. Worried about hunger riots, some governments are also concerned that criminal organisations may substitute the state in helping citizens and small businesses, and may definitely take roots in large areas of the economy.
DiEM25 has, from the outset, advocated not only the end of ultra-liberal policies, but also the introduction of a Universal Basic Dividend (UBD) that would accompany the foreseeable end of the job market as it was traditionally known after the war. It has to be said that although we at DiEM25 have often been labelled as dreamers, now most of our opponents seem to be coming to this exact conclusion.
Japan has just introduced a minimum income for every resident, national or foreigner, to cope with the crisis. Some mayors in California have also tried it and are now pleading to have it implemented nationwide to avoid the worst. Alaska is already offering it statewide. The Democrat candidate Andrew Yang based his platform on this policy.
The UN assistant Secretary General Kanni Wignaraja and the UNDP AP Chief Economist Balazs Horvath are pleading for a universal basic income within the World Economic Forum on 17 April 2020 declaring: rule number one of crisis management: when you find yourself in a hole, first, stop digging. They argue that social inequalities end up costing more by way of causing social unrest, mass migrations and the increase of extremist groups capitalising on them. The European Central Bank vice president Luis Guindos mentioned it as well. Even the Pope declared in his Easter letter that it might be time to consider universal basic wage.
Two days ago, more than 100 British MPs pleaded for the introduction of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) after 30% of British children have been considered as lacking food; and Spain is taking steps to implement next month a basic income to help citizens weather the economic fallout due to COVID-19. The Spanish minister of economic affairs said we are going to do it as soon as possible. So it can be useful, not just for this extraordinary situation, and it remains forever. Other countries in the European Union are thinking about it, and left-wing parties are pushing them to do so. The major counter-argument is the burden put on the taxpayer to finance it.
For the time being, DiEM25 is the only movement offering a solution to the financing argument: we refuse that the universal basic revenue be financed by the taxpayers. That is why we advocate for a Universal Basic Dividend and not simply a Universal Basic Income, i.e. financed in the form of a dividend paid from a portion of shares of listed companies pursuant to stock market transactions or IPOs. We see this dividend as a fair toll payable to the public on stock exchange transactions, particularly from those companies benefiting from state support shares which would be pooled in a European collective fund that would itself produce a due return.
In the meantime, we would go even a step further in the time of COVID-19: what about helicopter money to be created by the ECB: this is totally realistic as it is estimated to 750 billion , an amount which Lagarde regarded as an amount which can be made available to the banks.
Revolutionary ideas? Not so much at a historical moment when only creativity and thinking outside of the box will allow European states and their citizens to survive this crisis.
Consider donating to a food bank near you, if you are able to. The image used in this article can be found on Twitter.
Do you want to be informed of DiEM25's actions? Sign up here.
Read the original:
- Universal basic income - Pros and cons - Economics Help - July 27th, 2021
- Basic income guarantee pilot scheme for the arts sector - July 25th, 2021
- Basic income guarantee scheme to be piloted for artists - July 25th, 2021
- Money printing is a flawed experiment that's done America more harm than good - MarketWatch - July 21st, 2021
- Universal basic income would be 'great opportunity' for independence - The National - July 18th, 2021
- Universal credit cut set to leave millions with less than half of acceptable living standards income - The Independent - July 14th, 2021
- Is a universal basic income coming to Wales? Campaigners say now is the time - Big Issue - May 16th, 2021
- Minister Martin: We can protect our artists by covering their basic living costs - thejournal.ie - March 21st, 2021
- Clubhouse promises its accelerator participants either brand deals or $5K per month during the program - TechCrunch - March 16th, 2021
- Agenda: Is Universal Basic Income the key to tackling care leaver poverty? - HeraldScotland - March 7th, 2021
- Get creative to help artists through pandemic - The Guardian - February 16th, 2021
- The economy can't guarantee a job. It can guarantee a liveable income for other work - The Conversation AU - January 25th, 2021
- Donald Trump and Richard Nixon: 10 comparisons the Internet made to show POTUS is '10X worse' - MEAWW - January 15th, 2021
- Basic income for all: Has the Covid crisis given us a new economic model? - The Irish Times - November 29th, 2020
- Universal basic income has time come for it? Debate intensifies in pandemic - WRAL Tech Wire - November 29th, 2020
- We Need Universal Basic Income And We Need It Now - Scary Mommy - August 30th, 2020
- Prepare for the irreversible rise of non-profit activity everywhere - Livemint - August 26th, 2020
- Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day - Bloomberg - August 26th, 2020
- In the wake of Covid-19, time to consider basic income: Senate report - Investment Executive - July 15th, 2020
- COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening Tuesday, July 14 - CBC.ca - July 15th, 2020
- COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening Monday, July 13 - CBC.ca - July 15th, 2020
- COVID illuminates global inequalities in workers' rights and working conditions - University of Birmingham - June 24th, 2020
- Why a Universal Basic Income is the solution to inequity - Women's Agenda - June 24th, 2020
- Crypto Experts Reveal Thoughts: How Will Bitcoin Perform After the COVID-19 Crisis Has Passed? - Yahoo Finance - June 24th, 2020
- A universal basic income is less attractive if it needs to be paid for - American Enterprise Institute - June 17th, 2020
- KAREN FOSTER: Pandemic pay premium for grocery store employees a flash in the pan - TheChronicleHerald.ca - June 17th, 2020
- COVID-19: UN agencies warn against rising hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean - UN News - June 17th, 2020
- Why recovery needs to have children at its centre - Social Europe - June 17th, 2020
- Basic Income activism in the United States | BIEN - Basic Income News - June 6th, 2020
- When All Men Are Paid for Existing: Universal Basic Income Has Arrived - National Review - June 6th, 2020
- Local funds model the racial reckoning and renewal central to the COVID recovery - ImpactAlpha - June 6th, 2020
- National Security at the United Nations This Week (May 8-15) - Just Security - May 15th, 2020
- What is Basic Income? | Guaranteed Universal Basic Income - May 11th, 2020
- Basic Income Guarantee | Universal | UBI - May 11th, 2020
- Coronavirus is a crisis for the developing world, but here's why it needn't be a catastrophe - The Guardian - May 11th, 2020
- Universal Basic Income: Andrew Yang Was Pushing for It Long Before Coronavirus Pandemic - PopCulture.com - May 11th, 2020
- Is this the beginning of a Universal Basic Income? - Yahoo Finance Australia - April 11th, 2020
- How the Pandemic Could Shape the Economy In the Future - TheStreet - April 11th, 2020
- After the pandemic, will there be a new status quo? - The Corner Economic - April 11th, 2020
- UK workers hit by the economic pain of coronavirus need an income guarantee - The Guardian - April 9th, 2020
- The complexities of a universal basic income - Knowable Magazine - April 9th, 2020
- How Are We Going to Pay for It? - Common Dreams - April 9th, 2020
- We're all socialists now | The Interpreter - The Interpreter - April 9th, 2020
- Out of the coronavirus crisis, a new kind of Britain must be born - The Guardian - April 9th, 2020
- Michael Clifford: Is it now time to give some real thought to Universal Basic Income in Ireland? - Irish Examiner - April 9th, 2020
- COVID-19 kicks over the economy - rabble.ca - April 9th, 2020
- Covid-19 Unmasks the Privilege of Isolation in Rio de Janeiro and All Brazil - RioOnWatch - April 9th, 2020
- How WhatsApp is making it more expensive to spread misinformation - The Verge - April 9th, 2020
- For artists and gig workers, expanded emergency benefit access is encouraging but worries about the post-COVID-19 future remain - Toronto Star - April 9th, 2020
- Will There Be a New Status Quo After COVID-19? - Qrius - April 9th, 2020
- Common Arguments Against Basic Income Don't apply to the Emergency BI - Basic Income News - March 31st, 2020
- I've lived through plenty of social shocks this time we must learn the lessons - The Guardian - March 31st, 2020
- How a Basic Income And Jobs Guarantee Can Save The Economy From Coronavirus - The National Interest - March 26th, 2020
- Draghi: we face a war against coronavirus and must mobilise accordingly | Free to read - Financial Times - March 26th, 2020
- Lockdown to fight coronavirus is going to hit most Indian workers very hard - Livemint - March 26th, 2020
- Universal basic income: what is it, how does it work and could it help fight the coronavirus crisis? - Telegraph.co.uk - March 24th, 2020
- It's time to move mountains to protect people we need universal basic income - The Guardian - March 24th, 2020
- Italy: Urgent petition in time of Corona Virus: Expanding the Citizen's Income Scheme! If Not Now, When? - Basic Income News - March 24th, 2020
- Coronavirus: Iain Duncan Smith says dont bring in universal basic income during pandemic as it would be disincentive to work - The Independent - March 24th, 2020
- Solidarity Economicsfor the Coronavirus Crisis and Beyond - The American Prospect - March 24th, 2020
- Trump's right: Congress should give Americans $1,000 right now to fight the coronavirus recession - The Conversation US - March 24th, 2020
- Covid-19s Economic Pain Is Universal. But Relief? Depends on Where You Live. - The New York Times - March 24th, 2020
- Who the government's coronavirus economic measures leave behind - Left Foot Forward - March 24th, 2020
- COVID-19 outbreak brings attention back to informal sector - Down To Earth Magazine - March 24th, 2020
- Coronavirus, Surveillance And The Redefinition Of The Social Contract - Forbes - March 24th, 2020
- Commentary: We need food, medicine and safety not tax cuts and corporate bailouts to face coronavirus - The Daily World - March 24th, 2020
- New Zealand Orders Month-Long Lockdown To Halt Spread Of Coronavirus - International Business Times - March 24th, 2020
- All the Coronavirus Tribes You've Met During the Outbreak - VICE - March 24th, 2020
- Fiscal Policies to Protect People During the Coronavirus Outbreak - International Monetary Fund - March 5th, 2020
- Column: Socialism is not the American way | Opinion - Duncan Banner - February 29th, 2020
- P.E.I. Premier Dennis King talks climate, economy and highs and lows in Part 2 of his year-end interview with The Guardian - The Journal Pioneer - January 3rd, 2020
- We need to test whether our millions in education aid is actually working - Financial Post - January 3rd, 2020
- A modern method of cutting poverty: Investigating what Universal Basic Income will mean for Northern families - Mancunian Matters - December 13th, 2019
- The Guardian view on Finlands new PM: a different type of leadership - The Guardian - December 13th, 2019
- Want to Retire in Harmony? Make Sure All Parts of Your Plan Are in Sync - Kiplinger's Personal Finance - December 13th, 2019
- Broadband for All could revolutionize wifi in UK, if it's possible - Inverse - November 30th, 2019
- California higher education hangs in the balance as UC, Cal State search for new leaders - Los Angeles Times - November 30th, 2019
- Food shopping at dollar stores - Brantford Expositor - August 22nd, 2017
- How Cities Can Rebuild the Social Safety Net - CityLab - August 20th, 2017
- Universal Basic Infrastructure to help decrease India's poverty - Economic Times - August 15th, 2017