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The universal basic income

The World Economic Forum, the club of the largest multinationals, has been promoting the idea of universal basic income worldwide for several years. Behind it is not philanthropy, but calculation of power and striving for profit. The overlaps with the campaigns against cash and for biometric identification are enormous.

A global basic income for all would be something like the crowning achievement of the mass surveillance programs that are already being promoted at the instigation or with the active help of the US government and the World Economic Forum. In these circles you think and plan big and very long-term. All citizens of the earth are to be connected to the digital System, which is controlled by the US government and the US digital companies. This should be done with a bouquet of programs. This includes the elimination of cash. Key players in the campaign against cash are also heavily involved in the basic income project in Sudan, including at least USAID, the World Bank and the Omidyar Network. The World Economic Forum promotes both financial inclusion and universal basic income.

All should also be provided with a unique biometric-digital identification. For the connection of the less developed countries to the US-controlled Internet, the US development agency USAID has a variety of programs. The same applies to equipping all people with uniform identification numbers with biometric backing, so that all their movements can be analysed and stored in the digital world and increasingly also in the analogue world. ID4 Africa and ID2020 are just two examples.

At the instigation of the World Economic Forum, the G20 governments have even decided to promote remote diagnostics and remote treatment in medicine and digitalization of school and university education, as well as mobile working, working together with telecom and digital companies. In developing countries, vaccination programmes – in addition to their original purpose – are also used to obtain the biometric data of a large number of people that could hardly be collected otherwise.

ID2020 is a program that the World Economic Forum is driving forward, with the active support of various UN organizations that depend on the money of corporations and their foundations. Admittedly, there is talk of decentralized, self-determined storage of data. But one relies on a power gap that ensures that these data are constantly “voluntarily” released. A prime example of this is the “The Known Traveller” program, which the World Economic Forum and the US Department of Homeland Security and others have jointly developed. In train traffic between the UK and the continent, this is to become a reality next year, when there is no longer any EU Data Protection Regulation in the way.

Among the main drivers of the campaign for biometric registration of all people are the old well-known Gates Foundation, Omidyar Network, World Bank, USAID and World Economic Forum.

The last Element in this strategy is the universal basic income, sometimes also called “unconditional”. This is to pacify and make people dependent everywhere in the world. These four projects belong together and promote each other.

The universal basic income

Since 2017, the World Economic Forum has been promoting universal basic income. Since then, panel discussions and lectures have been held regularly at the annual meetings in Davos. The forum’s Website is filled with contributions on the topic, an estimated four-fifths positive. On a regular basis, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is directly or indirectly involved in the various projects, such as the Better than Cash Alliance, financial inclusion and the various biometric identification programs.

The Alternative to unconditional basic income is increasing likelihood of social unrest, conflict and uncontrollable mass migration.

World Bank Lead Economist Laura Klapper promotes the unconditional basic income at the World Economic Forum with a nice twist of the previous argumentation chain. So far, the World Bank, Financial Groups and the US government have campaigned for financial inclusion with the (wrong) Argument that poverty can be combated particularly effectively. Now the World Bank economist stresses before the representatives of the corporations that not enough consideration and appreciation is being given “that digital payments of basic income can bring people into the financial system.”

Bill Gates explained why this is so important at the Financial Inclusion Forum 2015 in Washington. He stressed that the US government must ensure that all payments take place in a digital financial system under the control of the US government, so that it can monitor all transactions and block them if necessary. In keeping with this objective, but in the usual humanitarian disguise, only two weeks ago the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Kanni Wignaraja, and the chief economist of the UN Development Programme, Balazs Horvath, warned on the Website of the World Economic Forum: “the Alternative to unconditional basic income is increasing likelihood of social unrest, conflict, uncontrollable mass migration and the flourishing of extremist groups that take advantage of and feed off social disappointment.” Particularly interesting is the admission that one does not mean it quite so seriously with the “unconditional”. The UN’s top managers write: “there are good arguments for having some selected conditions – for example, those relating to public goods, such as vaccinating all children and ensuring that they all go to school. Such conditions would not run counter to the goal of poverty eradication.”

This confirms what Daniel Stelter suspected on his Blog “Think beyond the Obvious ” :

The unconditional basic income will begin unconditionally. But you will find over time that this is quite expensive. Then there will be restrictions. For example, you could reduce it for Criminals. Or for people who behave “antisocial”, today, for example, do not download a Corona Tracking App. Some will reject it, but many will consider it a legitimate measure. In the same way, you can sanction other behavior – from throwing garbage on the street to anything. Why should society give money to people who don’t follow the rules?

The Australians have been showing how this works for several years now. There, the government is increasingly switching social assistance to digital payment cards. This allows to analyze what the beneficiaries are doing with the money, and to block certain categories of goods such as alcohol or drugs from the outset.

Of course, it must not be too expensive. There is only so much that the poor can voluntarily register biometrically and be linked to a technical device. Enough for them to stay or go where they want to be. The incentives to work must remain intact. This can be done easily. The universal basic income should be sufficient to keep a person alive at a modest minimum level (“sustain a person at a modest minimum”).

What this means can be seen in the largest experiments on basic income in Kenya and Sudan.

The Kenyan program is run by the US organization GiveDirectly. A modest 22 dollars a month, about 75 cents a day, is the basic income there, which just over 20,000 people get. The entire selected village will be considered for twelve years. In Sudan, more than 32 million people are expected to receive even more modest five dollars a month. That’s about 16 cents a day.

Such programmes, of which there are already many on a smaller scale, are not intended to supplement traditional development aid, but to replace it where possible. The aim is to divert government funds and donations, which have so far been channelled into development aid, into such programmes. GiveDirectly estimates $ 150 billion a year in development aid, and predicts that this would be enough to support the 700 million extremely poor people in the world. If you calculate, you get 18 dollars per person per month. This is cheap.

GiveDirectly, favorite of Wall Street and Silicon Valley

The founders and Directors of the organization GiveDirectly come from Google (Jacquelline Fuller), McKinsey (Sheezar Jeddy, Kamau Waiuri) or the UN (Rohit Wanchoo), work for the Gates Foundation-funded Institute (Paul Niehaus), or have previously worked for the Foundation (Fuller). They are members of the Council on Foregin Relations (Jeddy, Michael Faye) and have been named “Young Global Leaders” of the World Economic Forum (Faye). They were all educated at Harvard, Stanford and Oxford universities.

First mentioned as a donor and Partner is on the website of GiveDirectly USAID, the U.S. Development Assistance Agency located at the State Department. Another donor is the Global Innovation Fund. Its supervisory boards and probably also its donors come from the development aid agencies of the USA, Great Britain and Australia, the Gates Foundation, the rest of Silicon Valley and major financial institutions.

GiveDirectly is massively advertised by the influential organization Give well, which recommends charitable institutions to people and institutions willing to donate who, in their opinion, do good in a particularly cost-effective way. This is mainly measured by how much it costs to save a life through these organisations.

Give Well was founded in 2007 by hedge fund managers on the east coast of the USA, but is now based in San Francisco because the main support today comes from US digital companies.

In summary, this shows that GiveDirectly enjoys the support of and best networking with the top Silicon Valley, Wall Street and government circles. The development aid authorities of at least the Anglo-Saxons support the approach of GiveDirectly to reduce aid for poor countries to (digital) survival aid for their poorest.

A libertarian project to rebuild society

The philosophy of universal basic income fits perfectly with the libertarian philosophy of Silicon Valley, according to which

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg campaigned for the basic income with the Argument that it could give everyone a cushion that would allow them to try new things. Scott Santers, one of the most zealous propagandists of basic income and a serial founder of lobby groups for the idea, argued in Davos at the World Economic Forum that basic income could safeguard basic needs and replace many of today’s need-tested social benefits. “Universal basic income would be a promise of equal opportunities, not equal results.“It ensures a truly free labour market in which participation is voluntary. The incentive to work is preserved, because every Dollar you earn remains one, no matter at what wage and no matter whether as a casual job, in fixed employment or as a so - called gig or click worker.

This is the wet dream of libertarians, especially those from Silicon Valley. Armies of click workers, who are kept alive by a small basic income, are waiting to get the next job or to work in the warehouses on Amazon for very small, but not quite so small, money.

There would be no more reason for the annoying deviations from the perfect labour market, such as minimum wage, protection against dismissal, collective agreements, severance pay, discrimination bans. For the old Argument that workers must eventually be able to live off their work would disappear, even if “life” was defined more as “survival” than as a decent life with social participation.

One should not be deceived by the fact that the basic income discussion in the industrialized countries does not talk about five or 25 dollars a month, but about 800, 1000 or 1200 dollars or euros a month. In Switzerland, there was even an (unsuccessful) referendum on an even higher basic income.

Just remember the discussion about the many drastic pension cuts and minimum wage cuts in Greece, when the country, or rather its lenders, were saved with EU aid loans during the euro crisis. The politicians and citizens who protested against it, and those who expressed solidarity, were told that pensions in Bulgaria and Romania were much lower. And these countries would eventually pay for the “bailout” of Greece.

It is precisely this argument that will be repeated once a very small basic income has been enforced in large parts of the world. Then those in the industrialized countries who are committed to a relatively high or rising basic income in their countries will have to ask themselves whether they would rather be in solidarity with those in the poor countries who receive only a fraction of it. First, one must advocate for a higher basic income there, otherwise one would be a Nationalist or even a racist.

If solidarity can be diverted from the national context to the global context at any time, the welfare state swamp can be drained – from the point of view of the market radicals-by depriving it of social support.

Anyone who is reasonably well educated and smart, and does not need the protection of labour laws today, will have no Problem with that. On the contrary: he or she can get an immigrant to the country cheaply for low-level work, at least if it goes according to people like Google Research Manager Glen Weyl, who campaigned with the market radical Chicago Professor Eric Posner for everyone to be allowed to keep an immigrant, and thus was even printed in the established magazine “Politico”.

In general, Immigration is a magic word. If there is work Immigration from poor countries as needed, then two incomes no longer have to be enough to provide for an entire family. If the offspring fails because many people do not earn enough to pay for housing and everything else for a family, an army of young people in other parts of the world is ready to be recruited for little money.

In this world of basic income, the poorly educated, the less skilful and the less clever are forced to accept the worst Jobs for the smallest money, with reference to their basic security.

A lonely opposing voice

The only critical article on universal basic income on the World Economic Forum Website is by Daron Acemoğlu. This is a kind of Wunderkind of Mainstream Economics. He teaches at MIT in Boston and writes that if the only choice was between mass poverty and basic income, a basic income would of course be better. But, a general basic income can only be financed if deep cuts are made in the rest of the network of social benefits.

The universal basic income has all the characteristics of ‘bread and games’.

But there are alternatives, says Acemoğlu, which would clearly be preferable. This includes improving the welfare system, where it has shortcomings, and policies that ensure more even market incomes, i.e. higher wages for the disadvantaged. “Middle-class workers who have lost their jobs want a Chance at another middle-class Job, not government Transfers,” he clarifies.

Acemoğlu adds a very important point, around which the would-be technocrat rulers from Silicon Valley make a big bow. Such policies are democratically negotiated and help people to get involved in politics. A universal basic income as an egg-laying wool milk sow of politics does the opposite: it is rained down from the very top on the uninvolved people and incapacitates them.

This is particularly striking in the Kenya experiment by GiveDirectly. There, the envoys from the USA come to a poor village, tell the village assembly that they want to give everyone a mobile phone and send them 22 dollars every month. If the village elders or the village assembly Don’t go along right away, because they think something must be lazy with such an incredible offer, then they move on. “We only go to each village once,” a proud representative of GiveDirectly is quoted in a press report.

Acemoğlu very aptly characterizes the approach of Silicon Valley and the World Economic Forum, which is supported by the governments of at least the United States, Great Britain and Australia, saying: “the universal basic income has all the characteristics of ‘bread and games’ that the Roman and Byzantine empires used to dispel discontent and placate the masses, rather than allowing them economic opportunity and political say.”

Many of today’s social problems have their roots in the disregard for the democratic process. “The solution is not to distribute enough crumbs to keep people at home, distracted and otherwise satisfied, but to revive the democratic process.”