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Residents of a city in California will begin to receive $ 6000 of unconditional income

Фото: Depositphotos

Mayor of California Stockton Michael Tubbs announced that his city is the first in the United States to launch an experiment on the so-called "unconditional basic income".

Every city resident who is selected to participate in the program will receive $ 500 a month over the next three years, which is comparable to unemployment benefits in poor areas of California, “Currently,“. The money will be given without any conditions on how to spend it, without the need to report and without passing the drug tests, which are required to receive benefits in some US states.

Previously, similar experiments on unconditional basic income economists have already begun in Kenya, Italy, the Netherlands, Finland, India and Canada.

What for?

Stockton is one of the most disadvantaged cities in California. About a third of its population is from Mexico and other Latin American countries, many of whom speak little English and find it difficult to integrate. Stockton is regularly ranked among the top most criminal cities in the United States by the FBI. In 2016, the city of just over 300 had 49 murders and 4381 violent crimes - more in terms of population than Los Angeles - and California is second only to Oakland, which is considered the state's crime capital.

Crime isn't Stockton's only problem. As of 2013, the city was one of the three most illiterate settlements in the United States: only 17% of its residents were able to graduate from college. The city budget also had difficulties: in 2008 the city was forced to go through bankruptcy proceedings. The unemployment rate in Stockton, even according to official data, is twice the level in the United States, and the average income of a city resident is one and a half lower than the average for California.
How did the mayor come up with this idea?

The mayor of Stockton, just 27 years old, was elected to this post in 26 years, becoming the youngest mayor in a city with a population of more than 100 thousand people in US history. He is a local native who succeeded: to enroll at Stanford University, to train in Google and in the White House.

Tubbs is a spokesman for the Democratic Party and believes in "reform from above." In particular, in the fact that it is possible to reduce the level of crime and poverty in the city, if you provide youth from gangs with the opportunity to live a non-criminal life.

The Mayor of Stockton believes that the experiment with the basic income can solve the problem of poverty in Stockton. People will be able to receive a certain guaranteed amount, sufficient for food, on a monthly basis, and in theory they should not try to extract this money by criminal means, such as robbery or selling drugs.

Whose money?

The Stockton project is being carried out by activists from the Economic Security Project (Economic Security Project, ESP) - this organization was founded in 2016 by one of the co-founders Facebook Chris Hughes. They attracted the first million for the experiment. In total, 10 million dollars was allocated to the unconditional basic income program in Stockton. Basically, the money was transferred to the fund by high-tech companies from the California Silicon Valley. Their names were not disclosed, but the project, for example, was publicly supported by one of the founders eBay Pierre Omidyar, who was a donor for a similar project in Kenya.

How many people will receive money - Tubbs does not disclose, but the amount is known - $ 500 per month or 6 thousand dollars per year. The experiment is designed for 3 years, during which, according to the expectations of economists, a person will be able to “take up his mind” and get an education, a profession, or find a job not related to crime.

Will the experiment succeed?

The idea of ​​unconditional basic income has both supporters and opponents. But several Democratic mayors in the United States have already tried to implement similar programs. For example, in Washington, former criminals and drug addicts were paid simply because they did not engage in crime.

In Canada, the first experiment with an unconditional basic income took place in the province of Manitoba back in the 70s. However, there were no changes in the lifestyle of the experiment, except for the fact that mothers who received money more often went on maternity leave and gave birth to children, while high school students often stayed in school rather than leaving school to work.

Data on the new Canadian experiment, which began in Ontario, has not yet been received. Since the summer of this year, there four thousand program participants receive $ 17 thousand Canadian dollars per year if they live alone and 24 thousands per year if they live with their families. This is about 5 times less than the median income in the province, but allows you to not worry about food.

Participants in the Finnish experiment, which also began in the winter of 2017 (they receive 560 euros per month), note that they consider this money a “bonus”. They really allow them to worry less if, for example, they decide to start a new business.

At the same time, Swiss citizens in June 2016 in a referendum spoke out against the introduction in the country of an “unconditional basic income” of about 2,5 thousand Swiss francs (2260 euros) per month, as this “would strike a blow on the state budget and weaken the motivation to work ”.

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