Friday, May 28, 2021

Korea, A Leader Implementing Universal Basic Income

The Catholic Times in the recent edition reported on an International Conference sponsored by the Gyeonggi  Province, religious believers were invited for the first time to attend and gave their opinions on the Universal Basic Income.

This province in Korea has been experimenting with a form of Universal Basic Income (UBI). The governor of the province has been a devotee of the idea for many years and now because of the Covid 19 pandemic, periodic cash payments to the citizens to support the citizens and revitalize the economy has been implemented and received support.

In Korea, the central government has been giving cash relief to all Koreans and foreign nationals. The basic income has been in the thoughts of many for years to help in decreasing the income inequality of the country and guarantee a minimal standard for all.

The above-mentioned provincial governor of the Gyeonggi Province after winning the governorship of the province expanded his income stipend for the youth in the province. The young people are given a certain amount of local currency four times a year to be used in the province and have no condition as to job search efforts or parental income. Since it is the local currency it can only be used in traditional markets, restaurants, and shops in the province, not at franchised stores and markets run by conglomerates. This is to help the local economy.

Basic income is defined as "income paid regularly by the state or political community to all individual members without any strings attached." "Considering the role and status of religion in human life, it is belated to invite it for the first time this year," the organizer said. "We hope this session will provide an opportunity to trigger fundamental reflection on basic income."
A priest made the presentation, for the Catholics."The Catholic Church sees universal basic income as a measure of human dignity and the common good. Basic income adds a broader outlook on the Catholic Church's social interest and practice. The Church sees the basic good things in human life as human rights, the economy of exclusion and unfairness, and the social exclusion of the poor as a serious violation of human dignity. Proposals of basic income to alleviate social distress can be inspired and helped by what Pope Francis has said."

Another priest added, "Basic income could ideally contribute to realizing everyone's right to survive and develop, including the socially disadvantaged, and further promoting active participation of everyone in the process of realizing the common good."

Pope Francis has expressed a positive stance on universal basic income. In his book "Let's Dream," published in December last year, the pope said, "Universal basic income will basically guarantee what people need and shake off the stigma of being a person who lives on welfare."

In response, the Province Governor said: "The Pope and other influential social leaders are talking about basic income and inclusive growth. We need to guarantee basic economic rights for all members of society and restore fairness in society."

Protestants and Buddhists also shared their positions on universal basic income.

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