Basic Income Guarantee

The idea of a guaranteed basic income has been discussed recently in western societies. Some political parties put the introduction of this guaranteed basic income on their agenda, which means that people would receive a salary-like income paid by the state without having to work for it. This idea is really not new. For example, Martin Luther King promoted it decades ago. Without getting too deep into the pros and cons of such an idea, it is interesting to look at what kind of worldview / philosophy is behind it. A guaranteed basic income - where people in a society without a job are receiving money for no equivalent work – can only function when the people of a society who are earning money are paying for those without a job / income. This requires a more idealistic worldview where people give away part of their income in an altruistic manner. It also requires that the recipients are not taking advantage of such a subsidy. Humanism provides such a world view where its followers think that mankind can create an almost perfect world just by the power of will. Humanism also believes that mankind – after all - is good. A guaranteed basic income also has a socialistic / communistic aspect to it in the sense of redistributing wealth in a society. All these different philosophies supporting a guaranteed basic income have in common that they want to appear as generous and merciful to the disadvantaged, whereas the opposing Apostle Paul’s approach “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” sounds quite harsh. But one wonders if in the end it is as good as it seems. It all depends on the question of whether or not mankind is indeed is as good as the humanistic view believes. The danger that more than an insignificant number of citizens would stop working when they can receive a salary for nothing seems obvious. The Apostle Paul’s statement might sound harsh but it puts the heart of mankind in the right light. And it shows that, to be effective, acts of charity need to meet with a right attitude in the heart of the recipient. If the recipient’s attitude is wrong, a donation or gift might turn out to be counterproductive. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul’s approach understands in a better way that man’s dignity is influenced profoundly by the work he is doing. Working – earning money with one’s own hands – gives mankind dignity that he does not otherwise easily find. By providing a guaranteed basic income the state is robbing this dignity from those who receive such a subsidy.