For the next 12 months, a man from Sarasota, Florida, will receive $1,250 a month for doing absolutely nothing, and the people footing the bill couldn’t be happier about it.
The recipient, a man named Edwin who declined to speak to the press, won the $15,000 in a raffle held in San Francisco on May 31. The giveaway was organized by the nonprofit advocacy group My Basic Income, which wants to set up a slew of lotteries to see how basic income might work around the world.
Basic income is a system of wealth distribution in which people receive a steady paycheck to cover their expenses, no strings attached — and the concept is gaining traction around the globe.
My Basic Income takes its cues from a German program called Mein Grundeinkommen, which has given away 43 basic incomes since its first drawing in October 2014. Winners have quit their jobs, pursued lifelong passions, or simply paid for much-needed repairs around the house.
According to basic-income advocates, these are shining success stories. But the policy also has plenty of opponents. My Basic Income says that it wants to cut through the noise surrounding the idea — Could such a system help end poverty, or would free money make people lazy? — and set the record straight itself.
The May 31 drawing included 3,128 entrants from all around the world. My Basic Income raised the stipend that will be given to the winner through an Indiegogo campaign that launched in January.
For Edwin, the $15,000 will stay in the bank for a rainy day, according to a statement he made when entering the lottery.
“This is an unconditional grant for Edwin,” Cameron Ottens, one of My Basic Income’s cofounders, said in a statement. “He gets it whether or not he wants to talk to press, support our cause, or become an activist himself.”
Basic income’s main appeal is its ability to alleviate income inequality through one straightforward system. Whether you’re a doctor or a janitor, you’d receive the same predetermined amount of money each month, all of it funded by taxes. The income stream is designed to cover the essentials — food and shelter — but most programs don’t put restrictions on how the money is used.
The point of the stipend is to lift the burden of paying rent and putting food on the table, while also providing a safety net. And that’s exactly what Dutch copywriter Frans Kerver has found to be true ever since he started receiving basic income.
In July 2015, Kerver won the Netherlands’ version of My Basic Income’s lottery, an amount of $1,100 per month. He says that he uses the money to work shorter hours, spend more time with his family, and help out more in the community. He used to work 12-hour days; now, never.
“I feel more satisfied about what I’m doing,” he told Tech Insider in March. “If you’re making jams, and you work in a factory where you just automate 100 jars an hour, you don’t have the time to taste it. It’s more satisfying to do 10 jars of jam and feel and taste and know they’re good, and be proud of it.”
In Edwin’s case, he’ll soon have $15,000 in the bank to cover the costs if those jars break.Source: