The universal basic income has favored employment in a California city

The universal basic income has favored employment in a California city

A test in the city of Stockton gave encouraging results. Resources have been invested for training courses and to improve their jobs

Computer work (Pixabay) “Universal basic income encourages people to be more economically productive”. It is the result of an experiment conducted in the last two years by the municipality of Stockton, 300,000 inhabitants in California. The case attracted the attention of the World Economic Forum, which reported the "apparently counterintuitive" result. In the city about 150 kilometers from San Francisco, 125 people have received monthly checks for $ 500 since 2019 which, in addition to greater stability and serenity, have created more training and employment opportunities. If the full-time employees at the beginning of the experiment were only 28% among them, in the end the share rose to 40%, while in a control group this percentage had risen by only 5%. But it is not the only relevant data.

The Stockton economic empowerment demonstration (Seed, in English "seed") is the organism that managed the experiment, anonymously recording the spending choices of the universal basic income earners (universal basic incom e, Ubi), adults and residents in neighborhoods with an average income not exceeding 46 thousand dollars. It emerged that the largest item of expenditure was food (just over a third), followed by non-food purchases in supermarkets, department stores and wholesale outlets (about one fifth). Another large part was absorbed by transport and service costs. Less than 1% was used for alcohol and tobacco.

The universal basic income notoriously has several detractors. The Center for Social Justice in the UK called it "a false hope," for example, but former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs would disagree: "Poverty is the biggest problem. Everything we deal with comes from there. Many people work a lot, but if something happens in life, then there is no bottom ". Seed recorded less depression and anxiety among the people involved in the project, whose physical and mental conditions improved thanks to the fact that families were no longer exposed to the fluctuations of meager earnings, perhaps jeopardized by unexpected expenses.

Furthermore, the universal basic income has been able in several cases to invest time in training and to leave low-paid jobs without prospects, in order to build a better future. A similar system is currently also being tested in South Korea. In the province of Gyeonggi, around the capital Seoul, the beneficiaries receive a quarterly coupon of 220 dollars, which can be spent by a certain date only at the commercial or service activities in the area that adhere to the project, thus feeding the regional economy through a sort of local currency.

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