What would you do if you had a basic income? Would you work at the same job, live in the same city, eat the same food, drive the same car?
Recently, I met Mark Witham, the founder of the Basic Income Project, and he asked me this same question, and as I listened to him share his vision of a world with basic income, a lightbulb went off in my head: Hey, I’ve thought of this same idea before!
Of course, I didn’t have the same name for it at the time, nor was I even aware that the concept of basic income already existed, but I was thinking of the same idea without even knowing it. As I thought about the current situation on the planet, and what we could as a people to create more freedom, I realized that the structure of our financial system was a major problem, and that if only each citizen could receive an ongoing unconditional income, then our global situation would change drastically, and many of these problems could be solved.
Is this just a fantasy? Could this ever truly happen? It’s easy to be skeptical, but when I found out about Mark and the Basic Income Project, I started to see a real possible solution unfolding before my eyes.
Is basic income the answer? There’s no way of knowing for sure, but I am willing to give it a shot, and Mark is the type of guy who I believe has the integrity and positive intention that is necessary to make this happen.
So, what is the Basic Income Project exactly?
Right now, the Basic Income Project is a mobile application available exclusively on the iPhone 4 or above with iOS5 or greater, and it’s currently in the beta stage. In the future, we are planning to expand its distribution to include both Android devices and web browsers.
What does it do, and how does it work? Here are the details from the Basic Income Project website:
Once you have registered for an account, a 300 “value” will be added to the balance of your account. This is done so that everyone who registers for an account starts off with a basic income. Each week, a 300 “value” will be added to your account (*basic income).
With this balance, you will be able to transfer to and receive from other people who have this app. An example of a transaction might be: you do work for a friend, they pay you directly from their account just by sending it to yours through the app. As long as both parties agree that it can be used to pay for services, products or labor. Hopefully, in time you will be able to buy produce from your farmer friends, goods from producers or hire someone for their labor. It takes people agreeing with this system for the benefits to really work.
But what do you mean by “value”? Is it money?
Basic income does not use any form of traditional physical currency it is a digital currency ( please refer to links above to learn more about digital currency ). However, we recognize that users need a “term” to distinguish what it is exactly that is placed into their digital wallet within the app. For this reason we refer to those “funds” as “value”. We may think of a more clever name in the future. Stay tuned. Door prize to someone who comes up with something really awesome. 🙂
Who could really start using this app?
- Time Banks
- Countries interested in promoting basic income as their social security.
- Towns and Communities that print their own currency. e.g. http://www.berkshares.org/
- Intentional Communities
- A family could use it to trade internally for chores around the house. 🙂
- Favors and exchanges between friends.
So, now that you know what the Basic Income Project is, here is how you can get involved:
- Register as a beta tester
- Join the development team as a programmer (we’re looking for Python programmers experienced with the Django framework), UI or graphic designer
- Like the project on Facebook or tweet about it on Twitter
- Help us spread the word in other ways
If you’re interested in getting involved or learning more about the project, please feel free to get in touch.