Catalonia: This new basic income experiment will give money to both rich and poor

Fast Company

Last June, Spain rolled out possibly the world’s largest basic income program across the entire country. The minimum subsistence income aimed to provide support for Spain’s poorest families via payouts of up to 1,015 euros (roughly $1,100) per month for 850,000 households, representing some 2.3 million people.

However, critics have pointed out flaws in the plan, including red tape and strict enrollment criteria that have hindered people from getting the aid. It’s also not universal, so a large portion of Spanish citizens don’t qualify. In response, the autonomous Spanish region of Catalonia is planning a two-year pilot program that the regional government hopes to implement by December 2022. Different from the many targeted basic income pilots popping up around the world, it will be truly universal, giving money to every resident in a chosen community, regardless of income bracket.

“The current pandemic and the government’s response has created a proper scenario for expanding the idea of basic income,” says Sergi Raventós, who’s running the Pilot Plan for the Basic Income of the Generalitat de Catalunya. Though the payout hasn’t been confirmed, the pilot is considering 900 euros (about $1,000) per month for a single person, perhaps scaled to 1,350 euros (about $1,500) for a two-person household, for 5,000 individuals over the course of two years—and it’ll be funded entirely by the Catalan government, not by private individuals or nongovernmental organizations. “We want to test a real policy,” Raventós says, “not a philanthropic millionaire’s one-off venture.”

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