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[공지] Basic Income Seoul Declaration
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Basic Income Seoul Declaration
as adopted 27 January 2010

 

 

War and massacre have seldom rested even after the beginning of 21st Century, but not only a brute force that involves blood is violence: Since several decades ago until now, the raging gale of neoliberalism has rampaged throughout the world, demonstrating another form of structured violence that severely threatens people's lives. People have struggled against this violence to defend their lives, but the attempts are still weak and overwhelmed.

However perilous the people's lives are, capitalists and rulers demand the people to yield more. However struggling the resisters are, the tunnel of despair does not reveal its exit. However many pursuers of hope there are, the method to realize such hope seems to be shrouded in a dense fog.  Innumerable people, trapped in poverty and unemployment, overdriven by awful wage labor, are plundered of their minds by worry, pessimism, and cynicism.

An alternative solution for the crisis we are facing is urgent. As this crisis is deep in its root and broad in its form, the solution we need must be radical, simple yet powerful. Such solution must not be a confession of vague idealism but a concrete request, a substantial request that deals with the very crisis in people's lives. That an alternative is needed to dissolve the crisis has been stated by many, but the attempt to gather power for a concrete alternative solution is also hesitated by many. This, too, forms one of the reasons that let the current crisis persist.

Here are the people who unwaveringly step toward the alternative. Here are the people who are in action to destroy the shackle of our age and attack the task that all humankind must attain in order to advance to the next page of history. Here are the people who propose the introduction of basic income as a historical project of the 21st Century that corresponds to the abolition of slavery in the 19th Century and the embodiment of popular suffrage in the 20th Century. Here are the people who regard basic income as the terminator of the age of neoliberalism, which has shown enough of its horrendous nature through the global financial crisis, and as a steppingstone to the alternative society beyond both the current capitalism and the existed socialism.

Basic income is an income unconditionally granted to all members of society on an individual basis, without any kind of means test or work requirement. Basic income is a device to perfect the paradigm of universal welfare beyond the current selective and residual welfare, and is a catalyst to reconstruct the labor society away from the illusion of full employment and the capitalist promotion of wage labor. Basic income is neither an attempt to replace everything else by cash transfer nor an attempt to block other possibilities by some improvement in redistribution. The universal nature of basic income grants it a new power that differentiates itself from other types of cash payment, exhibiting a fresh area of potentials.

We, who consent to the need and righteousness of basic income, also have given deep considerations to its possibility and feasibility. Restless workers have studied and acted, forming networks from a local community to a global organization to realize basic income, and promoted the implementation of it. Notable accomplishments include the Citizen's Basic Income Law of Brazil passed in 2004 for the first time in a state scale. Challenges and hardships await on the way to a global basic income, but the movement is firmly thrust by the reality of numerous people maintaining lives with almost no income.

In line with such flow at a global level, very encouraging is that basic income is finally starting to gain the social attention in South Korea. The Seoul Basic Income International Conference will be a significant milestone for proliferation of the basic income agenda in South Korea. Central figures of the global basic income movement including Philippe Van Parijs,  the advocate and main defender of basic income who serves as Chair of International Board of BIEN, and Eduardo Suplicy, the Brazilian Senator and Honorary Co-President of BIEN who led the bill of Citizen's Basic Income Law, visited South Korea for the Conference that is prepared by Basic Income Korean Network with contributions from countless people who support basic income.

The declarants who led to the Conference are from various backgrounds. Supports for basic income are from different perspectives as well. For some, basic income is the ultimate goal. For others, it is a means to achieve what is beyond it. Even more issues have arisen about what basic income must be. As basic income demands a gigantic transition of the regime, serious problems are involved in the process. However, it is clear that even though basic income shall not be a panacea for all problems of contemporary society, it still shall form a positive precondition for solutions.

Our age asks for more than an assertion that a better world is possible. Our age asks us precisely what world is needed and exactly how we may realize it. What the Basic Income Seoul Declarants can confidently state is that basic income is the main component of the answer. Basic income is at the center of the future model of an alternative society. Heavy endeavors shall naturally follow to make such future happen. We the declarants expect the Conference to trigger an active debate on basic income in South Korea, and shall continue to strive with all our might toward basic income for all.

 
   
 

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