Spain appears to be the first country that will implement a permanent form of Universal Basic Income for its citizens. As the Independent reported: [emphasis added]
Spain’s cabinet has approved the creation of a national minimum income, according to a government spokesperson.
Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told a news conference on Friday the creation of a minimum income worth €462 (£416.92) a month will target some 850,000 households or 2.5 million people.
The government would pay the monthly stipend and top up existing revenue for people earning less so that they receive at least that minimum amount every month, he said.
The minimum income would increase with the number of family members, up to a maximum of €1,015 (£916.30) each month. The programme would cost the government about €3 billion a year.
Mr Iglesias said: “Today is a historic day for our democracy. Today this government is showing that its political choice is social justice and that it takes the [Spanish] Constitution seriously.”
Proposals for a guaranteed minimum income scheme was first floated in December 2019, in which the Socialist Workers’ Party and the left-wing Unidas Podemos agree to create a “general mechanism to guarantee earnings for families with no or low income”.
According to English-language Spanish newspaper El Pais, the scheme was brought forward due to the coronavirus outbreak. The government announced the first details of the plan in April.
As we mentioned recently, the recent pandemic outbreak may force the liberal faction of the capitalist elite to accelerate its plans for a broad and permanent implementation of the UBI.
Although this capitalist faction essentially attempts to maintain control of all power institutions in the capitalist West, the type of government that will implement a form of UBI is not insignificant. It could play some role on where things will be directed after a UBI permanent implementation.
Therefore, it is important the fact that a Center-Left government in Spain decided first to implement a permanent form of UBI. Recall that Spain had put all private hospitals under government control indefinitely when the number of coronavirus cases was surging in the country.
A progressive government will try to combine UBI with some form of Socialism for the benefit of the majority. Basic needs like healthcare, housing, education should be provided publicly, combined with the UBI. Spain shows some first signs that it could become a model for such a prospect. Gradually, this scheme could lead to a type of a 21st century Socialism.
A successful implementation of some form of UBI in Spain could become an example for other countries in the West. This could trigger a new progressive wave of young politicians who could claim political power in order to drive societies towards the Socialist path.
Despite the fact that Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn have been defeated, the progressive grassroots movements are here to stay and grow bigger, after all.
In a rather Dystopian alternative, UBI will be used only as a tool for a smooth transition from capitalism to a type of 21st century corporate feudalism. And this type of feudalism could be proved far more ruthless and eventually destructive for the planet itself.
As the capitalist elites still control key power institutions, they can easily overthrow progressive governments with the consent of societies, through various psy-ops and plenty of propaganda. Societies should try to escape from this vicious cycle and start pushing for more and more progressive governments.
Only then UBI, AI and hyper-automation would work sufficiently for the benefit of the majority and the planet.