Today’s Solutions: October 22, 2021

Can basic income programs help people achieve a better standard of living and rise out of poverty? The jury is still out, mainly because we don’t have enough data to inform the jury. That’s why it’s great news that a massive basic income program featuring more than 50,000 participants is getting rolled out in the small Brazilian city of Maricá.

The recipients are set to receive a monthly basic income set at roughly three-quarters of the national poverty line, as part of a major new program to test basic income policies in the South American country. The benefit, called the Renda Básica de Cidadania (Citizens’ Basic Income), is worth 130 reais per person per month; per recent OECD data, that’s around US$64 a month. For context, the Brazilian poverty line is set at 178 reais a month, and the minimum monthly wage for a full-time job is 998 reais. A family of four, each getting 130 reais each per month, would wind up getting over half a minimum salary from the program. 

In the last few years, there have been basic income initiatives everywhere from Stockton, California to Kenya to Finland too (abortively) Ontario. But the Maricá program stands out because it’s not a pilot program. Instead, it’s a policy being adopted across the municipality. Everyone who has lived in Maricá for at least three years, and with low-enough income to qualify (well above Brazil’s minimum wage), will get the benefit. As a consequence, the scale is considerably larger than those of pilot programs. 

Another important aspect of this basic income program is that it’s indefinite and has a dedicated funding system—like a number of municipalities around Rio, Maricá gets a share of Brazil’s oil royalties, which will be used to fund the program. That means it has a stable funding stream and is not reliant on taxes, much like the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend that gives Alaskans a couple of thousand dollars each year.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

FDA takes steps to authorize over-the-counter hearing aids

A new policy from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to make hearing aids more accessible and affordable in the US. The new policy will make hearing devices available over-the-counter as early as next ... Read More

California grants leatherback sea turtles further protection

For decades, the population of the great Pacific leatherback turtle off the California coast has declined by 5.6 percent per year. To address this devastating loss, California’s Fish and Game Commission recently voted to list ... Read More

This crisis alert app provides crucial information to residents of Kabul

As conditions in Kabul continue to worsen due to the Taliban takeover, residents of the Afghan capital have been struggling to get accurate real-time information about what’s happening in the city. Three and a half ... Read More

World record broken for coldest temperature ever recorded

With our current knowledge of how temperature works there is no upper limit, this means materials can keep getting hotter and hotter to no end. This is not the case for lower temperatures, with the ... Read More

The scientific power of live music

We’re all familiar with the sense of wonder and joy we experience when we hear a song or piece of music we love, but there’s something even more magical about hearing that song performed live. ... Read More

5 Healthy cooking oils for a plant-based diet

Finding the right oil for your diet is a crucial part of maintaining your health—and is especially important for those who stick to a vegan diet. To minimize some of the confusion you may face ... Read More