Posted by Sappho on June 2nd, 2009 filed in Blogwatch
Jack Balkin on Terrorism, Domestic and Foreign.
Ingrid Robeyns on The Basic Income Grant Experiment in Namibia.
One could debate and dispute whether implementing a Basic Income Grant would be a good idea in affluent post-industrial societies, as we did (here and here and here) at CT before. Yet for developing societies with serious problems of persistent poverty, it seems to me like a very good idea indeed. One could add as a (desirable) condition that such a society should be able to internally generate the money to fund such a BIG (that is, there must be a big enough section of rich or middle class people whose consumption or income can be taxed). The idea may work wonderfully in countries like South Africa for example. If you give poor South Africans a relatively tiny BIG, they are not given welfare payouts that enable them to sit back and rest (as the critics may have it), but rather people are given some very basic means to take their lives in their own hands: money for food, for basic health care, for school fees, for a roof above their head, and perhaps to set up a small business. No more begging for food needed. The amounts can be tiny and may seem like pocketmoney to people in the global North, but as we know from the relative success of microcredits, poor people can change their lives (and those of their children) when they have small amounts of money.
There is now empirical evidence supporting this line of reasoning, coming from Namibia, where in 2004 a coalition of churches, trade unions, NGOs and AIDS organisations decided to run a pilot project to figure out what a small BIG would do to the lives of the extreme poor.
Daisy Bond has Some Thoughts On Insecurity And Butchness.
Julian Sanchez offers A Sotomayor core dump. Also, Ta-Nehisi Coates on The Pervasive Fear That Minorities Are Getting Away With Something.