Saturday, 27 April 2013

2008/09 Namibian Basic Income

I am in the process of editing the basic income page, thus I am whittling down the information into a concise presentation. Here is some valuable data I have gleaned, which I have posted here to ensure it does not become lost or too harshly pruned in the editing process.

In 2008/2009 there was a basic income trial, a test experiment, undertaken in Namibia regarding the areas Omitara and Otjivero. Apparently the project, orchestrated by Basic Income Grant (BIG) Coalition, was a great success. Below are some pertinent quotes from Der Spiegel. Incidentally a point to note regarding the German newspaper Der Spiegel is that a literal translation is The Mirror.

In 2009 Der Spiegel wrote:

"It sounds like a communist utopia, but a basic income program pioneered by German aid workers has helped alleviate poverty in a Nambian village. Crime is down and children can finally attend school. Only the local white farmers are unhappy."

"Haarmann says that he doesn't understand why the farmers are reacting so emotionally to the basic income. One farmer, who baited a Swedish camera team with his eight dogs, says that he had received emails with racist comments. "I assume that the farmers are afraid," says Haarmann -- afraid that the poor will gain some influence and deprive the rich, white 20 percent of the population of some of their power. Their dissatisfaction probably stems in part from the fact that if a basic income is widely introduced, it will be the rich whose taxes will go up to help pay for the program."

"A few weeks ago, Dirk Haarmann published his annual report, which he sent to politicians, the United Nations and even a few presidents. According to the report, economic activity in the village has grown by 10 percent, more people are paying tuition and doctors' fees, health is improving and the crime rate is down."

"The report also stated that the basic income could be funded through the tax system by increasing the value-added tax or income tax by a few percent. Only 3 percent of the gross domestic product, or €115 million, would be enough to provide a basic income for all Namibians."

"Reactions to the idea have been cautious but positive. The UN Commission for Social Development has defined Otjivero as a "best practice" model. Hage Geingob, the former Namibian prime minister and current trade and industry minister, has commented positively on the pilot project. A group of 16 members of parliament recently paid a visit to Otjivero, where they watched Frieda Nembwaya bake her bread and Sarah Katangolo feed her chickens. The National Planning Commission called the BIG program a forward-looking concept for the country's economic development."

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