In an Easter letter to members of numerous social movements, Pope Francis said the crisis caused by the Wuhan Virus pandemic could be the moment that policymakers consider a universal basic income.
“I know that you have been excluded from the benefits of globalization,” the Pope said in the letter on April 12. “You do not enjoy the superficial pleasures that anesthetize so many consciences, yet you always suffer from the harm they produce. The ills that afflict everyone hit you twice as hard.”
Francis used the cases of “street vendors, recyclers, carnies, small farmers, construction workers, dressmakers, the different kinds of caregivers” who have “no steady income,” as to why a universal basic income should be entertained.
“This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out. It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights,” he stated.
In addition, he hopes that governments begin to understand that “technocratic paradigms” are not adequate in addressing “this crisis or other great problems affecting humankind.”
“I hope that this time of danger will free us from operating on automatic pilot, shake our sleepy consciences and allow a humanist and ecological conversion that puts an end to the idolatry of money and places human life and dignity at the center,” Francis stated. “Our civilization — so competitive, so individualistic, with its frenetic rhythms of production and consumption, its extravagant luxuries, its disproportionate profits for just a few — needs to downshift, take stock, and renew itself.”
His support for the UBI is not really a shock given his track record.
If the Pope were more forward thinking, he would be championing sound money, immigration restriction, and wholesale deregulation of the bureaucratic state — all policies that keep the cost of living manageable and allow for markets to function sustainably in a nationalist paradigm.