Pope Francis said in an Easter letter to members of various social movements that the crisis caused by the coronavirus could be a time to consider a universal basic income.
“I know that you have been excluded from the benefits of globalization,” he wrote 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.”
Pointing to “street vendors, recyclers, carnies, small farmers, construction workers, dressmakers, the different kinds of caregivers” who have “no steady income,” Francis said that a universal basic income should be considered.
“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 said.
He also said that he hopes that governments begin to understand that “technocratic paradigms” are not set up to address “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 said. “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.”