Basic Income in Spain to Mitigate Coronavirus Impact
By Helene Zuber und Steffen Lüdke
It’s two days before Jessica will be unable to pay her rent for the first time in her life, and she is standing at the gate of the private charity “Hermandad del Refugio” in downtown Zaragoza. Here in the capital of the Aragon region, between Barcelona and Madrid, the summers are hot and the winters windy. Around 10 a.m. in late May, the sun is already scorching.
There are 18 men and women ahead of Jessica in line, standing silently, their arms folded across their chests. They are all pulling shopping trolleys, into which they’ll pack milk cartons, noodles and two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of chicken. Without the free food provided by the Catholic charity, the people in line would have trouble making ends meet.
Jessica is wearing black wireless headphones and Converse sneakers, which are still immaculately white. Jessica, 27, is new here. “Come on in,” says the man at the door. “But first, disinfect your hands.”
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Reconfiguring welfare in an eco-social state: participation income and universal services
The Covid-19 pandemic has inspired much commentary about the world into which we want to re-emerge, and where to redraw the boundaries between market and state. It may have offered us a glimpse of the dynamics of large-scale change that will inform our future. Contemporary models of welfare capitalism are increasingly being questioned as to their fitness for purpose in providing for basic needs and their longer-term sustainability from an ecological perspective. And some things are clearer—including our interdependence on robust communities, public resources and strong states tempered by extensive citizen participation, co-creation and co-production.
Notwithstanding important differences among European welfare regimes concerning the degree to which they ‘commodify’ labour, all are essentially productivist: they attempt to reconcile social security with an agenda of economic growth and subsume welfare within production for the market. Labour-activation policies frame market participation as the primary pathway to inclusion.
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