Saturday, January 1, 2011

Martin Luther King on the only solution to poverty

From Martin Luther King on guaranteed income social dividend:
I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective -- the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.
From Martin Luther King Speech - Where do we go from here:
John Kenneth Galbraith said that a guaranteed annual income could be done for about twenty billion dollars a year. And I say to you today, that if our nation can spend thirty-five billion dollars a year to fight an unjust, evil war in Vietnam, and twenty billion dollars to put a man on the moon, it can spend billions of dollars to put God's children on their own two feet right here on earth.
More: Wikipedia: Guaranteed minimum income.

From Martin Luther King Jr. focused on ending poverty » The Commercial Appeal:
Economists John Kenneth Galbraith, Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman endorsed the idea of guaranteed incomes, as did Lyndon Johnson's Labor Secretary and later New York Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan. Advocating the proposal was the official debate resolution for public high schools in 1973. It was a mainstream idea that has since faded from view.


  1. Will:

    In the U.S. political context, a guaranteed annual income will NEVER be successful.

    The fact that Milton Friedman was in favor of this tells you what you need to know: this is a proposal designed to minimize the political support for helping the poor.

    Now, guaranteed jobs: that might be politically viable.

    Regards, Tim Bartik

  2. Tim, it depends on the bar set for the guaranteed income. According to the last link in the post, "The idea was to guarantee that no one lived in poverty by having the government provide a financial floor, pegged to median -- not low -- incomes, beneath which no one could fall."

    Complete agreement that it's not the whole solution.

  3. Nothing more unrealistic than trying to create living wage jobs for all. Guaranteed Livable Income, Basic Income Guarantee or Citizen's Income (many other names for Guaranteed Annual Income) is gaining interest for environmental and health reasons as well as, of course, addressing poverty. The jobs-and-only-jobs solution is rooted way back 500 years to Calvin's work ethic and even further back to benedictine monks who invented a day scheduled by the clock.
    Many articles, links and news here: