Saturday, December 23, 2006

Money for everyone

In Alaska all citizens receive a cash handout every year from a fund which is continually topped up by royalties that the state receives from the oil extracted. Everyone who has been a citizen for a year is entitled to an equal handout – all children are included. The amount paid for 2006 was $1106.96 (USD) which was a rise of 30% on the previous year. A family of four people received $4428, with no questions asked about their current wealth status. Rich and poor alike have the same.

The fund is invested in equities, bonds and real estate. It is kept inflation-proofed by retaining some income before payouts to citizens. Payments have been running since 1982 and the fund has grown a real 10% p.a. return since the start.

Citizens of the UK must wonder why such an imaginative thing was not done for them when North Sea oil was discovered at about the same time as the reserves in Alaska. Sam Brittan with Barry Riley did suggest this in 1978 but nothing was done. Instead the wealth went into the state machine for redistribution according to the normal bureaucratic socialistic methods. A basic income like Alaska’s could have addressed the needs of the poorest far better than the alternative attempts so far.

Read The Free Lunch – Fairness with Freedom for ideas that would empower people directly like the Alaskan example, see:

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