Mar Velez is an activist with Portugal’s basic income group, RBI Portugal (“Rendimento Básico Incondicional”). She learned about basic income in 2013 through other activists, and immediately decided to join the movement.
Why do you support basic income?
It was a natural thing for me to support UBI. I already did all my life without actually giving it a name. I can not support a world without UBI. Everybody should have the unconditional right to a life with dignity. We lose our dignity by staying in jobs we do not like, by dealing with bosses that treat us badly, by being forced to take whatever job to pay for staying alive. Life should, must and can be free.
How would a basic income help people in Portugal?
In Portugal we have two million people living on the verge of poverty, and we have another two million living on the minimum wage. By giving everybody a UBI, we not only increase the quality of life tremendously for four million people but also save the middle class. We are the third country in the world in terms of consumption of antidepressants. I am pretty sure with UBI and without the fear of poverty people will be much more happy. We lost five percent of our population through emigration in the past 5-6 years; I am among those five percent. If I had UBI I could stop having to emigrate to stay alive, and finally dedicate the rest of my life to make UBI real for the place where there is not UBI. But other emigrants could, if they wanted, return home to their families. Right now we do not have a choice.
Photo used by permission of Mar Velez.
Basic Income Interviews is a special recurring segment of Basic Income News, introduced in July 2016 by Jason Murphy and Kate McFarland. Through a series of short interviews, we aspire to display the diversity of support that basic income receives throughout the world.
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Kate is a member of BIEN's Executive Committee Basic Income News team. Before joining BIEN, she earned a PhD in philosophy from the Ohio State University (and a masters in statistics before that). She presently holds a part-time administrative position with OSU Philosophy, and she does a lot of unpaid work on behalf of the basic income movement. She's on Patreon (a participant in the BIG Patreon Creator Pledge) to help support her latter unpaid work. (You too can support her there!)