At the end of his life… Martin Luther King Jr. was working on a campaign… …to ensure all Americans… …had a dignified standard of living… …with what is now referred to as a… Universal Basic Income. Or as he called it: A guaranteed minimum income… …for all people… …and all families of our country. The problems which are developing… …as a result of automation and cybernation. As far back as 1961… …MLK saw a new economic trend… …of automation dissolving jobs”. He called it a “catastrophe”… …and said “black and white…” “…we will all be harmed…” “…unless something grand and imaginative is done.” “A true revolution of values will soon look
uneasily…” “…on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.” “It will look at thousands of working people…” “…displaced from their jobs with reduced income…” …as a result of automation… “…while the profits of the employers remain intact…” “And say: “This is not just.” “If a work program is impractical…” “…we are demanding a guaranteed income…” “…at levels that sustains life and decent circumstances.” “Poor black and white are still perishing…” “…on a lonely island of poverty…” “…in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” MLK wrote he was convinced a guaranteed income
was “the most effective” solution to poverty. He argued past anti-poverty programs failed because… They were “sluggish”…” “…entangled in bureaucracy…” …and “indirect”. “We are likely to find that the problem of
housing / education…” “…instead of preceding the elimination of poverty…” “…will themselves be effected if poverty is first abolished.” “The poor transformed into purchasers…” “…will do a great deal on their own…” “…to alter housing decay.” Many people are worried… …that if we had a guaranteed income… …people would no longer work. But MLK disagreed. “The fact is that…” “…the work which improves the condition of mankind…” “The work which extends knowledge” “…and increases power…” “…and enriches literature…” …”and elevates thought…” “…is not done to secure a living.” “It is not the work of slaves, driven to their task…” “…either by a task master or by animal necessities.” In a nutshell… MLK argued… …even if people didn’t need a paycheck… …they would still perform valuable work. Like working to raise the next generation. Working to improve oneself… …or working to improve situations… …and solve problems… …that effect us all. “In a state of society where want is abolished…” “…work of this sort could be enormously increased.” “A guaranteed income could be done for about $20 billion a year…” And if our nation can spend… $35 billion a year… …to fight an unjust evil war in Vietnam… …and $20 billion… …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. We are arrogant in professing to be concerned about the freedom of foreign nations… …while not setting our own house in order. America is celebrated as the “land of liberty”. But MLK argued… …if you have no income, you have no liberty. “We read one day,” “We hold these truths to be self evident:” “That all men are created equal…” “…that they are endowed by their creator
with certain inalienable rights…” “…that among these are…” “…life liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness.” But if a man doesn’t have a job or an income, …he has neither life… …nor liberty… …[nor] the possibility for the pursuit of happiness.” “He merely exists.” “Now one of the answers it seems to me…” …is a guaranteed annual income. …a guaranteed minimum income… “…for all people…” “…and for all families…” “…of our country.”