If Martin Luther King Jr. was here today, what would he say to all who support the Occupy Wall Street movement? What specific goal would he want us to focus on the most? Among the many ideas for economic justice and equality, there is one specific solution that MLK strongly supported. Referred to in different ways, this idea has often been called the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG), an income unconditionally given to all on an individual basis, ensuring that every citizen has access to life's basic needs. Today's extreme form of capitalism requires that most people have to work so that they can merely survive. Such a system means that more and more jobs have to be created, even if those jobs have a negative impact on humanity and our planet as a whole. Furthermore, with the advancement of technology, more and more jobs are becoming automated, thus decreasing the amount of work available for people. Considering the urgency of this moment, with so many people living in poverty, I am convinced that MLK would encourage us all to speedily pursue the creation of the Basic Income Guarantee. Here are some of his quotes supporting this idea:
"The solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income. "
"Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism, but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both."
"We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished."
"A host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security. The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his hands, when he has the assurance that his income is stable and certain, and when he knows that he has the means to seek self-improvement."
"There is nothing except shortsightedness to prevent us from guaranteeing an annual minimum – and livable – income for every American family. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty."
"We have moved into an era where we are called upon to raise certain basic questions about the whole society. We are still called upon to give aid to the beggar who finds himself in misery and agony on life's highway. But one day, we must ask the question of whether an edifice which produces beggars must not be restructured and refurbished."
"Why should there be hunger and deprivation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life?"
Indeed, if MLK was here today, he would inspire us to seek an inner evolution of our awareness, so that we are more able to compassionately create an outer evolution; a world free of poverty and other destructive cycles. He would say again:
"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
"We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."
I am deeply thankful for the wisdom he shared, and his determination to help our human family reach it's greatest potential. If you resonate with the message here, please share it far and wide.
In Unity and Oneness,