Topic: International development

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Basic income

Finance & Investment Economics Sociology Sociology/social movements Basic Income Social Work International development

Basic income, also called universal basic income (UBI), citizen's income, citizen's basic income in the United Kingdom, basic income guarantee in the United States and Canada, or basic living stipend or guaranteed annual income or universal demogrant, is a governmental public program for a periodic payment delivered to all on an individual basis without means test or work requirement. The incomes would be:

  • Unconditional: A basic income would vary with age, but with no other conditions. Everyone of the same age would receive the same basic income, whatever their gender, employment status, family structure, contribution to society, housing costs, or anything else.
  • Automatic: Someone's basic income would be automatically paid weekly or monthly into a bank account or similar.
  • Non-withdrawable: Basic incomes would not be means-tested. Whether someone's earnings increase, decrease, or stay the same, their basic income will not change.
  • Individual: Basic incomes would be paid on an individual basis and not on the basis of a couple or household.
  • As a right: Every legal resident would receive a basic income, subject to a minimum period of legal residency and continuing residency for most of the year.

Basic income can be implemented nationally, regionally or locally. An unconditional income that is sufficient to meet a person's basic needs (at or above the poverty line) is sometimes called a full basic income while if it is less than that amount, it is sometimes called partial. A welfare system with some characteristics similar to those of a basic income is a negative income tax in which the government stipend is gradually reduced with higher labour income. Some welfare systems are sometimes regarded as steps on the way to a basic income, but because they have conditionalities attached they are not basic incomes. If they raise household incomes to specified minima they are called guaranteed minimum income systems. For example, Bolsa Família in Brazil is restricted to poor families and the children are obligated to attend school.

Several political discussions are related to the basic income debate. Examples include the debates regarding robotization, artificial intelligence (AI), and the future of work. A key issue in these debates is whether robotisation and AI will significantly reduce the number of available jobs. Basic income often comes up as a proposal in these discussions.

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One Laptop per Child

Environment International development

One Laptop per Child (OLPC) was a non-profit initiative established with the goal of transforming education for children around the world; this goal was to be achieved by creating and distributing educational devices for the developing world, and by creating software and content for those devices.

The goal was to transform education, by enabling children in low-income countries to have access to content, media and computer-programming environments. When the program launched, the typical retail price for a laptop was considerably in excess of $1,000 (US), so achieving this objective required bringing a low-cost machine to production. This became the OLPC XO Laptop, a low-cost and low-power laptop computer designed by Yves Béhar. The project was originally funded by member organizations such as AMD, eBay, Google, Marvell Technology Group, News Corporation, Nortel. Chi Mei Corporation, Red Hat, and Quanta provided in-kind support.

The OLPC project was the subject of much discussion. It was praised for pioneering low-cost, low-power laptops and inspiring later variants such as Eee PCs and Chromebooks; for assuring consensus at ministerial level in many countries that computer literacy is a mainstream part of education; for creating interfaces that worked without literacy in any language, and particularly without literacy in English. It was criticized from many sides regarding its US-centric focus ignoring bigger problems, high total costs, low focus on maintainability and training and its limited success. In 2014, after disappointing sales, the Foundation shut down.

The OLPC project is critically reviewed in a 2019 MIT Press book titled The Charisma Machine: The Life, Death, and Legacy of One Laptop per Child.

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