Making a Difference Beyond Charity

Making a Difference Beyond Charity

  • mdo  Admin
  •   Articles
  •   August 6, 2021

According to and the World Bank, recent estimates for global poverty assert that over 689 million people live in extreme poverty with little to no economic freedom. In the U.S. alone over 38.1 million people were living in poverty in 2018. Meanwhile, inequality and income gaps have dramatically increased during the pandemic while CEOs and corporations continue to make enormous profits.

Without Universal Basic Income (UBI) and other important government support policies like the Child Tax Credit (CTC), people who are stuck in poverty, are homeless, or stuck in abusive situations, or those who can't find work, have to rely on charity to attempt to escape poverty.

But how can charity possibly do as much to help impoverished people as programs like non-discriminatory UBI, or the wide-reaching CTC? As many jobs are being automated away, and as new jobs are actually a type of low-paying gig-work, how does that help impoverished people escape the cycles of poverty?

While there are many noble anti-poverty charities working around the world, charity and targeted poverty-alleviating programs tend to have abrupt endings and specific requirements. They don't always provide income security. Additionally, such programs can leave a lot of people out because they're specifically targeted through the mission of the charity, and when people try to escape their poverty they're left ineligible for further help (welfare trap).

Compared to far-reaching government programs that make massive impacts to millions of lives, thinking that charity alone could possibly compare is completely unrealistic. Believing that there are enough highly-individualized jobs readily available or to be created for everyone is also wholly unrealistic, and often when stuck in poverty daily survival makes it difficult to even find work.

Yet no country currently has a fully executed UBI policy running, and it seems as though a large percentage of people believe that charity is enough and should be enough for the foreseeable future.

Imagine if the only way to escape poverty was to rely on charity, or be assigned a job that is a terrible fit? Except that isn't that hard to imagine, because that's how it works today.

Worse yet, new economic systems, such as DeFi, are currently being built to replace the old ones. Those systems would leave only two choices: rely on charity, or work within the new economic system's industry. Missing from many DeFi projects are the fail-safes and social protections that older economic systems have, such as the ability to appropriate public funds for critical public services or for wide-reaching anti-poverty policies. Increasing inequality observed in these systems doesn't help either.

Why care about other people’s economic situations anyway? ... And if some people are getting really wealthy through investments in those new systems without impacting anyone else, is it really a problem?

The reality is that it does affect other people and can lead to situations that affect people and institutions at large. Wealth inequality undermines social cohesion, and increases political and social tensions. It can lead to instability, conflict, and crime that can potentially reach every member in a society, even if they feel distant or unaffected by it. It can also lead to a diminishing of trust for existing institutions, diminishing social cohesion, and an increase of potential corruption and out of touch leaders. This gives young individuals a sour view and distrust of existing institutions and encourages them to try alternatives. The current alternatives foster a culture of gambling that doesn’t exactly encourage altruism. Instead, it fosters apathy or indifference towards issues of increasing wealth inequality and poverty facing their fellow citizens. Encouraging these new investments is also encouraging the replacement of existing financial and social systems as more people, networks, and developers jump on board.

Can ordinary citizens help reduce wealth inequality and poverty, reduce instability, reduce crime, help restore trust in our institutions, and increase social cohesion?

Yes, and DIGICEN advocates for Digital Economic Inclusion. Economic Inclusion is the idea that everyone can participate in the economy. Digital Economic Inclusion is a modern method of ensuring everyone has access to the variety of tools necessary to participate in the economy and society, while encouraging democratic participation and social entrepreneurship. The necessary tools include: a foundational income floor, such as a Universal Basic Income (UBI), freedom to use the CBDC, access to Internet-enabled Devices and Apps (Universal Access), and access to Democracy Technology, such as Voting Helper Apps. Digital Economic Inclusion cannot work without a commitment to diversity. Typically a monthly disbursement of cash, DIGICEN advocates for digital methods of UBI deployment through bank accounts and/ or through Internet-enabled Devices and Apps. DIGICEN uses the Digital Economic Inclusion Innovation Cycle as a guiding principle:

Besides ensuring a foundational financial floor through UBI, DIGICEN advocates for the implementation of CBDCs or Central Bank Digital Currencies that will enable participation in the economy. The CBDC will compliment the existing monetary system, so all the socially empowering government programs will continue, and potential new programs and state innovations may be created. Make the right financial choice for yourself and others by supporting the implementation of CBDCs.

poverty ctc charity anti-poverty government jobs defi economy economics wealth social cohesion inequality wealth inequality digital economic inclusion ubi basic income

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