How to save a village

In a charitable experiment, everyone in a desperately poor part of Namibia gets a “basic income” of $15 each month. No strings attached.


When Lutheran Bishop Zephania Kameeta called everyone together into the middle of the village of Otjivero, none of the residents expected his announcement. Charities would be providing everyone with a monthly income of $15, no strings attached. It is the latest experiment to alleviate poverty. Critics insisted it would be a disaster. But the opposite happened: crime is down, employment is up and both healthcare and the number of students attending school have improved sharply. And some of the biggest gains have been seen by women.

Spiegel Online

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How to save a village

  1. Well, du-uh.

  2. As Mr. Obvious just said. Certain Canadians have been promoting a basic income for decades. Among them is Senator Hugh Segal. He defended this solution at the May 2009 Canada Social Forum on poverty in Calgary.

  3. We already have a basic income in Canada. It's called "welfare".

  4. Here in Belgium we know what "welfare" means but that is no "basic income".
    A basic income is unconditional as far as income or work is concerned. I may be taxable income like the APF in Alaska and restricted to legal residents. It may be different for children or adults and so on, but in no way it is "welfare".


  5. Milton Friedman proposed a negative income tax which would have given everyone a basic income/salary. I am curious to see how this experiment turns out. I am entirely sympathetic giving money to people as poor as this to give them a chance at a better life.

  6. If these villages are taking their money and using it to better themselves, vs. buying drugs, etc, then I am all for it. Where can I donate to this specific project? This is far better then giving these people food. Lets give them the tools and funds to support themselves. They deserve to have some self pride.