In an Easter letter to members of popular movements and organizations, Pope Francis suggested that the coronavirus crisis may be an occasion to consider a universal basic wage.
“I know that you have been excluded from the benefits of globalization,” he wrote April 12. “You do not enjoy the superficial pleasures that anesthetize so many consciences, yet you always suffer from the harm they produce. The ills that afflict everyone hit you twice as hard.”
He reflected that “Many of you live from day to day, without any type of legal guarantee to protect you. Street vendors, recyclers, carnies, small farmers, construction workers, dressmakers, the different kinds of caregivers: you who are informal, working on your own or in the grassroots economy, you have no steady income to get you through this hard time … and the lockdowns are becoming unbearable.”
“This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out. It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights,” he claimed.
Francis also said: “My hope is that governments understand that technocratic paradigms (whether state-centred or market-driven) are not enough to address this crisis or the other great problems affecting humankind.”