Photo:Book cover and Enea Franza
The International University for Peace based in Rome (Established together with the other homologous universities in 1980 by the United Nations) has addressed in the book Basic Income one of the most interesting topics that in the coming years could fuel a vast political and economic debate at an international level . We are talking about the possibility of introducing for the first time in the history of humanity a basic income for all capable of concretely freeing man from the anguish of having the bare minimum to lead a dignified life. Below is an integral introduction to the book by prof. Enea Franza, Director of the Department of Political Sciences of UPEACE, who edited the publication in which 11 scholars and experts on social issues collaborated. The preface of the book bears the signature of Eng. Prof. Gianni Cara, President of UPEACE – Rome.
“When in the world of credit we talk about ethical finance, we generally see the following concept: if money is used to finance “social” activities, its use is “ethical”. Obviously it is assumed that otherwise it is not. Behind this conception there is certainly an ideological nuance that puts the “ethics of capitalism” (essentially profit) before another “ethics”: money for something else (an ideology, a religion, an opin- ion etc.). The reason, understandably, lies in the attitude of a part of the business world to interpret capitalism as a wild race for money, unfortunately forgetting that the values on which it is based are also others. Hence the understandable reaction, which emphasizes the “purpose” in the use of money as a discriminating element to judge the “ethics” of the investor and the investment “. This is how Jacopo Schet- tini Gherardini expresses himself, in a beautiful article in “Il Sole 24Ore”, of March 2002, on the theme of the binomial Finance and Ethics, centering, in my view, the essence of the debate on ethical finance; in fact, the various discus- sions on ethical finance find few points of convergence.
Except, in fact, the general agreement on the fight against financial speculation, derivative finance, the fight against tax havens, there is a profound division on ethical issues and, therefore, on concrete interventions; on the one hand there are those who favor, in fact, the themes of ecology and the use and distribution of natural resources. The issues dealt with, in this case, are not new to the eco- logical world: climate, water, biodiversity, resources.Ecological issues are dealt with firmly, integrating them with social issues, with the quality of life on earth, with iniquity.Others, on the other hand, favor interventions in favor of scientific research or new technologies.
Indeed, it is not easy to determine a precise date to which to attribute the birth of the concept of ethical finance. A suf- ficiently satisfactory idea is to make this date coincide with the establishment of the first ethical investment funds, which appeared in the US at the beginning of the twentieth century. At that time some religious institutions began to avoid investing in sin stocks, linked to the alcohol, tobacco and gambling sectors: the Pioneer Fund was thus estab- lished, the first investment fund oriented in an ethical sense, in which most American Protestant men poured their sav-ings.After the Second World War, around the 1960s and 1970s, numerous American religious communities and uni- versities refused to invest their money in the securities of companies involved in the Vietnam War. Thus began the interest in the final destination of money, which would no longer have to undergo any demonization, sic et simpliciter, by the financial system, considered extraneous to any moral principle, but reflecting the contribution made to social development.
In 1971, the Pax World Fund was created by the Meth- odists, which was the first modern socially responsible mu- tual investment fund. Not only were the titles of companies involved in various activities of questionable morality, such as arms trading, tobacco and alcohol production, gambling, etc. excluded, but activities that demonstrated solid ethical values were included: respect for environment, for employees, and so on. The purpose of the fund was to contribute to world peace through investment in companies producing goods and services to support life.
The spread of the human rights issue was also related to the same period. Hence many people refused to invest in activities related to the exploitation of minority ethnic groups, South Africa and its apartheid policy. From the USA – even with the beginning of the application of the SRI – Socially Responsible investing and shareholder activism, which aimed to direct the attention of investors to the new criteria of social responsibility adopted by companies – we moved on to Europe, where the first ethical consulting firm. For example, Eiris, Ethibel and Avanzi were founded; subsequently indices also spread on the Stock Exchanges, originally in the USA and subsequently also in the other European Stock Exchanges, concerning ethical stocks, such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, or the Domini 400 Social Index. At the end of 1999 there were 188 different funds in Europe, with assets of about 11 billion dollars, which in the first years of the 21st century experienced not only strong but even impetuous growth.
But let’s get to today. The financial crisis of 2007 high- lighted specific responsibilities. Many pointed to the pred- atory practices of subprime lenders and the lack of effective supervision by government authorities. Others accused credit brokers of directing borrowers to loans they could not meet, and accused appraisers of artificially inflating prop- erty valuations. Wall Street was complicit in betting on securities incorporating subprime mortgages without verify- ing the actual solvency of the underlying loans. In essence, it has been questioned whether the free and savage forces of capitalism can actually determine the common good and the theme of ethical finance and the use of financial re- sources that helps a balanced development has been strongly re-proposed.
Well, in my view, if we must take into account which, among all the urgencies that are manifested to humanity to- day, is the one most attackable with financial commitment and a strong will, certainly in the first places there is the emergency determined by the enormous growth of the hu- man population, particularly in some particularly poor re- gions of the planet.On this aspect, finance can certainly contribute in a win- ning way, finding, moreover – in my view – the way to both redeem itself and have the opportunity for ample profit. Sta- tistical data, in fact, estimate the current world population to be over 7.5 billion individuals; the demographic explo- sion has, moreover, the characteristic of amplifying the dif- ferentiation between the human races present, and is des- tined to generate an increasingly different world, if we take into account the different fertility between Western, African and Far Eastern countries. Just to give an example, while the number of children per family in Italy is 1.3, for Niger it is, for example, 6.5.
The question to be addressed, therefore, starts from the observation that statistical research conducted by qualified analysis and demographic research institutes show that over 214 million pregnancies are unwanted and, therefore, suf- fered. It is therefore evident that a lot can be done and that money (a lot of money) is necessary for proper information, education and prevention of “family planning”, that is, for the design and use of birth control.In order to avoid misunderstandings from the outset about what we are talking about, I immediately clarify that family planning cannot and must not be understood as a pol- icy that does not put the woman and her family at the center of the choice to procreate the woman; therefore, family planning policies such as those, for example, adopted by the Chinese government are certainly not part of the issue being addressed.
Well, after this necessary premise, we are going to ex- plain why, from our point of view, it is convenient for states and individuals to invest in family planning in African countries and the Far East. The economic reasons are essen- tially two. The first is evident to everyone: the enormous poverty of some countries ends up affecting Western economies as well, as demonstrated by the caravans of poor people who migrate from the South of the world in search of opportuni- ties to the richer countries. The phenomenon is evident both on both sides of the Atlantic (the Mediterranean, the Balkan route and Mexico are just some of the most recent exam- ples) and in the Far East, where many Chinese knock on India’s doors.
Abnormal demographic growth has created an unsus- tainable problem for poor countries, which are unable to face and sustain the cost of maintaining their citizens. Their development, in fact, collapses under the influence of demographic growth; and those people have no choice but to emigrate.Let’s take a simple example to help us understand the complexity of the phenomenon. Suppose we have a popu- lation of 3 million; with the current birth rate, 330 children would be born every day, and therefore, for education alone, at least 10 new classes and at least 20 teachers are needed, not counting doctors and nurses; there are also problems of urbanization. Our hypothetical population dou- bles in a few years and it follows the movement towards urban centers where water and electricity are guaranteed. It will then need more food, resulting in greater exploitation of land and resources. Therefore, the costs are enormous and it is in everyone’s interest to intervene, with investments that make it possible to face the emergency.
Another reason why it should be convenient to invest in poor countries – which in reality we hear very little about – is that using money in these countries can bring profit: the key to everything is in the so-called demographic dividend. Basically, if one manages to control and reduce the birth rate of a nation, a window opens in which the total number of active people is higher than non-productive ones – made up mainly of children, pregnant women and the elderly; at this point, with the right conditions, the decrease in the birth rate and the increase of active workers on the total popula- tion, an increase in productivity is determined which can be connected to a period of extraordinary economic growth.
But let’s analyze what are the conditions for this “miracle” to take place, so that this suggestion does not remain so, and finally appears, like the help of the cat and the fox to Pinocchio, in the famous tale of Collodi and sounds like “- We don’t want gifts – replied those two ailments. – It is enough for us to have taught you how to get rich without hard work, and we are happy as a pasque.”
In reality, some unavoidable conditions are necessary for everything to happen. The first: the poor states must divert part of the investments, now destined for the construction of large infrastructures, to “family planning”. This program, then, should be coordinated and supported by international financial institutions, with investments and repayment plans linked to the economic growth of the country receiv- ing the intervention program. The programs would primarily finance the costs of edu- cation for responsible pregnancy, to be implemented through interventions for the distribution of contraceptive means and with direct assistance, as well as a health inter- vention plan for the assistance of pregnant women and care of the unborn. This operation alone allows a return of about 2.5 dollars, for every dollar currently spent. In other words, after an expenditure of 100, 250 are saved due to lower spending interventions (these also destined, but ex post, to the care of the born and of women).
Surveys conducted in some African countries, such as Tanzania and Uganda, for example, have shown that over 85% of women want contraception and are pregnant, with an estimated 40% of unwanted pregnancies. Births, then the illnesses of mothers and children, determine a cost for the community, which with family planning would bring itself back to physiological terms. With these premises, families with a more limited number of children (and to be assumed also healthier) and healthier and more educated women will conceive at a later age and, therefore, with greater employ- ment opportunities. Cost savings therefore continue over time, repaying the investments made which, in addition to covering costs, can even give rise to profits.However, further interventions are necessary in order to reach a situation of profitability from the reduction of costs: a new governance, with a more adequate distribution of wealth, and investments in training that allow the acquisi- tion of pre-professional skills more connected to the world of work for professional integration into society.
Therefore, investing in poor countries, I repeat, can be a bargain, and with a very high return that will be all the higher when the family planning program is conducted with determination and “speed”. Examples are Tunisia and South Korea which show very different demographic dividends: while in South Korea, the speed of the intervention has gen- erated another profit, this cannot be said for Tunisia, where the slow demographic decrease does not has made it possi- ble to reap the full benefit of an increased workforce.I thank all those who have had the patience to follow me up to this point, hoping to have kindled in their hearts a hope for a different and better future, to which everyone, at this point, even with our scarce financial means, can directly help to determine, even finding opportunities of benefit for themselves, as well as for others.
Finance at the service of ethics. a premise to universal income – Enea Franza
Universal income between humanitarian rights and the European union – Paolo Iafrate
‘Crime and poverty in the post-covid-19 era’ – Aikaterini-Sotiria Argyriou
Universal basic income (UBI) as the unique concept –international perspective – Jolanta Kubicka
Universal income, minimum wage, citizenship income: different parts of the same engine – Paolo Patrizio
The universal basic income as the type of mutual social security – Bruna Augusto, Marcus Brancaglione and Pedro Theodoro dos Santos
Universal basic income for india a myth – Shobana Nelasco
The decisive role of the media – Antonio Diomede
Universal income: first experiments in the world end concluding remark – Rainero Schembri.
Enea Franza. (Italy)Chartered Accountant and Auditor. Director of the Department of Political Sciences International Uni- versity for Peace-Roma. Consob executive and lecturer in various Italian and foreign universities. Chartered account- ant, statutory auditor and freelance journalist. Member of various boards of statutory auditors of public or private en- tities and companies. Author of scientific publications. Speaker in Italy and abroad on economics and law of finan- cial and business markets.
Paolo Patrizio, (Italy) Lawyer, current Secretary General of Ital- ian-Arab International Cooperation Council, Judge Arbitra- tor at the International Arbitration Chamber, National Vice President of Meritocrazia Italia, member of the Fintech group of the University of Peace of the United Nations andlocal Scientific Director and Essayist de “Ilgiuslavorista.it”for Giuffrè Editore.
Jolanta Kubicka, (Poland), PhD Adjunct, Visiting Professor, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Head of the Department of International Relations for several years, Specialist in fields of: international economic relations, integration process, international management, law, international logistics and engineering. Author of several scientific books and numerous publications in Polish and English. Lecturer and adjunct at many Polish and Foreign Universities. Cooperation with many institutions like: Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Poland and Lithuania, Embassy of India, Embassy of China and others. For many years a lecturer for students from all over the world, in particular: the UE (Italy, Spain, Lithuania and others) and non-UE, like: Ukraine, Russia, India, China, Mexico, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Uzbekistan,Tajikistan, Georgia, D’Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Zimbabwe,Nigeria, Algeria, Marocco and others.
Aikaterini-Sotiria Argyriou (Greece), PhD Candidate in International Economics (West Ukrainian National Univer- sity), Diploma in Social Policy (Panteion University Greece), Diploma in Journalism, Master in Methodology and Applications in Social Policy (Panteion University), Master in Shipping (St Thomas Polytechnic of Singapore- University of Piraeus Greece), Master in Psychology (Ter- nopil Volodymyr Hnatiuk National Pedagogical University Ukraine), Master in Geography (Ternopil Volodymyr Hna- tiuk National Pedagogical University Ukraine), Master in Tourism (Ternopil Volodymyr Hnatiuk National Pedagogi- cal University Ukraine), Master in Human Resource Mana- gement (St Thomas Polytechnic of Singapore- University of Patras). MBA in Tanker Management, an MBA in Mari- time Labour Convention, MBA in Environmental Manage- ment System, Seminar in Intercultural Relations, Seminar in Environmental Geoinformatics.
Paolo Iafrate, (Italy) Adjunct Professor, expert in Criminal Law, Immigration and Muslim Law and Islamic Countries; of Privacy and Compliance. Research Doctor (Phd) in Roman- istic Legal System and Unification of Law, specialization in Islamic law. He is currently an Contract Professor at the University of Rome Tor Vergata of national and European regulation on immigration, as well as a member of the Sci- entific Council of the Center for Economic and Legal Re- search (CREG). He collaborates, as an expert, with univer- sity and non-university research centers. He is a lecturer at the International University for Peace – Onlus – Italian branch in “Human rights, immigration and cooperation” and member of the ethics committee.
He is also an external expert of the European Commission for various programs. Since 2014 he has been special cura- tor for the legal representation of minors in civil proceed- ings and an expert in Muslim Law, Islamic Countries and Immigration Law. Author of numerous publications on the subject. Author of the book “The legislation on immigrants and refugees in Italy: between formalities and operations”.
Bruna Augusto, Marcus Brancaglione and Pedro Theodoro dos Santos (Brasil) are the current director of the NGO Instituto ReCivitas. Since 2008, they have been re- sponsible for the Social Project for Basic Income in Qua- tinga Velho, Brazil. Authors of several books and articles related to the defense of civil and human rights. And colla- borators in publications, studies and congresses with Uni- versities and International Networks.
Shobana Nelasco (India) is a Development Economist, teaching to Graduate and Master students for 31 years, including Research students and is performing social activities through multiple organisations. She has specialised in Development Economics, Basic Income, Gender Justice, South Asian Studies, Ancient Medieval history of Tamilagam(Dravidian History), Saiva Sidantham, Arts and Culture of Tamilagam, External Borrowing, Environment Protection, Gandhian Economics, Christian Studies etc. and also works for Peace, Environment Protection, women Empowerment and Eradication of Poverty and Social Evils and to bring a sustainable and Wellbeing Economy. Dr. Nelasco has published 11 books and 102 papers in various journals that reaches the intended society. She is a doctoral research guide in Madurai Kamaraj University, University of Technology, Mauritius and Sainath University, Ranchi for Economics and Management
Antonio Diomede, (Italy) President of REA – Associate European Radiotelevisions, founded in 1978. In that period hundreds of private radios and televisions were born in Italy (a unique worldwide phenomenon), breaking the monopoly of state TV. In 2002 he was called to be a member of the Committee for the development of digital systems promoted by the Government in view of the introduction of Digital Terres- trial television. He is currently engaged in a difficult battle to save numerous local radio and television stations in dire economic difficulty.
Rainero Schembri, (Italy) journalist. Born in Naples in 1950 lived for 15 years in Brazil. In 1968 he returned to Italy, graduating in Political Science at the Sapienza University of Rome. In 1973 he began his journalistic career dealing mainly with international economic and cultural relations. He has pub- lished: From Cities to Europe (AICCRE), Italy in Interna- tionalization (1 and 2 – Assomercati Internazionali), Radio and TV at the Crossroads (REA), The new social era (Inter- national University for Peace – UNIPACE), as well as other volumes of a cultural and economic nature. Schembri is cur- rently the general coordinator of the Social Protection Movement, an international opinion movement that aims to strengthen the welfare state on an international scale.
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