Has always seemed a bit perverse, especially now that it's the only
assistance a lot of people can receive, in that food is something that
many people could produce substantial amounts of on their own, even
in urban environments while many other things basically must be purchased
w/cash or equivalent.
During the great depression those people who could stay on their own
land were relatively much less vulnerable than those who were homeless,
in urban areas, etc.
In Brazil anyone poor enough automatically qualifies for direct cash assistance.
One argument for a guaranteed minimum income is that it is simply cheaper than
what we do now (while leaving a lot of people who need help without any). Not to
mention far less intrusive.
There's a good discussion of the rationale for it (along with lots of other thought-provoking stuff) in the book "Communitas" by Paul and Percival Goodman:
The current American system is mostly welfare for bureaucrats and to reduce people
to perpetual dependence and acceptance of intrusion into their lives. Not about uplifting things like backyard chickens, unfortunately.
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