Feb 26, 2014

The story of the priceless pearl and citizen ownership dividend

This is a story of a man who, not knowing that he owns a priceless pearl, has to toil long and hard for his food and clothing.
It is like a person who goes to a close friend's house, gets drunk on wine, and lies down. His friend who is about to go away on official business, sews a priceless pearl inside his clothing as a gift, and then leaves.
That person, in a drunken stupor, is not aware of anything. On arising, he sets out on his travels and reaches another country, where, for the sake of clothing and food, he expends much effort, endures great hardships, and is content with whatever little he may get.
Later, his close friend happens to meet him again and says, Hey man! How can you, for the sake of food and clothing, have come to this?
Long ago, wishing you to gain peace, happiness, and enjoyment of the Five Desires, on such and such a day, month, and year I sewed a priceless pearl into your clothing. From of old until now, it has been present, but you did not know of it. Thus you have toiled and suffered to gain your livelihood. How stupid of you.
You may now take this jewel, exchange it for what you need, and you will always have whatever you wish and be free from want.
(From buddhistdoor)
This story is particularly relevant to our rights to a citizen dividend or an unconditional basic income.

This pearl is our country. It is of much value. We don't know that we really have ownership of our country. So we work very hard just to survive, to get minimum wage and to get food stamps.

One day when we realize that we really have ownership of our country, we will be freed from this toil. The citizen dividend will free us from survival pressures. A citizen dividend won't be enough for us to "have whatever we wish", but it should be enough for survival. Here are a few numbers for potential citizen dividends around the world:

Falkland Islands: US$500,000 citizen dividend for each resident annually.

Kuwait: $2.3 million citizen dividend each, over a lifetime of 80 years. 

Equatorial Guinea: US$6,000 citizen dividend each annually.

Norway: At least US$5,000 citizen dividend each annually, and going up each year.

Singapore: $800,000 citizen dividend for each citizen, over a lifetime of 80 years.

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