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The “Freedom Convoys” and the Social Inequality

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The Pandemic has brought not only restrictions it has also led to protests worldwide. Over 200 significant antigovernment protests have erupted worldwide, in more than 100 countries, and only about 25 protests have been directly related to the coronavirus pandemic. The main reason for these protests was political and economic corruption. Due to the circulation of information, thanks to the internet and social media, those protests have rapidly spread from one country to another. Poverty is a global problem, and people begin to realize the reasons that lie behind this situation, which seems to be worsening every day.

In an age of information, that should make us dream of space travel and colonization of other planets, we still struggle with poverty worldwide. The expanding gap between rich and poor is facilitated by corruption and economic measures. This has led many people to understand that fighting is the only way to create a better future for themselves and for their children. The "freedom convoys" that have rapidly spread throughout the world are not some simple protests against the coronavirus restrictions, they are a worldwide movement against social inequality.

One reason for poverty is the lack of jobs. No job means no money, and the lack of money leads to the loss of housing, to the lack of access to medical care (which leads to a higher incidence of diseases and a higher mortality rate among the poor), and to a lack of education, which in its turn reduces the chances of the person to find a job in the future.

Automation is a factor that contributes to the disappearance of jobs, since using robots instead of humans means lower costs, while machines have a higher work efficiency and greater precision than humans.

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Besides robots that do automatic, repetitive tasks, the development of AI is leading to the replacement of certain white-collar jobs too, such as accounting. Robots have even acquired artistic skills since some of them are able to paint, compose music or write poetry.

The Universal basic income (UBI) was suggested as a solution to this problem of poverty. This is a government-guaranteed payment that each citizen receives, regardless of whether they're working and earning an income, or not. In fact, the idea dates back to the middle ages. In 1516 Thomas More talked about a guaranteed income in his "Utopia". In recent years this idea has been debated much more than before, due to the increase in the gap between rich and poor worldwide. Many famous people are advocates of guaranteed income, such as Elon Musk, Pope Francis, Chris Hughes, Co-founder of Facebook, or George P. Shultz, former U.S. Treasury Secretary. The Covid pandemic has once again brought this issue to the forefront because it lead to the loss of many jobs and thus increased the poverty of an already poor population. Now you will think that a Universal basic income means a lot of money and that nobody will fund such a project. But let's take another example, that will prove that the idea is not as unrealistic as it seems. Think about the pension. The pension was implemented in 1889 in Germany by Otto von Bismarck, as a part of his social legislation. Before that time people would have considered such an idea impossible to implement, due to the high costs. Nowadays we cannot imagine a life without retirement and a pension. Just as with the abolishment of slavery and the emancipation of women, people dreamt of those things, and considered them a utopia, until they were actually turned into practice. Many countries around the world have already tested the Universal basic income system on groups of population and concluded that it motivates people to work even harder, because they know that the wage will be added to the Universal basic income (thus resulting in a higher income, which is motivating) and it also reduces the work-related level of stress, thus resulting in healthier individuals and fewer expenses to the healthcare system. The money resulting from spending less on treating the employees who get stress-related diseases can be also directed into funding the Universal basic income system.

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In order to combat poverty, the government needs to be involved too, unfortunately, most governments refuse to do that, and this is also one of the reasons for the antigovernment protests we have witnessed lately worldwide. Corrupt governments fail to build good infrastructure or to provide social welfare programs and often persecute entire groups of the population.

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Lack of good healthcare is another factor that leads to poverty. Poor people are more likely to suffer from bad health because healthcare is often too expensive for them. If they have to choose between healthcare and essentials such as food, food will take priority, since it is directly related to survival. Getting treatment would ruin their finances. If they can't get treatment, they can't work and they get into a vicious circle they can't escape.

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Social injustice, such as racism or gender discrimination also leads to poverty. Victims of social injustice struggle with getting the right job opportunities, a good education, or access to resources.

Prices are too high, while the income is too low. One of the most basic needs of a family is housing. While there has been no income growth in recent years, the global house markets have been climbing. Food prices are also high and many households are spending about 80% of their incomes on food alone. This leaves almost no money for other basic needs such as healthcare, housing, or education.

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