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Universal Basic Income: The Idea

Manak Suri

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Mankind has come so far because of the ability to adapt. If you were to randomly pick out any point of time in mankind’s history, you would find certain existing threats or those looming large over certain segments of people or a large collection of them. From hunting animals for food for survival to protecting themselves from wars, plagues and famine; for humankind, each step was daunting till it had been conquered. Many of these threats they would brave, while against many others a good chunk of people died trying, leaving behind the ones who were wiser after what they had overcome. In 2017, we are a long long way ahead, still not without problems of our own. One of the gravest, if not the gravest of these problems that is ready for impact in the not so distant future is automation. Automation, with its projected path for replacing much of the work currently done by humans, has the potential to cause a huge disruption in the way we live our life, the way that nearly everyone alive today is accustomed to living. The great challenge that lies ahead of us in the wake of such retrenchment across the world is how to ensure that people are still able to make/earn a living after so much of what they did is taken up by machines. Education and training among others are often touted as the best possible solutions to help make a person stay relevant, but as automation alters the basic structure on which our work life is built, the decades-old idea of Universal Basic Income or UBI has started to once again gain relevance, provoke debates and be looked at as a serious option to catapult the human race into what could possibly be a new social structure.

What is Basic Income or Universal Basic Income?

In case you haven’t been following the idea, the concept behind UBI is to provide every citizen with a fixed amount of money periodically so that they can cover their basic subsistence needs without having to worry about ever living in a state of poverty. The same amount will be received by every individual (with possibly additional allowances for families and children) regardless of whether they are working or how much they are earning from their work. You would not be crazy to point out that the idea behind UBI sounds far too utopian to be true, which is exactly what most critics of the idea have held against it. In addition to that, once you start trying to figure the idea out, you are bound to face really important questions about the scheme. How will the payments to entire populations be financed? Will it exist alongside or replace existing welfare programs in order for its effective implementation? How will the minimum amount be decided? Under what criteria will families, children and the elderly be accommodated under the program if implemented? These are among other questions that merely touch the tip of the iceberg. Without even getting into further details and problems associated with it, UBI may look like an attempt to reach the moon with only a ladder at your disposal.

However, somewhere along the road to figuring out the most obvious intricacies associated with a hugely ambitious and optimistic idea as universal basic income, it is not hard to see why its successful implementation (if it ever happens on a significantly large scale) would be such a game changer for humanity. Besides being a possible solution amid our motivated search to the threats posed by automation, many supporters of UBI also see it as one of the best ways, if not the best way, to create a more advanced as well as equal society. Imagine a world which provides you with sufficient time and room to be able to do what you want to do, to not be tied to your work to be able to afford/make the life that you not only need but the life that you want for yourself. Now imagine if everyone was a part of such a world, that anyone is able to make more time to spend with their family, or to invest in themselves, or to add value to the said world in a manner in which they feel they are most capable, without having to worry about having a meal on their table two times a day.

Where are we with Universal Basic Income?

Yes, all of this does sound maybe too good to be true, especially if this is the first time you are reading about it, but that does not mean it’s not achievable. As a matter of fact, its viability is the biggest question that remains in the open. So, what does the situation look like right now? You’d be surprised to know that variants of the scheme are being experimented across the world on targeted populations in various countries, more recently in countries such as Canada and Finland. More importantly, many of these have shown encouraging results, dousing some of the arguments against the scheme by its critics.

The term Basic Income, or Universal Basic Income is relatively new, but the idea behind it is decades old, or perhaps even older than a century. However, the reasons due to which it originally came about is not the main reason why it has become ever so relevant today. Humanity’s desire to ensure a more equitable distribution of resources has seen its fair share of ups and downs, some too important to forget, but it’s the dawn of automation that the idea of UBI, dismissed countless times over the years due to the intricacies surrounding it that makes it ‘basic’, has come back into the fold, this time with the support of some of the world’s most influential figures. That makes it impossible to just rule it out

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A student of economics with a keen eye for developments in the geopolitical sphere, Manak is a curious individual with a penchant for writing about anything that makes him ponder long enough.

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The art that makes a difference

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Today’s society seems not to give importance to art (the real, authentic art). As the writer Mario Vargas Llosa said in one of many of his essays, we are witnessing an era where everything is trivialized. This explains – according to the novelist – the scarcity of really severe and objective criticism of the arts.

When someone reads the substantial criticisms of the renowned Latin American intellectual, he feels that all is lost. That the decline of the arts, the disdain for literature and fiction as forms of escape from our crushing reality, have condemned us to what the poet T. S. Elliot predicted in the middle of the last century: The Culture Crisis. What might well be called culture against culture, where a toilet or a simple dot on the wall can become art, only because a small group of people without training or knowledge decides it.

It seems that it is enough that the opinion of each one to say that what, for that person is art, must be recognized unquestionably as art for and by all.

What about contemporary art?

Fortunately, there are still signs of authentic beauty in some arts. It is enough to turn on the television or open YouTube to see how private art collections have increased in homes and companies. And that having samples, such as paintings, figures, models and pieces of art, give a warmer, more exciting and cultured atmosphere to space; in addition to the decorative and visual elements, which make the location in a fascinating place.

What used to be seen as something strange (or for strangers), like collecting action figures, superheroes, board games, today has become a practice, and even a well-rewarded profession, which does not escape the of the TV reality shows fever. 

There are already collectors specialized in comics and action figures such as Spiderman, Deadpool, X-Men, Batman, Star Wars, Transformers, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Narnia and other icons of pop culture not only with dimensions of collectable boxes but in real life sculptures and statues of great value, valued in thousands and even millions of dollars.

This has made the details or distinctions of each figure more valuable and generates a visual impact on whoever sees the collections. An activity has thus emerged which, we can safely say, is a real art: the conservation and restoration of figurines.

Due to the level of detail, care and dedication that these people put into bringing models, dummies and action figures, the miniature painting service is a craft for collectors. Or for those who want their collections highlight by their good taste and realism.

A practice with a very loyal niche

These practices and services are not recent. It is already a particular, attractive market that is continuously growing, as private collectors and collections increase. There is no restoration, no matter how hard or impossible it may seem, that the right professionals in this art refuse to do. Their services have become known through the networks, television and specialist YouTubers, as there are already channels dedicated exclusively to this type of art, and to contract their attentive service dial the telephone or visit their web pages. 

These craftsmen do not spare any cost, time or efforts. No matter if it is rubber, anime, wood, glass, plastic or any other material. A few companies in this branch stand out for their neatness in work and for restoring and painting in record time. 

Other companies also stand out for offering courses. There are in person or online, on restoration and painting, inviting authentic specialists in restoration and collectors to give their comments on this beautiful profession. It is becoming more and more lucrative as time goes by, and the rare and collectable figures are marketed and exported.

Certain professional restorers, specialized in specific types of figures, make known through their websites and social networks, there before and after works, and upload videos showing their outstanding talent in painting and restoration work, an art that looks like a goldsmith.

These trades are especially attractive for people who like to paint at home, do handicrafts or who are dedicated to jobs that require patience and detail. It’s not surprising that many entrepreneurs and artists who were initially thinking of taking up other activities have seen collectables and restoration as a promising sustainable business model and way of life.

Those people who have an inclination for crafts, drawing, painting, carpentry, in the assembly of figures and models, now can see in the miniature painting service an opportunity to invest time, effort and money and make their dreams come true. This leads to healthy and intense competition, to determine which company offers a service of restoration and painting of quality, putting effort and dedication, trying to give a careful and personalized service to this activity that however needs to be exported to other latitudes

Restoration is definitely a life-changing art that makes a difference.

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The Best Art Galleries You Mustn’t Miss This Year

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Art gallery woman

“El Sol” Chema Gil Ramírez, Calavera Gallery.

Hey art lovers! We have created for you a list with the best art galleries you mustn’t miss this year. From the greatest masters from long time ago, to contemporary installations around the world, where you can find photography, painting, sculpture and all kind of art.

The Best Art Galleries Of The Year

The Hole, in New York City

Kathy Grayson founded The Hole Gallery in 2010. A space of young and ambitious art located on Bowery Street in New York City, where artists in the eighties used to live and party. It usually hosts two exhibitions at once.

Calavera Gallery, in Italy

Leaders of international art events all around the world, Calavera Gallery owns a prestigious collection of sculptures, paintings, photographs, illustrations and multimedia art works. This art gallery has offices in Tokyo, Paris, Switzerland, Mexico and Austria. Here you’ll find modern and contemporary art.

Levy Gorvy, in New York City and London

Founded by Dominique Lévy, this art gallery located in London and NY city is known for showing contemporary minimal, conceptual, abstract You may enjoy art of artists such as Yves Klein, Frank Stella, Pierre Soulages, Günther Uecker and Dan Colen.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, in Paris, Pantin, Salzburg, and London

The Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac was founded in Austria in 1983. It is now an international art gallery who represents around 60 artists such as Robert Longo, Imran Qureshi, Alex Katz, Gilbert & George, and Cory Arcangel. It’s known for its Drawings Department in Paris and its ironworks factory located in Pantin.

Lehmann Maupin, in New York and Hong Kong

Founded by Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin, Lehmann Maupin art gallery was founded in SoHo in 1996. Artists such as Os Gemeos, Mr., Mickalene Thomas, Gilbert & George, or Alex Prager are represented in this contemporary space. This gallery is known for giving new artists the opportunity of showing their works of art for the first time.

Sean Kelly Gallery in New York

Sean Kelly founded this gallery focused on performance and installation art in New York City in 1991, after his career at the British Museum. His gallery is located in SoHo, and has exhibited Robert Mapplethorpe and Marina Abramović first works of art.

The Saatchi Gallery, in London

This worldwide gallery may be the number one for young artists in UK. Since its opening, it is known for representing debutants. Let yourself get amazed by recent contemporary art.

Sprueth Magers in Berlin, London, and Los Angeles

At the beginning, Monika Sprüth founded this gallery in Cologne due to the lack of female artists in the city. She opened her art gallery to support art made by women. Artists such as Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Ryan Trecartin and John Baldessari have been represented by Sprueth Magers.

Hans Mayer in Düsseldorf, Germany

This art gallery is specially known for its outdoor sculptures, which are surprisingly amazing. The exciting thing about this site is that it’s home of many types of art, such as dance, theater, music and even fashion shows. Check out its schedule!

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How the world of Harry Potter changed us forever

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Harry potter movie castle

When the first Harry Potter book hit the shelves of bookstores in 1997, JK Rowling could only dream of what would happen next. Over 20 years later and we have seen 6 more books, one play, 8 major motion pictures, merchandise, video games, visitor attraction, a dedicated website in Pottermore, and now a series of prequels revolving around the earlier life of the much loved Albus Dumbledore.

Harry Potter changed everything for both children and adults. It really bought reading, especially among teens, back to life for everyone and now translated into 80 languages it really is leaving a worldwide legacy.

Everyday new young people of discovering the world of Harry Potter

As children are getting older, parents are passing down their owner love of all things Harry Potter to their children, and the lessons given in those books are still more relevant than ever in this increasingly technological world. Friendship, courage, making mistakes and carrying on are so vital to be able to see. The more subtle adult themes around prejudice, politics and media are especially important.

The ability of JK Rowling to weave this wonderfully complex storyline around loveable yet flawed characters is fantastic, and to do all this in a way that resonates with children and young adults is quite a skill. Most Potter fans were not surprised at their great sense of loss when the books finally ended.

Immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter

One of the great ways to really get into the world is through the Harry Potter videogame, where you can actually become the characters and fight your way through to take down Voldemort yourself.

Rumour has is that Warner Bros are planning a brand new RPG game very soon, although there is nothing official yet. However, there was the incident of a Youtube video leaked online of a new game, very quickly taken down by Warner Bros, which seems to suggest there is some truth in the rumour. It seems at this moment that you will be able to create characters and play in an open world and make potions and cast spells. What else you will be able to do is as yet unknown but it is certainly exciting.

There is a whole world of fantasy fiction out there

If videogames are not your thing and you are looking for the next great epic to read then there are plenty of books like Harry Potter.

Take for example the three book saga, The Magicians trilogy. This tells the story of a high school student Quentin, who discovers he is a magician and heads to a magical college in New York. It has also been made into a TV series if you prefer to watch instead of read.

It is certainly a bit more adult than the Harry Potter books but is definitely worth a read for older teens and grown ups.

Another series that will fill the hole left by Potter is the Bartimaeus trilogy, that mixes real historic events with magic and revolves around the character of Nathaniel, an 11 year old apprentice of magic. The fun thing about alternative history is that it had endless possibilities and outcomes.

Of course, one of the other all time great trilogies is the His Dark Materials books. This one is a fantastic story, filled with complicated relationships, great characters and a huge number of emotional ups and downs. It touches on concepts of philosophy and religion and some complex concepts that are somehow made completely understandable. This book will have you in tears at some point, and laughing at others.

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