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The city of Maricá in Brazil showcases the benefits of socioeconomic engineering through its provision of a universal basic income, underpinned by its establishment and oversight of a sovereign wealth fund. As activists Paul Katz and Leandro Ferreira explain in this illuminating look at the Brazilian town, these measures will benefit Maricá’s inhabitants as they deal with COVID-19. The city’s success could serve as an exemplar for governments struggling to mitigate the economic fallout from the virus.


Maricá’s response to the coronavirus is nearly unprecedented.

In the face of pandemic denial, the small Brazilian city of Maricá has responded effectively to COVID-19. Indigent residents receive 300 reals ($60 USD) per month, a sum that is nearly 170% of Brazil’s poverty level. Other support measures include the public school system’s food distribution to families with children, as well as aid to small enterprises and the self-employed.

Universal basic income and the development of “local cooperativism,” along with an extensive association of community banks under state oversight, have fueled Maricá’s progressive spirit.

A long history of social progress underlies...

About the Authors

Paul Katz directs the Jain Family Institute’s efforts in Brazil. Leandro Ferreira manages Brazil’s Basic Income Network.

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