Basic Assistance is a form of United Nations welfare available to residents of Earth. It is supplied through the surplus created by those that do work. Regardless of class, both the employed and those on Basic are considered full citizens of the United Nations, their births and the details of their lives registered in countless government databases.
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For those unable or unwilling to find employment, there is Basic Assistance, the United Nations’ global welfare program. Over half of the Earth’s populace relies on it for survival. Without jobs, these people have no money, so Basic provides shared accommodations in government housing complexes, meagre food in the form of Gray-tasting textured protein and enriched rice, minimal medical care in government clinics, and even recycled paper clothing, dispensed from automated kiosks with a thumbprint. All of these services are provided free of charge, but those on Basic are subject to mandatory contraception and cannot legally have children, apart from the regular “baby lottery” allowing for a small number of births each year.
People on Basic are uneducated and contribute little to Earth’s official economy, but they do engage in a vibrant barter economy among themselves, as well as create their own Gray market industries and unlicensed services that are small enough to function without attracting much attention from the government. The only way off Basic is to get a job or an education.
To apply to a university or other educational institution, a prospective student must have at least one year’s worth of work credits to demonstrate their commitment and work ethic, so that educational resources and classroom space are not wasted on those who will not utilise them fully to contribute to society. There are uplift programs that provide educational or job training opportunities for people on Basic who are self-taught or can meet strict entrance requirements, but they are highly competitive and waiting lists to earn a spot in a vocational program can be upwards of ten years long. As a result, these programs are only an option for a select few. For most people, life on Basic is the only one they will ever know, the news feeds, dramas, and pornography on their terminal screens their only escape from the boredom of their existence.
Roughly half of the UN's population of 30 billion lives on Basic Assistance.
- The Expanse Roleplaying Game, chapter 8 - Earth