Category: social policy

Slack CEO Voices His Support for Universal Basic Income

The Financial Freedom to Take Risks

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one of many famous tech celebrities that believes everyone should have some amount of basic income. Now, one more voice is joining in to support the social media creator’s idea, and its Slack CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield.

Butterfield isn’t only known for making the team messaging app, but is also the co-founder of the Yahoo-owned, popular image website Flickr. On Twitter, the CEO shared his stance on the matter, saying that just by giving people a small amount, people may be more open to pursuing entrepreneurial idea and investments.

Butterfield joins Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Y Combinator president Sam Altman, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Zuckerburg has spoken repeatedly about his opinion on unconditional basic income (UBI), and has pointed to Alaska’s UBI program as as example the U.S. could learn from. Musk, in February, said the rise in autonomous technology will greatly impact the workforce, and could eventually force government to introduce a basic income program.

Photo Credit: Cade Roster / Flickr

Those Opposed

Despite the number of people in favor of the concept, knowing how much it is, and knowing how it works, it’s hard to tell if it will be incorporated any time soon, or at all. The idea of a “free handout” or “free money” doesn’t sit well with everyone, and some would probably prefer to earn their wages with hard work.

Universal Basic Income: The Answer to Automation?
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Furthermore, not every wealthy tech luminary and philanthropist agrees with UBI. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, for example, has called it “one of the worst possible responses” to the evaporating job market. That said, he also believes existing safety net programs should be better, if only to be more efficient and able to distribute more money with cheaper operating expenses.

One thing is clear: basic income is a conversation that needs to be had, with its positive benefits put on display more prominently than its presumed faults.

The post Slack CEO Voices His Support for Universal Basic Income appeared first on Futurism.

Finland’s Universal Basic Income Program Is Already Reducing Stress for Recipients

Start With the Finnish

Earlier this year, Finland launched a pilot program to test a universal basic income (UBI) policy by giving 2,000 of its citizens €560 ($624) every month for two years.

Universal Basic Income: The Answer to Automation?
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This program is dramatically different from traditional safety net systems. The payments are completely unconditional, and recipients can spend the money however they want. They are not required to prove they are actively looking for work, and even if they find employment, they will not lose their income from the UBI program.

Five months into the program, organizers are starting to see some promising results. One participant in the program told The Economist that he is now actively seeking work and feels less stressed. Of course, this one anecdotal example cannot speak for the whole of the program, which is still in its infancy, but it is encouraging.

Global Incubators

In anticipation of the rise of automation, other UBI programs are being tested all around the world.

Some programs, such as GiveDirectly’s trial in Kenya, are being spearheaded by nonprofits. Others are being undertaken by corporations, such as Y Combinator’s plan to give a basic income of between $1,000 and $2,000 a month to participants in Oakland, California.

As is the case in Finland, governments are also testing the waters of UBI. At the end of last year, the government of Prince Edward Island unanimously voted to work with the Canadian government to establish a pilot UBI program, and India is currently exploring the possibility of such a system as well.

Not only could UBI replace the income lost as automated systems continue to replace human workers, experts also believe that having such a safety net would spur more innovation as the fear of failure would be reduced. People equipped with the knowledge that they will be able to provide for themselves should they fail will be more willing to take bigger risks, which could result in a spike in innovation that would help us all.

The post Finland’s Universal Basic Income Program Is Already Reducing Stress for Recipients appeared first on Futurism.