$10 million project to test universal basic income in the US

December 9, 2016 by  
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Could a universal basic income (UBI) be the answer to income inequality in an increasingly automated world? One US group is investing $10 million to find out. The Economic Security Project is a coalition of investors, activists, and technology companies committed to spending the next two years exploring the feasibility of a UBI for US citizens. The work will follow up on previous trials of the UBI , which have shown promising but inconsistent results. (Advocates of the idea claim the programs were under-funded and too short-lived to prove the concept one way or another .) Research has generally shown direct cash transfers to be more helpful than other forms of aid in poor nations, but it’s unclear exactly how matters will play out in a more developed country. Related: Ontario is rolling out a basic income test for citizens living under the poverty line The ESP funds will be used in a variety of ways over the next two years: while there will be some unconditional cash stipends delivered to US citizens, it appears that work will mainly be done through state and local basic income campaigns rather than the organization itself. Some of the funds will also be donated to fund nonprofit research into the best ways to implement UBI and on advocacy efforts to influence political policy. While a universal income may sound like a handout, proponents of the idea believe it will become increasingly necessary as technology advances. One high-profile backer is Elon Musk , who recently told CNBC he believes in the near future, there simply won’t be enough jobs to keep the economy afloat otherwise. But his vision of the future isn’t completely grim: he believes we’ll simply adapt and use our newfound leisure time on more interesting hobbies instead of work. Via The Independent Images via Steven Depolo and Tracy O

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$10 million project to test universal basic income in the US

No unconditional basic income in Switzerland, say weekend referendum results

June 6, 2016 by  
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As predicted, voters in Switzerland roundly rejected a proposal for an ‘unconditional basic income’ (UBI) for all. The final count from Sunday’s vote show nearly 77 percent of residents voted against the initiative, which exceeds the figure estimated by earlier polls. The referendum was held despite a widespread lack of political support, due to Switzerland’s law that allows any proposal that collects 100,000 signatures in 18 months to be put to a public vote. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14SSvIIHZT8 The proposal outlined a $2,500 monthly payment for each adult citizen of Switzerland , as well as legal foreign residents who have been in the country for five years or longer. The initiative also outlined $625 per month for each child. UBI programs are largely designed to help alleviate the stress of paying for basic needs, such as housing and food. In a country where the cost of living is steep, Swiss residents seemed likely candidates for a successful UBI campaign, but the government and most political parties rallied against it for months prior to the vote, arguing that ‘free money’ would make people lazy and potentially lure an influx of unwanted immigrants. Related: Swiss voters to decide on $2,500/mo ‘unconditional basic income’ initiative this Sunday Switzerland’s UBI referendum makes it the first country in the world to vote on such an issue, although similar plans are facing debate elsewhere, and it’s difficult to predict how the results of Sunday’s vote will affect campaigns and experiments in other countries, if at all. Finland is gearing up for a small-scale UBI experiment involving 8,000 residents, while the Dutch city of Utrecht will conduct its own pilot program beginning in January 2017 . Via BBC Images via Blok 70/Flickr and Davide Restivo

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No unconditional basic income in Switzerland, say weekend referendum results

Swiss voters to decide on $2500/mo ‘unconditional basic income’ initiative this Sunday

June 2, 2016 by  
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Switzerland ’s proposed ‘ unconditional basic income ’ (UBI) could become an official policy as early as next week. On Sunday, voters will decide whether every Swiss man, woman, and child should receive a monthly no-questions-asked payment designed to help alleviate the stress of paying for basic needs. Campaigners for UBI have fought hard for several years to bring the question to the public, but analysts say it’s unlikely to pass. A recent poll showed 72 percent of voters are inclined to reject the proposal, following advice from the Swiss government and most of the country’s political parties. In an effort to rally support for the initiative, its campaigners hit people where they can feel it: their bank accounts. The campaign raised funds to hold a lottery of sorts, in which one citizen will be paid 2,500 Swiss Francs per month for a year—the amount proposed under the UBI policy. With a monthly check like that, supporters of the initiative argue that it would become much easier for Swiss citizens to have children, pursue higher education or job training, and it would diminish or potentially eliminate the need for some social programs geared toward low income residents. Related: Switzerland might pay all citizens a 2,500 Franc basic income every month The ballot measure for Sunday’s vote, if approved, would translate into a monthly payment of $2,500 for each adult citizen, as well as around $625 per month for each child. Foreign residents who have lived in Switzerland for more than five years would also be eligible for the payments, under the initiative. Finland and Holland are preparing to experiment with similar programs, and some cities in Canada and Spain are considering it as well. Imagine what your family could do, if you didn’t have to worry as much about paying for basic needs. Via Phys.org Images via Pixabay  and Peter Gronemann/Flickr

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Swiss voters to decide on $2500/mo ‘unconditional basic income’ initiative this Sunday

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