What would it take to truly prepare the U.S. for the potential of widespread technological unemployment and invest in people in a way that allows them to really reach their potential? These questions and some novel answers inspired Venture for America founder Andrew Yang to run for president: he is a declared candidate for the 2020 election. Jim interviewed Yang at an event in San Francisco on his candidacy, vision, and the political path forward for basic income.
To understand our current anti-poverty measures and the full impact of a basic income, we need to understand the values and assumptions embedded in the safety net right now. In this episode, Owen discusses these issues with Almaz Zelleke, Associate Professor of Political Science at NYU Shanghai, who is working on a book on the ethics of basic income in the U.S.
We hear a lot about basic income having bipartisan support, with Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr. and Milton Friedman frequently cited together as supporters on opposite sides of the aisle. However, there is also a counter narrative that suggests the progressive and libertarian visions of basic income are too different to be reconciled. In this episode, Owen and Jim delve into how basic income appeals to a politically diverse coalition and how it doesn’t.
The District of Columbia recently commissioned a study on various ways to address poverty, including a negative income tax and a minimum guaranteed income. Jim and Owen spoke with DC Councilmember David Grosso, Council Budget Director Jen Budoff, and the two primary authors of the study, Susanna Groves and John MacNeil, to discuss the findings of the study and its implications.
This week’s guest is Chris Hughes, cofounder of Facebook and the Economic Security Project, and author of the recently released book Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn. Chris discusses how he came to recognize the power of cash transfers, and his experience going from growing up in a low-income family to becoming very wealthy through Facebook. He also lays out his plan to provide financial security to every working American.
How would universal basic income impact the economy? The Roosevelt Institute has done numerous analyses on how unconditional cash transfers could affect the economy at various levels and program designs. Rakeen Mabud, Program Director of the Roosevelt Institute, joins the podcast to discuss these analyses and what they mean for the wider basic income conversation.
Two weeks ago at the annual California Democratic Convention, the party adopted a new platform that includes universal basic income as a policy it supports. Rocky Fernandez, Region 5 Director for the CA Democratic Party, joins the Basic Income Podcast to discuss how this happened and what it means for basic income in California.
Jess Bartholow of the Western Center on Law & Poverty joins the podcast to discuss the Trump Administration’s proposal to cut SNAP (aka food stamps) and replace some cash benefits with a food delivery program. Bartholow discusses the research on SNAP and why basic income advocates should oppose these changes.
Basic income made headlines last week with a proposal by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) to create a United Kingdom Opportunity Fund, which would pay unconditional cash to all British residents under 55. Anthony Painter, Director of the RSA Action and Research Center, joined Jim and Owen to discuss the proposal and the state of politics around basic income in the UK.
Jim interviews Sandra Haynes, winner of “Into the Black”, a speculative fiction contest on basic income, held by the Economic Security Project. Sandra’s story imagines an Artificial Intelligence created to study emotions of people using bank ATMs, which becomes conscious while trying to determine why it keeps seeing people cry. We hear about what inspired this story, Sandra’s thoughts on basic income, and a little bit of the story itself.
Basic income advocates often talk about what a transformative impact universal basic income could have on society — but what issues and challenges will it actually solve? Jim and Owen share their thoughts on whether basic income is the solution to poverty, automation, wealth inequality, and more.
What’s the latest with the basic income study piloted by Y Combinator Research? Jim and Owen sat down with Research Director Elizabeth Rhodes to find out. Rhodes shares insights from the initial pilot in Oakland and the much larger upcoming experiment. Rhodes details the goals and methods of these exciting, important studies.
Jim and Owen take listener questions on some of the most common topics that come up around basic income. Will inflation eat away many of the benefits? Will we need to regulate predatory lending? How will labor rights change? And what does basic income mean for the future of labor and the identity we place in our work? Keep the questions coming by sending them to the Universal Income Project on Facebook, or to Jim (@dr_pugh) and Owen (@owenpoindexter) on Twitter.
How would a basic income impact the disabled community? We delved into this question with social anthropologist Annie Harper of the Program for Recovery and Community Health, Yale School of Medicine. Harper, who works with mentally disabled people, describes the hopes and concerns a basic income offers.
We often talk about economic insecurity at the statistical level, but how does it impact people’s lives day to day and month to month? Rachel Schneider and Jonathan Morduch examined this question by getting to know families who struggle with financial security, and chronicled their findings in the eye opening book The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Insecurity. Schneider spoke with Jim and Owen about her findings and the sacrifices people make for financial stability.
How would a basic income within a city affect how that city operates? To delve into this question, Jim and Owen spoke to Mark MacKinnon, City Councillor in Guelph, Ontario. The conversation ranges from the effects a basic income could have on local businesses to how the political appetite might change for other city improvements. MacKinnon also touches on the basic income pilot that just began in three cities within Ontario.
We often hear about the economic and social motivations for universal basic income — but what about the moral and spiritual ones? Owen and Jim spoke to Dr. Malcolm Torry, author of Citizens Basic Income: A Christian Social Policy, about how providing a universal basic income is in line with the Christian faith.
What new initiatives are starting in the basic income space? The Economic Security Project has funded a variety of exciting basic income projects and launched a few of its own. The project’s Co-Chair Natalie Foster and Special Initiatives Director Cara Rose DeFabio joined Jim for a live Q&A at an event in San Francisco, where they discussed exciting upcoming initiatives including the CASH Conference, an event put on by the Economic Security Project on October 19th.
Owen and Jim discuss Vice President Joe Biden’s recent objections to basic income, and the practical and philosophical points that come up around basic income and employment. They delve into why a basic income could be good for workers and how automation has both driven and skewed the basic income conversation. They also touch on the increasing precarity of today’s jobs and the highly valuable work that goes uncompensated.