Silicon Valley Supporting Universal Basic Income

By:

Chase Raz

August 14, 2017

Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been discussed on Multinewmedia previously, but never before has it had the type of wide-ranging support in industry since the 1960s.  Technology CEOs seem to be falling over themselves to endorse the idea that we’ve long held as a good, and necessary, idea for the future.  Many economists and conservative pundits have stood against the idea as they incorrectly consider it an “expansion of the welfare state.”

Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Slack’s Stewart Butterfield, eBay’s Pierre Omidyar and Y Combinator’s Sam Altman all endorse basic income.

An employment line during the Great Depression (1930s)

UBI isn’t an expansion of the welfare state, instead, it’s much more properly framed as the removal of the need for welfare.  Each citizen of an implementing body--such as a nation, state, county, city, etc.—would receive a type of stipend representing their fair portion of economic activities.  This would free people economically to pursue higher-risk entrepreneurship, especially within the realms of art or innovation according to Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack.  If one wants to merely exist, the income would be sufficient, however, it is well understood that most people will continue to strive to build additional value back into the economy.

Bloomberg journalist Leonid Bershidsky disagrees by stating that big tech’s interest in the UBI is a part of a plan to make people “mainly useful as consumers rather than as workers.”  However, even Breitbart’s very Libertarian Tom Ciccotta asserts a fairly neutral position by pointing out that both conservatives and libertarians have joined progressives in endorsing UBI concepts in the United States.  Ciccotta notes that it is mainly free-market conservatives that oppose the plan.

Multinewmedia supports the further exploration of basic income structures.

What are your thoughts?  Should we explore universal or other basic income plans further or leave the concept alone (temporarily or permanently)?  Tell us below in the comments.