A conversation with Rutger Bregman, author of Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders and a 15-Hour Workweek. We discuss what brought him to the basic income movement, some historical basic income experiments, and how a basic income could benefit his home country of the Netherlands. This was one of our first episodes and originally aired in September of 2016.
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. This episode originally aired in February of 2018.
Canada’s basic income trials in trials in the 70s – the “Mincome” experiments – were largely forgotten until Dr. Evelyn Forget found records of the Mincome trials and individuals who had received a basic income. She discusses what she found, and the implications for Canada’s upcoming trials in Ontario. This episode originally aired in May of 2017.
Three years ago, few people had even heard of universal basic income. Now interest is growing across the country, and the idea is getting more exposure and support. What led to this shift? Owen and Jim delve into many of the factors at play, and discuss how we can take advantage of this moment. This episode originally aired in August of 2017.
Roy Bahat, Head of Bloomberg Beta, discusses the future of employment and why a universal basic income could spur innovation. He also discusses the mental leaps it requires to wrap our minds around the basic income, and what we can do to help others to make those leaps. This episode originally aired January, 2017.
Recently John McDonnell, shadow chancellor of the U.K.’s Labour Party announced that he would like to see state-funded basic income trials when the Labour Party returns to power. This has triggered an active discussion on basic income in the Labour Party and throughout the United Kingdom. Jamie Cooke, Head of RSA Scotland came back on the Basic Income Podcast to discuss these developments and where things might go from here.
On June 26th and 27th, the first Democratic Presidential debates were held in Miami, Florida. The debates gave basic income-focused Andrew Yang a national platform, and several other candidates pushed ideas such as a carbon dividend or expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit that would put more cash in people’s hands. Owen and Jim discuss the debates and how the politics of the moment is shaping these conversations.
Expecting Justice, a program out of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, is spearheading a cash transfer program for low income expecting mothers, with a focus on Black and Pacific Islander women. Dr. Zea Malawa, who is leading the initiative, joined the podcast to discuss the rationale behind the pilot and how cash transfers can be cost-effective from a healthcare perspective.
If you’d like to support this initiative, you can contact Dr. Malawa by email at email@example.com.
Maryland Delegate Gabriel Acevero is leading the charge for the creation of a social wealth fund in his state. This fund, which would be seeded with revenue from medical cannabis, would eventually pay out dividends and potentially other benefits to Marylanders, with the goal of becoming a universal basic income over time. Del. Acevero joined the podcast to talk about his proposal and the role of racial justice in social benefit programs.
We reached out to you for your questions on basic income and you wrote in with many excellent ones. In this Q&A, Owen and Jim discuss whether basic income would be taxable, how a UBI could affect wages and employee bargaining power, and whether basic income could eventually lead to systemic change in other realms. Reach out on Facebook and Twitter if you have more questions about universal basic income.
The Gyeonggi province, the most populous province in South Korea, has started a unique basic income project. Under the program, 24 year-olds will receive one million Korean Won, about $900, unconditionally in a local currency. Juon Kim, a local basic income activist joined the podcast to discuss the rationale behind the program and how it came about.
Recently an article in Fast Company proposed reaching a basic income by expanding social security. Owen and Jim dive into the pros and cons of that approach for social security, the earned income tax credit (EITC), child tax credit and carbon dividend. Each has advantages to offer and issues to overcome on the policies themselves and the political narratives behind them.
The basic income movement in India is growing rapidly. There are proposals for a national basic income, and the state of Sikkim seems likely to introduce a basic income program in the near to mid future. In this episode, Jim interviews Sarath Davala, who has been witness and participant to the progress that has led to this moment. He charts what got us to this point and what might happen in the near future.
While in many ways it feels like we live in unprecedented economic times, through another lens we have been here before. Dr. Carlota Perez charts economic cycles around technological breakthroughs, and she provides needed clarity on our current economic moment. In this episode, she discusses where we are in today’s economy, how we could proceed forward in a productive way, and the stakes in getting this moment right.
One of the most common questions we get about basic income is, “why should it be universal?” Or put another way, “what’s the point of giving Bill Gates $1000 a month?” In this episode, Jim and Owen dive into the debate and break down the benefits and drawbacks of universal and targeted programs, and whether a hybrid approach would be possible.
With India seriously considering basic income proposals, the movement is gaining traction in South Asia. This includes Sri Lanka, which is having a wide reaching political debate in the lead up to its coming elections. We spoke to Talal Rafi, who is helping to spearhead the basic income movement in Sri Lanka about the state of the movement and his activism work there.
Since LBJ’s Great Society programs revamped America’s social safety net, the average American has steadily taken on more and more risk, both through increasing costs of healthcare and education, and the growing precarity of employment, due to globalization, automation and contract work, among other factors. Jacob Hacker, professor of Political Science at Yale, has detailed this growing burden in his book The Great Risk Shift, the second volume of which was just released. Hacker joined the podcast to discuss this major trend in the economy and how a basic income could change the equation.
The second edition of the Great Risk Shift may be purchased here: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-great-risk-shift-9780190844141?cc=us&lang=en&
The basic income movement is gaining national exposure through the presidential campaign of Andrew Yang. Yang has now been interviewed by many major TV networks, magazines and podcasts, and he has qualified for the first two Democratic debates. Owen spoke to Andrew Yang as he was on his way to a campaign stop in New Hampshire about running for president, how basic income resonates in places like Iowa and New Hampshire, and how the politics of this might proceed if he were elected president but faced a skeptical Congress.
Finland recently concluded a nationally funded basic income experiment, focused on people receiving unemployment benefits. We got the first wave of findings from the data, and dove into the results with Ylikanno Minna, Senior Researcher at Kela. We discuss the data, what it means, what we can learn from this experiment (so far) and what we can’t.
Recently, a variety of basic income-esque legislation has been introduced at the federal level. Bills from Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Ro Khanna, Sherrod Brown and others provide cash dividends in some form. Some focus on working people, others on children and one bill would fight climate change and poverty through a carbon dividend. Owen and Jim break down each and discuss if basic income could (and should) happen through a piecemeal approach.