This week President Obama fielded a question on basic income (he was sympathetic to the arguments but didn’t come down one way or the other). On CNBC Andy Stern proposed that basic income — possibly “the biggest ‘new’ idea of the 21st century” — could be the solution to “a tsunami of economic disruption… barreling toward the United States.” Questions and articles like these are one reason why GiveDirectly is launching a large-scale basic income pilot: to contribute to the debate with rigorous, experimental research.
GIVEDIRECTLY IN THE NEWS AND BLOGS
1. Help make history: Create the largest basic income pilot yet
BIEN News, Ian Bassin, June 25, 2016
The basic income movement is picking up momentum at an enormous rate, but even with past and present trials, many are still looking for further evidence of what would happen if a guaranteed income were provided over the long-term.
2. Mid-year update to top charity recommendations
GiveWell blog, Natalie, June 23, 2016
Updates from the last six months: GiveDirectly announced an initiative to test a “basic income guarantee” to provide long-term, ongoing cash transfers sufficient for basic needs. The cost-effectiveness of providing this form of cash transfers may be different from the one-time transfers GiveDirectly has made in the past….
3. Why we should give every adult $1,000/month for free
CNBC, Andy Stern, June 22, 2016
There have been several basic income experiments, mainly in Canada, Africa and Europe. The closest to the U.S. was a tiny Canadian town of Dauphin that experimented with “Mincome” (minimum income). During the five-year experiment, only two groups of people were found to work fewer hours: adolescents (because they felt no pressure to support a family) and new mothers (because they wanted to spend more time at home with their infants). And, unexpectedly, hospitalization rates went down and high-school completion rates went up. Now, more experiments are being developed in Canada as well as Finland, Utrecht, Namibia and through the nonprofit GiveDirectly. Silicon Valley has also embraced the idea, with Y Combinator piloting a universal basic income program of their own in Oakland.
CASH TRANSFER NEWS
4. Poverty, illiteracy and early deaths await world’s most disadvantaged children: Unicef
The Times of India, ManashPratim Gohainl, June 28, 2016
The report points to evidence that investing in the most vulnerable children can yield immediate and long-term benefits. Globally, cash transfers, for example, have been shown to help children stay in school longer and advance to higher levels of education. On average, each additional year of education a child receives increases his or her adult earnings by about 10 per cent. And for each additional year of schooling completed, on average, by young adults in a country, that country’s poverty rates fall by 9%.
5. Thank you, Mr. President
PhilStar Global, Paulynn P. Sicam, June 25, 2016
Your administration created efficiencies never before seen in government. You made the budget process transparent and inclusive, giving civil society and communities roles in planning programs and projects and monitoring how funds are spent. You built more classrooms and hired more teachers than any other administration, and started the process of bringing our educational system up to par with international standards by switching to K-12. You helped the poorest families in the country through the Conditional Cash Transfer by investing in the youth, giving them a head start in terms of health and education as a means to overcome generational poverty. And you signed a comprehensive peace agreement with the Bangsamoro. While the Bangsamoro Basic Law remains pending, you have opened the doors to peaceful dialogue, development and empowerment with the Muslim rebels in the most impoverished region of the land.
6. Two way street to development
Devex, Bill Hinchberger, June 22, 2016
She recalled former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s conditional cash transfer program Opportunity NYC-Family Rewards, launched nearly a decade ago. “It was inspired by the Mexican and Brazilian programs that were very successful. Today millions of poor Latin Americans are covered by such schemes,” she said. “Their influence has extended to Africa, [but] you won’t find identical programs anywhere — they are adapted to local conditions,” adding that it is one of the ideas that has “swept the world” in terms of poverty reduction efforts.
7. Announcement: 2016 Effective Altruism Global Research Meeting Call for Abstracts
Practical Ethics, June 28, 2016
The 2016 Effective Altruism Global Research Meeting is an opportunity for Postgraduate students and early stage academics from a variety of disciplines to present research relevant to Effective Altruism. The meeting will take place on August 5th to 7th, 2016 at UC Berkeley alongside the Effective Altruism Global conference. The meeting will consist of two events, an academic poster session and a number of short oral presentations. Presentations will be awarded to the most exceptional submissions. Participants selected for presentations will still have the option to present a poster.
8. The Case for Unions to Support a Universal Basic Income
The Atlantic, Bourree Lam, June 27, 2016
Andy Stern has been part of the U.S. labor movement for decades. He was formerly the president of the Service Employees International Union, which represents nearly 2 million American workers. During his tenure at the SEIU, he was hailed as “the nation’s most politically influential union president,” which made his resignation in 2010 something of a surprise.
9. President Obama hints at supporting unconditional free money because of a looming robot takeover
Tech Insider, Chris Weller, June 24, 2016
Basic income has finally reached the White House. In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, President Obama was asked directly about his feelings on basic income, a system of wealth distribution in which people receive a monthly check on top of their existing income to help cover expenses, thereby strengthening the social safety net.
10. A basic income could be the best way to tackle inequality
The Guardian, Robert Skidelsky, June 23, 2016
Britain isn’t the only European country to hold a referendum this month. On 5 June, Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected, by 77% to 23%, the proposition that every citizen should be guaranteed an unconditional basic income (UBI). But that lopsided outcome doesn’t mean the issue is going away anytime soon. The idea of a UBI has made recurrent appearances in history – starting with Thomas Paine in the 18th century. This time, though, it is likely to have greater staying power, as the prospect of sufficient income from jobs grows bleaker for the poor and less educated. Experiments with unconditional cash transfers have been taking place in poor as well as wealthy countries.