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The poor, liberated – Cash in the News

Abhijit Banerjee, leading academic from MIT and one of the principal researchers on our new basic income trial, wrote in an op-ed in the Indian Express that “the poor, liberated from having to worry… might plan their lives better.” GiveDirectly’s basic income pilot, he writes, “will offer us a chance to learn… If you care about social policy, these are exciting times.”


GIVEDIRECTLY IN THE NEWS AND BLOGS

1. The best way to welfare
Indian Express, Abhijit Banerjee, June 18, 2016
At the very least, this will reduce poverty and free up the bureaucracy to do other things. But potentially, the benefits could be much larger. For example, the poor, liberated from having to worry about where their next meal or school fee will come from, might plan their lives better and invest more effectively in their children and their businesses. There is a privately financed pilot experiment covering several thousand poor households in Kenya run by the NGO GiveDirectly starting in the next few months that will offer us a chance to learn whether these hopes are well-founded. If you care about social policy, these are exciting times.

2. Whether you’re for or against universal basic income, your data is no good
Quartz, Michael Coren, June 17, 2016
GiveDirectly, a charity that gives unconditional cash to the poor, wanted to see what research to date had to say. It found eight programs that had tested how versions of universal basic incomes affected people’s well-being over the long term by covering their basic expenses. But the glaring problem with the experiments was that none met the three fundamental criteria for a viable universal basic income program: that it be universal (for everyone in a geography); basic (cover minimum living expenses); and long-term (over 10 years or more). Instead, the data was a series of experimental payment schemes around the world over the last 50 years that, while extensive, didn’t tick all the boxes.

3. When the Welfare State Met the Flat Tax
Foreign Policy, Samuel Hammond, June 16, 2016
On June 5, 2.5 million Swiss turned out to vote on a proposal to make universal basic income (UBI) a constitutional right. The vote was the culmination of an intense, nearly four-year public debate that ranged from lofty matters of human dignity to wonky questions of optimal tax design. It seemed a UBI had a fighting chance to enter the mainstream, and the world tuned in. But then Swiss voters laid waste to the dream of a UBI, voting against it by a huge margin — 76.9 percent to 23.1 percent.

CASH TRANSFER NEWS

4.  In Senegal, A Safety Net System Designed to Break the Cycle of Poverty
The World Bank, June 20, 2106
Fatick, a three-hour drive from Senegal’s capital Dakar, is one of the regions hard hit by poverty. In a small community made up of mud brick homes and thatched roofs, we met Mariame Aidara’s family of eight children. Her husband has been out of work for two years now and the cash that she’s receiving from the government is helping buy food, pay for medical bills, and cover school supplies for her family.

5. Cash transfers combat Africa’s poverty
(broken link removed on 7/24/1019)
AYE Online, June 17, 2016
Overall, researchers found that a cash-transfer program geared toward families with at least one young child, had effects that amounted to a net benefit of 1.5 kwacha—Zambia’s currency— for each kwacha transferred. A second program for households with fewer able-bodied people to farm had effects that amounted to a net benefit of 1.68 kwacha for each kwacha transferred.

6.  New Financing to Increase Incomes and Opportunities for 6.6 Million among Tanzania’s Extreme Poor
The World Bank, Press Release, June 16, 2016
Over 6.6 million citizens falling in the extreme poor and food-insecure category will have their livelihoods improved with fresh support from the World Bank towards ongoing social safety programs implemented by the Tanzania Social Action Fund.

EFFECTIVE ALTRUISM

7. ​The Hopeful Pragmatist
GOOD, Jed Oelbaum, June 20, 2016
All charity is not created equal. Or so say the adherents of a movement known as effective altruism, quickly gaining traction among millennials as a more practical view of charity. Decisions about how to allocate your contributions are based on quantifiable outcome, not emotion. Peter Singer, the Australian ethicist and author ofThe Most Good You Can Do (Yale University Press), is considered the father of effective altruism, having spent 40 years challenging the conventional wisdom behind our ethical choices.

8. Meet the extreme budgeters who save nearly everything they earn
Sydney Morning Herald,, Kate Jones, June 15, 2016
Spending is overrated and giving is where it’s at for Brenton Mayer. The 24-year-old junior doctor is an effective altruist or in layman’s terms, a dedicated donor to charities. Dr Mayer donates 10 per cent of his income to charities he believes are most effectively saving lives.

BASIC INCOME

9. The Netherlands’ Upcoming Money-for-Nothing Experiment
The Atlantic, Tracy Brown Hamilton, June 21, 2016
Nowadays, the Dutch city of Utrecht is about to see if such a place, where citizens’ fundamental needs are met without any obligations to work, need not be pure fantasy. There, the local government is planning to conduct an experiment that would give 250 Dutch citizens currently receiving government benefits a guaranteed monthly income. A two-year test period is tentatively set to begin in January of next year, and some citizens of Utrecht and some nearby cities will receive a flat sum of €960 per month (about $1,100).

10. The Argument for Universal Basic Income in the U.S.
Bloomberg TV, Andy Stern, June 17, 2016
Andy Stern, author of “Raising the Floor” and former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), makes the case for universal basic income. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal and Scarlet Fu on “What’d You Miss?” (Source: Bloomberg)