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MLK Had a Dream: Cut Everyone a Check19 Jan 2017 10:17 am

ubi.jpgWhat if every citizen got the same paycheck monthly no matter what their job or whether they had any job at all?

The idea of a universal basic income, or UBI, has been getting a bit of attention recently following Finland’s decision to test out a limited version of the concept.

This from a recent CNN Money article:

Participants will receive €560 ($587) a month — money that is guaranteed regardless of income, wealth or employment status.

The idea is that a universal income offers workers greater security, especially as technological advances reduce the need for human labor. It will also allow unemployed people to pick up odd jobs without losing their benefits.

While Finland’s experiment focuses on the unemployed, many proponents of the UBI believe it will work best when the paychecks are spread among all citizens.

“Rising inequality, decades of stagnant wages, the transformation of lifelong careers into sub-hourly tasks, exponentially advancing technology like robots and deep neural networks increasingly capable of replacing potentially half of all human labour, world-changing events like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump – all of these and more are pointing to the need to start permanently guaranteeing everyone at least some income,” writes Scott Santens in a World Economic Forum post this weekend. (The UBI infographic above was included in this article.)
Given all the recent UBI attention, it’s hard to believe it’s been an idea that’s been batted about for years. I was surprised to find a reference of it last week when I was reading Martin Luther King Jr.’s book “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community.”

While the book was written in 1967, a year before King was assassinated, it could very well have been published today because so much of what he talks about regarding race and poverty is unfortunately still with us. (more…)

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