Fueled by a growing group of city leaders, philanthropists and nonprofit organizations, 2021 will see an explosion of guaranteed income pilot programs in U.S. cities. At least 11 direct-cash experiments will be in effect this year, from Pittsburgh to Compton.
Two competing (or, possibly, complementary?) proposals for resolving income inequality and the hole that four decades of demand-side Reaganomics has dug us into are Universal Basic Income and a federal jobs guarantee (the former being a kind of "venture capital for everyone" that provides enough money to live without having to work for an employer; and the latter being a guarantee of a good, meaningful job of social value in sectors like infrastructure, education and caring professions).
Universal Basic Income isn't just one proposal: it's a whole spectrum of ideas, with different glosses and nuances coming from the right and the left, from libertarians and those of a more paternalistic bent.
I'm a huge fan of GiveDirectly, who does tremendous work with direct cash transfers for people in poverty — essentially, micro-scale experiments in Universal Basic Income, with long-term data impact studies. As they describe themselves:
GiveDirectly is the first — and largest — nonprofit that lets donors like you send money directly to the world's poorest.
It was initially reported that the $2 trillion Economic Aid package would include $1,200 per person making under $75,000 (less than a month's rent is many cities) and extend unemployment benefits by four months. But people like Sen. Rick Scott complained that a few lucky poor people might get a teeny bit more than they deserve. — Read the rest
Boing Boing favorite Steven Johnson (previously) has written at length about the emerging politics of "liberaltarianism" in Silicon Valley, which favors extensive government regulation (of all industries save tech), progressive taxation, universal basic income, universal free health care, free university, debt amnesty for students — but no unions and worker acceptance of "volatility, job loss, and replacement by technology."
Last year, according to a recent study by Oxfam International, just eight people owned as much wealth as half of the world's population. That's bad. Many people suggest Universal Basic Income as a way to help solve that problem. My friend and Institute for the Future colleague Marina Gorbis suggests that we need something more — Universal Basic Assets. — Read the rest
Update: See below for important corrections to this story
"Fruit Belt" is a 150-year-old predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo that has faced a series of systemic hurdles, each worsening the next, with the latest being the erasure of its very name, with the Big Tech platforms unilaterally renaming the area "Medical Park."
Every year, Bruce Sterling closes the SXSW Interactive Festival with a wide-ranging, hour-long speech about the state of the nation: the format is 20 minutes' worth of riffing on current affairs, and then 40 minutes of main thesis, scorchingly delivered, with insights, rage, inspiration and calls to action.
Wildly-popular card game Android: Netrunner has an exceptionally diverse and inviting lore and universe, but its community of players still has to push back against the social stereotypes of the traditional card game scene. Here's how they're doing it.
Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century is a bestselling economics tome whose combination of deep, careful presentation of centuries' worth of data, along with an equally careful analysis of where capitalism is headed has ignited a global conversation about inequality, tax, and policy. Cory Doctorow summarizes the conversation without making you read 696 pages (though you should).
It's time again for Boing Boing's guide the charities we support in our annual giving. As always, please add the causes and charities you give to in the comments below!
Electronic Frontier Foundation
The EFF's mission has never been more important: as laws like SOPA are rammed through Congress, as bloggers around the world are arrested and tortured with the collusion of American network-surveillance companies, and as the FBI's unconstitutional, warrantless use of surveillance technology like GPS bugs comes to light, EFF is poised to be center-stage in the fight for a free and open world with a free and open Internet. — Read the rest
Guido Núñez-Mujica, a 26-year-old Boing Boing reader in Venezuela who is an avid gamer, writes in with this extensive personal observation piece about a new law that widely criminalizes video games in the South American country. As you read the piece, please also bear in mind that publishing this sort of thing under one's full name is not done without personal risk. — Read the rest