Momentum for basic income builds as pandemic drags on

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A man shows off an Andrew Yang “Freedom Dividend” $1,000 bill sign on a street in San Francisco. Amid the pandemic and a global recession, basic income and a basket of related policies have gained unprecedented momentum.

When the idyllic upstate city of Hudson, New York, launches its basic-income pilot program in late September, it will become one of the smallest U.S. cities to embrace a policy once seen as far-fetched or radical.

“Basic-income” programs — designed to dole out direct cash payments to large swaths of people, no strings attached — were, until earlier this year, largely the realm of Washington, D.C., policy wonks and West Coast futurists.

But amid the pandemic and a global recession, both basic income and a basket of related policies have gained unprecedented momentum, surfacing everywhere from Capitol Hill to community Zoom meetings in cities like Hudson.

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Germany is beginning a universal-basic-income trial with people getting $1,400 a month for 3 years

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Starting this week, 120 Germans will receive a form of universal basic income every month for three years.

The volunteers will get monthly payments of €1,200, or about $1,400, as part of a study testing a universal basic income.

The study will compare the experiences of the 120 volunteers with 1,380 people who do not receive the payments. About 140,000 people have helped fund the study through donations. The concept of universal basic income has gained traction in recent years, and Finland tested a form of it in 2017.

Supporters say it would reduce inequality and improve well-being, while opponents argue it would be too expensive and discourage work.

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Experts May Have a Viable Alternative to Universal Basic Income

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At Brain Bar Budapest, a large hall that was plastered in dark and leafy plants struggled to hold a sea of attendees. The crowd gathered to watch Steve Fuller, author of Humanity 2.0 and the Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology at Warwick University, debate Zoltán Pogátsa, a Hungarian political economist. The topic at hand? Whether or not Universal Basic Income (UBI) will be the “social security net of the future.”

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