Basic Income Isn’t Just About Robots, Says Mayor Who Just Launched Pilot Program

The idea of basic income — in which the government gives all citizens a little monthly stipend — has grown well-liked in tech circles, not inside least because the idea’s seen as a possible solution to the looming problem of robots, artificial intelligence, as well as automation taking jobs away via human workers.

nevertheless when Stockton, California Mayor Michael Tubbs spoke at Cash Conference, a pro-basic income event held in San Francisco on Thursday, about plans to test a basic income pilot for his city, he said the program isn’t a response to encroaching technology.

“Basic income isn’t about a scary future where robots run everything,” Tubbs told reporters at a press conference held Thursday. “the idea’s about today, when working people can’t afford rent.”

Tubbs, along with the Economic Security Project — the group that will hosted the Cash Conference, which can be partially backed by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes — announced Stockton’s pilot on Wednesday. The Economic Security Project pledged $1 million to the initiative, which will dole out $500 a month per Stockton household. For comparison, some other basic income test programs range via one that will pays $1,500 a month to 100 families in Oakland, to others in places like Kenya that will offer people much lower monthly stipends.

Many of the pilot program’s details , including how many people will be selected, how long the idea will run, as well as how the idea will select participants, are still undecided. Tubbs said the city can be hiring a researcher who will design the pilot over the course of six to nine months.

Basic income pilots are in vogue in places around the globe right currently; Hawaii’s doing one, Ontario, Canada can be doing one, as well as startup accelerator Y Combinator can be doing one in Oakland. The idea can be to find out, if you give randomly selected people money with no strings attached, what they will spend the idea on.

“I think the vast majority of people will make rational economic decisions,” Tubbs said of the not-yet-selected Stockton families who will participate inside basic income pilot.

Not all policy makers think giving Americans a basic universal income can be a Great idea. Vice President Joe Biden, who recently launched an institute to study jobs as well as work at the University of Delaware, has opposed the idea, because he believes people derive dignity via doing work.

“While I appreciate concerns via Silicon Valley executives about what their innovations may do to American incomes, I believe they’re selling American workers short,” Biden wrote in a blog post.

nevertheless Bloomberg venture fund manager Roy Bahat, who moderated a panel at Cash Conference, said the idea’s wealthy people, not average Americans, who derive self-worth via their jobs. “Work can be about meaning…if you make $150k a year,” Bahat said, citing a survey conducted by Bloomberg as well as the completely new America foundation. “For everyone else, the idea’s about security.”

Tubbs said receiving basic income wouldn’t necessarily preclude someone via having a job — to be sure, the idea could be nearly impossible to live on $500 a month alone in California. Tubbs says many of his constituents in Stockton have jobs as well as work long days, nevertheless still can’t afford to pay their bills.

“I could say there can be something inherently Great about work, nevertheless I don’t think the inherent goodness of work can be in working as well as not doing money,” Tubbs said Thursday. “I think the idea’s a false dichotomy to say, we can do that will nevertheless we can’t do that will. I think people have dignity when they can pay their bills, pay their healthcare bills, take their kids shopping.”

Stockton, while just a few hours away via San Francisco, hasn’t truly benefited via the tech boom inside Bay Area. Tubbs said he first learned of basic income via Martin Luther King’s book Where Do We Go via Here?, not via Silicon Valley’s roboticists futurists. inside years since he first read King’s book, Tubbs said he’s watched as basic income — or “guaranteed income” in King’s words — has become “not some crazy idea” nevertheless a policy proposal a lot of people were thinking about.

For him, the basic income pilot isn’t about a future where workers are replaced by algorithms as well as robots, nevertheless about a present where the hardest working people — he cited migrant workers, service workers, as well as Uber as well as Lyft drivers — can’t doing a living even if they’re working full-time.

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