Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income is a theme I associate with Union Square Ventures and Albert Wenger. His book on the topic is titled World After Capital and it looks quite good. When I heard about this concept first, I thought it was a dystopian idea from a truly smart but let's be honest, optimistic and idealistic venture capital guy. Universal Basic Inc-what?

A basic income, also called basic income guarantee, universal basic income (UBI), basic living stipend (BLS) or universal demogrant, is a type of program in which citizens (or permanent residents) of a country may receive a regular sum of money from the government.
— Wikipedia

I then learned the concept was not that new – quite the opposite – it's over 50 years old. Then, this week, Ray Dalio (from Bridgewater Associates) shared a well-written primer his team prepared for him. You can read the whole post here.

Here's how they define the concept:

What is Universal Basic Income (UBI)? In general, UBI is a type of cash transfer that is: 

  • Universal: every citizen receives the transfer regardless of employment status or income.
  • Unconditional: recipients have no restrictions on how they can spend the cash.
  • Basic: the amount will cover “basic needs” and will constitute a “living wage.” 
  • Long-Term: the cash transfers will last for the long term, e.g. entirety of the receipt’s life.

Hungry for more? If you're interested in reading about the pros, the cons and all the research was done on the topic, I suggest you read Primer On Universal Basic Income.