Automation is taking over more and more jobs that used to be held by humans. Meanwhile for the jobs people still do, wages have been flat for decades, as productivity gains have been going to the top of the economy, not the bottom or middle.
And at the bottom, the richest country in the history of the world suffers from unconscionable levels of poverty.
Facts like these are behind a radical rethinking of what it means to earn a living: universal basic income, or UBI. It means everyone gets paid a minimum amount whether they’re working or not.
An organization called the Economic Security Project is advocating for a UBI for every American. The Project was created by one of the winners in the automation economy, Chris Hughes, who co-founded Facebook, Roosevelt Institute Fellow Dorian Warren, and Spencer Critchley’s guest in this episode, Natalie Foster.
As you’ll hear in this interview, her work there has convinced her that we should have a universal basic income, both because it’s the right thing to do, and because without it, our economy may not be sustainable.
Natalie is an expert on the future of work. She co-founded and co-chairs the Economic Security Project. In 2013, Natalie co-founded and launched Peers.org to support people who work in the sharing and on-demand economy. Prior to Peers, she was the CEO and co-founder of Rebuild the Dream, a platform for people-driven economic change, with Van Jones. Previously, Natalie served as digital director for President Obama’s Organizing for America (OFA) and the Democratic National Committee. Natalie built the first digital department at the Sierra Club and served as the deputy organizing director for MoveOn.org.
“Basic Income Reading List,” by the Economic Security Project, Medium
“Fair Shot” by Chris Hughes
“Free Money: The Surprising Effects of a Basic Income Supplied by Government,” Wired magazine (Cherokee, NC study)
“1970s Manitoba poverty experiment called a success,” CBC Radio (Manitoba Mincome project)
“Historical Q&A: Irv Garfinkel on the Guaranteed Income,” Interview by Chris Hughes, Medium
“[Federal] Earned income tax credit,” Wikipedia
California Earned Income Tax Credit information, CalEITC4Me.org
“Beware Fellow Plutocrats, the Pitchforks Are Coming,” TED talk by Nick Hanauer
“Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” by Thomas Piketty