What if the government guaranteed an income to all people, regardless of their financial means? Known as a “universal basic income,” the concept is gaining followers on the political left and right who see it as a tool to reduce income inequality and prepare workers for a future where many jobs will be automated. Critics argue that it would be prohibitively expensive. Pilot programs, including one in Oakland, are exploring the effects of a guaranteed income at the local level and yesterday, in a historic referendum, Swiss voters decided against adopting a universal national income.
Natalie Foster, advisor, The Aspen Institute and Open Society Foundation ; fellow, Institute for the Future; co-founder, Peers
Matthew Krisiloff, manages the basic income project, Y Combinator
Mike Tanner, senior fellow, Cato Institute
Scott Santens, writer; subsists on a basic income provided through crowd funding.