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Universal basic income got its first endorsement this week from a 2020 presidential candidate (unless you believe the speculation that Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for president). In this week’s Beyond VB section, I included a link to a New York Times profile of Andrew Yang, the founder of Venture for America who is betting a long-shot presidential bid on advocating for universal basic income.

Yang tells the Times that he would brand universal basic income as a $1,000 “freedom dividend” that would be given to every American from age 18 to 64.

According to Yang, the freedom dividend is necessary to prepare for the continuous automation of jobs. He told The Times, “I believe that universal basic income is necessary for capitalism to continue.”

I’m skeptical that Yang can get the necessary traction for universal basic income through a presidential bid that isn’t likely to be closely watched beyond those in the tech world. I favor introducing the general public to universal basic income through smaller pilot studies, like the ones being run by Y Combinator and the city of Stockton, California. It appears, though, that Yang might feel automation is too urgent of a threat to delay the wider introduction of universal basic income.

How do you think universal basic income can or will get more traction as the 2020 presidential election approaches? Send me your thoughts via email, and be sure to bookmark our Heartland Tech Channel.

Thanks for reading,

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter

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