The Short Version: Universal Basic Income

The Short Version: Universal Basic Income

The point of it all is to break down the headlines, determine why an issue is important and reveal the best arguments on each side of the story. The most recent debate was fundamentally about freedom of speech: Should billionaire Peter Thiel have funded Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker (which might put the company out to pasture)? Was he establishing a precedent (and blueprint) for how the uber-privileged might act to suppress freedom of the press? One of the through lines of that discussion was lucre. This week the subject of money is up front, the headline: “Universal Basic Income.” If everyone’s basic needs were covered, would they become couch potatoes or innovate? Would they create more economic value than they receive?

Note: If you have missed any of Cleo’s blogs, just go to our Home Page, type “The Short Version” into Search (magnifying glass icon) and poof, like magic, all her blogs will appear.

Cleo Constantine Abrams of the “Short Form,” offering densely packed spins on issues of national and global importance.

Cleo Constantine Abram of the “The Short Version,” offering densely packed spins on issues of

What’s happening?

What would happen if you gave everyone enough money to live, no strings attached?

That’s the premise of “universal basic income.” By giving people unconditional payments to cover key living expenses, the model provides a financial floor—a minimum level of economic security for everyone in society. People remain free to work and earn any amount above it.

The idea has become popular across the globe. In Finland, the government is planning to test a basic income model for all it’s citizens. In the Netherlands, several cities have already begun basic income programs. In Canada, the governing Liberal Party voted in favor of basic income.

The movement has come to the States. In Silicon Valley, famed startup incubator Y Combinator announced a long-term study into the questions: given a basic income, “do people sit around and play videogames, or do they create new things? Are people happy and fulfilled? Do recipients, on the whole, create more economic value than they receive?”

Why is it important?

In a world where technology is replacing existing jobs at higher and higher skill levels, many believe basic income may become necessary to meet people’s fundamental needs and society’s financial health. On the other hand, critics point to high costs and disincentives to work as concerns about the model.

Debate it!

Should we implement universal basic income

Why “The Short Version” on TIO:

Eight+ years ago, Telluride Inside…and Out began as a lifestyle webzine. Today, in the full knowledge that Telluride is a window on the world, we continue to bring the “zazz” (short for “pizzazz) of the region to a local, national, and global audience by covering everything from Telluride’s robust cultural economy – major events and festivals – to health and fitness and outdoor adventure. When Telluride travels, we write about places to go, people to meet too. (That’s part of the “Out” part of our handle, the other, obviously, Outdoors.)

And now, this new weekly column, “The Short Version,” which offers simple summaries of issues of national and global importance. (Though we won’t go political, or rather we won’t show bias in the upcoming election.)

“The Short Version” is written by Cleo Constantine Abram, the daughter of Telluride locals Eleni Constantine and Jonathan Abram (and therefore an honorary local and regular visitor) and a digital strategist at Precision Strategies, a political consulting firm.

Why “The Short Version”? Because, though we live in Shangri-La, our bubble is not impermeable and the rest of the world is only a click away. Because there is no inconsequential action; only consequential inaction. And because information is power in a moment so many of us are feeling powerless.

More about Cleo Constantine Abram:

Cleo Abram 2

Cleo grew up in Washington D.C., lives in New York City, and loves to visit her parents in Telluride. She authors “The Short Version,” a newsletter that explains each week’s most important issue and both sides of the debate around it.

Cleo is a digital strategist at Precision Strategies, a political consulting firm born of the Obama 2012 presidential campaign.

Cleo’s work focuses on ways to share, educate, and inform using online platforms. While in college at Columbia University, she guided the school’s entrance into online education through her role as the youngest elected representative to the Columbia Senate, which makes university-wide policy.

She continued her work on online education at TED-Ed, the educational branch of the nonprofit, building new programs and online tools to support high school teachers worldwide.

Continuing her work with TED, Cleo founded and led an early TEDx conference, the organization’s community-specific series.

Most importantly, Cleo loves to ski!

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