Obama Has Jumped on the Universal Basic Income Bandwagon

Common Dreams

While speaking in South Africa on Tuesday in one of his first major speeches since he left the White House, former President Barack Obama endorsed the idea of introducing a universal basic income.

“Artificial intelligence is here, and it is accelerating. … And that is going to make the job of giving everybody work that is meaningful tougher,” Obama said during his speech at the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. “And the pace of change is going to require us to do more fundamental reimagining of our social and political arrangements. … So, we’re going to have to consider new ways of thinking about these problems, like a universal income.”

While income is just one of the questions that needs to be addressed by the social upheaval that an automated non-human workforce will cause, it’s one of the most important. The proposal to implement a Universal Basic Income (UBI) has generated a lot of discussion among policy makers and economists in recent years, concerning its practicality, feasibility and merit.

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