Why the left and right should embrace a universal basic income

Globe and Mail

As Ontario pilots a basic-income program, support for the concept is growing. For instance, in a recent Northeastern University/Gallup survey, 48 per cent of Americans supported the implementation of a universal basic income, up from 12 per cent in a poll 10 years ago.

What the evidence from the Ontario pilot suggests is that from a social perspective, a basic income improves mental and physical health, which in turn encourages recipients to find more gainful employment. The basic income provides a firm foundation from which people are able to afford to look after themselves, worry-free.

From an economic point of view, as the global economy continues to change more quickly and drastically than ever before – and government looks at how to ease the economic disruption it will cause – a basic income has the ability to act as a stabilizer. It becomes the granite beneath the feet of every citizen.

This sense of a solid footing is one of the reasons why the job creators in Silicon Valley – including Marc Andreessen, the founder of Netscape; Robin Chase, the CEO of Zip Car; and Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX – have expressed support for the concept.

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