Book Review: Raising the Floor


I just finished the book Raising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income Can Renew Our Economy and Rebuild the American Dream by Andy Stern. Andy is the former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), currently the largest employee union in the United States.

His main argument in the book is that with technology and jobs moving to the "gig economy" (think Uber and Amazon Mechanical Turks) more middle-class Americans will have a difficult time earning more than their parents before them. His proposed solution is a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for every American of $1000/ month. The UBI would replace all other welfare programs. I won't go into a full explanation, you can read the book for that.

Although I am not convinced that a UBI is the right answer for the United States, I am interested in how it might work in 3rd world countries. There it would be *much* less expensive and potentially much more impactful. GiveDirectly is going to try the largest ever full-scale UBI experiment in Uganda and Kenya. The UBI will be provided for 12 years to every member of selected communities. Allowing every citizen to spend more time on improving themselves and their community rather than just surviving.

More information is available on GiveDirectly's website. They have already raised $23 million of the $30 million they need to run the program. You can help by supporting one person in the trial program for only $1 a day here!

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