The year 2017 was rich with statements from billionaires in support of the universal basic income. Just a few months after Ilon Musk’s interview at the Global Government Summit in Dubai, Mark Zuckerberg proposed the concept of the universal basic income.
He announced it at a graduation ceremony at Harvard University in late May. On that day, Mark Zuckerberg finally received his university degree, becoming a PhD. This came 12 years after he dropped out of university in 2005 to develop Facebook.
At the graduation ceremony, in his speech, Mark Zuckerberg said, ” Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract.”
The Facebook founder, realizing that society is sliding into the abyss in pursuit of economic growth, spoke of the need for change and continued: “We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”
The idea of a universal basic income has the undeniable advantage of being based on the idea that everyone is a valuable member of society and is entitled to a share of the total wealth, a share of the total resources. This reinforces the idea of the equality of all people, which is the basis of the Creative Society.
According to Zuckerberg a universal basic income would expand the possibilities of the whole society and business as well, because it creates a financial safety cushion for a person, which can always be counted on under any circumstances. Then many people could start looking for new ideas, something new, new areas of activity, start and develop new businesses, because a universal basic income would be a real financial safety net. Today they don’t dare to do it just because they have to support their families. And how can we develop if we do not dare to start something new?
The billionaire himself noted that if it wasn’t for the financial help of his dentist father, he would hardly have dared to develop Facebook and turn it into his own business.
On July 4 of the same year, Mark Zuckerberg reaffirmed his support for universal basic income. Now in a Facebook post. This came after his trip to Alaska. I suppose you remember that Alaska has been paying some sort of universal basic income from the Alaska Permanent Fund for almost 40 years. Oil revenues are distributed annually to residents of the state. Over the past decade, payments from the Alaska Permanent Fund have ranged from $900 to $2,100 per person per year.
Some say this is not basic income because the amount varies annually and is not fixed and too small to live on. But it is paid to everyone regardless of their contribution to the economy and wealth.
In a telephone survey a few years ago, Alaskans cited 3 main benefits of the Fund:
The first is equality among all recipients of the Fund.
The second is the fairness of the distribution of funds.
And the third is assistance to families in financial difficulty.
It is the last point that deserves special attention and respect from Alaskans, because it shows their care and support for those who really need help.
Moreover, in the aforementioned telephone survey, about 58% of Alaskan respondents said they would be willing to pay more taxes to the state to maintain this fund despite declining oil revenues due to falling oil prices.
Mark Zuckerberg endorsed universal basic income as the basis for social support for Alaskans. He said the system sets a good lesson for the rest of the country.
Alaska is truly an amazing state. Despite its wealth and natural resources, its GDP per capita is far from high. But thanks to its universal basic income, the state leads the nation in socio-economic equality for residents. And poverty rates are the lowest in the country.
As it follows from Mark Zuckerberg’s words, the world does not just need solvent consumers to stimulate economic growth, but a new society without poverty, in which everyone would not only have the means to live, but would take a genuine interest in it. Billionaire advocates a universal basic income, which is essentially just the financial prerequisite for a new world – a just, safe, caring world for each of its members. A world of happy, confident and developing people. In essence, this is the Creative Society. I guess it’s just that Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t yet heard about the Creative Society project. He would certainly like it. After all, everyone wants to live in such a society.