As the debate over basic income continues to heat up, the conversation turns to GiveDirectly’s upcoming trial to find answers through rigorous research. Meanwhile, cofounder Paul Niehaus talked basic income with Mark Leon Goldberg on the Global Dispatches podcast, and COO Domestic Ian Bassin appeared on Seattle Morning Radio and France 24 TV to explain our basic income project, how we’ll implement it, and why it’s important.


1. May 6, 2016
Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross, Dave Ross, May 6, 2016
COO, Domestic of GiveDirectly, Ian Bassin, talks with host Dave Ross about their new basic income trial.

2. What Would Happen If You Just Gave People Living In Poverty A Basic Income – No Strings Attached?
UN Dispatch, Mark Leon Goldberg, May 5, 2016
Paul Niehaus is undertaking a radical experiment. His organization, Give Directly, wants to find out would happen if people living in extreme poverty were offered the guarantee of a basic income for ten to 15 years. They plan on launching an experiment in East Africa in which 6,000 people would be given, with no strings attached, enough money to pay for their basic needs over a long period of time.

3. Money from heaven
France 24, Julia Sieger, May, 6, 2016
In this edition, we dig deeper into the blockchain, the technology underpinning the bitcoin. We also speak to the NGO GiveDirectly, as they prepare to launch the world’s first full-fledged universal basic income project.

4. This Mother’s Day, consider giving malaria bednets in your mom’s honor
Vox, Dylan Matthews, May 5, 2016
One of the main charities I support is GiveDirectly, which is the only non-public health charity to get GiveWell’s top rating and, to my knowledge, the only charity devoted to unconditional cash transfers. That’s partly because there’s a large body of research on the benefits of cash transfers, GiveDirectly’s preliminary evaluation was very promising, and GiveWell has found that cash rivals the best health programs as far as cost-effectiveness is concerned.

5. ‘Robots’ took to the streets of Switzerland demanding a basic income
Tech Insider, Chris Weller, May 3, 2016
The long-term benefits of a basic income are still largely unknown, but a nonprofit called GiveDirectly wants to find some answers. Later this year, the organization will launch the largest UBI experiment in history. It’ll comprise more than 6,000 people throughout several Kenyan villages and last for 10-15 years. Researchers will get regular feedback on how the extra money is helping people (or not) relative to those without assistance.

6. Power Against Poverty – Donation Update
Putanumonit, Jacob, May 3, 2016
My readers have donated $4,364 to GiveDirectly’s basic income pilot + $250 since this post was published. To assure everyone that each one of your dollars increased my donation on the margin I decided to match 50% of that and give $2,182 of my own. According to GiveDirectly’s numbers, our total donations equal to almost 20 person years of poverty reduction.


7. ​In Yemen, US$100 can save a life
UNICEF blog, Rajat Madhok, May 6, 2016
Now, UNICEF and its partners are responding to the desperate needs of Nabeelah and hundreds of thousands like her by launching the Humanitarian Cash Transfers Programme. Those living in extreme poverty receive an unconditional cash transfer of US$100 a month for an initial period of six months. The first phase, which has begun, includes transfers to more than 10,000 households in Sana’a and Taiz cities, focusing on the poorest and most affected communities. An additional 15,000 households will be covered in the coming months, and will mainly focus on Taiz Governorate, where the humanitarian situation is very critical.


8. Free Lunch: The enduring appeal of a good idea
Financial Times, Martin Sandbu, May 6, 2016
The idea of a universal basic income continues to feature in the news. The latest proponent of reforming the public welfare system into one that (roughly speaking) makes a flat cash payment to every citizen is none other than bond fund guru Bill Gross, whose thoughts are amusingly related by Matt Levine. As Levine points out, the many appealing aspects of UBI means it garners support for widely differing reasons: “socialist-ish equalization of resources, as a libertarian-ish replacement for the welfare state, as techno-utopian social engineering for the coming robot-driven end of work”.

9. Global first? Every Swiss could be guaranteed $2,600 a month tax-free
USA Today, Helena Bachmann, May 6, 2016
Chalk it up to Swiss affluence. Voters here will decide next month whether all 8 million citizens and legal residents should be guaranteed a generous monthly income, something no country in the world has ever done. On June 5, Swiss voters will weigh in on a radical proposal that would mandate the government to guarantee $2,600 a month tax-free to every adult citizen and legal resident, and $650 to each child.

10. Next Month, Switzerland Will Vote on Giving Everyone a Basic Income
Gawker, Hamilton Nolan, May 6, 2016
The measure is not likely to pass! Still, it’s a notable step for the basic income movement. This appears to be the first time an entire nation will put the idea to a vote. The Swiss proposal would give “$2,600 a month tax-free to every adult citizen and legal resident, and $650 to each child.” The current proposal is also means-tested, meaning that those who earned more than $2,600 a month would not get the government stipend, although that part of their earnings would be tax-exempt. This makes it a not-quite universal basic income, but at least something within spitting distance of one.

Back to List