Basic income remained a hotly debated topic this week – with policy discussions happening from New Zealand to The Washington Post. And from Australia to Mountain View, California, the idea of doing the most good – effective altruism – captured the attention of both technology investors and philosophers.


1. US / KENYA: New study published on results of basic income pilot in Kenya
Basic Income News, Austin Douillard, March 27, 2017
GiveDirectly, a New York-based nonprofit, which activity has been covered in Basic Income News before, has initiated a pilot program in a rural village in Western Kenya, this past October. The organization recently published an internal analysis of the pilot program, in a first attempt to process the results of a GiveDirectly basic income project. The results will set the tone for future programs and influence basic income policy making moving forward.


2. Pay people to stop smoking? It works, especially in vulnerable groups
Salon, March 27, 2017
One large-scale development that grew out of this work is known as Conditional Cash Transfers. This program was underwritten by the World Bank where financial incentives are used to reduce chronic poverty in developing countries. As just one example of that effort, Brazil has seen a widespread conditional cash transfer program lead to a significant reduction in child mortality rates.

3. As climate changes, so must aid
Mail and Guardian, Lola Castro, March 27, 2017
Africa has been at the forefront of this movement. Since 2010, the number of countries using unconditional cash transfers to support the most vulnerable has doubled from 20 to 40 since 2010, whilst 45 countries now have school feeding programmes in place to combat malnutrition and support education.


4. Don’t volunteer, go back to work: the new do-gooders getting bang for their buck
The Age, Liam Mannix and Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, March 25, 2017
On the other hand, if well invested, small amounts of money can have a dramatic impact. Just $5 to the right charity can provide deworming treatments to 37 children, says Daniel D’Hotman, Effective Altruism Australia’s national launch director.

5. The 52 startups that launched at Y Combinator W17 Demo Day 1
Tech Crunch, Josh Constine, Ryan Lawler, and Sarah Buhr, March 20, 2017
Giving to charity without doing intense research is like burning money, because a study showed that 75 percent of social programs have zero or negative impact. Effective Altruism does the legwork for you. You sign up, choose causes you care about like global poverty or animal treatment, and make a donation. Effective Altruism finds the charities with the most positive impact in those areas and routes the donation for you for free. It believes it could provide donors 400X more impact per dollar, and could boost charitable giving by increasing confidence that the money gets good done.


6. Researcher: Time to test if universal benefit works
Stuff, Susan Edmunds, March 27, 2017
New Zealand is being urged to try offering a no-strings-attached universal basic income, to replace the existing welfare system. Finland has this year begun a random trial of a $860-per-month universal income given to 2000 people currently on welfare. The payment will not stop if they find a job. It is hoped that it will give them financial security and allow them to make life plans.

7. Universal basic income debate sharpens as observers grasp for solutions to inequality
CNBC, Lauren Thomas, March 25, 2017
The concept might sound far-fetched, but a so-called universal basic income (UBI), is currently one of the most hotly debated policy topics being floated as a means to address income inequality and the disruption that technology poses to the workforce. UBI is being tested in Finland and other international markets, but has received decidedly mixed reactions.

8. How to ensure everyone a guaranteed basic income
The Washington Post, Steven Pearlstein, March 24, 2017
To meet this political and economic meta-challenge, the hot new idea is the universal basic income — using some of the wealth generated by all this new technology to guarantee everyone a baseline income, whether they are working or not. It’s not as crazy as it may sound. In recent years, a guaranteed income has been proposed on the right by Charles Murray at the American Enterprise Institute and Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, and on the left by former labor secretary Robert Reich and labor leader Andrew Stern. Switzerland gave it serious consideration last year before three-quarters of its voters turned down the idea in a nationwide referendum. And beginning this year, well-funded, large-scale, long-term experiments in Finland and Kenya will examine whether providing a guaranteed income is an effective way to relieve poverty and cushion the effects of economic dislocation without encouraging idleness and sloth.

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