Joe Huston, GiveDirectly’s regional director in East Africa, appeared on TVO this week to explain GiveDirectly’s cash transfers and some of our new projects including a basic income experiment and our digital platform, GDLive. Elsewhere, basic income made headlines, from the launch of Finland’s pilot to a new survey showing almost half of Americans support the idea of a basic income in the United States.


1. A Brief History of the Idea That Everyone Should Get Free Cash for Life
Mother Jones, Delphine D’Amora, December 26, 2016
In the United States, where Silicon Valley bigwigs were among basic income’s most vocal supporters, the startup incubator Y Combinator in June announced plans to start a pilot project this year in Oakland, California, that will distribute up to $2,000 a month to a few dozen people. Another private enterprise, the US-based nonprofit GiveDirectly, is planning an extended trial in Kenya that will span 10 to 15 years and involve at least 6,000 participants.

2. Cash Aid
TVO, Interview with Joe Huston, December 21, 2016
There are many charities that do good works but there aren’t many charities that use data reporting where, what, and how to give and then measure the outcomes. GiveDirectly aims to change that. It’s an innovative charity that locates the poorest areas in countries, gives cash transfers to citizens, and then measures what the recipients do with the money. The Agenda welcomes Joe Huston, GiveDirectly’s regional director in East Africa.

3. The best last-minute gifts are experiences, not things
Quartz, Jenni Avins, December 21, 2016
More broadly, GiveDirectly simply gives money to poverty-stricken people who need it. Give Directly’s rigorous analysis has made the organization a favorite among economists, Quartz’s Tim Fernholz says. And the organization provides profiles of beneficiaries, and information about how they’ve spent donations.

4. Google charitable donations set record
USA Today, Jessica Guynn, December 20, 2016
More than $800,000 was raised for Second Harvest FoodBank, more than $450,000 for GiveDirectly, which gives cash to the extremely poor, and nearly $326,000 for the International Rescue Committee.


5. Universal basic income is the operating system of a post-industrial state
Quartz, Jason Karaian, December 22, 2016
There are very few policy ideas that attract support from all sides of the political spectrum these days. Universal basic income is one of them.

6. Is Universal Basic Income a Good Idea? Stick Around, Because We’re About to Find out
Futurism, Dom Galeon, December 20, 2016
Barack Obama predicted it: Universal basic income (UBI) is under debate. In a UBI system, all citizens are given a flat income regardless of their employment situation — essentially, they will receive money just for being born. The concept is being explored as a potential solution to the problems that will soon arise from artificial intelligence (AI) and job automation.

7. On the Canadian prairie, a basic income experiment
Marketplace, Sarah Gardner, December 20, 2016
The idea of a guaranteed basic income has been around for decades, but it’s come back into fashion with the rise of automation and temp work. Under a universal basic income, the government cuts everyone a monthly check, no strings attached, to meet basic needs. The U.S., under President Richard Nixon, considered a form of basic income called a negative income tax, but it never passed. Today, a handful of governments are planning basic income experiments, including the Canadian province of Ontario.


8. About half of Americans support giving residents up to $2000 a month when robots take their jobs
CNBC, Catherine Clifford, December 19, 2016
A survey of 500 individuals in the U.S. released today found that 46 percent of people support the idea of a universal basic income, through which the government gives a cash handout to any resident, irrespective of employment status.

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