“Human behavior is always unpredictable. We want to know what motivates people, what people respond to.”
According to the online news outlet Futurism, which calls 2017 “The Year of UBI,” Germany also has a two-year UBI pilot, Canada and Uganda each plan to start one, and India is debating the merits. eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is currently financing a UBI experiment in Kenya.
According to the Basic Income Earth Network, the idea of a minimum income first appeared in the 16th century; by the 19th century, the idea had evolved into unconditional basic income. In 1969, President Nixon proposed the Family Assistance Plan in the U.S. to replace the AFDC, the aid program to poor families, but it was eventually rejected.
Opponents of UBI worry that it will make people lazy. But Sam Altman, the president of the incubator Y Combinator, which is funding research on inverse basic incomes, said, “Maybe 90 percent of people will go smoke pot and play video games. But if 10 percent of the people go create new products and services and new wealth, that’s a huge net win.”