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Income Without Work

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Income Without Work

The Future of Work Summit

The Atlantic,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

A universal basic income can ensure that all people thrive when machines eliminate work.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


In June 2016, the Swiss rejected a proposal to be the first nation to introduce a universal basic income, an idea that received little public or political support. But at a time when machines are vanquishing human labor, the introduction of a universal basic income may eventually prove necessary, and microexperiments in basic income are cropping up globally. In conversation with journalist Steve Clemons, writer Scott Santens describes his personal pursuit of a basic income and discusses ways to scale the model. While Santens’s findings may disturb those who recoil at the idea of socialism, getAbstract applauds his innovative approach to investigating solutions to a pending problem.


“If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for life.” This ancient adage teaches the principle of alleviating poverty through self-sufficiency. But the age of automation puts a new spin on this maxim: “If you build a robot to fish, do all men starve or do all men eat?” As machines eliminate many types of employment, writer Scott Santens believes a universal basic income can bestow income security to all people. To experiment, he turned to online crowdfunding platform Patreon, where he appeals to donors to pledge a minimum of $1 per month to subsidize...

About the Speakers

Writer Scott Santens advocates for a universal basic income. Steve Clemons is an editor at large for The Atlantic.

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