For about a decade now, I’ve been undertaking a gradual and ever-escalating experiment in using free and open-source software for my everyday needs. It has come to feel like an integral part of my work as a writer and thinker; the computer, after all, is often the chief companion of my day. This has become all the more important as my reporting has focused on resistance to profit-driven economies and domineering ideologies. In the new issue of The New Republic, I write about the pleasures of the community-based technology I use. I mean it as an invitation and a plea—to join the challenging but satisfying task of aligning our digital lives with our analog values, to use technology that depends on how well we build together and learn from each other.
Has the Time Come for Universal Basic Income?
Across the political spectrum, the idea of a no-questions-asked payout for everyone is gaining momentum. I’ve written about how Silicon Valley is getting behind the concept as an antidote for what automation is doing to the job market. Libertarians want it as a replacement for means-tested welfare programs, while socialists see it as a step toward abolishing the wage system. It seems like a crazy, impossible idea, but it may not be for long.
On May 26 at Civic Hall in New York City, I’m going to be part of a discussion about the prospects of universal basic income with progressive entrepreneur and activist Peter Barnes. Barnes’ proposal for a “citizen’s dividend” based on carbon emissions is an ingenious way of both mitigating climate change and strengthening the economy. We’ll be joined by scholar and basic-income advocate Michael Lewis, as well as Institute for the Future fellow Natalie Foster. RSVP on Facebook and Eventbrite here.