For years, the citizens of Stockton, California, have faced rampant unemployment, poverty, and hardship. For some, a new experiment could change that. In the coming months, mayor Michael Tubbs plans to launch a universal basic income trial that will -- without any conditions or work requirements -- give monthly payments to about 100 families over the next two years, according to the New York Times. With regular, no-strings-attached payments from the government, people might be able to go back to school or climb out of their student loan debt. The extra cash could turn into more time spent with family or the ability to make healthier meals -- the idea is to let people improve their quality of life as much as possible.
Billionaire Elon Musk has said cash handouts'will be necessary' if robots take human jobs, in his latest flurry of tweets. Musk made the comment in response to a question from a Twitter user about whether he supported universal basic income (UBI) - a cash handout that could be given to people irrespective of their employment. Musk believes UBI could be a possible solution for unemployment caused by machines taking over the workforce. Billionaire Elon Musk has said cash handouts'will be necessary' if robots take human jobs, in his latest flurry of tweets A universal basic income would give a standard amount of money to every citizen to cover basic expenses like food and living costs each month. Musk first joined the growing list of tech executives supporting the payment system in 2016 when he spoke about the concept in an interview.
More Europeans are about to get some free money in the name of economics research. The European Union is funding a new universal basic income experiment in Barcelona alongside similar tests in Helsinki and the Dutch city of Ultrecht. SEE ALSO: Could 2017 be the year people take universal basic income seriously? Around 1,000 low-income households in one of the city's poorest districts will be randomly selected to receive monthly payments of between €400 ($450) and €525 ($590) for two years. All told, the three programs will cost the EU €13 million ($14.7 million).
For the last two years the Finnish government has been giving 2000 unemployed people a guaranteed, no-strings-attached payment each month. It is the world's most robust test of universal basic income, and the preliminary results, released this morning, seem to dispel some of the doubts about the policy's negative impacts. Universal basic income comes in different flavours, but the essence of the idea is to give everyone a guaranteed income that covers their basic needs, like housing and food. Crucially, the income is the same for everyone all the time – it does not get reduced if, for example, a person gets a job or a salary increase. The Finnish results were hotly anticipated because the experiment's careful design promised robust evidence on UBI.
The program, which kicks off this month, is one of the first efforts to test a "universal basic income." Participants will receive €560 ($587) a month -- money that is guaranteed regardless of income, wealth or employment status. The idea is that a universal income offers workers greater security, especially as technological advances reduce the need for human labor. It will also allow unemployed people to pick up odd jobs without losing their benefits. The initial program will run for a period of two years.