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Here's the latest BIEN newsletter,


Below is from the Zuckerberg, everyone's Faecesbook friend. Just click like if you like! Always good to have the ruling classes on board helping out the less fortunate. But then, they always have, with their charities, philanthropy and big hearts. Bless them.

US: Mark Zuckerberg recommends “exploring” UBI at Harvard graduation speech
May 26, 2017 Kate McFarland News, News & Events

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made his first public comment on basic income during Harvard University’s graduation ceremony on Thursday, May 25, calling it an idea “we should explore” to “make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

Mark Zuckerberg, a former Harvard undergraduate student who dropped out to focus on his Facebook business, returned to the university on May 25, 2017, to receive his own degree (an honorary doctorate) and to deliver the commencement address for the rest of this year’s graduating class.

A prevailing theme in his speech was “giving people freedom to pursue purpose.”

Zuckerberg’s mention of basic income followed a discussion of what is needed to cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship, during which he stressed that “the greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail” and lamented having known “too many people who gave up on pursuing their dreams because they didn’t have a cushion to fall back on if they failed.”

Speaking to an audience of millennials as a fellow millennial, the 33-year-old then declared, “Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract.”

Describing what this new social contract might look like, Zuckerberg proposed that “we should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.” He also called for other policy reforms such as affordable childcare and portable health insurance benefits (as opposed to the employer-linked health benefits that predominate in the United States), as well as continuous lifelong education.

Admitting that these reforms would not be free, Zuckerberg stated, “People like me should pay for it, and a lot of you are going to do really well, and you should, too.”

Zuckerberg then proceeded to other topics, such as the importance of charity and building communities at both local and global levels.

Although brief, Zuckerberg’s passing mention of universal basic income is noteworthy as the famed and influential entrepreneur’s first public comment on the topic. Moreover, while his singular remark was not an outright endorsement of the policy (as some headlines and social media posts quickly began to claim), it is clear that Zuckerberg sees it as at least worthy of serious investigation.

It is also notable that the Facebook CEO did not broach basic income as a solution to automation and technological unemployment, in contrast to some other tech entrepreneurs who have backed the idea (e.g., perhaps most famously, Elon Musk). Instead, Zuckerberg’s primary motivation seems to be the need to secure individuals against risk to facilitate, e.g., entrepreneurship, innovation, and cultural production.

Zuckerberg is not the first member of Facebook’s founding team to speak positively of basic income: cofounder Chris Hughes, a founding member and co-chair of the Economic Security Project, has become one of the policy’s foremost advocates in the United States.

Plus a new book buy Mr Standing. Always good to have a new book.

NEW BOOK: Guy Standing, Basic Income: And How We Can Make it Happen
April 22, 2017 Kate McFarland Book Announcements, From the web, News, News & Events

BIEN co-founder and honorary co-president Guy Standing (also Professorial Research Associate at SOAS) has written a new introduction to basic income, Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen. The book has been published by Pelican Books, a well-known publisher of nonfiction works intended to be accessible to a broad audience in both content and cost.


As the publisher describes the book: “Guy Standing has been at the forefront of thought about Basic Income for the past thirty years, and in this book he covers in authoritative detail its effects on the economy, poverty, work and labour; dissects and disproves the standard arguments against Basic Income; explains what we can learn from pilots across the world and illustrates exactly why a Basic Income has now become such an urgent necessity.”

Commenting on Standing’s latest book, journalist Paul Mason states, “Guy Standing has pioneered our understanding of [basic income] — not just of the concept but of the challenges it is designed to meet: rapid automation and the emergence of a precarious workforce for whom wages derived from work will never be enough. As we move into an age where work and leisure become blurred, and work dissociated from incomes, Standing’s analysis is vital.”

Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen will be released on May 4, with a free launch event to be held at the London School of Economics (LSE) on May 8. The event will be chaired by Mike Savage of the LSE’s International Inequalities Institute.

Standing’s last book, The Corruption of Capitalism (July 2016), generated widespread global attention, as did his previous works on the precariat.

Or perhaps this would be more fun.

Discussion 1 Comments

  • Bat Chainpuller 18th Jun 2017

    The Guy Standing book is an easier read I reckon. I liked hos books on the Precariat too. A little less philosophical and economically difficult.