Interview with Zoltan Istvan, US presidential candidate in support of basic income
Founded in 2014 by futurist and philosopher Zoltan Istvan, the Transhumanist Party is an American non-profit political organization, which advocates the use of non-discriminatory implementations of science and technology to solve a majority of the world’s problems. Despite being in its early stages, the Transhumanist party has been incredibly inspirational for millions of people who are seeking modern, progressive solutions to the challenges we face as a species.
The current leader of the Transhumanist Party, Zoltan Istvan, is running for US president in 2016. At the heart of Zoltan’s platform is a focus on the use of science and technology in the pursuit of immortality. He also promotes free education for all, an end to US military actions abroad, and the implementation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI).
Zoltan’s campaign platform can found here.
Zoltan was kind enough to answer a few questions for Basic Income News, specifically regarding his support for a UBI.
Dawn Howard: You have made UBI part of your 2016 presidential election platform. Can you tell us who you are thinking about appointing as your chief economics advisor? Does he or she have experience designing or implementing UBI pilots?
Zoltan Istvan: A UBI Plan is a huge part of my campaign. As someone who contemplates technology all day long, I am sure that robots are going to take many if not nearly all jobs in the next 10 to 35 years. So we need a way to transition society to being able to happily live in an age where there are no jobs. UBI is the perfect vehicle.
While I have advisors helping me sort out the basics of implementing a basic income, I can’t reveal who might fill the role of implementing that program. But we would draw on experts that have already had some experience in their own nations of doing so.
DH: Several countries including Canada, India and most recently Finland have already tested or are in the process of testing basic income for a small portion of their population. How do you feel about this type of research, and do you think it could work in the US?
ZI: One of the best things to happen to the world in the last few years is having smaller populated nations test out a UBI. It gives the larger nations the evidence they need to confidently implement their own plans one day, and it offers a road map to follow.
DH: Many in the UBI community speak of a “transition” in terms of the timeline between passing legislation and full implementation. In as little or as much detail as you wish, can you tell us what you think this transition would look like?
ZI: I think the transition would probably take five to six years to fulfill from the point legislation passed to everyone having a basic income. While I support a quick transition, we also must be careful not to disturb our national economy too much as this historic process takes place. It would be better to do it slowly, but correctly, rather than force it and lead to a recession, or worse. Capitalism is changing due to technology, and may not even survive 30 years into the future. We must be able to change with it and help the needs of every single citizen out there. But we must also not be hasty.
For more information about Zoltan’s presidential campaign, visit his web site here.
Photo: Zoltan Istvan, leader of the Transhumanist Party and US presidential candidate. Credit: Business Insider.