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UNITED KINGDOM: Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee on benefits of UBI

Computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee — best known for his founding of the World Wide Web in 1989 — was awarded this year’s Charleston-EFG John Maynard Keynes Prize for “exceptional and inter-disciplinary talents in the spirit of John Maynard Keynes’ work, life and legacy.”

Partially in recognition of this achievement, Berners-Lee was interviewed by The Economist in a recent podcast, where he was presented with a question from a member of the Keynes family, The Economist economics correspondent Soumaya Keynes.

Soumaya’s question: “Are you among the group of technologists who favor a basic income?”

While acknowledging the that issue is complicated, Berners-Lee was clearly sympathetic to the idea — emphasizing the relative simplicity and efficiency of basic income (which he described as a “smooth system”), and expressing agreement that a basic income could help to reduce technologically-driven inequality.

Listen to the podcast here (discussion of basic income begins at around 10:30):

Tom Standage (interviewer). “The Economist asks: Can the open web survive?The Economist. May 27, 2016.

Image Source: By John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, via Wikimedia Commons

About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 512 articles.

Former lead writer and editor of Basic Income News.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.


  • charles griffiths

    > the relative simplicity and efficiency of basic income (which he described as a “smooth system”

    I believe he was referring to the desired smoothness of an error or appraisal function, He wanted the function of paid effort to benefits to be continuous, and the first derivative to be continuous as in not so much for efficiency as for sanity.

  • In fact, due to itѕ mаny makes uuse of, it iѕ
    generalkly referred to as а “miracle tree” or “supermarket on a trunk”.

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