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Internet entrepreneur Marc Benioff: “we need to look at universal basic income” to stimulate growth

In a Fortune Insiders article published last month, Internet entrepreneur Marc Benioff says we “need to look at universal basic income” as a way to stimulate growth.

Marc Benioff is the founder, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, one of America’s highest valued cloud computing companies and the largest employer in San Francisco, California.  A celebrated philanthropist, Benioff and Salesforce contribute cash, equity and employee volunteer hours to efforts focused around the issues of education, health, and equal pay for women.

In his article for Fortune Insiders, Benioff turns to the broader income inequality issues facing the US and the world. He frames the call to action to business leaders to ensure that change benefits all of humanity, not just stock owners, employees and customers. In passing, he endorses a closer look at Universal Basic Income as a path to stimulate growth.

Benioff outlines the opportunities and dangers in our rapidly developing technology, calling on business leaders to carefully apply this tech to solving our complex problems while protecting society and the planet. He identifies four pillars for business leaders to evaluate for their company while they move toward an agenda of lessening inequality: build trust, stimulate growth, spur innovation, drive equality.

In his discussion of the second pillar, stimulating growth, he notes that while governments are promising more jobs, job creation is much more challenging for governments than in previous eras, as tech is changing the face of the job market so quickly. Benioff writes the following:

“Either the inequality gap continues to widen, leaving and the world much less stable, or we invest in the creating the policies and education programs that train young people for the jobs of tomorrow and retrain displaced workers. For those who cannot be retrained, and even those traditionally not compensated for raising a family or volunteering to help others, we need to look at universal basic income, where governments would provide citizens additional income beyond what they already earn at their jobs.”

However this is all Benioff says about Universal Basic Income, leaving it unclear how he is defining or envisioning the program. All that is evident is that he calls for business leaders to support governments looking at Universal Basic Income as a way to get income into consumers’ hands, both the stimulate growth and to protect vulnerable populations.

The Fortune Insiders article also contains a video of a panel discussion from Dreamforce, a conference Benioff’s company hosted in October 2016. On the panel, Benioff discusses the changes in tech and the impact business leaders can make in their own communities, as well as expresses a willingness to work with US policy makers, “sitting down with our President, whoever she may be”; however, he does not bring up universal basic income as a solution, as he does in this article, published post election.

Read the article here:

Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: How Business Leaders Can Help Narrow Income Inequality,” Fortune.com Fortune Insiders, January 17, 2017.

Photo CC Kenneth Yeung – www.thelettertwo.com

About Cordelia Holst

Cordelia Holst has written 6 articles.

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.

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