A Stanford University class –available on a podcast replays the 1970s Manitoba, Canada, experiment called “mincome,” on the way to rejoicing in Universal Basic Income.

In the U.S., Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who according to some is preparing to run for U.S. President, are promoting universal basic income.

What does basic income mean, students ask? The contentious subject raises many questions, such as: would society fall apart because everyone would just hang out on the couch?

The Stanford class seeks to separate the argument that robots will replace 47% of jobs, a prediction that fuels much of Silicon Valley’s support of basic income, from the “paradigm of work” dialogue, according to Juliana Bidadanure, Assistant Professor in Political Philosophy at Stanford University, who is teaching the class.

The podcast studies the observations of many “experts” on culture, race and gender in an effort to separate jobs (wage-work) from understanding the true nature of work. Several contributions are under analysis, such as the following:

– Doug Henwood — Journalist, economic analyst, and writer whose work has been featured in Harper’s, Jacobin Magazine, and The Nation, says if robots were really taking over, there would be a strong productivity growth in the U.S., which is not true, so far;

– Rutger Bregman — Journalist and author of “Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders and a 15-hour Workweek” thinks that if basic income were accomplished by the government printing money, that situation would definitely lead to inflation. But no inflation fears would be attached to a taxation process;

– Kathi Weeks — Marxist, feminist scholar, associate professor of women’s studies at Duke University in North Carolina, and author of “The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries” believes that wage-work is not the only meaningful activity. She points to pre-industrial society as a good example of when wage-work took a backseat to the value of non-paid work;

– Evelyn Forget — Economist and professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba and academic director of the Manitoba Research Data Centre, who first reported the “mincome” data. Forget argues that “mincome” made it possible for single mothers to get off welfare and proudly have a profession.


A second podcast will be available that discusses whether universal basic income is the end of capitalism or not.

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