“Grand staircase” in Utah. Credit to: Reveal.


Zoltan Istvan continues to walk his path to be California’s Governor. His campaign involves a controversial plan to “develop California lands and use the revenue to form a Universal Basic Income for all California households”, as he told Basic Income News in a previous occasion.

Zoltan has given a major speech at the Worlds Fair Nano, which has happened on the 10th of March, 2018, at San Francisco’s Pier 48. The Worlds Fair Nano, an international fair event focused on technology, innovation and future inspired ideas, went on during the 10th and 11th of March, featuring presentations and exhibitions around technical advancements, food, art and thought.

Zoltan Istvan at the Worlds Fair Nano.

Zoltan Istvan at the Worlds Fair Nano.

His talk was focused on the rise of the machines, which is based on the notion that humans cannot possibly compete with these in most non-creative tasks, which leads to the obvious question of how all these newly unemployed people will be made to survive in the next decades. This is where Zoltan introduces his preferred view on financing a Basic Income (BI), the Federal Land Dividend. According to him, this is the only way to finance BI without taking from the rich or increasing taxes for everyone. He estimates that “developing” “empty federal land” can generate 150 trillion dollars, potentially providing each American with 500 000 US$ (which could be divided into approximately 1700 US$/month for life). The caveat here, of course, revolves around the notion of “developing”, and exactly what that would entail when private developers had access to “empty federal land”.

In any case, Zoltan Istvan stresses the importance of eliminating poverty in the United States, and that, according to him, is worth the effort and risk of leasing out public lands to private developers.


More information at:

Tyler Prochazka, “Interview: California gubernatorial candidate proposes state-wide basic income”, Basic Income News, May 15th, 2017

Zoltan Istvan, “Leasing out federal land could provide free money for all Americans”, Business Insider, July 10th 2017

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 367 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.