Andrew Yang’s Main Goal: Abolish Poverty and Make the Wealthy Pay For It –  A Reaction to Chapo Trap House

Andrew Yang’s Main Goal: Abolish Poverty and Make the Wealthy Pay For It – A Reaction to Chapo Trap House

By Jason Burke Murphy

Chapo Trap House is known for bringing an irreverent, jokey style to US left discussion.

Chapo Trap House is known for bringing an irreverent, jokey style to US left discussion.

Andrew Yang’s interview with Virgil Texas on the podcast Chapo Trap House helps to answer a lot of questions that keep coming up as his candidacy is debated. After a little while Virgil brings up concerns that one often encounters in debate around basic income.

Full disclosure: I interviewed Andrew Yang a year ago and plan to vote for him. Most of my political training and viewpoint is left-wing. I have fond feelings and understanding for many friends who plan to vote for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

Yang avoids ideological language. He has embraced the slogan Scott Santens often uses of “Not right, not left, but forward.” That is not a slogan for me. I recognize that basic income is a policy that could be attached to any ideological program. I’ve written about that. I would call Yang’s Freedom Dividend a left policy proposal precisely because it re-allocates wealth from the rich to the poor. Yang is proving that basic income (and a diagnosis of “disintegration”) can get the attention of non-voters and even Trump voters.

My goal here is to do a little bit of translating and clarify a couple of points that I have seen raised on cable news and in left magazines. One hears these same points from political newcomers in online Yang discussion pages. Millions of people are thinking about a basic income for the first time. I am sticking to three points that Yang raises in this interview and that I have seen him make elsewhere.

(1) The Value Added Tax. I asked Andrew Yang about the VAT because I was not quite sure it was the best way to go. When you find out why he wants it, you can be better assured that he is ready to take on the one percent.

Yang’s reason for using the VAT to raise about a third of the Freedom Dividend is that it would capture a lot of the revenue that companies like Amazon and Google are making without having to pay tax. Even more important, Yang makes it clear that he will keep looking at ways to make sure these giants of the new economy pay their fair share. In the UK where VAT has been implemented for a long time, the VAT returns process has been claimed to be a confusing process ( However if VAT is implemented with strong easy to understand legislation, issues like these would be less of a problem and potentially bring more companies on board to the VAT system. Yang stressed in this interview that we should “Go where the money is.”

Chapo’s Virgil is not certain about the VAT for the same reason progressives often oppose sales taxes. Yang is clear that “in a vacuum” this would not be a progressive tax. With the dividend, it moves money from the wealthy to everyone else. Yang makes it clear that he also believes in funding the dividend through a carbon tax and a financial transactions tax as well. He would also like to see an increase in marginal taxation of income and wealth.

We should support various, multiple taxes in order to support everyday government and a basic income guarantee. There is less incentive for the wealthy to dodge a tax if there are different kinds in play. The VAT is featured in most of the social democracies that we on the left point to as evidence that good policies can improve social outcomes.

It should be clear now that Yang is NOT the “Silicon Valley candidate”. Everyone who is getting a free ride will end up paying into the dividend and into Medicare for All). That is the goal here. The VAT is a means to that end. A lot of workers in Silicon Valley might share his concern about automation but that is very different from calling him the candidate “of Silicon Valley”. You can bet that Yang is Peter Thiel’s worst nightmare. Yang cites the fact that so many tech companies are untaxed right now as a reason to bring something else into the party. If a VAT doesn’t work, he will try something else.

When it comes to taxing the wealthy, Yang goes further than any of his opponents. Moderates would just repeal previous past tax cuts. Without the dividend, other left candidates run the risk of backlash as people wonder if these new policies really include them.

(2) The size of the dividend. Will $1,000 a month do the work we want it to do? Virgil makes two very different points. First, he points out that there were many periods of his life when even one tenth of this amount per month would have been extremely helpful. Second, he gives cases in which this amount would not help much. Yang’s particular proposal does not give a share until one reaches 18 years old. (I would prefer they be included. I can tell you that, every day, I encounter strong opinions on both sides of this issue.)

Yang wants to point out that a single mother would get her dividend and know that the kid is getting the dividend in the future. He did not say that this was something that many voters can’t get their heads around. Millions of Americans think that low-income people have kids in order to get welfare. That simply never happens.

This is a very interesting line of discussion we are now seeing. I will summarize it:

  1. You need more than X a month to survive/do well.
  2. This plan offers less than X as a dividend.

Therefore, we should reject this plan.

The problem with this line of argument is that we are left without any dividend at all. If $1,000 a month is not enough, then zero is much worse. Very few people are arguing for zero basic income, but that is where we are now. Virgil Texas does not reach this conclusion. It is a very friendly interview. But we do run into this a lot. What should we do if we think this amount proposed is not enough?

Andrew Yang is very clear that his goal is a dividend that, combined with Medicare for All, would abolish poverty. This is why he is not talking about gutting current support systems. Everyone who gets support of any kind will have the option of keeping it or going with the Freedom Dividend. He reiterates that when he says “go where the money is”, he knows that low-income people aren’t who he’s talking about. He commits in this interview to tinkering to make sure that this dividend is sufficient, given the expenses that are out there, as well as any price changes in play due to the VAT or carbon tax.

People who say that an extra $1,000 a month is not enough to matter have not seen what low-income people are already doing with what they have. There are many, many communities that are politically invisible. Nothing will increase their ability to develop the stuff of good living-restaurants, shops, studios, dance schools, gyms, etc.-than a dividend. Yang also points out that many people do not get valued by our market at all who should be. Here he includes home-makers and those who care for the elderly in their family.

Some people are worried that this dividend will not matter because of the taxes in play. Sure, it would be bad to get a check and then lose it all to taxation. We only need to be aware of how much more commerce, pollution, and financial transactions are the property of the top ten percent and top one percent of US society. Again, Yang is committed to making sure that the dividend is enough to accomplish the goal of a secure share for all.

Once any amount is secured, we can call to raise it.

(3) Capitalism and “entrepreneurship”. Early in the interview, we hear that the word “entrepreneur” includes a lot more people for Yang than is typically the case. Starting a family or taking care of elderly relatives is included. He also includes creative work, citing the many studies showing that “creatives” improve quality of life and are an economic engine. This is all part of his quest to improve our measurements of economic progress. The Gross Domestic Product and the Stock Market keep improving, even while life expectancy is going down for the first time in the US since the Yellow Fever Epidemic.

This meme is

This meme is “not my style” but we are seeing conversations like this blossom once people get on board the idea of a dividend for all.

This can be a translation issue for the left. Yang’s “capitalism” and “entrepreneurship” just aren’t the sorts described in our business schools and on television. I tried to address some of these translation issue in an earlier piece for Basic Income News. My main goal there was to get us to think of caregivers and organizers alongside business start-ups. The word “capitalism” puts an image in my mind of someone taking a portion of everyone else’s wealth. I think of Wall Street. Andrew Yang is thinking about markets. To understand him when he says “human capitalism”, think about Main Street in a “nice town”. He wants a lot of that everywhere. This is one reason he wants to improve our measurements of economic well-being. If we can develop better ways of tracking well-being, then an increase in creative and political organizing power (as well as consumer, labour, and negotiating power) will appear in those new measurements. Interestingly, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren often point to images of Main Street. We shouldn’t let the right own this imagery. They offer nothing to promote actual markets.

The comments on Chapo Trap House’s twitter page include a lot of positive reaction but they can run pretty bad. There is a lot of projection. A lot of people just did not listen to the interview but commented nonetheless. The idea that Yang’s Freedom Dividend is a “neo-liberal trojan horse” should be rendered completely absurd for anyone who listened to this interview. Yet, I have seen this phrase used by credentialed opinion-makers. I do not link here because I want to leave room for them to change.

This sums it up. Creator unknown.

This sums it up. Creator unknown. “M4A” means “Medicare for All”

Once we win a basic income guarantee, I hope that more people engage in social critique and I hope that solidarity, class analysis and Marxist critiques of alienation and exploitation are important parts of this. The dividend will increase the number of people who can participate in that new debate. And that participation is already starting, as put by a contributor on Facebook:

“One of the great things about this is if you imagine a town, you imagine a community, everyone’s getting $1,000 a month, how many more co-ops are going to be in that town? How many more artists? How man creatives? How many people are volunteering at their local nonprofit? How many more people are going to be civically engaged? How many people are going to join their friend’s book club because they’re not worried about starving to death? You can produce so many immense benefits by spreading the economic buying power. And yes, it would result happily in more people ending up owners of different enterprises.”

The US left needs to embrace basic income. Interviews just like this one brings us closer to making that happen. Those who stick to other candidates can still make it clear that they support a basic income. They can also support Rashida Tlaib’s “Lift Plus Act” which would issue a $3,000 / year grant to all. This measure would reduce the number of people in poverty in the US by forty-five percent. Who can say “no” to that?

Jason Burke Murphy teaches Ethics and Philosophy at Elms College in Massachusetts, USA. He worked as Head Organizer for Arkansas ACORN. He served on the Organizing Committee for the Youth Section of Democratic Socialists of America. He also served on the National Committee for the Green Party USA. He now serves on the National Committee for the US Basic Income Guarantee Network.

Unites States: Andrew Yang reaches milestone: likely to be in a televised debate

Unites States: Andrew Yang reaches milestone: likely to be in a televised debate

Andrew Yang on TV. Picture credit to: WMUR

In a statement issued to supporters, Andrew Yang has announced that his campaign has met the main criteria for appearing in a first round of debates to be organized by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The latter have said that they will organize debates for candidates who have recruited over 65000 donors before May 15th. Yang’s team announced having reached this goal early on, by stressing the helpfulness of small donations. The campaign has also seen a large increase in social media followers and in funding. Moreoever, for the growth of any business, it is important to build a huge customer base. And one of the ways to achieve that milestone is by posting relevant content and using appropriate social media marketing strategies. However, in recent time, many entrepreneurs often purchase followers for TikTok and other social media platforms to get the necessary attention that could help the content to perform better. While considering this option, it would be prudent to remember that anyone who is serious about growing their customer base and engagements on a social media site should have an available budget for a social media growth tool. For instance, while browsing through the best site to buy Instagram followers or Tik Tok, they should be able to pay for the particular tool that they are planning to invest in.

Anyway, about Andrew Yang and the debate, the DNC has said that they will only go with the top twenty candidates, if a larger number reaches the fundraising mark. The organization will decide later on the number of candidates who will debate in September.

Articles on Yang usually include his arguments for a basic income, which he considers a “humane” response to poverty, “disintegration” and “automation”. Yang’s campaign is increasing the number of people who support basic income and who are considering it (judging by the increasing numbers of his followers). Supporters of basic income who admire other candidates are asking hard questions. Some rival candidates have come forward with conditional cash grant proposals and smaller asset-based program like the “baby bond” (proposal by Cory Booker). Many voters are prioritizing ideological affiliations, instead of Party affiliation.

Several polling organizations are still not including Andrew Yang when they survey. Polls continue to favour candidates with more name recognition (e.g.: Joe Biden). A recent poll, by Monmouth University, has Yang at one percent (of voting intentions among Democrats). Mid-level media appearances have a strong pattern of attracting people who are excited by basic income. These people are joining social media pages and posing questions that are familiar to longer-term supporters of basic income. A very robust discussion on economics and poverty is taking shape.

If the rules stay as they are, we can expect to see Andrew Yang in some televised debates. He will push basic income front and centre. Many will be hearing about it for the first time. In a very crowded field, Yang and basic income may end up getting a surprising amount of attention.

Maggie Stults, a volunteer for Yang’s campaign in Texas, said, “I can’t describe how incredible it is, to see the progress of this campaign. To see a platform of a universal basic income gain this kind of momentum, especially in communities that lean conservative, is a clear statement that the people want real answers to economic issues more than anything.”

More information at:

André Coelho, “United States: Andrew Yang is not only talking about basic income: if elected, the idea is to implement it“, Basic Income News, March 15th 2019

Article reviewed by André Coelho

Carbon Tax and Dividend Endorsed by Irish Prime Minister

Carbon Tax and Dividend Endorsed by Irish Prime Minister

The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, has just endorsed a carbon tax in which all funds go to a direct cash dividend. This came in a letter to the Green Party of Ireland and has been confirmed by the press. Varadkar was responding to questions posed by Eamon Ryan during a session of the Dáil (Parliament). Ryan calls for “an increase in [the] carbon tax in which every single cent would go back to the Irish people—a dividend.” Eamon Ryan is the Green Party’s leader in the Dáil (Parliament).

Ryan considers Varadkar’s response to be an endorsement of the Green proposal. The Green Party has issued a press release. In it, they express pleasure to hear that the government likes combining a carbon tax with a cash dividend but stress that they consider alternative energy and transportation to be their highest priority in addressing climate change.

In his address to the Dáil and in an interview on the Irish Times’ “Inside Politics” podcast, Ryan calls for an increase of €20 per ton in the carbon tax, with an increase of €5 per ton each year until it reaches €90 per ton. The tax revenue would be entirely returned to the public as a dividend. (If you consult the podcast, discussion of the carbon tax and dividend begins at 20 minutes and forty seconds).

Illustration posted by Eamon Ryan on his Twitter feed.

“Every single cent that will be raised will be returned with a check in the post.” In the podcast, journalist Hugh Linehan makes it clear that this would be cash that goes directly to everyone in Ireland. Ryan points out that those with lower incomes would come out with more cash than they have to pay in increased taxes. He sees this as a way to avoid a popular revolt against a carbon tax like the one Emmanuel Macron has seen in France. He hopes that this will retire the debate over the carbon tax and achieve larger changes in energy and agriculture. “[The carbon tax and dividend] will deliver maybe five, ten, fifteen, or twenty percent of the change we need.”

The Irish Times is considered the paper of record in Ireland.

The Green Party (Camhaontas Glas) has two members of the Dáil Éireann. If they gain more seats in the next election, they are considered a likely coalition partner in a future government.

The current government is run by Fine Gael, a party that caucuses with Conservative parties in Europe but seeks to be seen as pragmatically responsive to poverty and ecological issues. Ireland has seen campaigns to prevent increased water charges and to promote public action on housing.

The Irish Times has surveyed government leaders in Ireland who seek to emphasize that carbon tax increases would be “revenue neutral”, returning all funds to citizens as a dividend. The dividend is seen as a way to meet the climate change obligations set by the European Union without harming lower-income people.

In the discussion of the carbon tax and dividend, there is no discussion from the government or the opposition parties of the carbon tax and dividend as a basic income. Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan is very careful to stress that the dividend is just a small part of a plan to make Ireland ecologically responsible.

A year ago, the Irish Times ran an opinion piece in which Ian Goldin presumes a basic income would be financial destructive and would replace existing programs. Basic Income News columns have demonstrated the method Goldin uses to make his calculation is flawed. The mistake here is to calculate gross costs instead of net costs. This means that basic income can be implemented without cuts in other social provisions. Calculations show that the poverty rate could be brought down to zero if three to four percent of a country’s GDP is dedicated to a basic income.

The idea that a carbon dividend is a basic income has not arisen in the Times or in the debate in the Dáil. The term “basic income” has not come up in the discussion of the carbon tax. This reflects a pattern found elsewhere. If a dividend is debated as an answer to poverty, it faces more scrutiny than if it is debated as a repair for the regressive effect of another policy.

Basic Income Ireland and Social Justice Ireland promote the idea that basic income has emancipatory potential. The idea that three to four percent of a country’s GDP could fund a dividend that abolishes poverty is still not being debated by any of the parties currently in the Dáil.

Interview: Presidential campaign brings ‘new crowds’ to basic income

Interview: Presidential campaign brings ‘new crowds’ to basic income

Interview with Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang

By: Jason Burke Murphy

[Note from Jason Burke Murphy. This interview took place on June 11th, 2018. Yang took time out of one of his presidential campaign rallies and fundraisers to speak with me. I describe the rally in US Basic Income Guarantee Network’s blog. After I stopped recording, he expressed his hope that supporters of basic income would get behind his campaign early. Andrew Yang was then, and still is as of this writing, the only announced candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination.]


Murphy: How did you first hear about basic income?


Yang: I think I heard about it first for sure from Martin Ford’s book Rise of the Robots. I heard about it before then in articles but Martin Ford’s book made an impression. Andy Stern’s book Raising the Floor cemented the idea while coming from a different angle. Martin is a technologist and Andy is a labor leader. Stern’s book clinched it for me. I found myself coming to the same conclusion. Now basic income could no longer just be about technologists over-hyping the near-term progress of automation. Stern is someone who has a firm grasp on the labor market in the US.

Promotional for Andrew Yang’s book presenting his argument for Basic Income, Medicare for All, and “human capitalism”.

Murphy: How did friends and family react to your decision to run for President?


Yang: Oh, my parents were initially anxious and worried about it. Friends had a range of reactions. One cried tears of joy and has been immensely helpful. Others were skeptical. I will say now that support is very strong with friends and family. When you tell someone about a decision, they might react one way but when the decision is made in public, then they have a different attitude and stance.


Murphy: Joseph Biden, a possible candidate, has explicitly rejected basic income. It seems like other presumptive candidates have stayed quite distant. Why do you think that is the case?


Yang: I think in Joe’s case—and I read his comments—he is stuck in this framing of a subsistence model in which value is tied to showing up at an hourly waged job. His explicit argument for why basic income is a bad thing is that people need work. What he doesn’t realize is that universal basic income is pro-work. It is pro doing work that people actually want to do. Joe is stuck in an era when we thought that, if someone had a certain amount of money in their pocket, they would want to do nothing at all. That is an old welfare-era framework that I think was never true. [Laughs.] In Joe’s mind, that relationship is still there. Other Democrats are going to resist making commitments in this direction because they are afraid of being painted as “socialists” or economically unsophisticated. In truth, it requires a degree of economic sophistication to understand basic income and to see how it would be great for our economy and our people.


“Other Democrats in my opinion are not sophisticated enough to understand the impact a basic income would have in the economy… They do not realize that we would be channeling money back into our economy through the hands and the decisions of our citizens.”

Andrew Yang


Murphy: Do you think as people hear about basic income, they are going to think more about economics?


Yang: What happens right now is that people are stuck in this scarcity mindset in which they ask how we can afford it. Won’t it cause rapid inflation? Won’t it make purchasing power go away? None of that is true! [Laughs.] So, other Democrats, in my opinion, are not sophisticated enough to understand the impact a basic income would have in the economy. They are stuck thinking that the money would be “gone” and we would need to “go get more of it.” They are not realizing that we would be channeling money back into our economy through the hands and the decisions of our citizens. The vast majority of the money would be spent in our regional economy every day. The Roosevelt Institute’s estimates that it would create four and a half million new jobs and grow the economy by two and a half trillion.

Murphy: I really liked that paper. For one thing, it is methodologically very cautious. For another, I liked basic income before I knew it would be that good.

Yang: Yeah, their projection was based on it coming from deficit spending and they posited a lower impact if it was paid for by taxes. Whereas, I am very confident that, simply by shifting money to the hands of the people most likely to spend, you would induce economic growth. One thousand dollars a month in the hands of a really wealthy person does absolutely nothing. It just becomes a line item somewhere.


Murphy: Money in the hands of the wealthy, if spent at all, goes into the streets that are already looking pretty good.


Yang: It just stays in someone’s account. When money goes to anyone in the bottom half of the US population then it will be spent on things that will manifest themselves in local businesses in the community.


Murphy: One of the reasons I support a basic income is that I grew up in Arkansas. A region like the Delta is invisible politically. I just know that very few other approaches are going to get anything down there.


Yang: That’s right. Virtually nothing else.


Murphy: If someone has a big plan for education and job training, I am not against those, but I doubt it will actually get to the neighborhoods I worked in there in Arkansas.


Yang: You are right.


Murphy: How are you looking to fund a basic income?


Yang: The main way we need to fund it is through a value-added tax. A VAT is an efficient way to raise revenue, it taxes consumption, which is what we ought to be taxing instead of something like work and labor. We are the only industrialized economy that does not use the VAT. We would be harvesting the gains of automation and new technologies much more effectively than income-based taxes.


Murphy: There are a few other proposals like a carbon tax or a tax on income above the one percent. What do you think of these other proposals that pop up?


Yang: I think some proposals try to finesse something that cannot be finessed. We try to find a way to fund a basic income without causing any pain or friction. I support taxing carbon and we will tax rich people. But we are talking about re-organizing the way that value is distributed in our society. So we can’t think that we can do that in some elegant way that leaves most people untouched.


[Note from Murphy: Yang’s platform also includes a financial transactions tax, which we did not discuss. There is also a call for an end to the current favorable tax treatment for capital gains and carried interest. That is not listed as funding for a BI.]


Murphy: Thinking of that, sometimes supporters present basic income as a reformist measure and sometimes others present it as a very radical transformation.


Yang: You can put me in the “radical transformation” category.


“Fifty-nine percent of Americans can’t afford to pay a surprise $500 charge. Our life expectancy is declining due to a surge in suicide. Seven Americans die of opiates every hour. Americans are starting businesses, getting married, and having kids at record low level or at the lowest in multiple decades. So, society is disintegrating and even very sick.”

Andrew Yang


Murphy: You are the first candidate [for the Democratic Presidential nomination] to announce. This is giving you access to curious people. I saw an article in which you were meeting with New Hampshire Democrats. That is a new crowd for basic income. How are these meetings working for you?


Yang: They are interested in what I have to say. Most of what I have to say revolves around the fact that we are going through the greatest technological and economic shift in human history. That is objective. That is data-driven. People find it very resonant. They sense that this is true. Most of our conversations are around what is happening with technology and labor and the economy and job polarization—all things that we are experiencing right now. One of the dangers of basic income right now is that it can seem like we are debating different versions of utopia. When we turn someone’s attention to the depth and breadth of our current social problems, we can talk about what can actually make a difference. The situation you saw in Arkansas is becoming more and more true for more and more Americans. May I give some of the stats that I feature in my book and in speeches?


Murphy: Absolutely.


Yang: Fifty-nine percent of Americans can’t afford to pay a surprise $500 charge. Our life expectancy is declining due to a surge in suicide. Seven Americans die of opiates every hour. Americans are starting businesses, getting married, and having kids at record low level or at the lowest in multiple decades. So, society is disintegrating and even very sick.


Murphy: We often use words like “self-employed” and “side hustle” for people who are…


Yang: Who are being exploited by a billion-dollar tech company that says “be your own boss” but pays you nickels on the dollar.


“We need to quit measuring everything based on GDP and profitability at the expense of human values. We should direct our energy towards thing that improve lives. The concentration of gains in the hands of a few is a toxic way to move forward.”
Andrew Yang


Murphy: Not long ago, we would hear people say that we need to choose between universal health care and basic income. Your platform simply has both. It seems like we are having a similar moment with a jobs guarantee. We keep hearing that we need to pick one or the other. It seems like many good people think that basic income crowds out something they are very concerned about.


Yang: That is an unproductive approach. We should not get lost in dueling utopias. If you are for universal health care, you should think about how much one thousand dollars a month will open up access to health care. If you care about gender equality and you want to see women avoid abusive workplaces and domestic situations—a thousand dollars a month could be vital. Let’s start with the cash because that will be the easiest thing to get done.


Opening page of Andrew Yang’s Presidential Campaign website.


Murphy: Your platform has multiple issues alongside basic income.


Yang: Definitely. I am all for single-payer health care and we can certainly do better with health than we are at present. That said, even after I win the Presidency, giving everyone cash will be easier to execute than universal health care. Andrew Stern points out that the government is terrible at many things but it is excellent at sending cash to many people promptly and reliably.


Murphy: Any ideas on how a basic income would affect foreign policy?


Yang: In the end, I think basic income will rationalize our spending, make us more optimistic, and smarter about our resources. Our citizens may end up less likely to want to lose a trillion dollars on military interventions worldwide.


Murphy: You call your worldview “Human Capitalism”. For some people “capitalism” refers to markets. For others, it refers to the domination of wealthy people.


Yang; First, I would agree with those who think that our current version of capitalism and corporatism is why our disintegration is happening. I am not a fan of continuing down this road. We have to reverse course as fast as possible. Reversing course, however, does not mean abandoning the things that have made capitalism effective. The problem is that our measuring sticks are all wrong. There are more effective ways to do things. Markets can help find the effective ways. We need to quit measuring everything based on GDP and profitability at the expense of human values. We should direct our energy towards the things that improve lives. The concentration of gains in the hands of a few is a toxic way to move forward. This is bad even for the so-called “winners” in society. Studies have proven that the winners in an unequal society are more anxious and depressed than the winners in a more equal society. This is enlightened self-interest. I can sympathize with anyone who thinks that “capitalism” is a dirty word. The first line in the description of human capitalism on our website is “Humans are more important than money.”


Murphy: Thank you for speaking with me between events. Is there any last word you want to make to readers?


Yang: I am hoping to get support soon from the basic income community. I have been campaigning for about four months. We are drawing from their ideas. We hope we can see them sign up because we need their support.


You may disagree with some item on my platform but I hope you can see that the direction and the spirit are right and that we can push a genuine conversation about basic income. We could really use their passion. We need a movement that recognizes that our community is disintegrating and that basic income is an essential answer. I hope that basic income activists can believe in this campaign.


Photo of Jason Burke Murphy (Left) and Andrew Yang (Right) shortly after this interview.

[Note from Murphy. Some portions of this interview were edited slightly for clarity as we moved from spoken word to written word. No content was altered. Thank you to Andrew Yang for taking time out of his campaign to speak with me. Thanks to Tyler Prochazka for proofreading.]

CANADA: Symposium on Dauphin Mincome Experiment Held at University of Manitoba

CANADA: Symposium on Dauphin Mincome Experiment Held at University of Manitoba

By Jason Burke Murphy


On October 3rd, the Social Work Department at the University of Manitoba held a Symposium on the Mincome Experiment conducted in Dauphin, Manitoba in the 1970’s. This included presentations by the Director of the Mincome Experiment in the 1970’s, Ron Hikel.

The resources from the Mincome Symposium held at the University of Manitoba (including the two papers presented and an audio clip of Ron Hikel’s interview with UMFM) have been posted on the Faculty of Social Work website.

The symposium featured Ron Hikel, who was Director of the Manitoba Basic Annual Income (Mincome) Experiment. His paper is linked here: Piloting Basic Income in Canada: Lessons from the Past, Possibilities in the Present.

Shortly after the symposium, Hikel also conducted an interview you can find here. Wayne Simpson, Greg Mason, and Ryan Godwin, of the Department of Economics at the University of Manitoba also wrote this paper: The Manitoba Basic Annual Income Experiment: Lessons Learned 40 Years Later.

The conference was moderated by Jim Mulvale and Sid Frankel of the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba.


More information at:

David Calnitsky, “‘More Normal than Welfare’: The Mincome Experiment, Stigma, and Community Experience

Evelyn Forget on The Legacy of Mincome & other Basic Income Experiment

Jenna van Draanen interview

Claire Bott, “Evelyn Forget/Northern Institute publish new report on BIG”, Basic Income News, August 1st 2017

Kate McFarland, “Overview of Current Basic Income Related Experiments (October 2017)“, October 19th 2017