Quick notes from Basic Income Guarantee Panel

I took some time out to attend the Basic Income Guarantee talk tonight…overall a really really interesting discussion that I’m still processing a bit in my head.

I also used the event to practice my ‘visual note taking’ skills (related to another book I’m reading)…so I thought I would just take a minute to upload/share a copy of those notes here (along with some personal takeaways and caveats).

#1. The single biggest, and most important, note I came away with is that Basic Income Guarantee is really a discussion about basic FREEDOM for individuals and not really so much about individual wealth or revenue.

#2. My handwriting is most likely tough to read here (and in real life too)…my artwork is also seriously lacking here (and in real life too)…so I’ll try to post some notes below to explain some things (but also feel free to ask questions/leave comments about anything you need deciphered).


and a few other quick bits I added on a second page:


…throughout the talks, I also wrote a handful of questions (that ended up mostly being answered via questions the rest of the crowd asked and/or the panelists decided to mention in related answers)…here is the list of questions I had jotted down during the initial talk portion:

A.) Downside? Who is against this?

General answer was ‘some companies’; some fear too much freedom given to the masses; there is a potential moral challenge to what people would/will do with freedom; the current wealthy/middle may feel devalued/threatened.

B.) If oil goes away what does Alaska do? How would it affect the state?

In my opinion this was mostly addressed by the answers to A.

C.) What dependancies would this build? How is it kept in check to remain useful?

A couple of people in the crowd expressed concern that prices would simply rise as a result of this – the panel (especially Albert) made the point that most of this only works in a deflationary economy, but they also touched on the fact that distribution and scale of the plan would ensure more freedom to the consumers (and hence the balance of price power would actually become *more* equal between consumers and sellers).

D.) How to get it started/tested?

Most agreed that an iterative approach was the most likely way…some private initiatives are already doing things/testing versions of this which is leading and driving the discussion if nothing else…

E.) How does healthcare fit into this? If we can’t get universal healthcare, how can we get this?

Albert touched on this in response to some of the other questions but didn’t have the opportunity to really deep dive into it…but he’s clearly thinking about it and I expect will address it more going forward.

F.) What can this crowd do to help? What are our action items/take aways?

Essentially the panel just wants the word and the discussion to spread at this point.

…SO…now to explain a few key things about my notes above:

1. Unfort. I had Michael Lewis and Nathan Schneider mixed up throughout most of my note taking (Michael is the one that talked about political hurdles, freedom, and trade offs; Nathan was the one coming from the time management angle and was the biggest proponent of doing this all outside of government [and not testing the ideas by taking anything *away* from the current poor])

2. The interesting thing about the panel was that everyone came to the idea/desire for a basic income guarantee from a completely different angle (Albert; robots and tech make it reasonable/possible. Peter; Climate & environment changes make it required. Michael; political hurdles are getting too high and difficult for the majority of people to get any value out of current gov. programs. Nathan; Time management is forcing the issue because we no longer have time for *anything* but, often meaningless, work).

3. There was no real opposing view; many in the crowd appeared to have a ‘skeptical’ reaction…but mostly, I think, because they haven’t fully dug into the source material the panelists have been sharing (yet).

4. I knew about Albert’s work around this topic (it’s also how I knew about the event) but was not aware of the others…of the panel, I found Michael’s take very rooted in reality and at least possible…I will dig into all of the panelists content/ideas a bit more over the next few weeks, but I’m excited to dig into Michael’s stuff the most.

5. Unrelated to anything really, but holy cow do people need to work on asking questions…every single question that came from the crowd was a multi-minute ramble fest (kinda like this post)…they were great questions, but they took a lot to get out.

6. There is clearly a lot of growing passion around this topic…that’s both encouraging and exciting…I hope it continues to grow.

7. If you want to get involved in this topic and other stuff around it you should check out the web site they mentioned at the end http://basicincome.nyc, follow the panelists on twitter (and their blogs), and also check out @civichall 

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This is the personal blog of Kevin Marshall (a.k.a Falicon) where he often digs into side projects he's working on for digdownlabs.com and other random thoughts he's got on his mind.

Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.

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