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Podcast: An experiment in Kenya

Summary:
[embedded content]Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.UBI in Kenya[00:47]Annie Lowrey discusses her recent piece in the New York Times Magazine, “The Future of Not Working”, about the implementation of a universal basic income in Kenyan villages. The pilot project is the work of GiveDirectly, a US-based nonprofit.An excerpt from her story:The nonprofit is in the process of registering roughly 40 more villages with a total of 6,000 adult residents, giving those people a guaranteed, 12-year-long, poverty-ending income. An additional 80 villages, with 11,500 residents all together, will receive a two-year basic income. With this initiative, GiveDirectly — with an office in New York and funded in no small part by Silicon Valley — is starting the world’s first true test of a

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Alphachat is available on Acast, iTunes and Stitcher.

UBI in Kenya
[00:47]

Annie Lowrey discusses her recent piece in the New York Times Magazine, “The Future of Not Working”, about the implementation of a universal basic income in Kenyan villages. The pilot project is the work of GiveDirectly, a US-based nonprofit.

An excerpt from her story:

The nonprofit is in the process of registering roughly 40 more villages with a total of 6,000 adult residents, giving those people a guaranteed, 12-year-long, poverty-ending income. An additional 80 villages, with 11,500 residents all together, will receive a two-year basic income. With this initiative, GiveDirectly — with an office in New York and funded in no small part by Silicon Valley — is starting the world’s first true test of a universal basic income. The idea is perhaps most in vogue in chilly, left-leaning places, among them Canada, Finland, the Netherlands and Scotland. But many economists think it might have the most promise in places with poorer populations, like India and sub-Saharan Africa.

GiveDirectly wants to show the world that a basic income is a cheap, scalable way to aid the poorest people on the planet. “We have the resources to eliminate extreme poverty this year,” Michael Faye, a founder of GiveDirectly, told me. But these resources are often misallocated or wasted. His nonprofit wants to upend incumbent charities, offering major donors a platform to push money to the world’s neediest immediately and practically without cost.

What happens in this village has the potential to transform foreign-aid institutions, but its effects might also be felt closer to home. A growing crowd, including many of GiveDirectly’s backers in Silicon Valley, are looking at this pilot project not just as a means of charity but also as the groundwork for an argument that a universal basic income might be right for you, me and everyone else around the world too.

Lowrey is working on a book about UBI that will be published later this year.

Is Nairu bunk?
[23:01]

Matt Klein writes that Nairu — the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment — is a useless concept. Simon Wren-Lewis and a few others have responded that the idea is imperfect but worth preserving. We recapitulate the argument and explain why it matters for monetary policy.

Longform recommendations
Annie Lowrey – “Robert Mercer: The big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media”
Matt Klein – The Deluge
Cardiff Garcia – NPR’s Embedded podcast, “Gangs flex their muscle on violent streets of El Salvador” episode

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Cardiff Garcia
Cardiff writes mostly about US macroeconomic issues, with daily excursions into other topics about which he claim no expertise. Before Alphaville, Cardiff spent a little more than two years as a reporter at Dow Jones Financial News covering investment banking, asset management, and private equity. Along the way he has written freelance pieces on a variety of other topics from behavioural psychology to Muay Thai, the latter also being a personal interest that involves frequently getting kicked in the shins (and torso, and head).

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