The idea of universal basic income (UBI) has been gaining steam around the world. A Japanese billionaire and an American presidential candidate, among others, have both thrown their weight behind it.
The concept is simple: the government provides unconditional money to their citizens. The theory is that in order to provide basic services for all citizens and to stimulate the economy, a small amount of money can be given to each person, equally.
In the United States, presidential candidate Andrew Yang has even given away $12,000 to a random Twitter follower. In his plan, each adult would receive that amount of money every year. Yang argues people will continue working, even with UBI. $12,000 a year is barely enough to live on in many places and certainly not enough to afford much in the way of experiences or advancement. To get ahead meaningfully, people will still need to get out there and work.
In Japan billionaire Yusaku Maezawa also announced via Twitter about his plan to give away 1 billion Japanese yen, about 9 million dollars to 1000 random Twitter followers.
Maezawa has called it a serious social experiment, and he's not alone. Many people, especially those in Silicon Valley, have worried that incredible increases in automation to push workers out of jobs. It's been theorized that universal basic income could stimulate the economy dramatically.