Y Combinator is Running a Basic Income Experiment with 100 Oakland Families

Y Combinator is Running a Basic Income Experiment with 100 Oakland Families
June 03 11:08 2016 Print This Article

(QZ) – Universal basic income is a growing obsession in Silicon Valley. Wherever founders and venture capitalists gather or TED talks are given, there is likely to be speculation about an automated future where technology takes over most occupations (except theirs of course), and the jobless forever outnumber the jobs.

Given that the engine of this future economy will be in Silicon Valley, it’s fitting that the region’s top startup accelerator, Y Combinator, would do some research on the subject of what will happen to us humans in the age of automation. On Tuesday, Oakland was selected as the site of Y Combinator’s pilot experiment, in which it will give about 100 families a minimum wage. The city was chosen for its social and economic diversity, alongside concentrated wealth and inequality—a good starting point for the US at large.

“The motivation behind the project is to begin exploring alternatives to the existing social safety net,” writes Elizabeth Rhodes, the first director of the non-profit arm YC Research, in an email. “If technology eliminates jobs or jobs continue to become less secure, an increasing number of people will be unable to make ends meet with earnings from employment. Basic income is one way to ensure that people are able to meet their basic needs. We’re not sure how it would work or if it’s the best solution, which is why we want to conduct this study.”

This initial small pilot program will run for between six months and a year. People will be selected from across the economic spectrum, and include both the employed and the jobless. Each person will receive $1,000 to $2,000 per month, with no strings attached. The study will test payment methods and data collection, as well as whether the money meets people’s core needs, and how it affects people’s “happiness, well-being, financial health, as well as how people spend their time.”

See the full article HERE