Basic Income: Can Giving Away Free Money Save Us?

Mar 10, 2017

12:30pm – 1:30pm CT

Should the government give everyone enough money to live on, no strings attached? Will such a “universal basic income” become “to the 21st century what political and civil rights were to the 20th,” as India’s CEA has speculated?

Around the globe, basic income is being promoted as a solution to everything from job-stealing robots to extreme poverty. The Finns are piloting it. The Swiss have voted on it (no, for now). Barack Obama says we need to be talking about it. And in Kenya, the NGO GiveDirectly is running one of the most ambitious social experiments in history to scientifically test it.

This panel will examine…. Where did the idea of basic income come from and how does it work? What are the pros and cons of this model of economic security? What previous tests have been run to better understand the idea’s potential? How is the accelerating automation of jobs changing the way we think about the potential of basic income? How is GiveDirectly’s massive 12-year experiment going to advance our knowledge of the long-term impacts of basic income on a community?

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

photo of Catherine Cheney
photo of Michael Faye
Michael Faye


photo of Michael Tanner
Michael Tanner

Cato Institute

Primary Access
Music Badge
Platinum Badge
Film Badge
Interactive Badge