Panel to Discuss ‘Universal Basic Income: Contemporary Implications of a Utopian Desire’

UBI graphic

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is hosting a panel on universal basic income and the implications of technology on the future of job markets on Monday, Oct. 16 at 4 p.m. in the Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall.

Panelists are:

  • Connie Razza: Director of strategic research at the Center for Popular Democracy and co-director of policy and research at Demos, a public policy organization.
  • Seth Ackerman: Member of the editorial board of Jacobin, where he has published prominently on universal basic income reform.
  • Elizabeth Rhodes: Research director for the Basic Income Project, Y Combinator Research.

Recent advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, and related technologies challenge the notion that plentiful jobs will be available for those seeking work. Self-driving trucks, for example, could spur the elimination of hundreds of thousands or even millions of jobs, many of which will not be replaced. If many citizens are unable to find traditional work, both individuals and society will need to adapt to a new social and economic reality. How should society support those who cannot find work because technology has displaced jobs?

Universal basic income (UBI) is a form of social security that has been gaining traction worldwide as a means of providing income to those unable to work and thereby reducing poverty, improving equality, increasing quality of life, and providing economic security to citizens. Proponents of UBI have theorized that putting such a system into place could potentially even eradicate poverty altogether, while reducing the bureaucracy associated with current methods of social welfare assistance provision and also boosting economic growth.

In this moderated panel discussion, UBI experts Razza, Ackerman, and Rhodes will discuss the history of this theory and the implications of putting such a system in place.

The Annual Freedman Lecture is sponsored by alumni Robert J. Rosen and Nancy J. Rosen in memory of her parents, Max and Ruth Freedman.