Will Your Universal Basic Income Check Soon Be In the Mail?


What if every month, every American received a direct deposit of thousands of dollars from the government, with no strings attached?

That’s the idea behind universal basic income (UBI), a growing and fiercely debated movement to give every citizen a stipend for living. It’s a concept that’s attracted a diverse following: Silicon Valley tech titans, libertarians, socialists, economists, and governments across continents have all voiced interest in different forms of this unconditional cash. Some tout it as a simple way to give citizens a floor to stand on in tumultuous times, others as our long-sought dividend for living in a time when technology will free most of us from labor.

But could UBI ever take off in the U.S., considering how much our cultural ethos is wrapped up in the idea of "earning a living" and how much of our individual sense of worth is tied to our labor?

Join Future Tense to consider whether UBI is, or should be, in your future, whether as a supplement or substitute to wages.

Follow the conversation online using #UBI_FT and following @FutureTenseNow.


Annie Lowrey
Author, Give People Money: How a Universal Basic Income Would End Poverty, Revolutionize Work, and Remake the World
Contributing editor, The Atlantic

Sebastian Johnson
Writer and Philanthropic Strategist

Susanna Groves
Senior Budget Analyst, Council of the District of Columbia


Luke Tate
Assistant Vice President and Executive Director, Opportunity
Initiatives, Office of the President at ASU