While speaking at Harvard’s commencement ceremony, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called on the federal government to provide a “universal basic income,” CNBC reported Thursday.
“Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract,” he said. “We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”
According to CNBC, Zuckerberg’s comments reflect the opinions of other Silicon Valley bigwigs, including Sam Altman, the president of venture capital firm Y Combinator.
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Zuckerberg said that, because he knew he had a safety net if projects like Facebook had failed, he was confident enough to continue on without fear of failing. Others, he said, such as children who need to support households instead of poking away on computers learning how to code, don’t have the foundation Zuckerberg had. Universal basic income would provide that sort of cushion, Zuckerberg argued.
Altman’s view is similar. A year ago, Altman said he thinks “everyone should have enough money to meet their basic needs—no matter what, especially if there are enough resources to make it possible. We don’t yet know how it should look or how to pay for it, but basic income seems a promising way to do this.” Altman believes basic income will be possible as technological advancements “generate an abundance of resources” that help decrease the cost of living.
An article at Boston.com explains:
Universal basic income is actually a pretty straightforward concept. And while there are varying degrees and iterations, at its core it’s a proposal that the government provides every citizen a certain baseline amount of money, no strings attached.
It’s even more straightforward than that — it’s called “socialism” and it’s never worked. Google “Venezuela.”
The American Thinker added:
Zuckerberg talks about having the “freedom” to seek out meaning. He says not a word about how taking this money from taxpayers to pay others would rob them of some of their freedom. How many companies would not be started because of higher taxes required to pay a guaranteed income? That thought never occurs to Zuckerberg. What of the lower standard of living of those who have to pay these crushing taxes? That never occurs to Zuckerberg either; he is too obscenely rich to relate to it. What about the massive inflation that would result from millions of people suddenly having higher incomes? No thought to that either. Did Zuckerberg drop out of Harvard before got a chance to take Economics 101?
Maybe so. After all, he really did drop out of Harvard… No worries, though, because he received an honorary doctorate on Thursday.
Here’s video of his speech:
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