Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hawaii Considers Creating a Universal Basic Income

Thanks, Elly.

by Dylan Matthews

Hawaii is now one step closer to adopting a full universal basic income for all its residents.

Basic income — a plan under which the government would regularly send everyone in a given country/state/city/etc. money just for being alive — has been gaining a significant amount of interest in recent years and now the Hawaii state legislature has unanimous passed a concurrent resolution which sets up a “basic economy security working group” tasked with considering the idea.

State Rep. Chris Lee, a Democrat from the Honolulu suburb Kailua who spearheaded the measure, says he first heard about basic income as a concept on Reddit.

His interest in the idea, he said, is motivated by a concern that automation will make good jobs rarer, particularly in a service industry-dependent state like Hawaii. Manufacturing has never been a major part of the economy and while agriculture used to be dominant, the state’s last sugar mill closed last year and the pineapple industry has declined dramatically.

“Because we don’t have a heavy manufacturing base or a heavy tech sector, it really is that there are regular services available in other cities that make up a much larger share of the overall economy,” Lee says.

And those service jobs, he argues, are at risk of being automated away: “We’ve seen automation of the retail space, with self-checkout systems proliferating, as well as automation in fast food and similar sectors, and the biggest thing, which obviously is yet to come but surely around the corner, is on the transportation side with respect to autonomous driving.”

Lee’s resolution, HCR 89, was supported by major unions and the Chamber of Commerce, and sets up a working group to study the idea of implementing a basic income. Continue reading at Vox

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