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Publisher's Summary

A brilliantly reported, global look at universal basic income - a stipend given to every citizen - and why it might be necessary in an age of rising inequality, persistent poverty, and dazzling technology.

Imagine if every month the government deposited $1,000 into your bank account, with nothing expected in return. It sounds crazy. But it has become one of the most influential and hotly debated policy ideas of our time. Futurists, radicals, libertarians, socialists, union representatives, feminists, conservatives, Bernie supporters, development economists, childcare workers, welfare recipients, and politicians from India to Finland to Canada to Mexico - all are talking about UBI.

In this sparkling and provocative book, economics writer Annie Lowrey examines the UBI movement from many angles. She travels to Kenya to see how a UBI is lifting the poorest people on earth out of destitution, India to see how inefficient government programs are failing the poor, South Korea to interrogate UBI’s intellectual pedigree, and Silicon Valley to meet the tech titans financing UBI pilots in expectation of a world with advanced artificial intelligence and little need for human labor.

Lowrey explores the potential of such a sweeping policy and the challenges the movement faces, among them contradictory aims, uncomfortable costs, and, most powerfully, the entrenched belief that no one should get something for nothing. In the end, she shows how this arcane policy has the potential to solve some of our most intractable economic problems while offering a new vision of citizenship and a firmer foundation for our society in this age of turbulence and marvels.

©2018 Annie Lowrey (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A lively introduction to a seemingly quixotic concept that has attracted thinkers from John Stuart Mill to Martin Luther King Jr., and that continues to provoke." (Publishers Weekly)

Give People Money is extraordinary, and the world has never needed it more. Annie Lowrey has a talent for making radical ideas feel not just possible - but necessary. This is a book that could change everything.” (Jessica Valenti, author of Sex Objects: A Memoir)

“Like it or hate it, the UBI is the biggest social policy idea of the 21st century so far. Annie Lowrey’s book is the best study yet of the world’s experiences with UBI. It deserves acclaim and, more important, the close attention of policy makers.” (Lawrence H. Summers, former Treasury Secretary of the United States)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

A pinch of Ethos, add Logos for flavor

The author does a superb job at voicing her written work, which itself is a great, and (imo) fair look at the concepts, arguments for and against, and real evidences related to UBI. My favorite thing about her wiring style inherent is the adept use of universal (worldwide) anecdote combined with simple, but not simplified, explanations of the research that currently exists. I would even like to pick up a physical copy for the bibliography section!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Good ideas, buy lacks statistical support

The book is a good frame for a new way of government. It lacks statistical and economics support to actually make it believable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Liberal whine-fest rather than serious discussion

I’m a supporter of UBI but embarrassed by this book. The author shares her laundry list of what’s wrong with society and asserts that UBI would fix it. She touches on cost but then brushes it away with a “but the government can just print money argument”. She ignores inflationary implications of money printing, but more glaringly, of the UBI itself. In a final insult to the reader, she compares us to the Jetsons. Hardly rigorous analysis. If UBI stands a chance, it will need more competent supporters.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant!

Oustandingly brilliant writer/researcher, relevant education on where we as a society are and where we are headed.

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Great book, terrible reader.

The author has done a wonderful job humanizing the face of poverty around the world and how people have tried to fight it. She's also done a bang-up job laying out how simply giving people money instead of patronizingly giving them stuff they "need" decided by faceless bureaucrats and finger-wagging donors is a mich better way of alleviating poverty while preserving human dignity, and all of this on the cheap. But the reader's speaking style has this grating, false conversational affectation that makes listening to the book a chore, rather than a joy. When the reader stops doing that, and just reads the effing book, you can see the contrast most starkly.

Annie, you have a great book, but let someone else read.

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Love it

This book will scared you open your eyes make you think and piss you off.
Good job This a great Book and an even better argument for UBI

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An intriguing idea

I first heard of the Universal Basic Income (UBI) about a year ago and wished there was a book that discussed it. And here it is. The studies the author cites are quite interesting, though they are generally not studies from Western countries. I did read about a study in Canada in another book. Oh, if only we could have such a thing. It seems unrealistic, but maybe one day. Talking about it, writing about it is the first step to getting the idea out there.

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Brilliant presentation of a contraversial idea.

The sooner people begin hearing about this revolilutionary idea, the sooner they will grasp what a life changing idea this is. It will become a necessity as more parts of our lives become automated. It reminds me of Greece that has companies pay their workers for 13 months a year. This way they have money to go on vacation or do other things that help make life worth living.