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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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