Last week I wrote about the power of seeking truth and progress above all, and the incredible ability to change your mind. I’ve also written about how to have a productive argument, and how to sell yourself, and why integrity is better than money. While I was writing this article, I realized that Presidential Candidate and Entrepreneur Andrew Yang exemplifies all of these powers masterfully.
In the first months after announcing his candidacy, it didn’t appear Yang would ever be a frontrunner. However, his honesty and data-backed policies in combination with frequent appearances on popular internet spots is why he is loved by more people every day.
Automation is the all-encompassing word that describes the revolution in technology over the past century, or even just the past 20 years. Through factory robots, the Internet, and Silicon Valley mobile apps, we have been able to improve most aspects of our lives by leveraging technology to do work for us. Dangerous jobs no longer have to put human lives at risk, Roombas can clean our living room, and we can deliver food to our house in less than an hour. However, one aspect remains to be improved: the incredible growth of technology has come at odds with an old and flawed political system.
Automation takes away people’s jobs (at least in the short term), and we live in a country, a world, where jobs are necessary to live. On top of this, the capitalism of the US has created a small class of billionaires, and they are some of the only people taking full advantage of automation. Money is power, and that power is concentrated on a select few. Most Americans are in a position to lose from automation instead of gain, simply because they lack the capital to pay for rent, move to a better location, or start their own business.
Andrew Yang’s flagship proposal is what he calls the Freedom Dividend: a measure to lift people out of poverty, promote new business, and provide a foundation from which to thrive under capitalism. It’s simple: give every American $1000 a month. By taking a cut from the big companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple, making sure they pair their fair share in taxes, huge growth can help instead of hurt the middle and lower class.
The research supports Yang on this one (you’re gonna be hearing that a lot). Trials of Universal Basic Income (UBI) in varied forms have demonstrated promising benefits. Here are just some, more listed on Yang’s website.
- Increased entrepreneurship: The Roosevelt Institute found that 4.6 million more jobs and a 12% continuous growth in the economy would be generated by UBI. It makes sense: basic needs are provided for, and UBI is an ever-present safety net that incentives risks essential for growth.
- Work is encouraged: Welfare programs often strip away benefits as soon as the recipient finds a job, but this creates a negative incentive around work. UBI continues, regardless of economic status.
- No strings attached: $1000 are freely given, meaning that much less time and money is spent determining who is eligible and getting the benefits to them.
- Better health, better decisions: Increased economic security has been shown to increase overall physical and mental health. Hospitalization rates dropped by 8.5% within a UBI experiment in Canada. A reduced cognitive ability around that of 13 less IQ points was observed among people in straits of economic insecurity.
...And that’s just his flagship. You can find over 160 policies on his website, and they all apply the recommendations I’ve made in previous articles: Use data to back up your decisions, and it’s okay to change your mind when new information comes forward.
The only way to make effective decisions is to have as much information as you can reasonably gather. That’s why I hope my article has effectively introduced you to Andrew Yang, or informed you more completely on his policy and philosophy (which as it turns out, is very similar to mine). You can find more about his campaign at Yang2020.com or on Twitter @AndrewYang.