Could we be on the cusp of a whole new era when it comes to money?
New coverage of an interesting voice in digital finance suggests that the idea of a universal basic income is not dead.
Yoni Assia, the CEO of eToro, is on record talking about his vision for a new economy in the years to come that echoes the ideas of Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Yang’s popular campaign floated the universal basic income as a major stabilizer for the American public and a growth engine for an economy that is currently in crisis.
Months after Yang left the race, Assia is reviving similar ideas.
“Ten years ago, humanity wrestled with a generational crisis named COVID-19,” Assia writes in a Coindesk Op-Ed, starting out with a hypothetical future to illustrate what’s possible with new approaches to the dollar. “In the wake of the pandemic and its cataclysmic fallout, seismic changes occurred and a wellspring of ideas burst forth. The weaknesses of our society laid bare, people were freed to think differently about the social contract. Conversations around the function of money and who controlled its minting began, triggered by the unprecedented money printing provoked by the pandemic.”
It’s an intro to a screed where Assia lays out some of the possibilities: blending permissionless digital currency with a UBI in some form, he suggests, could contribute to “making money free,” and alleviating some of the bottlenecks in today’s economy.
The general picture seems to be re-framing the economy so that earners have access to luxuries, but everyone, through “humane capitalism,” has access to the basics with freely distributed monetary value for things like housing, food and medicines.
This makes a lot of sense to the many economists decrying our long-standing use of “trickle-down” models.
“Tax cuts for the rich trickle down to everyone else,” wrote Robert Reich almost a decade ago, suggesting that money flows better when held by the average wage earner. “Baloney. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both sliced taxes on the rich and what happened? Most Americans’ wages (measured by the real median wage) began flattening under Reagan and have dropped since George W. Bush. Trickle-down economics is a cruel joke.”
Since then, Reich and others have been hard at work trying to show how more equitable distribution of money would actually contribute to vibrant economic growth. The problem, he and others point out, is that wealth holders like things the way they are.
If you are an investor, Reich’s contentions and Assia’s dreams may make sense to you for orienting your portfolio toward change.