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Technology for the Many: A Public Policy Platform for a Better, Fairer Future

Chris Yiu – Institute for Global Change

This wide ranging and fast moving report hits the Strategic Reading jackpot. It provides a bravura tour of more of the topics covered here than is plausible in a single document, ticking almost every category box along the way. It moves at considerable speed, but without sacrificing coherence or clarity. That sets the context for a set of radical recommendations to government, based on the premise established at the outset that incremental change is a route to mediocrity, that ‘status quo plus’ is a grave mistake.

Not many people could pull that off with such aplomb. The pace and fluency sweep the reader along through the recommendations, which range from the almost obvious to the distinctly unexpected. There is a debate to be had about whether they are the best (or the right) ways forward, but it’s a debate well worth having, for which this is an excellent provocation.


Universal basic income

Free Money: The Surprising Effects of a Basic Income Supplied by a Tribal Government

Issie Lapowsky – Wired

An intriguing natural experiment on the impact of a universal income has been going on in North Carolina for the last twenty years. Nobody intended – or even noticed – it to begin with; it’s a slightly accidental by-product of a profitable casino. It’s not a universal basic income in the normal sense, in that the amounts involved aren’t enough actually to live on and so it’s not a substitute for employment. But that makes the observed effects even more interesting. Even relatively small amounts can have significant behavioural consequences, including improving health and education outcomes and reducing crime. Larger lump sums at key stages, such as supporting tertiary education, can be more dramatically life changing.