Annie Lowrey’s Give People Money is a perfect general interest policy book. It grapples with a big, important idea from a variety of angles with a charming and accessible style. Lowrey makes a compelling case for a major policy imitative, but doesn’t shy away from asking the big (or small) questions that bedevil all progressive moonshots. Recommended By Keith M., Powells.com
Lowrey examines the mechanisms of societal inequality and universal basic income experiments all over the globe to show that giving people money just works. A timely read for people who aren't yet convinced that spreading wealth is the best and perhaps only way to end poverty. Recommended By Ashleigh B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A brilliantly reported, global look at universal basic income — a stipend given to every citizen — and why it might be necessary for our age of rising inequality, persistent poverty, and dazzling technology.
Imagine if every month the government deposited $1,000 into your checking account, with no strings attached and 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, housing advocates, union representatives, feminists, conservatives, Bernie supporters, development economists, child-care 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 looks at the global UBI movement. 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.
She examines 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. She shows how this arcane policy offers not just a potential answer for many of our most deeply entrenched economic and social-justice problems, but also suggests a better foundation for our society in this age of turbulence and marvels.
“Give People Money is about Universal Basic Income in the way that Moby Dick is about a whale. If you want to learn about UBI, read this book. If you don’t care about UBI, but you’re interested in how technology is changing our economy, how the character of work is transforming, what poverty looks like in the US and globally, and how governments might more ably aid their citizens, then you really must read this book.” Shamus Khan, Columbia University, author of Privilege
“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
“Send everyone a monthly check? Eliminate all welfare bureaucracies? Even if you don’t believe that technology reduces the total number of jobs, the idea of a universal basic income is worth analyzing. In this provocative book, Annie Lowrey explores the history, practicality, and philosophical basis of an idea now drawing attention from all points on the political spectrum.” Walter Isaacson, author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs
“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
“Annie Lowery has given basic income a wonderful upgrade…[bringing] first-hand accounts of struggling workers all over the world….A must-read as basic income becomes a more mainstream idea.” Forbes
About the Author
Annie Lowrey is a contributing editor for The Atlantic. A former writer for the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, and Slate, among other publications, she is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. Lowrey lives in Washington, DC.