An experienced entrepreneur knows what it takes to create jobs and has their pulse on HR trends. They know that you can’t just create any job without building a business cycle first. Real entrepreneurs want to create a profitable business to the point where it can hire, train, and support careers long-term. They have a sense of how microeconomics affects macroeconomics, and vice versa. Social entrepreneurs are a rare group that focus on social good and want to change the world for the better.
But what if the entrepreneurial world is changing? What if the incentives for creating long-term work are no longer there, as employers opt instead for temporary gig workers and software automations? What if automation, AI, and temp-work begin to outpace career creation, adding to the already downward trends of poverty, inequality, and unemployment?
These concerns are the focal points for presidential candidate Andrew Yang, where his campaign faces the potentially grim economic reality of massive job loss that may be caused by automation and job replacement. Yang’s platform addresses these concerns with genuine solutions.
“In the next 12 years, 1 out of 3 American workers are at risk of losing their jobs to new technologies—and unlike with previous waves of automation, this time new jobs will not appear quickly enough in large enough numbers to make up for it.”
“I am passionate about our need to evolve because I am convinced that we are automating away the most common jobs in our country, and we must adapt.”
Yang’s belief is partially backed by a 2016 White House economic report implying that jobs that pay less than $20 per hour have an 83% probability of being automated: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/docs/ERP_2016_Chapter_5.pdf
Andrew Yang’s entrepreneurial experience and insight will play crucial roles in adapting to a fast-changing American economy, and his success in his entrepreneurial background sets him apart from the other candidates.
Instead of adapting the economy with a federal job guarantee where the government manages a job for every person who doesn’t already have one, Yang proposes something much more streamlined: A cash payment of $1000 every month distributed to every adult American citizen. This idea is part of a larger concept called Universal Basic Income, or UBI.
UBI is the flagship of his campaign and it is called “The Freedom Dividend”. For anyone that is paying attention to the gamut of problems we need to tackle, this would be a crucial step forward at a critical moment in an America that’s grappling with a barrage of serious issues, including this impending wave of technological displacement.
Yang’s insight stems from his real-world social entrepreneurial experiences creating a non-profit called Venture for America. At VFA, college graduates apply to become fellows, trained in startups, web design, entrepreneurship, and public speaking programs in Detroit. Students are then placed in startups in various cities such as Baltimore, Detroit, and San Antonio. VFA created a startup accelerator and grew to 20 cities with an operating budget of $6 million.
In 2012 Yang was also designated a “Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship” and a “Champion of Change” by the Obama Administration. "Celebrating a Year of Champions of Change – President Obama Meets with 12 Champions Who Are Making a Difference in Their Communities"
Those studying economics and/or have entrepreneurial experience understand the high levels of risk involved in starting a business and the necessity of innovating to break into the market.
With the Freedom Dividend, risk would be reduced and innovation would be boosted as previous studies done to test UBI have shown. In India, for example, entrepreneurship was boosted: “basic income grants led to small-scale investments — more and better seeds, sewing machines, establishment of little shops, repairs to equipment…” https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/17702/1/India's%20experiment.pdf —A large portion of this cash would then be cycled back into the economy through consumer spending. This cycle fosters an environment for entrepreneurialism and from that comes job growth.
“A basic income can provide seed capital for individuals to purchase materials and assets needed to start their own enterprises and become entrepreneurs.” https://munkschool.utoronto.ca/mowatcentre/wp-content/uploads/publications/126_pilot_lessons.pdf — A Freedom Dividend would reduce “the risk they face should they decide to become entrepreneurs.”
UBI has demonstrated positive economic change beyond innovation and startups. UBI has the potential to change the incentives for entrepreneurial projects and to steer the incentives more towards social entrepreneurship. In a 2017 report exploring the impact of basic income on social entrepreneurship, it was stated that “social businesses create 126 jobs for every 94 jobs that a regular business creates.” https://munkschool.utoronto.ca/mowatcentre/wp-content/uploads/publications/148_basic_impact.pdf
Looking beyond traditional job creation, forward thinkers like Andrew Yang realize that the American economy should also create better, and more meaningful socially-conscious jobs. In the face of automation, AI, and technological displacement, the Freedom Dividend as a UBI program for American citizens would be an incredibly positive change for our society that would create more socially-conscious jobs.
By putting Universal Basic Income at the forefront of his campaign, Andrew Yang displays his own entrepreneurial understanding in that we must prepare for an economy that is poised to significantly transform in the coming years, and face those challenges head-on by shifting toward a more socially-conscious form of Capitalism where everyone has a foundational income floor.
Read more of my writings published about Universal Basic Income:
Read about the existing evidence supporting UBI:
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