Andrew Yang is a left wing libertarian

Make America Justice Again

Who has the best chance of beating Donald Trump in the American presidential election? Do you believe that?Betting odds, of all people, could win the race who wants to pay all Americans $ 1,000 unconditional basic income per month. Why is Andrew Yang's campaign suddenly so popular?

So far, the demand for an unconditional basic income in a US election campaign would have meant the safe end for the candidate. Far too much, the idea is branded in the USA as a socialist welfare instrument and thus has a negative connotation for the majority of the time.

However, Andrew Yang managed to embed the basic income in a modern narrative devoid of any ideology. That suddenly speaks to almost all political camps.

Just a few months ago, Yang was one of many in the never-land of this election campaign. A lot has happened since then. The social entrepreneur from New York City has built up a group of enthusiastic supporters that is growing steadily, especially among young people. Tesla boss Elon Musk and other well-known people are now speaking out for him.

The broad and prominent support is working: Over 300,000 people have already donated to Yang’s campaign with the unconditional basic income as a central election promise. In surveys, he has already left more than 20 other candidates, including senators and governors, behind. In a recent survey, it ranks fourth.

But how exactly does Andrew Yang manage to trigger this new hype about the unconditional basic income? Especially with these three strategies:

1. Reframing of basic income: Get out of the socialist corner

Yang's campaign has the Unconditional Basic Income from the English"Universal Basic Income" in"Freedom Dividend" renamed. It is no accident that the combination of these two words sounds profoundly American. The new term enables the concept of an unconditional basic income to be thought from a new perspective.

"Freedom" The basic income detaches from the perception of the state as a charitable favor of the state for its needy citizens - and instead presents it as a right to freedom, comparable to already existing basic rights such as the right to demonstrate and vote, the right to freedom of expression or the free development of one's personality .

All these basic rights are taken for granted in Western societies today, although they are still very young in human history and their implementation seemed utopian for a long time. The"Freedom Dividend" In this context it is understood as a financial right to freedom that guarantees all people an unconditional basic supply.

"Dividend": Andrew Yang understands basic income in symbiosis with capitalism. He likes to draw the comparison with a stock corporation, in which all shareholders have a right to a distribution of profits (in the form of a dividend). In an economy that produces surpluses of goods and lets the economic cake of society as a whole grow every year, the question arises: "Who gets which piece of the cake and under what conditions?"

The Freedom Dividend wants to pay out part of the “profit” equally to all “shareholders” of a state. So everyone gets a little piece of the cake, unconditionally.

2. Basic income as part of a larger vision of the future

Andrew Yang's vision for the society of the future bears the name"Human-centered capitalism" - by this he means a new form of capitalism in which the markets are supposed to serve people again, not the other way around. In order to achieve this goal, Yang has published over 100 concrete political approaches, all of which are intended to make a direct or indirect contribution to improving the quality of life of the American people.

Just one example: Yang wants to introduce an alternative standard to gross domestic product (GDP) that measures people's quality of life using over 20 parameters and does not just use economic growth as an indicator of how well a society is doing.

The"Freedom Dividend" is a central building block in Yang's vision and the symbol of his campaign, which proposes a humanistic capitalism. Yang calls this concept “capitalism in which income does not start from zero”.


Call for the international basic income demo on October 26, 2019 in Berlin

Andrew Yang mobilizes people for the idea of ​​a basic income - also on the street: On October 26, 2019, his supporters are calling for a “Basic Income March” in New York City and at the same time in 17 other cities on four continents. Our guest author Stefan Perlebach is organizing the Berlin demo, which will move from Alexanderplatz to the Brandenburg Gate from 2 p.m. under the motto “Basic Income Runs”. It could become the largest international demonstration movement for an unconditional basic income - if you help: Run with us and share the call for a demo!


3. Automation is “to blame” - not the Mexicans

By 2030, 20 to 30 percent of all jobs in the US will be automated. According to studies by management consultancies such as McKinsey or Bain and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), this “fourth industrial revolution” will take place three to four times faster and have more dramatic effects than previous economic upheavals.

Yang's campaign repeatedly draws the Americans' attention to the fact that this development can already be observed now, and that it is leading to severe socio-economic upheavals, especially in rural regions. Specifically, if you ask people in any small American town why their local shops are closing, the answer is almost always: “Amazon!”

Yang sees this structural change as the cause of Trump's success in the 2016 election. Instead of falling into reactionism and people with slogans like"Make America Great Again" giving the false hope that one could turn back the clocks, Yang's campaign does not ignore the structural change, but looks reality in the eye: "In the future, the truck will drive autonomously, no matter how good the truck driver is."

But more importantly: Yang offers progressive food for thought and concrete solutions. He asks how we want to redefine work and performance in the future if, in the course of automation, they shift to areas that only people can cover, but not machines. The"Freedom Dividend" is intended to guarantee a basic financial valuation for human work.

This is particularly true for work that forms the foundation of our society but is not considered or valued in the free market, such as bringing up our children, volunteering, social engagement or creative and artistic activities.

With these three strategies, Andrew Yang breathed new life into the unconditional basic income in the United States. If you want a basic income in this country too, you should follow your presidential campaign closely.

Photos: Gage Skidmore,Flickr, cc-by-sa-2.0 (cover picture) | Screenshot,Yang 2020.com

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