Unfriended: Mark Zuckerberg’s pitch for ‘universal basic income’


**Written by Doug Powers

Example #4,503 why billionaires with visions of making the world their social experimentation Petri dish are disconcerting:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called on the need to consider universal basic income for Americans during his Harvard Commencement Speech.

Zuckerberg’s comments reflect those of other Silicon Valley bigwigs, including Sam Altman, the president of venture capital firm Y Combinator.

“Every generation expands its definition of equality. Now it’s time for our generation to define a new social contract,” Zuckerberg said during his speech. “We should have a society that measures progress not by economic metrics like GDP but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

Ensuring “everyone has a cushion to try new ideas” sounds like a repackaged version of Nancy Pelosi’s pitch for Obamacare.

But anyway, let’s think it through: There are reportedly nearly 2 billion users of Facebook. That means Facebook — a company with a market valuation in the hundreds of billions — could really help with its co-founder’s dream of “universal basic income” by paying two-thirds of the ad revenue generated BY Facebook users back TO Facebook users. 1.25 billion “basic incomes” could be created instantly! But I’m guessing Zuck would think that’s a ridiculous proposition.

I rather liked CNBC’s more straightforward headline about what Zuckerberg called for:

Sounds really dumb when it’s put that way.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe