Talking about . . . guaranteed national income
What would happen if we had a National Basic Income (NBI)? Every citizen of the country is guaranteed to receive money, regardless of circumstances. This idea has been around for a few decades as a potential solution to ending poverty. It has also been championed as a way to reduce social programs and government bureaucracy. In the spring of 2016, Switzerland voted down a referendum on this, but Finland is drafting a plan which will be presented via referendum in late 2016. While some fear automation will shrink available jobs, others see NBI as a way to stimulate the economy. We invite you to engage in a little dreaming about what our future could be.
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Background reading (optional)
While you don't need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.
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Now that you are all together, here we go!
This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.
Before you begin your conversation, please go over the Conversation Ground Rules with your participants.
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One. Why are we here?
What interested you or drew you to this topic?
Two. Your core values
- what sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
- what would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
- what are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?
Three. What are your biggest concerns about a guaranteed national income?
Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions and goals.
- if you knew you had a survival level of income, guaranteed, how would your life change?
- how do you think a guaranteed basic income would impact your community?
- how do you think other people would respond to a survival level of income?
- what conditions, if any, would you place on receiving a basic income?
- in one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation;
- what new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
Five. Accomplishment and moving forward
- name one important thing that was accomplished here;
- is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?
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