Eric-great and productive response, thanks for writing. I think the issue we were addressing is not whether UBI is the best idea (though there is evidence from groups such as GiveDirectly that UBI may well be worth pursuing) but the attitude by which UBI has become a leading hobby horse for the zeitgeist in Silicon Valley. I could have just as similarly written a response to Paul Graham’s out-of-touch essay on income inequality in January, or Sam Altman’s repeated comments about the “idle class,” or even Y-Combinator’s attitude that no one has studied this (though many people have.)
A different kind of idea that requires experimentation: Jim Clifton (the Gallup CEO) proposes giving unrestricted dollars to people who test off-the-charts in entrepreneurial capacity from cities like Lincoln, NE to Detroit. Giving you money saying “you have potential, make something of it” vs. giving you money saying “you’ve been left behind, but hey, we’re taking care of your basic needs” is a dignity-promoting vs. a patronizing response to a person. Whether or not UBI is the right idea (and there is a growing body of evidence that it isn’t worth writing off), the attitude through which UBI is implemented is the problem here, not the merits of the idea.