The Best Universal Basic Income Videos Of 2016

2017 is already shaping up to be a big year for the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI). The idea to build an unconditional income floor to cover the basic needs of each citizen has been gaining worldwide attention and traction. In just the first 10 days of 2017, Finland has already launched a trial, a nonprofit in India is preparing to launch their own, Scotland is seriously considering trials, and several South Korean presidential candidates are now calling for support for UBI.

But before we turn our focus to the latest happenings, I want to look back and highlight some of the best videos of 2016 that explained and advocated for Universal Basic Income.

Just like the Golden Globes and Academy Awards, I’m sure I missed some worthy mentions, so please be sure to share them in the comments!

Best Animated Video & Best Intro Video To Explain UBI:

The RSA, “What is Universal Basic Income”?

The RSA (Royal Society of Arts) is a UK based organization whose mission is to “enrich society through ideas and action”. Anthony Painter, director of the RSA’s Action and Research Centre, wrote a detailed 2015 report dissecting and explaining the strong case for UBI in the UK.

This video, narrated by Painter, beautifully and elegantly explains UBI in straightforward terms. It packs a lot of info in just over 2 minutes, and is a great starter video to those who are hearing about UBI for the first time.

Best Musical Score:

Future Thinkers: What is Universal Basic Income and Why Support It?

Euvie Ivanova and Mike Gilliland are the co-hosts of the Future Thinkers Podcast, where they interview interesting guests and delve into deep questions about the future of humankind and the exploration of consciousness. They created this nice animation (accompanied by a very catchy yet calming musical score) that explains UBI and why we need it. If you like their work, you can help support it!

Best Live-Action Animated Video:

Attac Germany, “We Need Unconditional Basic Income”

This creative video comes from Attac Germany (“Working For All”), a German organization dedicated to fairer policies for many social, environmental and democratic issues. It focuses on how a basic income can help unlock the potential inside all of us, while better rewarding work that society depends on but currently pays very little or nothing for (health care and nursing, raising children, “dirty jobs”, etc)

Best “Non-TED” Talk about UBI:

Sandhya Anantharaman, “Universal Basic Income & Automation of Jobs”.

“What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about covering the basics? If you knew you could put food on the table, pay your rent on time, what would you do with your life?”

At the “Meeting of the Minds” 2016 Conference, Sandhya Anantharaman (Co-Director of the Universal Income Project) suggests that the old social contract of “working hard will equal success” is not true anymore, and that many types of important and fulfilling work (building and inventing, teaching and caregiving, retraining and becoming an entrepreneur) can be better valued and expanded on with an updated social contract via UBI.

Best Rant About UBI:

[Joe] Rogan Makes a Case for Universal Basic Income” (created by user “J Bone”)

When Joe Rogan first interviewed restaurateur and writer Eddie Huang and heard about the general concepts behind UBI, he was quite the skeptic (and wasn’t afraid to voice his immediate concerns).

But something about the idea got Rogan interested, and he had clearly had more to say when he got into a deeper and very entertaining discussion with Australian comedian Josh Zepps.

Then Rogan chatted with actor/director Kevin Smith. Rogan makes the forceful case for UBI in the way that only he can.

While the language is a bit more “colorful” than most UBI videos, what makes these especially impactful is that you can see how Rogan’s thoughts around the topic transforms from his initial impressions, to doing more reading and thinking on his own, to coming to his own thoughtful conclusions.

Best Deep Dive Into UBI:

The Podcast “TheHigherside Chats” interviews Scott Santens

While only technically a video because it’s posted on Youtube, this hour long discussion between basic income writer Scott Santens and Greg Carlwood from “The Higherside Chats” quickly covers the basics and then goes in deep. This wide-ranging chat covers many of the reasons why UBI is necessary, and brings up real world examples and data to address the common criticisms that UBI critics often bring up. If you’re looking to take your interest and understanding of UBI to the next level, this is for you.

Best UBI Shout-out During Daytime TV:

CNBC, “Elon Musk: Moving Toward Universal Basic Income Due To Automation”

Honestly, I just needed to come up with a reason to include this video, because it has SpaceX /Tesla CEO Elon Musk voicing his belief that we will need UBI due to automation. Musk’s billion dollar companies build and utilize some of the most advanced automation technology in the world, while requiring a fraction of the workforce that similar companies need. If there’s anyone who has a front seat as to what the future holds for jobs that are and will soon be automated by machines, it’s Musk, which is why his statement affirming the need for a Universal Basic Income is such a big deal.

Best Visual Effects:

Inequality Media, “Universal Basic Income”

Robert Reich is known for many things (professor, political commentator, author, and former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton), but one thing I wasn’t aware of was his drawing skills! With just some markers and an easel pad, Reich draws a colorful story around the importance and impact of UBI. There’s some well-sourced video clips and helpful digital graphics too, but Reich’s illustrations make this video accessible and easy to watch.

Best TED talk about UBI (by region)

In 2016, if you presented the topic of UBI at a TEDx Conference, you were not alone. There were numerous talks around the world, each fueled by a unique combination of passion, purpose, and presentation. Each of these presentations are worth watching!

Rudy Karsan at TEDxCalgary, “How the Future of Work is Not ‘Jobs’”

Raf Manji at TEDxChristchurch, “A Universal Income Needs a Focus on Citizen Responsibility”

James Mulvale at TEDxUManitoba. “Basic Income: An Idea Whose Time Has Come”

Philippe Van Parijs from TEDxGhent, “The Instrument of Freedom”

Anthony Painter from TEDxBrum, “We Need a Platform, But We’ve Built a Cage”

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