Pros and cons of national vs community-based UBI


Andrew Yang is running for President in 2020 on a platform of making a Universal Basic Income for the USA. He produced a video and was recently interviewed on FOX News.

Sam Altman, president of YCombinator has personally and through YCombinator pushed for Universal Basic Income.

Robert Reich has advocated for Basic Income just recently as well.

People have been speaking in favor of a Universal Basic Income on the Left and on the Right of the political spectrum for decades, but in all this time hasn’t been done on a national level. Perhaps it is too big of a change? On a local level, things have been done:


The Alaska Permanent Fund gives each citizen of Alaska around $1000-2000 a year from the state’s oil revenues. And it turns out Alaska has the lowest inequality among states in the union, many years running. Here is its Gini coefficient. Coincidence?

The mayor of Stockton, CA has expressed interest in a local Basic Income. And some cities around the world have made experiments with Basic Income.

Experiments done in local villages in Africa have shown great promise and success

My own opinion is that, since the cost of living varies from place to place, the UBI should be based in local communities. Also, it’s much easier to implement something new in a smaller community than on a national level.

Scott Santens is a writer who spends much of his career advocating for Universal Basic Income. He has written an article why he thinks a National UBI makes sense.

What do you all think?


I should point out that Intercoin allows any community, regardless of size, to issue UBI. A person could belong to several communities (a city, a university, a religious organization, etc.)

So as far as Intercoin is concerned, if a country wants to implement UBI on a national or even federal level, they can do it the same as a local community. The technology is the same. I just think that it’s far easier to implement change on a local level first, and finally get UBI happening. Plus, it has more connotations of freedom and choice since you can more easily move from one community to another if you don’t like their policies. Otherwise it’s a bit tough to go beyond talking to actually getting into office and implementing it:

1 Like

Well put, Greg. There are aspects of UBI that at first one might believe it could harm the incentives for people to work and move ahead with their lives and whether it’s implementation could be used by bad actors in governments to bias towards a political agenda, like it has been done with welfare programs in Brazil. That was my concern when the concept first came to my reading. After some research, I found articles and videos that stress the subject giving a broad perspective of it’s challenges and implications. Here’s one of them, that amazingly shows how this topic has gained relevance with 3 million views up to this date.


UBI is much better than traditional welfare or assistance programs. Most traditional programs use means-testing. This imposes a burden on the recipients to prove that they qualify, and it imposes a significant cost on the government agency administering the program to judge the qualifications. If the means-testing says that a person must earn under 20,000 USD per year to receive healthcare benefits or nutritional/housing assistance, what happens when they get a raise or increase their income? This creates a poverty trap. UBI addresses both problems. The biggest problem with UBI is that some people are resistant to the idea. The best approach is to show it can work in local communities.


That’s a good point Daniel. Interesting how this debate keeps deepening. Adding some more perspectives on it:


The interesting thing about UBI is not just the huge marginal benefit would create for people who are struggling to make ends meet. One of the most important arguments for UBI is that people know how to maximize benefit better than governments do. If you have outstanding payday loans, for instance, UBI would allow you to make the decision to prioritize repayment but the current welfare system would not.

1 Like

I think communities can apply incentives or peer pressure on individuals to spend UBI (or Community Basic Income) to better their own lives or their own community more that any national government UBI could. Each community can see in real time with a distributed ledger how people are spending their Community Basic Income. Local governance can then vote to increase or decrease CBI. Every individual community has their unique needs. Most importantly CBI can remove scarcity of basic needs.

That’s right, communities which are smaller (like a village or a festival) are more in touch with everyone. And if everyone got UBI loaded on their card every day, then they’d have an easier time getting local merchants to accept the currency. We could have “Disney Dollars” and “Ithaca Hours” running on a distributed ledger.

1 Like

Alright with Andrew Yang having participated in the national presidential race, we can see that UBI has not exactly won the day on the national stage:

So, all the more reason to build UBI bottom-up, city by city, similarly to how ranked choice voting is making its way through the country. We don’t need to introduce it on a national level all at once. But we will need a cryptocurrency that will enable UBI and other such experiments to happen in a way that can be easily overseen by the public. The Mincome experiment in Canada was probably the closest we have ever come to that.

We built and after this primary we are going to turn it into to try to unite the different UBI factions together. Hopefully Andrew will join us as an advisor!

1 Like

Yang has dropped out of the presidential race but there are rumors that he may run for mayor of NYC and he has said that NYC should implement UBI:

1 Like

UBI is just the tip of the iceberg too. Key theme of the Yang campaign was to stop using crude statistics like GDP, and find better ways to measure the economy. I think Local CPI is a good start.

1 Like

There’s a new video on our YouTube channel explaining UBI and what is Intercoin’s Solution to Universal Basic Income.

Hey all, updating this thread with some new content here. See more on out solution to implementing UBI

1 Like