The world on a billionaire’s budget

Who needs student loans, health care and mortgages?

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The world's wealthiest are prospering. As of February 2017, there were about 2,000 billionaires in the world. This micro-elite controls over US$7.6 trillion, an increase of 18 percent from 2016.

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Can universal basic income fix a crisis that's already begun?

COVID-19 may strengthen the case for universal basic income, or an idea like it.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown millions of Americans into unemployment, highlighting the impracticality of living paycheck to paycheck, which a shocking number of Americans must do. Yet pandemic unemployment is just a glimpse of the fallout the US can expect in a future where more and more jobs are automated.
  • Is universal basic income the answer? In this video, a range of experts from economists to entrepreneurs and historians explore different facets of basic income, like why we need it, how it's different to welfare, and how we'll pay for it.
  • Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's former Minister of Finance, explains why he's not in favor of a UBI tax, but rather the creation of a public equity fund: "[T]hese days capital is socially produced ... Take for instance ... the capital stock of Google. To a large extent it is produced by all of us. Every time we search something on the Google search engine, we are adding to the capital stock of Google. This is not just a consumer transaction. So, if capital is socially produced why are the returns to capital privatized? On what basis?"

What's your favorite argument for (or against) UBI? Let us know in the comments!

Who is leading the private space race?

The space station sector has exciting potential as more private companies enter the conversation.

  • The International Space Station is the most expensive public project ever built in the history of humanity.
  • Companies like NanoRacks, SpaceX, and Blue Origin have already entered the conversation of what the future will look like for the ISS.
  • Now, it's important to entertain only the serious contenders in the space race.
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Why would NASA outsource missions to SpaceX?

When it comes new PR disasters, NASA isn't taking any risks.

  • Tragedies at NASA, such as Challenger and Columbia disasters, have impeded the organization from taking risks, critics say. Indeed, in terms of PR, these tragedies were particularly baleful.
  • Although NASA was once a contractor, its staff spearheading missions, today they are more a client. SpaceX is basically selling NASA a ride to the ISS.
  • Essentially, NASA has put the risk on private companies — if anything bad happens, it's on SpaceX, for example. This switch may better further space colonization goals, though, because the private sector has more flexibility, in terms of how business is conducted. Also, NASA, as a national entity, avoids the pall of a possible disaster.
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Musk vs. Bezos: Whose philosophy will get him to space first?

The billionaires are both looking to the stars, but each has a different dream for space colonization.

  • The billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are driving the private space sector, however, they both have different motivations and goals for doing so.
  • For Musk, space colonization is a matter of saving the human species — having a Plan B. For Bezos, he believes Earth can be saved and transformed into a "residential only" zone. Goods from industrial manufacturing would be outsourced from space colonies.
  • One big concern regarding Bezos' plan is whether his company's presence in space would someday constitute a monopoly of extraterrestrial industry.
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