Photo:Courtesy Pierre Omidyar didn’t expect to make a dime-let alone become a billionaire-when he set up a small online auction on his private Web site. He just wanted to score some points with his girlfriend. But within five months, what had started out as a hobby had become a $3 billion empire with more than 2 million subscribers, and Omidyar found himself at the head of one of the most popular and profitable Web-based businesses in Internet history. And it all started with Pez dispensers.
Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire co-founder of eBay, plans to donate approximately $500,000 to fund a project in Kenya that will give thousands of people a guaranteed regular income.
The program, called, GiveDirectly is being hailed as the most ambitious experiment yet in the concept of universal basic income, or UBI. It will make cash transfers to more than 26,000 people in 200 villages in Kenya, with about 6,000 of those people receiving a long-term basic income for 12 years. The payments of $0.75 per day amount to 50% of typical adult income in rural Kenya.
The concept of a universal basic income has been gaining traction around the world as a way to equitably increase quality of life in a world where labor markets are being disrupted. The policy was recently the subject of a nationwide referendum in Switzerland—it didn’t pass—and it’s also being discussed in European countries, Canada, and the city of Oakland, to name a few.READ MORE