Mark Zuckerberg praised the Alaska Permanent Fund and used it as another platform to lobby for universal basic income, as he did during his commencement address to Harvard in May. The Alaska Permanent Fund was established in 1976 as the Alaska pipeline construction neared completion. According to CNBC, the “goal was to share the oil riches with future generations.” From the report: Zuckerberg says the state’s cash handout program “provides some good lessons for the rest of the country.” The dividend averages $1000 (or more) per person. “That can be especially meaningful if your family has five or six people,” says Zuckerberg in a post he wrote about the payment. “This is a novel approach to basic income in a few ways. First, it’s funded by natural resources rather than raising taxes. Second, it comes from conservative principles of smaller government, rather than progressive principles of a larger safety net,” says Zuckerberg. “This shows basic income is a bipartisan idea.” Fundamentally, Zuckerberg says people think and work differently when they have their basic needs met. “Seeing how Alaska put this dividend in place reminded me of a lesson I learned early at Facebook: organizations think profoundly differently when they’re profitable than when they’re in debt. When you’re losing money, your mentality is largely about survival,” says Zuckerberg. “But when you’re profitable, you’re confident about your future and you look for opportunities to invest and grow further. Alaska’s economy has historically created this winning mentality, which has led to this basic income. That may be a lesson for the rest of the country as well.”
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